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Discussion Starter #1
I am sure that some of you will think that I have lost my mind, but I figure that since so many of you have struggled so hard to get these things working, that you probably know how to break them.


I am using ATI DVD 4.1 displayed on a 4:3 monitor until the 16:9 monitors come out of the price stratosphere.


Just humor me please first:

I don't like Surround Sound. Not in the movie theaters and not in my home. I like stereo, but Surround Sound does absolutely nothing except annoy me.


I don't like to sit in the front of a movie theater (it makes me dizzy), so I don't want to have to sit very close to a screen. I prefer to sit midway or in the back.


Because of the incredible sound volume raise in movie theaters, I quit going. Yes, I know I am a young curmudgeon.


I like watching DVD's. That said, why am I constantly running into DVD's that I do things their way or hit the highway?


Issue 1:

DVD's are designed for home use, or so says the FBI warning. The compromise reached when setting up the HDTV standards was 16:9. This did not make the PC people happy (4:3) and it did not make the movie people happy (2.35:1), but it was a compromise. I can stand watching a 16:9 letterbox, but why do I keep seeing DVD's that claim on the box "Optimized for 16:9" when in fact, it displays a 2.35:1 letterbox? Looking a 2.35:1 on a 4:3 display is like looking through a tiny slit in a pillbox. The movie purists tell me "Get used to it." and "What's the matter with you? It's an absolute copy of the original. If you don't like it watch crappy pan and scan VCRs." I like watching the great picture and sound from DVD's, but I can honestly say that if I spent a ton of dough on an HDTV set and _still_ got black bars, I would get very hot under the collar.


Q. Would YXY help me shave the sides off and zoom in a little?


Issue 2:

Even the cheapest sound card, with decent speakers and a sub-woofer makes me happy. I am sure that this attitude makes the sound card manufacturers unhappy since they will not be able to sell me a high priced card. The DVD's are now coming with 5.1 only. Since most of the sound is coming from the "center speaker", I have to crank my sound w-a-y up or I can't hear the dialog.


Q. Is there some setting I am missing that would mux this so that the sound comes out correctly in stereo?


 

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e vey,


It sounds like you may be beyond hope http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif , but I'll give it a try anyway.


About letterboxing. It really is the best way. To understand why Pan-N-Scan is evil, look at some of the examples on this website . To me, it's just not worth cutting off that much picture info just to fill the screen. But if you really want to, you should be able to do on-the-fly Pan-N-Scan using PowerDVD, or YxY with WinDVD. Just keep in mind this will actually be worse than VHS pan-n-scan, because it will blindly chop the sides off regardless of what's happening on scree, while VHS pan-n-scan releases will at least pan from side to side to try to keep the action on-screen.


About audio, it should be possible to force two-channel stereo if you really want. Both PowerDVD and WinDVD have an option to use 2-channel stereo output, just make sure you don't enable dolby prologic. Altnernately, if you pass DD2.0 to your reciever, you may be able to force it into stereo or 'direct' mode, which will give you 2-channel output. Just keep in mind that you'll get no surround sound at all, and the center channel speaker won't be used either. Seems like a waste to me, but to each his own.


Another thing you might want to try on the audio side, is to choose DD2.0/ProLogic over DD5.1 when the DVD gives you a choice, as this will still make use of the center and surrounds, just to a lesser extent. Instead of explosions and other full-range sound effects, the surrounds will just be used for ambience.


Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #3
>>About letterboxing. It really is the best way.<<


But for whom?


I am not looking for 4:3 and I agree that pan and scan does nothing to improve the situation. 16:9 letterboxing is fine with me. If they want to archive the footage, should the compromise solution break down and they finally get their beloved 2.35:1 TV sets, it is cool with me. But in the mean time, I don't care to own an archive.


The whole idea behind compromising is that nobody is 100% happy. I am will to look at a 16:9 letterbox. Why can't they go along, too?


