Bad news: People are still extremely uninformed - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 37 Old 06-19-2001, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Can you believe this news item?

Buyers of DVD movies are increasingly opting for full-screen ("pan and scan") versions of movies over widescreen ("letterbox" format), according to the online edition of Video Business magazine . Citing studio research, Corie Tappin, MGM's senior VP of marketing, told the publication: "It has been very skewed to widescreen. In the beginning it was 80/20, but now it's 55/45." Video Business also reported that sales of the full-screen version of Disney's Remember the Titans and 102 Dalmatians surpassed widescreen sales.Text

I can't even watch a movie that has been Panned and Scammed. I accidentally rented the full screen Titans and couldn't even watch it. As usual, the American public is uninformed. I can see the Dalmatians dvd, but not Titans. Since Dalmatians will more likely be watched by kids on the family's second tv.

This news irks me because the last thing we need is for companies like Disney to force full screen copies of movies into rental stores and we will have to rent inferior editions of movies or buy the widescreen online. All this news says that the public still has no clue. What can we do?
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post #2 of 37 Old 06-19-2001, 11:14 AM
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I'm not surprised. For the average Joe 6 Pack, most still find the "black bars" annoying. Unfortunately, as this medium grows, so does the interest in dvd by Joe 6 Pack, thus the shift from 80/20 (afficionados) to 55/45 (joe 6 pack) The best solution is obviously to have both versions on the same disc, but this is not always going to be the case. I don't think there is much we can do.

I now own a 16x9 tv and it's a real drag to only get a pan & scan version on a rental or even a full-frame only purchase like The Shining, talk about annoying!

[This message has been edited by Crow331 (edited 06-19-2001).]
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post #3 of 37 Old 06-19-2001, 11:36 AM
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it's a real drag to only get a pan & scan version on a rental or even a purchase (The Shining)
"The Shining" isn't pan & scan, it's full frame, big difference. The 4x3 image that you are seeing is actually what Stanley Kubrick wanted you to see. Any widescreen version of the film would be a loss of picture at the top and bottom of the frame.

I still think they should offer a 1.85:1 and a 1.37:1 version though, since 1.85:1 is how it was shown in American theaters.
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post #4 of 37 Old 06-19-2001, 11:42 AM
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I knew when I re-read my post that I had written that wrong, but you corrected me before I had a chance to fix it. Thanks!

"I still think they should offer a 1.85:1 and a 1.37:1 version though, since 1.85:1 is how it was shown in American theaters."

I AGREE!!! Though it now looks like any chance of that happening anytime soon are slim to NONE.
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post #5 of 37 Old 06-19-2001, 01:06 PM
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Why would kubrick intend his movie to be seen in 4x3? I think he intended it to be seen in widescreen, but used a method of matting the print to achieve his goal. What you probably see is a version that is not matted, but I don't think that was what he originally intended.

Correct me if I'm wrong because this is only a guess.
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post #6 of 37 Old 06-19-2001, 01:16 PM
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Just a Kubrick quirk. Eyes Wide Shut is also Academy format. It is explicitly stated that this is the way he wanted it presented.

I don't know where MGM is getting their numbers for this study, though. Widescreen continues to be the standard, and increasingly we seem to be getting good anamorphic transfers. Even when renting at Blockbuster, you won't get a P&S-only disc.

I'm not concerned.

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post #7 of 37 Old 06-19-2001, 01:32 PM
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This from DVDFile.com ....

An interview with the Kubrick Collection restoration supervisor...

DF: Well, now on to the question of aspect ratio.
This is by far the most contentious area of debate
among our readers. Many are confused between
the aspect ratio Kubrick shot his films in, how
they were exhibited theatrically, and how they are
shown on home video...

LV: Very often, well, if you go back to Dr.
Strangelove, for example, he shot that in the camera
basically "full frame,." (Roughly 1.37:1) But you will
see if you look at the film that very often, there will be
mattes (Editor: Black bars on the top and bottom
masking off a portion of the image to achieve a
wider aspect ratio) in one shot, then in the next shot
there will be no mattes. Then the next shot there will
be, then the next shot there won't. With A Clockwork
Orange, it is basically 1.66:1, and that is how he shot it
in the camera, but from time to time you'll see that
there is a slight shift in his aperture (thus slightly
affecting the aspect ratio.) And that is just how he shot
it, and what Stanley had always wanted was a video
version of his film as he shot it in the camera, not
necessarily how it was projected. That was very
important to him. And he did not particularly like
1.85:1.

