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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I often find that other threads on this site get sidetracked with discussion (or arguments) about Constant Height. Rather than continue to derail those threads from their original intended topics, I thought it would be useful to create a more appropriate thread in the CIH forum to move the conversation here.

To start, here are some threads with useful information in the first few posts that is likely to come up here.


 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
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Of course, if you try to talk about other screen shapes in the 2.35:1 forum, you'll be told that (1) 16:9 images aren't being shrunken by being zoomed down or cropped to fit on a scope screen - they're supposed to be tiny in comparison to 2.35:1,
If the 16:9 image is tiny, your screen is too small. The whole point of Constant Image Height is to start with a 16:9 image as large as you can possibly want it to be, and then add more width.

(2) screens taller than 2.35:1 somehow shrink scope images (I've never understood how that bit of black magic is supposed to occur)
It really ought to be perfectly self-evident that the (nearly-identical) close-ups in these two movies are meant for Robert Downey Jr's face to be the same size as each other.

Photograph Mouth Human Jaw Beard


The only difference between them is that the close-up in scope has more picture to the sides of the face. The actor's eyes, nose, and mouth are all framed in the same planes within the picture height.
Forehead Nose Chin Hairstyle Eyebrow

This is only achievable if watching the two movies with Constant Image Height.

When you watch on a 16:9 screen, the letterboxed scope image is much smaller in comparison
Nose Eyebrow Mouth Beard Jaw


These two movies were directed by the same person, and the second one cost $145 million more to make ($220 million budget vs. $365 million). Is it your contention that the bigger, way more expensive sequel was intended to look smaller than the previous movie?

And no, you cannot retort with the "Your screen is too small" comeback to this one. No matter how large a screen you install, if the aspect ratio is 16:9, that first close-up will always be much larger than the second. There is no 16:9 screen size that will equalize the size of these two close-ups. Only Constant Image Height can do that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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But what if my personal perception of "too small" is caused by the fact that the 16:9 does not fill my horizontal FOV?

This is why I feel that 16:9 is too small when put in the middle of a scope screen with the sides blank.

If I then got a bigger screen so that the 16:9 fills my horizontal FOV so that it no longer feels "too small" (because remember you said if it feels too small it means the screen is too small), then 2.39:1 content now feels too big and too wide to comfortably view and track all the action in action movies.

This is just how my perception of screens and pictures works out. I don't know what else to do about it other than to use a CIW screen. Then it never feels too big or too small.
You should do what you want to do. All I'm trying to explain is how movies are actually made. Since CinemaScope was first introduced in the 1950s, no filmmaker has ever shot a movie in a "scope" widescreen ratio intending for it to be projected smaller than 1.85:1. That is not the purpose of the scope format. That is the opposite of its explicit design function.

Only IMAX - true, genuinie IMAX shot with real IMAX cameras - is meant to be larger than scope. (An ordinary movie that plays in IMAX theaters is not actually IMAX.) Those are pretty rare among feature films. Aside from the short nature documentaries that used to be IMAX's bread and butter, there have only been a couple dozen narrative features shot, or partially shot, with real IMAX cameras - compared to tens of thousands of movies shot in 2.35:1 formats.

As far as filling your field of view, you should perhaps take into consideration what types of movies are made in each aspect ratio. In recent years, over 70% of American feature films annually have been shot and composed for 2.35:1. Those include the vast majority of big-budget studio tentpole movies, which almost exclusively use the format (with perhaps a rather small number of exceptions per year).

Is a low-budget indie rom-com worth filling your field of view while practically every action, sci-fi, fantasy, or superhero blockbuster is not? Depends on what kind of movies you like to watch, I guess.

I can't tell you what to do in your own home theater, and I'm not trying to. At the end of the day, you should watch movies in whatever way personally brings you enjoyment, rules be damned. But, personally, I find it helpful to understand the rules of photographic presentation and their purpose so that I can make an informed decision about whether and when I want to break them. YMMV.
 