To me, Hollywood Directors/Producers are being real spoilsports. They were not happy with the 16:9 compromise so they refuse to go along with it. A tiny bit of cropping would not kill them, nor would changing from 2.35:1 to 16:9. It would not "ruin the whole experience" as they claim. They have changed formats before, they can do it again. A whole lot of great movies were made in 4:3 (GWTW for example) and going to 2.35:1 in the '50's was only a gimmick to compete against TV anyway. A gimmick that should now go away.


When they started using 2.35:1, they were getting microphone booms in the shots, and I was horrified to see my first 16:9 letterbox, so it takes a little getting used to all around. Most of the action is in the middle anyway, where it's supposed to be.


If they did not derive so much revenue from TV viewing, I suppose I could see their obstinance, but hey, we all gotta go a little with the flow.


YXY will not work with ATI? Too bad.


I have tried selecting "Dolby Surround Sound" over "Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound" which on many DVD's are my only choices, but get little improvement.
 

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OK the sound issue you have solved and you can crop to your hearts content with YxY or set a 4:3 Pan and scan with PowerDVD but....


The issue with 16x9 is not to do with output format it is to do with original aspect ratio of the work of art that was produced...


Would a little cropping at the sides of 'The last supper' ruin the whole experience ?? probably not but would you want to crop that ??? How about all that wasted info below the smile on the Mona Lisa ?? After all its only really the face that's important !!


I understand that with your display device then you are not getting the experience you would like on cinemascope material but if a movie was filmed with this AR in mind then it is a mistake to detract anything for the original... We now have the ability to present relatively good images with DVD and scale them to large sizes, why ask to loose some of the films detail and integrity ???


I do want to own an archive and I want my home viewing to be as close to the original theatrical demonstration of the work of art that the Director intended to create... This means free from video artifacts with a quality, well mastered sound format and THE ORIGINAL AR OF THE MOVIE !! Any less is exactly that, less !!!


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Discussion Starter #5
>>The issue with 16x9 is not to do with output format it is to do with original aspect ratio of the work of art that was produced...<<


Exactly so. So, now that there is a 16:9 standard in place and now that it is gaining steam, why can't they start filming in 16:9?

 

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A Bit like saying that "The canvas comes in rectangles" so why do we have art that's not all that format... OK that's a little of a stretch but you get the point...


2.35 gives a certain feeling of immersion at the cinema.. Many of the greats are in the 2.20 - 2.40 film formats and the breathtaking sweep of a horizon in an epic production can be captured so much more eloquently with this format.. If this is the feeling that the Director is attempting to convey is it a little churlish to state that 'my display does not look so good like that'.. Films are meant for the cinema... if you have a passion for film, I would assume you would attempt to recreate that feeling in your home not try and insist that films are made to better suit you setup...


My favorite films of all time are mostly in the 2.35 formats, I would hate to have my collection be one of lost material and cropped images knowing that I could not ever experience that grandeur that a well presented scope movie offers if I was not lucky enough to see it at its presentation


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The truth is 2.35 is more natural. I was amazed when I saw star wars in wide screen after years of watching 4:3 tv recordings. It was amazing the extra information and the the grander feeling it brought to many of the scenes. I would say that not just the epic films like gladiator or the example the film companies like to use, Lawrance of Arabia benefit from wide screen but comedies like the blues brothers have more potential with wide screen. If your mothers not watching over your shoulder I suggest you sit closer to the TV.


Martin


[This message has been edited by deeopey (edited 05-17-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Nah. Too rigid.

Who can ever forget the Atlanta Burning scene in GWTW and that was made in 4:3. If you have never seen GWTW in a movie theater, you should. Much better than on the little box.


It is all in the framing. I am sure that the current crop of directors would complain, just as I am complaining, but I am suggesting a little bit of a change. 16:9 is still pretty wide.


I am willing to meet them half-way (4:3 to 16:9) if they are willing. But for them to stomp their feet and demand yet another change, with them not even trying? Well . . .
 