DF: Well, to take The Shining as an example
again, many are distracted in the opening
sequence by the infamous "helicopter blades."
Because the video is not matted, you can see the
helicopter blades at the top of the shot. Some
have taken this to be "evidence" that Kubrick's
preferred compositions were not be transferred
properly to home video. To be honest, I, too have
often wondered about this and am distracted by
those helicopter blades! (laughs)

LV: That's just how he wanted it. And the helicopter
blades, for him, well...for him, they were totally
inconsequential. If I can just say to you, that for
Stanley each shot, each scene, stood for itself as a
composition. And if he liked something in that shot, he
would use it regardless of aspect ratio. I could
probably catalogue for you plenty of things like the
"helicopter blades syndrome" which are in his films.
But if he liked the acting, or let's say there was a
particular sound that he liked, if there was some kind
of extraneous noise and it was just there and there
wasn't anything you could do about it but he liked the
actual take, he would use that anyway. And that is
how he approached his work.

With A Clockwork Orange, now in multiplexes - and I
think it is terrible - you can only really project it in
1.85:1 or 2.35:1. If you project A Clockwork Orange
in 1.85:1, it kills it, it really does. It was composed for
1.66:1 and that is how it should look.

DF: I think some confusion is due to the fact that
films like The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut were
shown theatrically in 1.85:1...but not on video.

LV: That is because at the time (of The Shining)
1.85:1 was becoming an industry norm in the United
States, so what he did was, he shot his original
negative, then he made the interpositive, then for
theatrical release he would mask the interpositive,
which meant he still had the original negative in full
frame. (Editor: This is sometimes referred to as
"soft matting," where you only mask prints or
matte a full frame film via the projector, instead of
"hard matting" the original negative.) This was
also very important to Stanley. He was very conscious
of the fact that you lose I think 27% of your picture
when it is matted to 1.85:1. He hated it, he didn't find it
satisfactory. He liked height. (laughs)

DF: Since we are on the topic of contentious
debates, another issue for fans has been the lack
of anamorphic enhancement of the 1.66:1 titles.
Since it is possible to "windowbox" a 1.66:1 title
and anamorphically encode it on DVD, and it
would render slightly improved resolution (on
16x9 monitors) versus a straight 1.66:1
non-anamorphic letterbox transfer, why not do it?

LV: 2001 is the only title that is "16x9 enhanced."
With the 1.66:1 titles, it is simply because it
(anamorphically encoding them) alters perception.

DF: How so, exactly? I think this might be a hard
concept for some to grasp...

LV: How can I explain this? Well, here's an analogy.
Very early on - and you'll see this in the documentary
(A Life In Pictures) - on one of the very first features
Kubrick made, Killer's Kiss, he had an argument with
his director of photography on the film, Lucien Ballard.
Stanley had set up a tracking shot with a 25mm lens
and told him what he wanted. Then he later he came
back and the tracks had been moved back, quite a
ways from where he set them up, and he asked Lucien
what he was doing. Lucien said he was "giving him
exactly the same coverage you wanted, but with a
50mm lens which makes my job quicker and faster."
But Stanley said, "What about this change in
perspective?" And Lucien's reply was that t it doesn't
matter that much. Which is wrong. Maybe perspective
doesn't m after much to someone who is just watching
a movie for fun, but for Stanley, that slight alteration,
that change, means everything. It is the same as those
who get angry because The Shining or Clockwork
Orange aren't being displayed in 1.85:1. Well, he
didn't want that, he wanted 1.66:1, or full frame. End
of story. (laughs)

And originally (when video transfers were done) there
was no windowboxing or anamorphic, so it would
have been speculation on my part if I had done that,
anamorphically encoded the 1.66:1 titles. I stuck to
everything Stanley wanted according to his exact
specifications all the way through our working
relationship.

DF: So what you're saying is that, in a way,
windowboxing a 1.66:1 image thus forces the
image to occupy a different space within the video
frame, thereby altering a viewer's relationship to
the composition?

LV: 2001 is another example. In the cinema, by
keeping the original aspect ratio of 2001: A Space
Odyssey at 2.20:1, it gives you the height you wouldn't
have had at 2.35:1. And we wanted to keep that
original height just the way Stanley shot it, even if it
may seem so minor to some people. Better that than
squeeze it down to 2.35:1. These are choices Stanley
was quite clear about, so there was no question at all
about them in my mind.