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I am new to projectors and have a temporary setup to get a feel for screen size. My room is 13ft wide by 18ft long with 9ft ceilings. I found that most of what I will watch on this screen is 2.35:1 and the image looks good at about 11ft wide from my MPL which is about 11ft from the screen. When I throw an image of 16:9 it honestly just looks too big from the MPL, so I think my specific situation is quite easy to solve. I was curious though about the framing of the picture with a non-reflective border. You could just frame your screen for 16:9 and have "black" bars on the top and bottom while viewing 2.35:1 content, but is one of the draws to have a non-reflective border that soaks up the extra light that occupies the space of the "black" bars? I know that these bars are not totally void of light, hence me putting "black" in quotations, so does that mean that a big draw to the 2.35:1 screen is to make those bars totally disappear and then just deal with the bars on the sides of the 16:9 content?
 

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I agree with your points here, though perhaps you rely a little too much on strawman representations of the other point of view.
(E.g., the sane argument argument against CIH isn't "16:9 looks too small on a scope screen," it's more accurately "I'm spending too much money on screen area/projection capability I only use once per week instead of every day.")
 

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I will offer an opinion.
I think CIH is a wonderful method of presentation of motion pictures produced between the late 1950s to current. It is a method of presentation far better than CIW when given movies filmed in Flat and Scope ARs.

As to home theaters along with showing flat movies every bit as tall as you would like them to be “Vertically Immersive” and then maintaining that height Scope becomes the master of the two by supplying greater horizontal immersive. Along with that there is a simplicity to this method as many home rooms used to convert to HT are somewhat height limited and if two rows of seating are required screen height and riser heights can be accomplished without risers becoming so high for the back row to see over the front row that people won’t be hitting the ceiling. Some may disagree but there is a cool factor to the longer screen shape and a non TV feel and more of a motion picture feel to the shape as well.

If doing the zoom method of CIH the concept is even better as there is no need for upper and lower masking beyond the fixed masking of the screen and as to side masking after zoom it really isn’t needed because any side black bars when zooming to flat are not a black produced by the projector but rather a black bar produced outside of the light path of the projector. If one still feels the need to mask it is a simple matter to have curtains draw from the sides, just like real scope theaters did back in the days when commercial theaters took presentation seriously.
There are basically two other formats of motion picture that could be of concern within a CIH presentation method. The first is Academy AR movies 1.37:1 that some people remember watching covering more immersive area than CIH allows for. These movies played originally in theaters made for that AR only and during the 30s-50s movie theaters were much different places where many of them held 2000 or more people in mid to large cities. This kind of seating had ranges of immersion on both ends of the scale past what we would call common today. The other type of motion pictures that buck CIH are of course the relatively new IMAX1.89 movies. No one knows the future of this format and to date they have been filmed in a method of both scope and IMAX at the same time for mixed venues so most are deemed (Scope Safe) meaning the directors have approved cropping the top and bottoms off making 1.89 into 2.39. So if you are not a fan of the IMAX concept all those movies are still fine to watch as scope and you won’t miss much in terms of content matter.

One of the major drawbacks to CIH is the equipment that is required to get it to work. Many new to front projection or on a budget buy entry-level projectors that ether have manual zoom that require manual image shift and manual focus to do the zoom method, along with many entry level projectors do not have all these features or the features don’t have the range to go between scope and flat. There is then the option of using an A-lens to accomplish some of this and with that comes a huge cost of the lens and possibly another expensive piece of equipment for scaling. When you add it all up it would be less expensive to buy a high end projector that had programmable features to make the three adjustments. Those projectors unfortunately are outside some peoples budgets or even if they have the budgets they are commonly set up for larger rooms with longer throw distances. There are a large number of people that want front projection in rooms where they will be seated against the back wall and the projector will hang directly overhead. The projector market isn’t even keeping up on entry level machines that do this all that good. They have UST options that can’t do CIH very easily and some short throw gaming machines designed to sit on a table in front of the viewer that are not optimized for CIH and just a few normal short throws with manual controls. Manual controlling CIH with a ceiling mounted projector gets old really fast.
It is a shame all people can’t enjoy CIH and other forms of adjusted presentations. It was part of the reason I invented a DIY low cost method of changing image size that just about anyone could build and use entry level projectors to do things like CIH. To the best of my knowledge no one other than myself has taken on the challenge. So that kind of tells me many people are happy enough with the simplicity of CIW and adjust the image once and done. Viewing like it was a giant TV. Or they just don’t know about the concept and likely won’t find this thread. The reason people often muddy up other threads when the topic of presentation comes up.