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Let me throw in my 2 cents. Yes 16:9 is a compromise, but I believe there were/are technical reasons for it. 99% of all viewers still use direct view i.e. cathode ray sets, it is very difficult to manufacture a direct view set with a wider ratio than 16:9 due to the pressure inside the tube. 16:9 allows the manufacturers to maintain an affordable cost basis, the black bars on the side are acceptable for viewing 4:3 material and are also acceptable when watching 2.35:1 material with black bars on the top. There is also a lot of material filmed in 1.85:1 with fits in also perfectly with 16:9 sets.


So yes it's a compromise, but one that most people would agree on as being the only sensible way forward.


Ian
 

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Would a little cropping at the sides of 'The last supper' ruin the whole experience ?? probably not but would you want to crop that ??? How about all that wasted info below the smile on the Mona Lisa ?? After all its only really the face that's important !!c>


Personally, I'd rather see a large face of the mona lisa that I could make out compared to a stamp sized image of the whole thing. For regular TV users, DVD isn't as good as 'ol VCR for the most part. I expected this argument a long time time ago. It will end only when we all have HDTV's.


Just my two cents.....
 

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e vey,


You seem to be stating that the 16:9 format was a compromise between TV's and movie theaters, and that movie directors are somehow bound to honor that compromise and start producing movies in 16:9 format. That's not the case. Movie directors can do whatever they want, and frankly, they probably see 2.35:1 as a competive advantage because it offers incentive to go to theaters rather than waiting for home-video releases.


2:35:1 HDTV's are not practical, for both manufacturing reasons, as well as more practical reasons such as the fact that many people wouldn't have room for the wider sets. Also, you would have very large sidebars for 4:3 material in addition to sidebars for 1.85:1 and 16:9 material.


As long as there are multiple aspect ratios, you're going to have letterboxing or sidebars of some sort. 16:9 offers the best multi-purpose AR, because you eliminate letterboxing for 1.85 and 16:9 formats, and the size of the letterbox/sidebars for 2.35 and 4:3 material are kept to a minimum.


If what you really one is one AR that everything is produced for, that's never going to happen, because people will always disagree on what that AR should be, and frankly I don't want everything to look the same. Different programming is better suited to different AR's.


One of your chief complaints seems to be the amount of letterboxing when watching 2.35 movies on a 4:3 screen. Well, get a new screen/monitor http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif . With an HDTV display, you get no letterboxing for HDTV programming and many 1.85:1 movies (because of overscan), and the letterboxing on scope movies isn't bad at all.


Jeff


 

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4:3!?! I can't believe it! High-tech Luddites!


-will


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Discussion Starter #13
>>and that movie directors are somehow bound to honor that compromise<<


Bound? No. Smart? Yeah.


A few years ago, most of the money was made from theater houses. Now, most of it it is made from the little boxes. Fact of life.


If the directors want to alienate all the 4:3 viewers and some of the 16:9 viewers, because they can't figure out how to frame a picture in anything other than what they are used to, then they should crash and burn.


If they want to say things like "Only hack directors use anything other than 2.35:1" then I guess they are calling John Ford a hack because 90% of his pics were done that way.


Formats come, formats go. They are all compromises and rectangles. Even IMAX is a rectangle - although a wide one.


So the question comes down to this:

Where does the money come from and how much compromising has to take place to get that money?


I am suggesting that they use a format that will look good in the Theater and one and that looks good on a 16:9 screen, that's all.


Is that so much to ask? -- And some directors would say "Yes."


[This message has been edited by e vey (edited 05-17-2001).]
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by e vey:


I like watching DVD's. That said, why am I constantly running into DVD's that I do things their way or hit the highway?
Like you I didn't particularly enjoy 2.35:1 movies on my 16:9 Panasonic. But when they were devising the widescreen RPTV I imagine the physics of laying down scan lines from < 9" CRTS and some other combination of physical factors led them to settle on a 16:9 aspect ratio. As for the 2.35:1 movie, that is the prerogative of the producers and directors. But not all movies are filmed in that aspect ratio. I have quite a few that are filmed with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 which fill my screen up nicely.

As for the 2.35:1, after having watched a couple dozen of these in my collection, I've acclimated to the black bars and don't notice them anymore.