For the complete interview, check out dvdfile.com
http://www.dvdfile.com/news/special_...ngkubrick.html

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post #8 of 37 Old 06-19-2001, 02:02 PM
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I don't find this surprising either. When you consider all of the discussions that go on here and on other boards, there is a LOT of information related to DVD technology that one sould become familiar with in order to spend money wisely. I don't think most people know, or even care, about a LOT of the stuff that people debate here.....

Things like aspect ratios, progressive scan, interlacing, de-interlacing, layer changes, etc., can be VERY confusing and even a turn-off. I guess most people want to buy a DVD player and use it the way they used their VCR.

As more and more people get more into Home Theater, I think the average consumer will become more savvy.....

I don't think this is necessarily a bad thing either. If the DVD producers make BOTH formats available, then EVERYONE will be happy and will be able to choose the format that works best for them.

We have that now with DVDs that contain Dolby Digital 5.1 and dts 5.1 audio tracks. The consumer can choose with audio they prefer enjoy that. Who cares if someone says dts sounds better than Dolby Digital (or vice versa).... The main point is can DVD technology satisfy MOST if not ALL consumer's needs and expectations? I say most definitely, but if the DVD producers start to make decisions based on market statistics and not consider the technology enthusiasts then they will start to anger and alienate people.

As long as the medium is properly used to satisfy the most number of consumers, I think issues like this won't be an issue any more.

Of course, this is just my personal view.....

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post #9 of 37 Old 06-19-2001, 02:10 PM
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This is not necessery a bad news. With rental DVD prices coming soon, it may be entirely possible that P&S will be priced for rental (for first 6 month) and Widescreen priced to own - practice common to VHS now. So Joe6Pack will rent his P&S, and we would be able to have OAR version just-in-time. Everyone happy, including studios.
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post #10 of 37 Old 06-19-2001, 02:16 PM
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is it a matter of them being uninformed, or do they just not care?
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post #11 of 37 Old 06-19-2001, 02:21 PM
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yeah, but what if I want to see a movie, but don't think its worth buying, I still want rentals to be widescreen too.
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post #12 of 37 Old 06-19-2001, 02:24 PM
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yeah, but what if I want to see a movie, but don't think its worth buying, I still want rentals to be widescreen too.
Rental places would be able to have WS copies of course. The only people who will suffer are P&S collectors, if such creatures exists.
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post #13 of 37 Old 06-19-2001, 02:59 PM
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we may be the last of our kind, in a sea of dummy consumers.
watch till dvd replaces vhs fully and 2 tier pricing, P&S rule........ http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

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post #14 of 37 Old 06-19-2001, 03:50 PM
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Hmm, I've often wondered what will happen when 16x9 sets become the norm. Will a lot of people clammer for 16x9 pan and scanning of 2.35:1 movies? Granted, the black bars aren't that big, but I've often seen posts where people complian "I bought a widescreen TV and still see black bars on "The Matrix"". *sigh* At least there won't be debate about 1.85:1 movies anymore, and even 2:1 movies fill the screen due to overscan.
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post #15 of 37 Old 06-19-2001, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by joekun:
Hmm, I've often wondered what will happen when 16x9 sets become the norm. Will a lot of people clammer for 16x9 pan and scanning of 2.35:1 movies? Granted, the black bars aren't that big, but I've often seen posts where people complian "I bought a widescreen TV and still see black bars on "The Matrix"". *sigh* At least there won't be debate about 1.85:1 movies anymore, and even 2:1 movies fill the screen due to overscan.

Will 16x9 sets ever become the norm? I ask because SOOOO many people ask about how to get their 4x3 set to do the "16:9 squeeze trick" and stuff..... I just wonder how prevalent actual 16x9 sets will actually become...



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post #16 of 37 Old 06-19-2001, 05:21 PM
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I'm Widescreen DVD fanatic also, I just bought 23 DVDs in last two days, only one I couldn't get in widescreen was "Nighthawks". Starring Sly Stallone, Rutger Hauer, and Billy Dee Williams.

That makes my collection at 263 and going up. Check my equipment that I own right under response, you will see where they are all stored.


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post #17 of 37 Old 06-19-2001, 10:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by tomdkat:

Will 16x9 sets ever become the norm? I ask because SOOOO many people ask about how to get their 4x3 set to do the "16:9 squeeze trick" and stuff..... I just wonder how prevalent actual 16x9 sets will actually become...