That’s pretty much my opinion on CIH for motion pictures. :)
 

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I am new to projectors and have a temporary setup to get a feel for screen size. My room is 13ft wide by 18ft long with 9ft ceilings. I found that most of what I will watch on this screen is 2.35:1 and the image looks good at about 11ft wide from my MPL which is about 11ft from the screen. When I throw an image of 16:9 it honestly just looks too big from the MPL, so I think my specific situation is quite easy to solve. I was curious though about the framing of the picture with a non-reflective border. You could just frame your screen for 16:9 and have "black" bars on the top and bottom while viewing 2.35:1 content, but is one of the draws to have a non-reflective border that soaks up the extra light that occupies the space of the "black" bars? I know that these bars are not totally void of light, hence me putting "black" in quotations, so does that mean that a big draw to the 2.35:1 screen is to make those bars totally disappear and then just deal with the bars on the sides of the 16:9 content?
I may have answered some of your questions in the post I just made above. But you are correct the black bars above and below when projecting scope to a 16:9 screen are projected black and will look gray as projectors have a tough time stopping all light. When you zoom down and put a 16:9 image into a scope screen the black bars to the side are not projected black they are outside the image frame and when you project scope the black projected bars are off the screen. This is one reason many like their back wall to be covered in black velvet or painted black.
There is a method called CIH+IMAX where you start off with a tall 16:9 screen and make masking panels that stay in place most of the time giving you a scope screen. when you want for an IMAX movie or maybe watching the NFL or NBA where max immersion is something special you just take them down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
When I throw an image of 16:9 it honestly just looks too big from the MPL, so I think my specific situation is quite easy to solve. I was curious though about the framing of the picture with a non-reflective border. You could just frame your screen for 16:9 and have "black" bars on the top and bottom while viewing 2.35:1 content, but is one of the draws to have a non-reflective border that soaks up the extra light that occupies the space of the "black" bars?
If you find that 16:9 is uncomfortably large from your seating position, adding temporary masking only for 2.35:1 movies won't solve that problem. If you plan to take that masking off for 16:9, the 16:9 will still always be too large.

Unless you're saying that you would permanently mask the screen to 2.35:1, and reduce the zoom for 16:9 content. That would effectively make it a 2.35:1 screen.

I know that these bars are not totally void of light, hence me putting "black" in quotations, so does that mean that a big draw to the 2.35:1 screen is to make those bars totally disappear and then just deal with the bars on the sides of the 16:9 content?
What color are your walls? Installing a 2.35:1 screen means that letterbox bars will spill over the screen onto the wall. If you have white walls, potentially reflection off the walls could be noticeable or distracting. With dark colored walls, that's less of an issue. You may also consider attaching some absortive fabric such as dark velvet to the walls above and below the screen. (If the ceiling is white, you could also put a piece of fabric that extends out a few feet to block reflections there and make a proscenium effect.)

How good your projector is with contrast will make a big difference as to how bothersome "black" bars on screen appear to you. JVC is the king of contrast, and I personally don't feel any need to mask my screen with one of those projectors. If you have an LCD model that isn't so great with contrast, though, screen masking can help.

Another area where masking is useful is so-called "CIH+IMAX" - in which you would install an oversized 16:9 screen and semi-permanently mask it down to 2.35:1. For the majority of content you watch, you'd treat it as a 2.35:1 screen, reducing zoom for 16:9 movies/TV. But for the rare instances a movie is shot with IMAX footage (The Dark Knight, etc.), you can remove the masking and let those IMAX scenes fill the whole screen. Then put the masking back on again afterwards.
 
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Thread title is silly.

You should brush your teeth. You shouldn't mix alcohol and cough medicine.

You're free to do whatever you want with your TV screen.

