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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am finally getting my plasma display and am aware that there are differenced between widescreen and anamorphic widescreen DVDs. I assume the anamorhic is meant to fill the entire 16:9 sreen without the black bars while avoiding the whole pan and scan issues or side cropping of full screen DVDs. Is thisa correct assumption - and more importantly, is there a list of these titles anywhere? Lots of questions today.
 

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Q:" ...Is thisa correct assumption... "

A: No! Assuming, that is, you are talking about a widescreen plasma display, which would be 16:9 which works out to 1.77777:1, usually referred to as 1.78:1 - and therefore NOT identical to the (either letterboxed or anamorphic) ARs of transfers of 'widescreen' movies on DVD, which run the gamut from 1.66:1 (e.g. Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon) all the way to 2.76:1 (e.g. William Wyler's Ben-Hur)...


...in other words, unless a made-for-TV or a theatrically-released movie is framed at 1.78:1 you will still see

-> a) (narrow, vertical) black bars to the left and right of the image of any movie filmed in an AR that is 'squarer' than 1.78:1

-> b) (narrow, horizontal) black bars above and below the image of any movie filmed in an AR that is 'wider' than 1.78:1


. . . :cool: . . .
 

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The difference between widescreen and anamorphic widescreen is: The anamorphic version has 33% more vertical lines of resolution. A 1.78:1 non-anamorphic transfer has 360 vertical lines of image detail. A 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer has 480 lines of vertical resolution. In other words, a 33% increase over the non-anamorphic version.


Anamorphic doesn't mean "16:9" or "1.78:1". It just means 33% more vertical resolution over it's widescreen, non-anamorphic counterpart. It doesn't mean anything in regards to aspect ratio, as European points out, anamorphic transfers of films from 1.66:1 through 2.76:1 exist. The phrase "anamorphic", "enhanced for widescreen/16:9" mean the same thing, but they tell you nothing about the aspect ratio and don't eliminate black bars on anamorphic, 2.35:1 movies. You will always see black bars on 16:9 displays showing 2.35:1 films.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
ok, so basically if I have a plasma widescreen display I should be looking for DVDs that are anamorphic widescreen? By more vertical resolution does it mean that it is of the same vertical dimension, but with a higher density of lines? In any case, is there a list of titles that have been optimized for 16:9 viewing?
 

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Anamorphic titles include more lines of resolution in the same picture element. It really makes a difference. I've got a 58" Pioneer Elite RP set and non-anamorphic DVDs really look horrible.


What you want to do, just after checking that the film was not filmed in Academy Standard (1.33:1), is to look for the phrase "Enhanced for 16x9 TVs" or, of course, "Anamorphic Widescreen Transfer".


I'm still astounded that non-anamorphic transfers are still so common: it doesn't cost anything extra to get an anamorphic telecine over a non-anamorphic one - at least unless you already have the non-anamorphic one.
 

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saxguy, that would not be the choice I would make. I would not allow the media format to dictate what I watched. Nor would I willingly watch a DVD version of a film in other than the original aspect ratio (OAR) in most cases.


What I would suggest instead is that you have ready a set of techniques to deal with aspect ratios that do not match your screen. Meaning that if you have a choice, rent or buy the Widescreen Anamorphic version. If you have to rent a Fullscreen DVD (because you patronize Blockbuster Video) or because the original material was made in Fullscreen, show it with "sidebars". If you rent an Anamorphic disk of a 2.35:1 production, expect the narrow letterbox bars top and bottom.


Some material I enjoy, such as the movie The Abyss is only available in letterboxed widescreen (the black bars are recorded onto the media). I use a constant width 4:3 display, so I don't care an awfull lot (in my setup it means a slight but noticeable lower resolution in the image, as I use masking top and bottom with my projector), but hopefully your display or DVD player will let you "zoom" the center section of the image to fill the width of your screen, cropping only those black letterbox bars.


The world is full of different aspect ratios, and 4:3 and 2.35:1 are very common, and your 16:9 display is a good compromise between these two aspect ratios.


Gary
 

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All black bars can be eliminated if your like me, I watch movies like in the movie theatre with the lights out. Their is no black bar problem at all when you turn out the lights can be romantic if your cuddling with your fiance, girl friend or newly wed wife. :)
 

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saxguy,

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ok, so basically if I have a plasma widescreen display I should be looking for DVDs that are anamorphic widescreen?
That depends. I usually skip on non-anamorphic widescreen titles. Some realeases are in the Academy ratio of 1.37:1, particularly older films made before TV came on the scene. In that case, I would not deny myself the opportunity of watching them just because they don't fit my 16:9 display without black bars on the sides. The first four seasons of The X-Files are 1.33:1. I wouldn't let that prevent me from watching the series. But a non-anamorphic widescreen release is something I'm usually not interested in. Anamorphic DVD's look so much better than those that aren't enhanced.

Quote:
By more vertical resolution does it mean that it is of the same vertical dimension, but with a higher density of lines?
No. But it might appear that way depending on how your TV scales anamorphic and non.

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In any case, is there a list of titles that have been optimized for 16:9 viewing?
Image Entertainment used to have a master list of all anamorphic titles. I don't know if they still update that list or if it's still available to the public. You could just check online retailers for info. Some indicate if titles are anamorphic. A true master list of all anamorphic titles would likely be huge. Most Columbia Tri-Star releases are anamorphic. Many of Fox's older releases aren't. Most new titles from studios are anamorphic.
 
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