First off: Crow- thanks for the insightful interview you posted. I read it top to bottom. I didn't learn much I didn't know already, but I did gain an insight into Kubrick's vision. Also, it helped me understand better the answers to the questions that were asked. Yes, I guess I did learn a bit. As for widescreen- yes- it is going to become the standard very soon. Sooner than we think. It already is the standard in Europe. In addition, a salesperson at Circuit City told me that in the next three months, 98 % of their tvs would be digital. Of those sets, 70% will be widescreen. Very interesting. I wouldn't even look at a 4 X 3 for my next TV.



[This message has been edited by Ulysses (edited 06-20-2001).]
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post #18 of 37 Old 06-19-2001, 10:16 PM
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Ulysses, you're welcome ...

I'll tell you the biggest problem I see with 16x9 sets vs 4x3 sets ... it's the same problem that joe 6 pack has with widescreen vs pan & scan ... the black bars!

Until "regular" tv shows start broadcasting in 16x9, joe 6 pack is never going to buy a 16x9 tv. I can hear them now ... they are watching WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE in 4x3 on at 16x9 set and they say "Why are there black bars on the left and right???? Honey, get in the car, there is something wrong with our tv, we are returning it to Best Buy"

I can't tell you how many times over the last year that I've dated some girl and she asks why the picture doesn't fill the entire screen when we are watching regular tv. I have to use the stretch or zoom to shut them up. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

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post #19 of 37 Old 06-19-2001, 11:07 PM
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Quote:
I can't tell you how many times over the last year that I've dated some girl and she asks why the picture doesn't fill the entire screen when we are watching regular tv. I have to use the stretch or zoom to shut them up. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif
Luckily my girlfriend loves my 16x9 TV and likes to watch regular shows in 4x3 mode, what a girl http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif

I think what you said really covers it though, stretch mode really seems to keep a lot of people quiet. A whole lot of people actually seem to not mind a distorted picture as long as it fills the screen. When I was buying my Mits, the salesman got a call from some guy who wanted to know why the screen wasn't filled. He told him how to put it in stretch mode and the customer was satisfied.

It may be a while before 16x9 sets become the norm as long as Congress keeps their current attitude towards HDTV, but I believe it will happen eventually (7-10 years).
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post #20 of 37 Old 06-20-2001, 06:50 AM
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(this is re the Kubrick interview that was posted here)
By looking at 2001, you can tell that Kubrick probably wasn't a big fan of widescreen, and he was a big fan of vertical height. Look at all the monitors aboard discovery. They are like in a 3X5 aspect ration, 3 inches wide for every 5 inches tall. Thank god that monitors in the real year 2001 did not go that way!

PS, after someone mentioned it yesterday, I paused my dvd while Floyd was reading the zero gravity toilet scene, and it is so close, I can almost make out the small text.
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post #21 of 37 Old 06-20-2001, 07:02 AM
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yes thanks crow,

Wow, I guess it just boggled my mind that someone who makes films would prefer a 4x3 ratio.

The artistic mind......hard to pin down. Thank god.
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post #22 of 37 Old 06-20-2001, 08:59 AM
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I don't want to sound mean, but I have always said that most people are idiots.

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post #23 of 37 Old 06-20-2001, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Digitalhorde:
Look at all the monitors aboard discovery. They are like in a 3X5 aspect ration, 3 inches wide for every 5 inches tall. Thank god that monitors in the real year 2001 did not go that way!
Well, do consider that 8.5" x 11" paper is .77 AR and that A4 paper is even smaller AR. It makes sense that screens with a lot of information are at these aspect ratios because the eye can't follow a line across too well. I think the "standard" width in the publishing industry is no more 10 or 11 words, on average.

Interestingly, many web pages are way too wide because of this. Look at web pages, and you'll see the most successful at small ARs, and have "white bars" on the side to enforce this AR. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

http://www.yahoo.com/ gets the most hits worldwide (.83 AR on my screen)
http://www.lycos.com/ is in the top five (.78 AR on my screen)
http://www.ebay.com/ has the same AR as Lycos

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[This message has been edited by dschmelzer (edited 06-20-2001).]

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post #24 of 37 Old 06-20-2001, 09:08 PM
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Well, I am tempted to make some snotty reply to the several snotty remarks about Joe Sixpack. Instead I'll try to put the idea across this way.

Do you like modern art? The people who do look down on the plebian Joe Sixpack types who think it is a bunch of crap.

I think everyone is entitled to their preferences and it seems that there are a large number of consumers who don't like black bars and don't much care about the artistic intent of the director etc.

They get to vote with their wallet and the fact that you don't agree with them and make snotty remarks about them sounds like sour grapes to me.