I can't believe people spend so much energy arguing this topic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I agree with your points here, though perhaps you rely a little too much on strawman representations of the other point of view.
(E.g., the sane argument argument against CIH isn't "16:9 looks too small on a scope screen," it's more accurately "I'm spending too much money on screen area/projection capability I only use once per week instead of every day.")
I will agree with you that this would be a sane argument. Every home theater has its compromises. Some people don't have enough wall space. Some people don't have enough budget. You have to work with what you've got and do the best you can.

That said, in my two decades as a home theater writer, I have never once had someone argue against the concept of CIH because they thought scope screens were too expensive. Not one single time. Invariably, the argument is, "Why would I want to shrink 16:9? Sports! Video games! Game of Thrones! I need big 16:9!"

Lots of different manufacturers make screens in a wide range of price points. Surely you could find one that fits your budget somewhere.

Also: "screen area/projection capability I only use once per week instead of every day." What are you mostly watching in your home theater every day? Over 70% of American movies are photographed for 2.35:1 these days, and even TV shows are moving toward wider aspect ratios at a rapid rate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thread title is silly.

You should brush your teeth. You shouldn't mix alcohol and cough medicine.

You're free to do whatever you want with your TV screen.

I can't believe people spend so much energy arguing this topic.
You're posting on a web site devoted to discussion of home theater topics. This is the sort of thing we talk about here.

Where did you think you were? :rolleyes:
 

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I love my CIH setup using an ISCO III lens and CineSlide. I also like my images sized per THX standards.

I find too large an image loses sharpness and magnifies artifacts. There is also a point that an image is so big that it is hard to see well.

The biggest challenge I have are with some sources is closed captioning. My Oppo and Panasonic player fix most of these, but not all. It is a rare problem, but annoying when it happens. I can usually work around it by changing the scaling ratio to 2.2 instead of 2.35 in my Sim2 projector.

Everyone else can like what they like.
 

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I went back and forth on this a lot when designing my room. Ultimately both projectors and Blu rays are natively 16:9 formats. Sure you can get an animorphic lens or use lens memory to zoom but the right answer is build the biggest screen that covers your wall and build a 4 way masking solution :) and then scratch your head when watching a Nolan movie where he switches aspect ratios. I view aspect ratio as a creative choice by directors to tell their stories, for example look at Jurassic Park, it's 16:9, Spielberg was going for height for the dinosaurs on screen. As long as both images are decent size, you'll be happy and don't let anyone else tell you differently.
 

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the right answer is build the biggest screen that covers your wall
Exactly. For me, my wall is Scope-shaped. The height is the limiting factor. Therefore a 2.35:1 screen is right for me. Having said that, I watch almost everything in its intended AR. Jurassic Park's tall dinosaurs get the 16:9 AR. If AR is variable in the film, it gets the 2.35:1 slice. Because I'm that kind of barbarian.
 

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This method actually works great.
I own 2 theater rooms, both 16:9.. The first one is 155" diagonal with a 58 degree viewing angle. The second is 138" diagonal with a 75 degree viewing angle.
In my first room, the CIH method was not convincing enough. I always felt that 16:9 content was good when done full screen and was too small when I had it within the scope frame. So that is exactly what I did with my second screen. I aimed for a 58 degree viewing angle when displaying 16:9 within the 2.4:1 frame. This resulted in a 74-75 degree viewing angle for scope. That was immersive for both 16:9 and scope. Zooming 16:9 any further would make it borderline unwatchable. I think the trick is to make 16:9 as big as you like it and go from there. If you feel like you need it bigger, then you obviously didn't make it as big as you like it to start with.

Links to both rooms in my signature:

If the 16:9 image is tiny, your screen is too small. The whole point of Constant Image Height is to start with a 16:9 image as large as you can possibly want it to be, and then add more width.


And no, you cannot retort with the "Your screen is too small" comeback to this one. No matter how large a screen you install, if the aspect ratio is 16:9, that first close-up will always be much larger than the second. There is no 16:9 screen size that will equalize the size of these two close-ups. Only Constant Image Height can do that.
 

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A scope screen is the best choice if, and only if, your room is height-limited or you only watch films that are framed exclusively for scope, which are mostly 2.39:1 - though scope films actually range widely in terms of actual aspect ratios, from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is 2.0:1, to films like Ben-Hur that were shot and shown at 2.76:1.

