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GreenCine Movie Talk
Foreign
From Albania to Zaire, there's a whole world out there.
183

Widescream
Topic by: Gbrock
Posted: December 16, 2002 - 6:22 PM PST
Last Reply: January 26, 2003 - 8:37 AM PST

author topic: Widescream
Gbrock
post #1  on December 16, 2002 - 6:22 PM PST  
I am normally a calm and level-headed person, until I see sub-titles put into the black letter-box, forcing me to watch the film in normal mode on my wide-screen t.v. Sometimes they get it right (like Almodavars "Tie me up, Tie me down") and its a thing of beauty, but it seems 80-90% of dvd's put them in the black-box. Whats a dvd-head to do?
Eoliano
post #2  on December 17, 2002 - 12:37 PM PST  

Does your DVD player have any options on the remote to make adjustments? Can you pan up to put the image at the top?
This will eliminate the top black bar and give you an enlarged black bottom bar for the subtitles, and it won't compromise the actual film image. My player can zoom in/out, pan up/down/left/right, and has X Y scalability as well.
oldkingcole
post #3  on December 18, 2002 - 2:48 AM PST  
> On December 17, 2002 - 12:37 PM PST Eoliano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
>
> Does your DVD player have any options on the remote to make adjustments? Can you pan up to put the image at the top?
> This will eliminate the top black bar and give you an enlarged black bottom bar for the subtitles, and it won't compromise the actual film image. My player can zoom in/out, pan up/down/left/right, and has X Y scalability as well.
> ---------------------------------

Eoliano, this won't work on a 16x9 TV unless only a very tiny amount of adjustment is needed. The 16x9 TVs have a "zoome mode" which already removes most of the top and bottom "black-bar" region. In fact, on a 16x9 aspect-ratio film (rare, I admit), there would be *no* black bars above or below the image. Adjusting up or down, therefore, *would* affect the actual picture area. When DVD authors put subtitles in the black-bar region below the widescreen image, it forces widescreen owners to view the film in the ridiculous 4:3 mode which forces not only the black bars above and below the image to be fully visible, but also puts black or, more often, grey bars on the *sides* of the image as well! Yes, the picture image is then surrounded *on all sides* by matte bars! Yuck!

As a 16z9 widescreen owner myself, I've been frustrated by this problem too. Most of the offending DVDs I've seen seem to have been released before 16x9 TVs were widely available. On a normal 4x3 TV, it is actually nice to have the subtitles below the picture -- that way you don't have the letters obscuring the image.

Every once in a while, a formerly offending DVD gets re-released in a "corrected" 16x9 version. It was one of the main reasons I re-purchased Anchor Bay's DVD of Werner Herzog's Nosferatu. The first edition they released was not enhanced for 16x9 TVs and had the subtitles below the image. The new release is 16x9 enhanced and can be watched in full widescreen mode without losing the subtitles.

I suspect, though, that we'll have to wait for the penetration of widescreen TVs to increase quite a bit before enough people start demanding that DVD releases pay more attention to this problem.
Eoliano
post #4  on December 18, 2002 - 10:10 AM PST  

Hmm, yes, I hadn't thought of that and you're right, OKC. A good reason why I wouldn't consider a widescreen TV monitor just yet.

My old 36" Sony Trinitron still works like a champ; it's been degaussed and repaired only once in all these years, and may be due for another degassing soon. Although I'm always checking out the new technology, the widescreen debacle regarding this subtitle issue gives me pause; it's a glitch that, given my foreign DVD title collection, will keep me from investing in a 16X9 monitor for some time to come.

While I wouldn't be put off watching a 1:33 pre-scope film and have the bars on the sides of the screen, not being able to properly adjust a widescreen image to accommodate subtitles on the bottom would be annoying, to say the least. My feeling is that a HDTV monitor with the old screen size has several advantages, something that hasn't been given consideration by the manufacturers.

When the time comes for that new 16X9 monitor, I'll have to take an inventory of my non-anamorphic foreign titles to see what I'm financially up against.
dpowers
post #5  on December 18, 2002 - 10:14 AM PST  
> > My player can zoom in/out, pan up/down/left/right, and has X Y scalability as well. <<

> Eoliano, this won't work on a 16x9 TV unless only a very tiny amount of adjustment is needed. The 16x9 TVs have a "zoome mode" which already removes most of the top and bottom "black-bar" region. <

wouldn't it be possible to combine a zoom out and pan up from the DVD player with a mild zoom with the TV, giving you no black bar on top? does the TV do the image zooming on the fly or choose a fixed zoom size?

> I suspect, though, that we'll have to wait for the penetration of widescreen TVs to increase quite a bit before enough people start demanding that DVD releases pay more attention to this problem. <

"anamorphic widescreen" and "DTS sound" are all i ever see people carping over at several DVD news sites ... the number of people who have that equipment is pretty small, but RICH ... so i'm sure a campaign to get this fixed up would be responded to, and there may already be a few of them.
Eoliano
post #6  on December 18, 2002 - 11:16 AM PST  
>> wouldn't it be possible to combine a zoom out and pan up from the DVD player with a mild zoom with the TV, giving you no black bar on top? does the TV do the image zooming on the fly or choose a fixed zoom size?

