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I’ve seen this discussed inside of many other threads so I thought I’d start a separate thread discussing the the merits of tilt-n-scan cropping of old 4:3 shows when converted to HD versus OAR. Here’s my two cents:


Let me preface by saying I HATE pan-n-scan movies cropped to 4:3. Show me OAR on these movies, always. But I don’t have a big problem with 4:3 material cropped (and tilt-n-scanned) to 16:9. Why?


First, why, for a given screen area, is 16:9 better than 4:3?......gravity. Because of gravity, we live in a horizontal world. The action--people moving around a room in a movie, football, basketball, etc.--happens in a left-right direction, not up-down. The wide screen displays more ‘action’ with the same amount of screen area as 4:3.


When a wide screen movie is cropped, important information is usually lost. But cropping the tops and bottoms of 4:3 rarely loses information, especially if tilt-n-scan is employed. Why? Gravity. In fact, I frequently use the zoom feature on my Pio Elite television versus its very good ‘natural wide’ mode, because this doesn’t crop anything very important (except for shows with on screen graphics, such as sports or news programs).


Ah, but you OAR guys say that the cinematographer didn’t frame it that way and the original intent of the framing is lost. Well, because of gravity, I’ve noticed that the cameraman has much more trouble framing shots in 4:3, especially with multiple people on screen. They usually have many cuts when two people are talking or zoom back to show both. Either way, SD television always looks a little more ‘cramped’ on screen than a movie. This is why cropping tops and bottoms does little harm to 4:3 shows, and I doubt the camermen of 4:3 shows have as much of a problem with the cropping as does a movie cinematographer. In fact, the Hogan’s Heros and MI episodes shown on HDNet almost looked better in 16:9 than 4:3. The framing seemed a little more ‘natural’ and uncramped. It wasn’t tight on the sides with lots of ‘open’ space above and below people in the frame. Obviously there are exceptions, but overall it seems better.


So why crop at all? Two reasons. By filling my screen, it prevents burn-in of side bars, and it really looks more natural and less cramped.


So, my two cents: Movies in OAR, but 4:3 TV.... tilt-n-scan away! :D
 

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It is unfortunate that all TV's, scalers, and STB's don't support the full complement of stretch/crop/warp to display like we want. Then we could always transmit ALL the pixels of the original movie and the user could customize it easily to his set and personal preferences.


It is not just the directors intentions I worry about. I just don't like throwing away information.


- Tom
 
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