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Old January 7th, 2008, 07:40 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Andy Tejral View Post
For example, our local PBS station will generally make my TV display properly. On some shows, I'll get double bars: I'll get the top and bottom (letterbox) PLUS the left and right. In such a case, I'll manually use the WIDE and PICTURE buttons on the TV remote to get something close to correct.

Also, 4:3 (aka 1.33) and 16:9 (aka 1.78) are not the only aspect ratios! Heck, 1.78 isn't a real (film) aspect ratio! Someone mentioned 2001, that was supposed to be shown in 2.20 which is.... not 16:9.
I hate the double bars. It usually happens during HD programs that have SD commercials, but the commercials are letterboxed. On a 4:3 TV it looks like a movie (16:9 with black bars), but on a 16:9 TV it looks like a video in a small picture frame.

I mentioned 2001 because Kubrick shot in all different aspect ratios. I believe he shot The Shining in 1.37:1, close to 4:3 of TV. The theatrical version is actually the one that loses frame size.
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Old January 7th, 2008, 09:34 PM   #32
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I think the biggest problem is that with so many different aspect ratios people will get used to very poor pictures always being scaled to fit the pixel ratio on their screen!!! I have a 24" I'Art JVC CRT and a new Panasonic 42" Plasma 1080p ( PZ77). HD looks great on the Panasonic but standard definition 4x3 looks worse than the 24"I'Art however its arranged ( 4x3,zoom,full, just) and on a Samsung LCD I tried it was even worse( exchanged it for the Panasonic). Maybe I am picky but for me local cable and SD is for the I'Art CRT and HD cable, Blu-Ray and my own video ( from FX1 and SR7) for the Panasonic. I love HD its a pity that such a lot of cable HD is not HD at all and is very obvious when compared to real HD either from the HD Preview channel or my own.
As to the 4x3, 16x9 debate I think that to watch 16x9 one must be close enough that the screen is substantial in the field of view( read big) so that it does start to emulate our normal field of vision. Small 16x9 screens don't do this and look strange compared to the 4x3 sets. To fill this field of view one must be close and therefor the image has to be perfect or it will look like crap!!! So the image needs to be HD to meet these needs of close and good. Scaling SD 4x3 on this big close 16x9 doesn't cut it. One needs two TV's folks. One to watch standard 4x3 SD and one for HD until everthing is HD. I was going to replace my I'Art with the new 16x9 TV but have now decided to do what I have said in the above sentence!!!! We are rapidly getting to the point that home video will be better image quality than the commercial TV!!!

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Old January 7th, 2008, 11:45 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Ron Evans View Post
We are rapidly getting to the point that home video will be better image quality than the commercial TV!
Getting to the point? MiniDV, as a codec, has always been better than the compressed signals from cable, satellite, or DVD.

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Old January 8th, 2008, 04:08 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by Diane diGino View Post
In a movie theater, the screen is large enough where I don't notice what the ratio is. Of course, the bigger the better - that's why I love the Ziegfeld in NYC. But in a dark theater, all I see is the image on the screen, so I guess I don't think about it. But at home, I can see how the image is letterboxed. I have IFC on right now (they're showing 'Solaris' from 1972 - which I wouldn't think would be letterboxed this way), and the picture is like a narrow band from left to right with LOTS of black, on top and bottom (mostly on the bottom). If I added up the black space, it takes up almost as much room on the TV as the picture. In fact, I'll take a tape measure right now...

My flat screen is 16 7/8" wide and 11 3/4" high. The picture of this movie goes the width of the screen but is only 7" high. So you can imagine how small the images appear. It looks like they did mask top and bottom because subtitles are coming up over the black, below the picture. Generally, it's about 1 3/4 to 2" of black on top and bottom when letterboxed.
There are a number of different aspect ratios that are used for theatrical release these days. When you go to the movies, if you could see the entire theatre screen you would sometimes see black bars there as well. But theatres use movable curtains at the top and sides of the stage to mask off the screen into the aspect ratio of the film that is currently being shown so you don't see the portions where the image isn't present.
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Last edited by Steve House; January 8th, 2008 at 06:56 AM.
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Old January 8th, 2008, 04:50 AM   #35
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I agree with filling the screen. If the target audience or customer is on 4:3 and thats what it will be used for in a power point or something then 4:3 it is. If they want 16:9 I give it to them. I prefer 16:9 because of the extra space I am allowed to play with. A while back I enjoyed the following vidcasts that talked about 16:9 and pan and scan and letter boxing.

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Old January 8th, 2008, 05:17 AM   #36
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If you're shooting with cameras designed for 4:3 aspect it's best to record that way to maintain full image quality, since the widescreen mode on such cameras loses some vertical resolution - then decide whether to convert to widescreen in post. If you use HD or widescreen SD cameras shoot widescreen, because that can be cropped to 4:3 better than doing the opposite, so you'll get better results if you want both types of output.

As far as filling viewers' screens is concerned, do you want to produce for the old 13" TV in the dog's corner of the back bedroom or the big, expensive HDTV in the prime spot of many people's homes? Widescreen TVs are becoming standard and will be increasingly so over time, while 4:3 content looks increasingly dated. Once you have widescreen cameras it becomes painful to shoot archaic 4:3 content for the dog's tv.
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