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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A little background: I have a slightly unusual screen - it is 10 feet wide by 7 feet tall - SMX acoustically transparent - 1.43:1 or about IMAX aspect ratio. I have a Sony Pearl, Lumagen HDQ scaler, Panamorph U380 lens, and M380 sled. After many trials and tribulations, I have decided that Constant Area is the best method of displaying films for my theater. If you are not familiar with Constant Area Projections, this is the most concise resource I have found: http://www.videophile.info/Screen/Page_01.htm


Basically the idea is that each AR has the same area as every other AR. Instead of constant height, I zoom 1.85:1 to be the same SQFT as scope films at 10 feet wide (with the U380 lens). I know this is heresy for the 2.35:1 forum, but I have to speak up and say what works best for me - that is the whole idea of AVScience. I use a scaled and lensed configuration for Scope films, but for Flat (1.85:1) I zoom to constant area. To me this is the best of all worlds for me in my theater.
 

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An interesting concept that I am familiar (but don't really agree) with. You have made it work for you so I am interested to learn more. Please post some pictures...


Mark
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by wildfire99 /forum/post/0


The nice thing about constant area is that when you watch 4:3 content it isn't impossibly small, as it would be with a constant-height setup.

An interesting comment, but I don't find 1.33:1 "small" as it is the same height as everything else I watch. I have based my seating distance (a little too close right now) on the image height, not the width, and because that remains constant, I'm not feeling like I'm watching a small image for 1.33:1 or 1.78:1. Of course I prefer "Scope", but not everything is in that format...


Mark
 

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Well ultimately the best thing (IMO) is a hybrid. Doing a mathematically precise 2.35:1 projection area (that equals the other aspects) is a bit of a disappointment, but it does help to have some extra screen real-estate for 16:9 and 4:3, if you can cover the horizontal masking.


Perhaps we could call that type of setup 'constant enjoyment'.



Of course I will take a moment to plug the simple screen projection style comparison page I made to demonstrate the differences.


The constant height images there are not entirely truthful to the experience of wide that you get. But after watching mostly 2.35:1 content, I usually have to stretch 4:3 content to not feel deprived or like I've suddenly moved to the back of the room watching it. I don't mind a little stretch (like 14:9) but going to 16:9 is too much, so without fancy scaling it sucks.


But I've never really advocated constant area. It's nice but even with something simpler like our 'constant enjoyment' setup it requires a lot of mechanics, thought, and tinkering to get it to work. CIH is as easy as hanging up a screen and using the projector zoom, at minimal. Add vertical curtains if you're an overachiever.


I actually wonder now if I should retool my screen for 'constant enjoyment'. I know other people don't stress it and just hang two screens: one for 2.35:1 and then another, taller (but narrower) screen for the other formats. My 133" diag HP screen was a sheer joy for 16:9 projection, but I wouldn't give up my 127" wide 2.35:1 screen for it, but using both would be like having cake and eating it too!
 

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I can see why you would like constant area, but having lived with constant width on my CRT for 6 years (where the height changes with different aspect ratios like constant area) and now with constant height for the past 8 months I can categorically say that I prefer my height to be constant. Having bigger actors on one aspect ratio than another seems to highlight the technology too much for my tastes - and particulary when about 50% of the films we screen would be blown up in this way it gives an inconsistent presentation and means that the scope presentations actually lose impact because the overall presentation feel smaller. With constant height the reality presented is always the same, actors and locations have the same size properties - just some times the window is a bit wider



Hope that makes sense.


Mark
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_H /forum/post/0


I can see why you would like constant area, but having lived with constant width on my CRT for 6 years (where the height changes with different aspect ratios like constant area) and now with constant height for the past 8 months I can categorically say that I prefer my height to be constant. Having bigger actors on one aspect ratio than another seems to highlight the technology too much for my tastes - and particulary when about 50% of the films we screen would be blown up in this way it gives an inconsistent presentation and means that the scope presentations actually lose impact because the overall presentation feel smaller. With constant height the reality presented is always the same, actors and locations have the same size properties - just some times the window is a bit wider



Hope that makes sense.


