Why 16x9?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by ChuckDeLa, Dec 2, 2002.

  1. ChuckDeLa

    ChuckDeLa Cinematographer

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    Why are widescreen televisions in this odd aspect ratio? It seems like 99% of widescreen movies are 1.85 or 2.35, so why not use of those ratios? I don't know of any 1.78 movies.

    Sorry if this has been asked before. My girlfriend and I have been talking about getting a widescreen TV, but she's annoyed that there will still be black bars on most movies.
     
  2. Andy_Bu

    Andy_Bu Supporting Actor

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  3. John Boutwell

    John Boutwell Stunt Coordinator

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    tell her to watch the movie and not the bars [​IMG] 1.85 overscans to vfill thje screen so you will only have bars on 2.35:1 movies. But on my 46 inch philips the bars are barely noticeable, and you could always make some mattes for 2.35
     
  4. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    As noted, the black bars will be hidden by overscan on 1.85:1 movies. As for wider movies, yes there will be bars, but they'll be fairly narrow. And personally, I always make it a point to watch the movie, not the bars. [​IMG]
    M.
     
  5. Lars Vermundsberget

    Lars Vermundsberget Supporting Actor

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    First of all, tell her that this irritation over the black bars must come to an end. As long as the TV screen has one fixed AR and movies come with several different ARs, some compromise will have to be made, and black bars is the lesser evil among the different possibilities.

    Why 16:9? For technical reasons, apparently, it's practical because 4x4=16 and 3x3=9... That makes it the logical next step after 4:3.

    Hypothetically, by the same logic, another step could be 64:27 which is equal to 2.37:1. That would be nice, wouldn't it?
     
  6. ChuckDeLa

    ChuckDeLa Cinematographer

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    "Watch the movie, not the bars"

    That expression really doesn't mean much. I always insist on OAR, and my gf does too, but the bars ARE annoying. They are distracting, there's no way around that. If flies were buzzing around your set, would you just shrug it off and say "watch the movie, not the flies"? Or would you want to get rid of them?

    Are there any 2.35 sets, or any plans for one? It seems like most of the movies we watch are in this aspect ratio.
     
  7. Brian Lawrence

    Brian Lawrence Producer

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    Well, tell her this, if the set where any wider than 16:9 then there would have to be even bigger black bars running down the sides while watching 4:3 programming [​IMG]
     
  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  9. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    Incidentally, I see a small black area on the bottom of the monitor for any 1.85:1 AR movies. My plasma monitor has no overscan.

    I'd actually prefer a monitor that was about 2:1, and always filled the vertical dimension. This way, narrower films (made before 1953) would always be narrower; wider films, wider.
     
  10. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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  11. Richard Travale

    Richard Travale Producer

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  12. ChuckDeLa

    ChuckDeLa Cinematographer

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    The size of the screen in a theater is much larger and more engrossing. In a home environment, seeing screen real estate being "wasted" on black bars is a distraction and annoyance. YES, logically we both know and understand the reasons why the bars exist. Nonetheless, they still detract from the experience.

    Anyway, I don't want to argue about it. I just wanted information. Thanks to everyone who answered my questions. It hadn't occured to me that the overscan would take care of 1.85 movies. Like I said, we watch a lot of 2.35 movies, but a front projector setup would be far too expensive for us.
     
  13. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

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    If the black bars bother you so much, try this: construct some mattes made of black foamboard and attach them to your TV with velcro to cover up the black bars. I use separate foamboard mattes when watching 2.35 material and 4:3 material, and they work wonders.
     
  14. Jodee

    Jodee Screenwriter

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  15. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    There are no "black bars". There are areas of the screen with no image. The "trick" is to look at the part of the screen where there is am image. And if you turn the bloody lights down you won't "see" the "black bars".

    Why are "black bars" any more distracting than the fact that the image is surrounded by a TV set, possibly a cabinet, and certainly a wall? To say that a TV screen "should" be filled up all the time regardless of what you're watching makes as much sense as saying a car should be driven 100 miles an hour regardless of where you're driving. In both cases you've paid for something that is very useful when needed, but not always needed.

    Given that movies (and TV shows) come in aspect ratios ranging from 1.33:1 through 1.66, 1.85, 2.35 and 2.60:1, 1.77:1 makes for a pretty good compromise. A 2.35:1 set would need enormous "black bars" on either side to display 90% of the movies made prior to the mid-50s, and 100% of the TV shows produced before the mid-90s. (And probably 80% of those made since.)

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  16. James Reader

    James Reader Screenwriter

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    I believe that the size is also (more or less) the ratio that a tube system will support without distortion.
     
  17. Tom_Bechet

    Tom_Bechet Second Unit

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    there are quite a few movies in the 1:1.78 ratio
    here's a list1:1.78 movies at the imdb
    granted as said b4 a lot of'em are TV films.
    HTH
     
  18. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    I'm not annoyed by the black areas, but I admit to being annoyed that widescreen films, by their very nature, are supposed to be huge, enveloping experiences, and on my monitor, a 16:9 plasma, the very widest movies use the smallest screen real estate, and have the least impact. A movie like Ben-Hur on DVD can't compete in impact and quality with E.T., because the latter is 1.85:1 and the former is 2.76:1. The closeups are smaller on wider films, the details more indistinct. This is the real problem with a fixed-size monitor trying to show different aspect ratios.
     
  19. DaveBB

    DaveBB Supporting Actor

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    Here is the best explanation I could find. Make sure to pay attention to the first paragraph.
     
  20. DaveBB

    DaveBB Supporting Actor

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    Damn triple post. I hate Mondays.
     

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