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What is anamorphic?

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18th February 2006 11:29  #1

James Tully Member Join Date: October 2004 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 436
What is anamorphic?
OK. OK. I realise that I am gonna sound stupid but I hope that some of you can explain a few terms for me. I am a big film fan and buy loads of DVDs but dont really have the best equipment so am unaware of some of the terms and benefits they hold.

What is Anamorphic and what is its benefit over Letterbox/Widescreen?

What is the best sound on DVD and why?




Please dont judge me!

18th February 2006 13:53  #2

Aaron Schneiderman Senior Member Join Date: September 2005 Location: United States Posts: 1,198
I began to type a long description for you. However, the following website has the simplest explanation and is very graphic:  http://www.dvdweb.co.uk/information/anamorphic.... . Most if not all television monitors will be widescreen in the future. Anamorphic, or "enhanced for 16 x 9" is crucial to enjoy the best quality image for films originally shot in widescreen on your set. Many websites that offer reviews of DVDs indicate whether the transfer is anamorphic or enhanced for 16 x 9.

18th February 2006 14:19  #3

James Tully Member Join Date: October 2004 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 436
That was perfect. Thanks Aaron. A really helpful link.

Now if anyone has any advice on audio?

18th February 2006 15:00  #4

Chris Gould Editor Join Date: May 2001 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 7,123 Send a message via ICQ to Chris Gould Send a message via MSN to Chris Gould Send a message via Skype to Chris Gould
Um, relating to what?

18th February 2006 15:12  #5

Aaron Schneiderman Senior Member Join Date: September 2005 Location: United States Posts: 1,198
Chris, I think he means which delivers better sound: Dolby Digital or DTS. James, if you have a sound system that has DTS audio you might want to playback your discs with that sound option since most of the time the DTS has a slight edge over the Dolby sound tracks. However, there are other factors to consider such as the quality of your equipment and acoustics. Unless you have a premium sound system in your home, most ears will find little difference between DTS and Dolby.

18th February 2006 17:38  #6

captmarvel Member Join Date: January 2006 Location: United States Posts: 101
James- Glad you asked---just last night I was going to ask the same question.  And, Aaron, thanks for the link.  That site gave a good explanation with graphics to illustrate!  Thanks again.

18th February 2006 18:19  #7

floyd dylan Banned Join Date: April 2004 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 913
In all honesty I found non anomorphic widescreen dvds not as bad as they're making it out to be.

To get the right acoustics, you've got to have a large room, for your speakers to work at there best, otherwise it will just sound boomy and congested,

To make your sound bigger you will need to mount your surround sound speakers high up and tilt them towards your listening position, also place you center speaker and the same height as the left and right for the same punch and clarity, placing your speakers behind you sofa will result in an unbalanced sound, so you would need to set a delay from your set up menu to create that balanced soundfield.

Home cinema relies on a convincing three dimentional soundfield, so it's pointless having a top of the range home cinema system if you don't alow your system to breathe, so it's all about right cabling, purchasing a test tone meter, configuring your speakers, maximising the sound from your subwoofer.

(I didn't get all that info from the worlds No. 1 home entertainment magazine- honest) Wink

18th February 2006 21:55  #8

Chris Gould Editor Join Date: May 2001 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 7,123 Send a message via ICQ to Chris Gould Send a message via MSN to Chris Gould Send a message via Skype to Chris Gould
That's why it's mostly b*****ks then.

19th February 2006 0:46  #9

floyd dylan Banned Join Date: April 2004 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 913
But they're experts like those guys on Top Gear so it must be true Wink

19th February 2006 1:22  #10

James Tully Member Join Date: October 2004 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 436
Thanks Aaron. I did mean what type delivers best sound. At the moment I have a pretty standard DVD player which I also channel through my stereo so I guess it doesn't really make a great deal of difference but I am looking at upgrading my equipment so that is why I am interested.

Will make sure to listen to the experts from the 'Worlds no 1 home entertainment magazine in future'!

Thanks for the help.

19th February 2006 3:17  #11

Jonny "Me You" Senior Member Join Date: March 2004 Location: Canada Posts: 2,863
It's being picky but that link did get something wrong. Typical widescreen ratio displays are 1.78:1 not 1.85:1 - which can still leave subtle letterbox bars on those tv's.