Mark

I agree with Mark


Also, I think masking may be a little more difficult.Also most 4x3 material is usually not that sharp (hi-def?) and that would wind up being pretty large, making it even more soft and unaccepable. I am using constant ht and am Very happy with it.


Tony
 

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Quote:
With constant height the reality presented is always the same, actors and locations have the same size properties -

Makes sense for me. Thank you Mark.

Would have made my struggle with screen size a lot easier in my little brain, if I had considered this.


Wildfire...your link does not seem to be working.

Tony (too)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by usualsuspects /forum/post/0


I know this is heresy for the 2.35:1 forum, but I have to speak up and say what works best for me - that is the whole idea of AVScience.

IMO it's not any kind of "heresy", just that CIH or CIW (?) is much simpler and easier to implement for most people. Sounds like you've got a great setup.
 

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I'm glad this thread was started since I've been tinkering, both mentally and physically, with CW, CIH and Constant Area (CA) presentations. My room is width limited at 12ft. (If I could, I'd have a 20ft wide CIH setup and find Nirvana!)


I hated the small height of 2.35 movies letterboxed on our old 35" 4:3 TV, (but I hated Pan and Scan ever more!). So I don't like the idea of CW. Even though our room is width limited, reproducing the same shortcomings as the old TV at a larger scale is not what I want. Doesn't make sense to me to display the aspect with the most frequent format at the smallest height and area.


On our 1.78 HDTV, the letterboxing of 2.35 material is much less objectionable and I don't even find it much of a distraction. Doesn't mean I'm totally satisfied with it either.


Now I've only had our first projector for less than 2 weeks, and I've been zooming and playing with the different aspect ratios as much as I could when my wife wasn't around to be irritated.
I've been using a 49" x 116" 2.35 size as the baseline to work with while projecting on a wall.


To me, using just CIH leaves 1.33 material way too small for my taste(49" x 66"). I have more than a few old 1.33 movies in our collection.


On the other hand, with a true CA, the 1.33 material gets pretty big (65" x 87"). Not enough to be overwhelming, but pretty big for me. (If I'm going to be overwhelmed, I want nothing less than IMAX overwhelmed!)


What I'm going to try this weekend is CA for 2.35 and 1.78 material, but use the 1.78 size (57" x 101")for 1.33 material, i.e., 1.33 pillar-boxed within the 1.78 area. In this way, I have the benefits of CA for both the widescreen formats, and a not-too-small (57" x 76") 1.33 image. I like the idea of a not too wide a disparity in size/area between the formats.


Yes, I realize the masking issues this type of setup creates.


We'll see how I like it and how the WAF goes.


However, at least front projection allows options to work around what I consider too small of an image. That luxury certainly didn't exist with the old TV.



As always YMMV,

Ron
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I neglected to mention that for 1.33:1 I don't zoom quite to CA - but slightly less. AR's lower than 1.66:1 comprise less than 1% of my DVD collection. Many of those films are "open matte" transfers (like The Shining) and it is debatable what the "correct AR" is anyway. I don't have any masking, but I never notice the lack of masking in my bat cave.


CAVX/Mark - I am not a good photographer and I have a $100 camera that does not take screen shots (or I don't know how to make it work). What do you want to see pic wise? I have some pics of my equipment rack and my Pearl / lens / sled setup...


wildfire99 - I did some measuring and I may be slightly off CA - 1.85:1 might be a little larger than CA for me. Part of the problem is that without masking, I am just zooming on a 10x7 foot "Pallet" until it looks right to me, and it is not exactly the same each time.