I also remember reading about a study that was done about screen viewing size and the "reality" of the experience to the viewer. The conclusion was the wider the screen extended near or beyond the viewers field of view, the more "realistic" the experience for the viewer. In essence you weren't "watching" TV but were involved with what was happening on the big screen. To extend information near or beyond ones field of view is a lot easier to do with a 16:9 than a 4:3 aspect ratio.


I am not a particular advocate for stereo or DD5.1 or whatever. I want what will get me the most "realistic" experience when viewing my RPTV. Obvioulsy I cannot place an infinite amount of speakers in my home theatre to duplicate the enviroment where the action is taking place. Currently I am using THX-EX 7.1 which I use as a compromise for the real thing. When listening to the creaks down the right hand side of the sub in U-571 they come out more realistically using 7.1 vs 5.1. But still probably not as good as being there. Well maybe when Dolby or DTS makes consumer affordable 10.1 systems.


Recently my satellite provider has been feeding PBS programming to us. The Oceans Wild series was filmed by Feodor Pitcairn using a High-Definition Betacam wide-screen system. It is absolutely stunning HDTV, DVD's aren't even close. I do not even want to think of how this would translate to 4:3.


Now if I could ony find a HTPC card that would let me record this off my satellite. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/tongue.gif

 

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Discussion Starter #15
>>It is absolutely stunning HDTV, DVD's aren't even close.<<


This I can believe. Any time something can viewed in it's native format, it is bound to be better.


And yet, somehow, they were able to film this in a format other than 2.35:1. Hmph.


>>The conclusion was the wider the screen extended near or beyond the viewers field of view, the more "realistic" the experience for the viewer.<<


I can go for this one, too. But, to me, if the script is good, I am there anyway and no amount of gimmickry will substitute for a lousy script. I don't see directors demanding to make all IMAX movies.


>>I want what will get me the most "realistic" experience<<


I guess I just don't want to be "in the middle of things." A good script can be ruined by that approach. Nothing they can do with sound will help a bad one.
 

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Please, does anyone really need to respond to this thread? This is a forum for enthusiast. We don't need convincing that AC-3, DTS and OAR are good things. Obviously, e vey is not into cinema.


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Discussion Starter #17
>>Obviously, e vey is not into cinema.<<


If you mean "cinema" as in 120+ db, you are right. If you mean "cinema" as a medium, you are wrong. I care deeply about the medium, that is why I am concerned at all about it.


What concerns me the most about cinema is that certain fads come along, take over and all of a sudden that is what "cinema" is all about.


Real cinema has a much broader definition than today's or yesterday's fads. Truthfully, how many Academy award winning documentaries have ever made it to your local movie house? If you are fortunate enough to live in a larger city there may be a place where you can view foreign films, but how many of those make it to HBO?
 

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It seems to me you have no respect for the director's intentions you woudnt tell a musician what his sound should be.


Sure a vast array diffrent of films are produced but if you want to look at cinema as a whole then it's only been going for 100 years the whole thing could be regarded as a fad. The fact is for the last 30 odd years the majority of major films have been presented in a wide screen format. By major I mean hollywood. Other films are produced all over the world but whenever a large budget is involved whatever the national origin it too is normally in a widescreen format. Just to cover my tracks I dont think only big budget films are worth watching I mean those with enough money to shoot the movie well and professionally.


As for sound you need to see more films if you think its all about punch theres much more depth than that. If your only watching dogme 95 films then why bother with dvd at all the quality isnt going to improve any.


Martin
 

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Please, does anyone really need to respond to this thread? This is a forum for enthusiast. We don't need convincing that AC-3, DTS and OAR are good things. Obviously, e vey is not into cinema.c>


Actually, I agree with E Vey. Plus, a discussion like this is warranted anyway. Last time I checked, enthusiast didn't mean closeminded.

By the time HDTV's are in every houshold, it looks like DVD will be obsolete anyway (Based on what I gathered from the Movie Picture Assoc's Website awhile back, can't find the article today, but look here http://www.mpaa.org/jack/index.htm ). They were (last time I checked) pushing for a new format because of security problems. If that's true...then E Vey has a real and valid argument.


 
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