The one-quarter to one-third of theatrical films that are framed taller, from 16x9 to 1.85:1 - which was the standard for many years - to 1.37:1 (also known as Academy) which was the standard for many more years before the introduction of scope, can be shown on a scope screen but only by reducing their height to fit the screen, which reduces their width as well.

That's what's known as Constant Image Height projection, or CIH, and is what the first post here is arguing for, on the argument that scope films expanded the width of movies beyond that of older Academy films, while the height of the screens in the theaters remained the same.

The burr under the saddle of the CIH system is the steadily-increasing number of films that are framed using a variable aspect ratio, that are designed to expand vertically in some scenes, usually to give a feeling of increased vertical immersion with a large sky (or, in an early scene in Star Trek - Into Darkness, with Spock seen inside a volcano, dwarfed by the leaping lava), and then contract vertically when indoors (like on the bridge of the Enterprise - or watch the subtle transition in height as the camera follows Scotty from the street into a nightclub).

Check out the VAR version of Dr. Strange on the 3D disk (or streamed by Disney Plus as IMAX), for another good example at the beginning of the fim. It opens up in scope format in the underground library of a monastery in Katmandu and follows a group of evil sorcerors through a dimensional portal they open up to Manhattan, where it shifts to a taller format, showing their battle with the lead good sorceror in an M.C. Escher-like "mirror dimension" where up and down point in multiple dimensions.

VAR films force those with scope screens to either repeatedly reduce and increase the zoom of their setups, either manually or electronically, to keep everything the same height, or to keep the zoom constant and implement an electronic mask that blocks off anything above or below the scope screen's frame, on the belief that the cinematographer must have framed the scene to allow that sort of masking (they call that "framing a film to be scope safe").

The opposing point of view, which I advocate, is to use a screen tall enough and wide enough for anything you want to watch, as large as you want to watch it. I simply painted an entire 14' wide x 8' tall wall with a homebrew screen paint. My projector, at a 15'9" throw distance, can throw its 17x9 focusing grid 11'4" wide by 6' tall, allowing room on either side for loudspeakers and underneath for a center channel speaker. True 4K projectors tend to use imagers that are 17x9 (1.89:1) instead of 16x9 (1.78:1).

By default, my projector only uses a narrower 16x9 area, which I use for 16x9 images, but it can electronically enlarge the image by 6 2/3% to fill its entire 17x9 imaging area. That's great for anything 17x9 (1.89:1) or greater, since the only parts of the image that would be lost off the top and bottom of the projector's imaging panels would be black letterbox bars. Using that for 16x9 would shave off 3 1/3% of the image at the top and the same amount at the bottom, which cinematographers probably allow for, but I'd rather not do that. (I do use that electronic zoom for 1.85:1 films - which are very close to the 1.89:1 shape of the projector's imagers, costing me only a little over 1% at top and bottom.)

This system is great for showing variable aspect ratio films, since it allows the image to expand vertically with nothing masked off, and without shrinking the sections of the film that were supposed to be more - not less - immersive.

This is heresy to the CIH adherents, because they insist that nothing should be taller than scope unless it was shot on the very small number of IMAX-owned cameras (which are only rented, not sold, to filmmakers) and shown on 40' tall screens in "true" IMAX theaters.

The potential burr under the saddle of my system is if the screen material is "high gain" (very reflective), the black framing bars built into the image sent to the projector may not fully black but grey.

My solution was to go for a high contrast JVC projector and a low gain screen - between which those bars are not noticeable. Other folks use masking panels that they place over the screen when showing fixed aspect ratio films to hide the black bars. (Some folks even use motorized masking systems!)

If your room is height-limited, so that using a 16x9 or 17x9 screen wide enough for scope at its best won't fit, than go scope. But if you don't have that limitation, then go big and go home.
 

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You're posting on a web site devoted to discussion of home theater topics. This is the sort of thing we talk about here.