Mark_H - Hmm... each AR appears correct to me - I don't notice actors heads being different sizes (they vary within AR's for different shots anyway). I find that "scope impact" is not diminished in any way by making flat and under AR's somewhat taller. Lensed scope has great impact, and flat looks the "correct" size to me.


tjgar - good point about 4:3 looking soft at giant sizes - as I mentioned at the top of this post, I don't zoom academy AR to huge sizes. Something that offsets 4:3 "softness" is the vertical resolution it has on DVD (the most of any AR's). I think most of 4:3 softness is really the mastering/transfers being sub-par.


RonC - experiment - never take the conventional wisdom as gospel. I have abandoned/disagree with many conventional wisdom "rules of thumb", because they are just that - general points - not points specific to my theater/equipment/preferences.



To all interested - it is not a major technical issue to change AR's - I have two different AR buttons on my remote - 1 for lens in + scope stretch - the other for lens out + passthrough for lessor AR's. I just press the appropriate AR button - then zoom to the correct size image - takes about 5 seconds to change AR's.
 

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I fixed the link... funny, it worked when I previewed it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by usualsuspects /forum/post/0


I neglected to mention that for 1.33:1 I don't zoom quite to CA - but slightly less.

That's always one of the first things you see with true CA... 4:3 seems too big. Though for some films (like "Seven Samurai") that's a good thing... but not for TV or other lower-quality presentations.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by usualsuspects /forum/post/0



CAVX/Mark - I am not a good photographer and I have a $100 camera that does not take screen shots (or I don't know how to make it work). What do you want to see pic wise? I have some pics of my equipment rack and my Pearl / lens / sled setup...

That is too bad. Photos of each AR in scale would have been cool...


Mark
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonC /forum/post/0


What I'm going to try this weekend is CA for 2.35 and 1.78 material, but use the 1.78 size (57" x 101")for 1.33 material, i.e., 1.33 pillar-boxed within the 1.78 area. In this way, I have the benefits of CA for both the widescreen formats, and a not-too-small (57" x 76") 1.33 image. I like the idea of a not too wide a disparity in size/area between the formats.

This is what I settled on after trying a lot of different variants. I'm using a "custom 2.0:1 aspect ratio screen" (aka 4x8 sheet of Formica) and manually zooming a Sanyo Z4, sitting about 11 feet from the screen. 2.35 content gets zoomed to full screen width, while 1.85 or 1.33 content gets zoomed to full screen height.


The projector is mounted about 59" off the ground, so at either zoom setting the "1/3 up from the bottom" point of the image is around eye level.


Personally I think this is about as good as it gets -- 2.35 and 16:9 images both seem to be about the right size, and 4:3 material doesn't have that "big scary image" you get with true constant area. Even better, I didn't have to cut the Formica



I get a headache every time I try to think what shape the prisms would need to be in order to let you zoom and expand/squeeze the image at the same time with a single control, but hopefully someone young and bright will figure it out.
 

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What's involved in implementing a constant area setup with a digital projector. I am curious in setting one up in my soon-to-be theater. I have an Epson Pro Cinema 1080p and am deciding between a VisionHDP or HD Leeza scaler (any input on the decision would be greatly appeciated).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by usualsuspects /forum/post/0


To all interested - it is not a major technical issue to change AR's - I have two different AR buttons on my remote - 1 for lens in + scope stretch - the other for lens out + passthrough for lessor AR's. I just press the appropriate AR button - then zoom to the correct size image - takes about 5 seconds to change AR's.

I also like constant area but it seems to me that if you want a user friendly system it is indeed a technical issue - because there are so few projectors that support motorized zoom memories. Even if the zoom can be done from the remote I'm one of these people that is not interested in adjusting the zoom every time I put in a different movie. I suppose you could say that is laziness but for me I want the HT to be something I enjoy, not something I am constantly adjusting and tinkering with.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by seanraf /forum/post/0


What's involved in implementing a constant area setup with a digital projector. I am curious in setting one up in my soon-to-be theater. I have an Epson Pro Cinema 1080p and am deciding between a VisionHDP or HD Leeza scaler (any input on the decision would be greatly appeciated).

Another thing worth adding is that my project has manual focus and lens shift, not motorized with presets.
 
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