The TV and DVD settings referred to in this post are from 2003-2004. The general idea is the same for all equipement.
For different takes on black bars you can use several links later in this post and in the rest of this thread.
Explained again, here!
Quote:Almost everything in this post came to me from others here at AVS forums. Any confusion, or errors of fact are entirely my own creation.
I will do my best to improve what's presented here. Feel free to clarify and correct. There are links to other resources for better understanding of aspect ratio, and it's effect on movies, movies on TV and TV at the bottom of this post.
A Casual History of Black Bars
When movies started being projected on screens across the country the aspect ratio
was 4 units wide for each 3 units height.
Decades later the TV industry used the same aspect ratio.
People were so hypnotized by TV in the 1950's that they forget to go to the movies. Hollywood's response was wide screen spectacular epic movies.
Quote:Thanks to weebling1 for further details:
"The movie industry developed "CINEMASCOPE" and "PANAVISION" and other widescreen filming techniques in the 1950's to recapture audiences being lost to TV."
Theaters installed wide screens with masking to reshape the screen when they were showing the standard 4x3 movies. By using masking the fixed size wide screens became adjustable. Unfortunately TV sets are fixed size and will probably stay that way.
Did Hollywood pick one wide screen aspect ratio and stick with it? Of course not. So now, our fixed aspect ratio television sets have to adapt to many aspect ratios. If the original aspect ratio of the film is maintained then black bars are best way to do it.
I'm not sure exactly when "Letterbox" started but it was big when Laser Disks became available. The transfer to Laser Disk, for wide screen movies, was done in 4x3 frames but only a portion of each frame was used. The black bars were included right there in the 4x3 frame. In that way they could create a "wide" image of any aspect ratio. It was an unfortunate trade-off because they were using only a portion of each 4x3 frame. Image information was lost.
As wide screen and HD TVs became a possibility, Letterbox just wasn't good enough. It's hard to find more recent wide screen movies that haven't been "Enhanced for widescreen TVs" -- sometimes referred to as "Anamorphic Widescreen
". You will find statements like these on DVD boxes. Short of HD DVD this type of DVD can look pretty good.
Some older movies that have received extensive restoration have also been enhanced for wide screen TV. The older wide screen movies that have not been "enhanced" may be described on the DVD box as "Widescreen version: Presented in a 'letterbox' Widescreen format preserving the aspect ratio of it's original theatrical exhibition."
The Letterbox movies that I have seen tend to have poor PQ because of the methods used and the fact that Hollywood made no effort to preserve their master copies. In many cases it was necessary to search for copies of a film in private collections and then patch together the best pieces.
The last type of DVD that I'm familiar with is the original 4x3 movie. Their DVD boxes will have statements like "1.37:1 Academy Ratio" and "Standard Version: Presented in a format preserving the aspect ratio of the original theatrical exhibition." The number 1.33 is just 4 divided by 3 and is expressing the aspect ratio of a film as 1.33:1 or 1.33 units wide for each 1 unit high. Silent movies were shot at 1.33:1 but when sound was introduce part to the frame had to be used for the sound track which resulted in a 1.37:1 aspect ratio. Kelpie brough this to my attention today (03/02/2007).
See Wikipedia for more historical information.
Some movies have been "treated" to fill a 4x3 screen and are labeled as "Full Screen", "Pan and Scan" or something similar. I avoid them.
Quote:Don't forget to setup your DVD player for a 16x9 screen:
DVD players seem to be shipped configured to be connected to a display with a 4x3 screen. It is necessary to configure the DVD player to be connected to a 16x9 display. This setup option may be a switch on the back of the DVD player or one or two options in the player's setup menus.
Sample Setup for a Samsung HLP TV and a Component connection to a DVD player.
With a properly configured DVD player connected to a Samsung HLP (2004) set through component you should have these choices if you use the P. Size (Picture Size) button on the Samsung remote.