Where did you think you were? :rolleyes:
I think I'm at the same website I've been posting in for years and years. And for years and years people continue to debate all the SAME EXACT points about CIH. It baffles me that all these same arguments still garner new posts with large numbers of paragraphs, edited screen clips, etc. But apparently you've educated me that this is what gets talked about around here, so by all means, continue on. Maybe I'll stop back in to see how all these same arguments are holding up in another 5 or 6 years...
 

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I think I'm at the same website I've been posting in for years and years. And for years and years people continue to debate all the SAME EXACT points about CIH. It baffles me that all these same arguments still garner new posts with large numbers of paragraphs, edited screen clips, etc. But apparently you've educated me that this is what gets talked about around here, so by all means, continue on. Maybe I'll stop back in to see how all these same arguments are holding up in another 5 or 6 years...
You're assuming that the only folks using projectors are the ones who have been using them since "years and years" ago. But in fact, people set up theaters, or upgrade older theaters, all the time, so this issue is what botanists call a "perennial."

No need to scold folks for going over what to you is old ground. Just accept that this will always be a subject of discussion, even if the arguments don't change much except for the films that are referred to as examples.
 
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Sure you can get an animorphic lens or use lens memory to zoom but the right answer is build the biggest screen that covers your wall and build a 4 way masking solution
Exactly. For me, my wall is Scope-shaped. The height is the limiting factor. Therefore a 2.35:1 screen is right for me. Having said that, I watch almost everything in its intended AR. Jurassic Park's tall dinosaurs get the 16:9 AR. If AR is variable in the film, it gets the 2.35:1 slice. Because I'm that kind of barbarian.
I'm not sure why people make this so complicated. Absent complete clean-sheet new-build construction most of us are working within some sort of space constraints. Whether that means a limited wall height or width, or seating distances that dictate a maximum comfortable viewing height or width.

I can fit about a 60 in tall screen in my space, and this gives me a picture size that I like for 16:9 from my seating location. There's only room for a 120in wide screen. So I have a 2.0:1. If I had a wider space I'd likely have gone scope.
f actual aspect ratios, from Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is 2.0:1
Looks like it's time to rewatch 2001.
 

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If the 16:9 image is tiny, your screen is too small. The whole point of Constant Image Height is to start with a 16:9 image as large as you can possibly want it to be, and then add more width.



It really ought to be perfectly self-evident that the (nearly-identical) close-ups in these two movies are meant for Robert Downey Jr's face to be the same size as each other.

View attachment 3219305

The only difference between them is that the close-up in scope has more picture to the sides of the face. The actor's eyes, nose, and mouth are all framed in the same planes within the picture height.
View attachment 3219306
This is only achievable if watching the two movies with Constant Image Height.

When you watch on a 16:9 screen, the letterboxed scope image is much smaller in comparison View attachment 3219307

These two movies were directed by the same person, and the second one cost $145 million more to make ($220 million budget vs. $365 million). Is it your contention that the bigger, way more expensive sequel was intended to look smaller than the previous movie?

And no, you cannot retort with the "Your screen is too small" comeback to this one. No matter how large a screen you install, if the aspect ratio is 16:9, that first close-up will always be much larger than the second. There is no 16:9 screen size that will equalize the size of these two close-ups. Only Constant Image Height can do that.
The obvious fallacy in the above argument is that on a screen large enough to encompass both scope at the projector's full magnification and 16x9 at full magnification, the scope image is somehow made smaller than it would be on a scope screen the same width.

There's no physical way that could happen, so please stop saying that 16x9 screens shrink scope images. What controls the size of a scope image is the width of the screen - additional screen height makes no difference at all. At worst, it may make letterbox bars more visible, but the image stays the same size.

But it gets worse. I went to Blu-ray.com to find the 16x9 Iron Man movie you show a frame-grab from. There's no such animal. Even the first Iron Man film - from 2008 - is scope-framed, even on DVD! Were you using a VHS copy? (I guess we've found a "straw man" made of iron.)

I'll give you this - unless I have access to an IMAX or variable aspect ratio version of a film, and just the choice between a 16x9 and a scope version, I'll watch the scope version, just as you would.

But I actually can't recall ever being faced with a choice between 16x9 and scope versions of a film. When TVs went to 16x9, pan-and-scan 4x3 "fullscreen" versions of films stopped being introduced.
 
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