19th February 2006 3:33  #12

Adrian Senior Member Join Date: September 2005 Location: United States Posts: 1,305
Actually Jonny, that's not true.  You actually lose a bit of the image watching a 1.85:1 movie on a 1.78:1 display.  There aren't any letterbox bars or at least there should not be.  You lose about 6% of the image.

19th February 2006 7:28  #13

floyd dylan Banned Join Date: April 2004 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 913
6%??? Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

19th February 2006 15:33  #14

Worst Nightmare Senior Member Join Date: July 2002 Location: Australia Posts: 6,706 Send a message via AIM to Worst Nightmare Send a message via ICQ to Worst Nightmare Send a message via MSN to Worst Nightmare Send a message via Yahoo to Worst Nightmare Send a message via Google to Worst Nightmare
James, I suggest you look for at least a 6.1 amp that does DTS-ES. It does really depend on your budget though...

19th February 2006 16:21  #15

Jonny "Me You" Senior Member Join Date: March 2004 Location: Canada Posts: 2,863
Adrian wrote: Actually Jonny, that's not true.  You actually lose a bit of the image watching a 1.85:1 movie on a 1.78:1 display.  There aren't any letterbox bars or at least there should not be.  You lose about 6% of the image.

It depends on the display. It's not an absolute Wink

19th February 2006 22:12  #16

Adrian Senior Member Join Date: September 2005 Location: United States Posts: 1,305
Could be.  I know on my Sony there is no upper and lower bars on 1.85:1 movies.

20th February 2006 0:33  #17

Chris Gould Editor Join Date: May 2001 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 7,123 Send a message via ICQ to Chris Gould Send a message via MSN to Chris Gould Send a message via Skype to Chris Gould
Technically you're wrong Adrian. You don't ‘lose’ any information watching on a 16:9 display, as the image is letterboxed within that area not chopped off. The reason it might look like you are losing pictorial information is that most people watch on CRT sets that have overscan. This usually cuts off some of the picture to the sides (it varies from very little to a lot).

If you watch a 1.85:1 movie on an LCD PC monitor (for example) you'll always have the black bars, because they don't overscan.

20th February 2006 1:05  #18

Adrian Senior Member Join Date: September 2005 Location: United States Posts: 1,305
Aaah, you are right Chris, but don't all HD TV's overscan?

20th February 2006 9:41  #19

Chris Gould Editor Join Date: May 2001 Location: United Kingdom Posts: 7,123 Send a message via ICQ to Chris Gould Send a message via MSN to Chris Gould Send a message via Skype to Chris Gould
Don't own an HD set myself, but from what I've seen most of them are LCD/plasma or the like. The generally have much better geometry than CRT so you don't 'lose' any information. It's not a whole lot in any event, but I often notice it because I take a lot of screen caps for the site.

22nd February 2006 5:13  #20

Jonny "Me You" Senior Member Join Date: March 2004 Location: Canada Posts: 2,863
Adrian wrote: Aaah, you are right Chris, but don't all HD TV's overscan?

Typically in my experience the worst offenders are CRT's and old fashioned projection tv's, like the ones that are now less then $1000. If you have any thing digital like DLP or LCD, a good display will show you the whole darn image. The method of connection also contributes to what you get to see, with a digital connection like DVI or HDMI producing the most accurate results.

22nd February 2006 9:21  #21

Gabe Powers Editor Join Date: September 2004 Location: United States Posts: 4,482 Send a message via ICQ to Gabe Powers
My Sony overscans too. When I review I have to check the frame size on my screen caps (usually you can trust the box art, but not always). The worst thing about non-anamorphic transfers on a widescreen TV, beyond the fact that you lose detail, is that film's with subtitles can't be viewed in zoomed mode. It's a b***h to have a nice wide TV and only be able to use about 1/5 of it because you need to read th subtitles.

22nd February 2006 15:14  #22

Adrian Senior Member Join Date: September 2005 Location: United States Posts: 1,305
It depends on how they do the subtitles Gabe.  I've seen a few non-anamorphic letterboxed movies where all subtitles are contained within the letterbox frame.  This irritates me about watching letterbox movies on TCM, IFC, Sundance, etc., as well because if you stretch it to fill the screen, you lose the subtitles.

22nd February 2006 19:52  #23

Gabe Powers Editor Join Date: September 2004 Location: United States Posts: 4,482 Send a message via ICQ to Gabe Powers
You're correct, but most of the HK flicks I got when DVD first appeared on the scene are not set up for any kind of zoom viewing. Some of them even have burned in Cantonese and English subs.

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