Each year the names of these options, and the results they produce can change. Check your model's picture size options with other owners.
for Anamorphic Enhanced Widescreen movies. There will be black bars top and bottom for all films with an aspect ratio greater than 1.85:1.
for those who want to force a 4x3 image to fill a 16x9 screen. The image will be stretched more toward the sides than in the middle. Objects on the sides of the image will be fatter than they would be if they were in the center of the image.
for older Letterbox wide screen films. The image is "magnified" and equal amount in all four directions until it reaches the left and right sides of the screen. There will be black bars on the top and bottom of the screen because if the "letterboxed" films were created wider than the 16x9 screens.
it does the same thing as Zoom 1 only it doesn't stop until the entire screen is used to display the image. The ends of an image will be cut off using Zoom2.
for old films made before wide screen took over. There will be black bars on each side so that the image has a ratio of 4 units wide for each unit high.
Sample Setup for a Samsung HLP TV and a HDMI or DVI connection to a DVD player.
Set the up-scaling DVD player to output either 480p or 720p and pick your own favorite setting.
use for all Anamorphic Enhanced Widescreen movies. There will be black bars top and bottom for all films with an aspect ratio greater than 1.85:1. There will be some extra overscan.
don't use this option for anything except personal computer desk top work. There will be enough under scan to make a windows desk top visible.
provides 1x1 bit mapping and none of the extra "electronic" overscan used in "Wide (TV)
". Movies wider than 1.85:1 have black bars top and bottom. SD TV or movies with a 4x3 aspect ratio have black bars on each side of the image.
it's the same as above for old 4x3 films with black side bars.
If you don't know the aspect ratio or transfer type of the film you want to watch check it out at the Internet Movie Database (IMDB)
Examples of Film Aspect Ratios:
Quote:Thanks to Mark Alexander:
"Just be aware that the IMDB is often inaccurate when it comes to the original theatrical aspect ratio."
Some films have been issued on DVD more that once. Some have been issued in Letterbox and then again in Widescreen Anamorphic. When ever I have a choice I get the Widescreen Anamorphic version.
An aspect ratio of 1:78:1 is exactly the size of 16x9 wide screen TV sets (16 / 9 = 1.77. There should be no black bars.
An aspect ratio of 1:85:1 is slightly wider than 16x9 wide screen TV sets. There may be very thin black bars top and bottom. The over scan in some TV sets will make these black bars impossible to see.
An aspect ratio greater than 1:85 will have black bars top and bottom. As the films aspect ratio gets larger (wider) the black bars top and bottom also get larger.
An aspect ratio less that 1.78, which in almost all cases will be 1.37:1 (~4x3), will have wide black bars on each side of the image.
Ben-Hur (1959); (Provided by Trent)
2.76:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Released 13 March 2001
Top/Bottom largest black bars.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Released 25 August 1998
Widescreen version: Presented in a "letterbox" widescreen format preserving the "scope" aspect ratio of it's original theatrical exhibition.
Top/Bottom black bars.
King and I, The (1956)
Released 27 April 1999
Widescreen version: Presented in a "letterbox" widescreen format preserving the aspect ratio of the original theatrical exhibition.
Top/Bottom black bars.
Anamorphic Widescreen Examples:
North by Northwest (1959)
1.78 :1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Released 29 August 2000
Widescreen version: Presented in a "matted" widescreen format preserving the aspect ratio of the original theatrical exhibition. Enhanced for widescreen TVs.
No black bars.
Birds, The (1963)
1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Released 28 March 2000
No aspect ratio comments on the box, but 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen listed.
Thin black bars but overscan should hide them.
Music Man, The (1962)
2.20:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Released 23 February 1999
Widescreen version: Presented in a "letterbox" widescreen format preserving the aspect ratio of the original theatrical exhibition. Enhanced for widescreen TVs.
Top/Bottom black bars.
Academy Ratio (Standard Version) Examples:
American in Paris, An
1.37:1 Academy Ratio
Released 2 May 2000
Standard Version: Presented in a format preserving the aspect ratio of the original theatrical exhibition.
Wide black bars right and left sides.
Links To Other Black Bar Information:
Confused about 2.35:1?
Why Don't the Black Bars Go Away?
Understanding aspect ratios for video exhibtion...