Originally Posted by andgarden
Are there really still 4x3 viewers complaining about "black bands?" Letterboxing has been ubiquitous for at least 10 years.
Of course, I can remember 10 years ago when the CBS HD feed had its logo outside of the 4x3 title safe area.
Absolutely. They complain everyday. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of them out there, decades worth of old habbits that die hard, probably mostly older and lower income viewers who have no interest or funds to go HD. My parents still complain when they get a DVD and the picture is "cut off".
I wouldn't say the letterboxing has been ubiquitous for at least 10 years. It's existed, sure, expecially for people watching DVDs, and some networks using it (NBC, etc) but not untill the last year or two has there been so much of it.
Personally, I prefer center cut. It's much less distracting, especially when watching an SD program on an HD set (where you get two sets of bars). Center graphics are mostly an issue on 24 hour news channels, and sports. Everything else can easily go with centercut with very little impact on the HD viewing experience.
I shoot and edit local commercials (among other things) in a dual market area, where depending on which market and station the commercials will run, it could be HD or SD. For SD, I insist on center cut, but some clients and producers demand a "hybrid" where they use the black bars for text, etc. But, when making the HD version for certain stations that can accept it, they have tough decisions to make, because we framed everying in production too tight to leave room for the text, and in HD they are forced to layer it over the image (not any black bars) and it sometimes covers key elements of the image (peoples heads, chins, etc.) Try to exlain this during the shoot, it's like speaking French while in China. It's amazing how something so simple as geometry leaves people confused.