This isn't intended to start any flame wars, but I think that many of you could be a little more respectful of everyone's right to an opinion. Yours is no better or worse than any one else's IMHO

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post #25 of 37 Old 06-20-2001, 09:10 PM
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Dan, you bring up an interesting point.
Did you realize that the normal field of vision for a person with two functioning eyeballs is very close to 1.85:1 ?

That is why it is a very "comfortable" aspect ratio.

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post #26 of 37 Old 06-20-2001, 09:24 PM
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Plebeian: P-L-E-B-E-I-A-N. I think there is more to it. When Joe Sixpack's uninformed and ignorant preferences threaten the existence of something many of us enjoy--anamorphic widescreen--we are naturally going to berate that ignorance. Even if only two titles are at stake, that is two too many. The thread started as a rhetorical question asking what we would do if the studios cave to the almighty dollar and take a big step back. People here have answered that question as they see fit. I see nothing wrong with criticizing something that has no foundation in the realm of logic.
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post #27 of 37 Old 06-20-2001, 11:02 PM
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I want video software sold in original aspect ratio. I think display devices should all be able to stretch, warp, edit, mutate, ruin, enhance, whatever the end user wants to do with the signal. Why should software be edited (read P & S)? This duty is best done by the display device. Besides, people like to screw around with adjustments. Look mom no hands! And, look what my high-tech toy does!

If, proably when, 16 x 9 sets really catch on might we see Academy ratio films stretched, schewed some, to more fully fill the screen? I hope not! The very thought of that possibility is maddening. We need OAR. Sets need to let folks optimize their pic, whatever that might entail. What could make people happier? " ...I did it my way..."... "have it your way".

Why aren't there any 16 x 9 analog sets out there? That would seem like a stepping stone, sorta. They'd be more affordable too. That nebulous dude, joe whats his name, isn't anxious to stop buying $399 sets in favour of $3000 sets. Stepping stone products need to exist. Maybe improved definition digital sets in the vein of the Loewe sets that convert everything to 480 P, would be good stepping stone. Some people just want a TV set, not a movie display device.

"Give me original aspect ratio, or give me death, well maybe not death, it's too permanent. Maybe a bad sunburn or an in-grown toenail, something along those lines seems fair...."


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post #28 of 37 Old 06-21-2001, 05:17 AM
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(back to the interview with the Kubrick Collection restoration supervisor that Crow331 so kindly posted)

The part I found disturbing in this interview was that a question was asked about anamorphic enhancement in the sense of not letterboxing a 4x3 image (enhanced for 16x9 sets) - and the answer was that this would screw up perspective - which didn't make sense to me until I realized the answer had to do with anamorphic lenses, not encoding the widescreen image for 16x9 sets.
Maybe this restoration supervisor had nothing to do with moving the image to video. On the other hand... if this confusion is widespread in the industry it might be why we're not getting more "enhanced for widescreen TV" transfers.
Sigh...

Here's the question, BTW.
Quote:

... another issue for fans has been the lack
of anamorphic enhancement of the 1.66:1 titles.
Since it is possible to "windowbox" a 1.66:1 title
and anamorphically encode it on DVD, and it
would render slightly improved resolution (on
16x9 monitors) versus a straight 1.66:1
non-anamorphic letterbox transfer, why not do it?
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post #29 of 37 Old 06-21-2001, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rachael Bellomy:
Why aren't there any 16 x 9 analog sets out there? That would seem like a stepping stone, sorta.
There were in the early '90s. I know Pioneer had an RPTV and RCA had a 36" tube TV (They may have been 16:10). A lot of arcade games that came out in the early '90s also used the RCA widescreen tube. They all failed to sell!!!

I remember an AV store in Florida trying to dump their floor model 36" RCA (beautiful console) for $500. Nobody wanted it.



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post #30 of 37 Old 06-21-2001, 08:17 AM
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Joe six pack... we're all Joe six pack in one area or
another.

Given that, are we all stupid? Average idiots? I think not.

Widescreen is change. No one likes change. Most of us have been in front of a 4x3 set every day, for 2 hours each day since we were born. Now something new... and we think the world will simply say "yes, finally something new!" Humans (that's you and me) don't work that way.

Add to that the American "bigger is better" syndrome. Last time I looked, the 16 x 9 on a tube isn't bigger at all. It's distinctly smaller (less screen). That 24" tall face is now 18". Does anyone think this might be perceived as wasting a big part of my screen?

For the record I MUCH prefer 16 x 9. But before we unfairly charactarize others as stupid, let's look at the terribly strong dynamics in place here. Frankly we're stupid if we don't see them for what they are.

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