I have no such options on my monitor's remote; they are only on my DVD player remote. But as OKC mentioned, on a 16X9 monitor, the subtitles will be eliminated when viewing non-anamorphic DVDs. However, this is not always the case. Even some anamorphic enhanced foreign DVDs use source prints with the titles inside the image, so there is not an issue, although DVDs with the addition of new subtitles have the titles below the image.

Although I haven't checked my entire foreign DVD collection to see how many anamorphic and non-anamorphic DVDs might have this problem, it's obvious that it varies from distributor to distributor, and as mentioned, it all depends on the source.

Examples:

Any Number Can Win/Image - anamorphic with optional subtitles overlapping image and black bar.

La Dolce vita/Momentum UK Region 2 - no anamorphic info on sleeve - subtitles below image.

Un Flic/Anchor Bay - anamorphic with optional subtitles on image.

Il Gattopardo/Medusa Italy Region 2 - anamorphic with optional subtitles below image.

In the Mood For Love/Criterion - anamorphic with optional subtitles on image.

Rocco and His Brothers/Image - anamorphic with optional subtitles on image.

Satyricon/MGM - anamorphic with optional subtitles below image.

Z/Wellspring - anamorphic with optional subtitles on image.

So, as you can see it really does vary from company to company, so Gbrock's complaints are really directed at a few DVD manufacturers, but not all.
oldkingcole
post #7  on December 18, 2002 - 4:26 PM PST  
> On December 18, 2002 - 10:10 AM PST Eoliano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
>
Although I'm always checking out the new technology, the widescreen debacle regarding this subtitle issue gives me pause; it's a glitch that, given my foreign DVD title collection, will keep me from investing in a 16X9 monitor for some time to come.

I understand where you're coming from, but I think you are placing the blame on the wrong party. It's not the 16x9 monitor manufacturers who have screwed up here -- it's the DVD authoring companies. As the two versions of Anchor Bay's Nosferatu show, it is always possible to handle subtitles in a 16x9-friendly way. Having owned my 65" 16x9 widescreen for just over a year, I can tell you that the large size and added picture resolution that 16x9 enhanced DVDs offer really makes a significant, qualitative change in the DVD viewing experience. It is more "movie-like", with some of the sense of scale and "larger than life" qualities you experience at a movie theater. I personally wouldn't want to go back to a 4x3 screen.

For watching 4x3 material, I constructed some simple black-fleece curtains that I hang over the sides of the TV to obscure the grey bars. In a darkened room, the black fleece simply fades into the surrounding darkness, leaving a nice, standard-shaped 4x3 region in the center for watching TV shows or Academy-ratio films. Note that even some current TV shows have arrived on DVD in 16x9 enhanced widescreen format. Recent examples include Babylon 5: Season 1, recent seasons of The Sopranos and The X-Files, and TV specials like the Spielberg-produced miniseries Band of Brothers.

It does depend somewhat on what you watch, and those non-anamorphic DVDs are annoying (basically, there is no excuse for releasing non-anamorphic widescreen DVDs. I'd like to see those completely disappear, and generally am loath to buy or rent the ones that have already been released). Long-term, though, I hope the industry continues to move away from 4x3 screens in favor of widescreen TVs and monitors because the viewing experience really benefits from the higher resolution and larger size.
Eoliano
post #8  on December 18, 2002 - 6:47 PM PST  
>> I understand where you're coming from, but I think you are placing the blame on the wrong party. It's not the 16x9 monitor manufacturers who have screwed up here -- it's the DVD authoring companies. ..

I don't think I placed the blame on the 16X9 manufacturers per se; it isn't worth my worrying about it right now. It's a major investment, and while I haven't the room for a bigger piece of equipment or disposable the cash, I'll stay with my Trinitron for the time being. And when I am ready, it will be a flat panel, but I have yet to see one that really strikes me.

>> hope the industry continues to move away from 4x3 screens in favor of widescreen TVs and monitors because the viewing experience really benefits from the higher resolution and larger size.

Agreed.
jaquestati
post #9  on January 23, 2003 - 12:02 PM PST  
> On December 18, 2002 - 6:47 PM PST Eoliano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> >> I understand where you're coming from, but I think you are placing the blame on the wrong party. It's not the 16x9 monitor manufacturers who have screwed up here -- it's the DVD authoring companies. ..
>
> I don't think I placed the blame on the 16X9 manufacturers per se; it isn't worth my worrying about it right now. It's a major investment, and while I haven't the room for a bigger piece of equipment or disposable the cash, I'll stay with my Trinitron for the time being. And when I am ready, it will be a flat panel, but I have yet to see one that really strikes me.
>


i went thru all the turmoil and agony of picking a tv nyself around 6 months ago...... ended up with a mitsubish 55inch 16x9 hdtv....... (once calibrated it will be pretty close to a pioneer elite picture wise..... :)

my second choice was the 34 inch sony crt 16x9 but it was just too small for 4 people to comfortable watch in the room :(

i gotta say.... forget the image you see in the stores (all distorted red pushed and vsm'd) when you really sit in yer home and have it adjusted right with avia or something.... the picture is unreal......

its just mindnumbingly unbelievable (the picture)

i have run into the slight subtitled problem with a non anamorphic Tokyo drifter or branded i forget which...... but no biggie.....

a progressive scan dvd player a hdtv and an anamorphic disk get pretty close to hdtv.... close enough anyways......

as cheap as hdtv 16x9's are getting (under 1500) its pretty hard to justify waiting anymore :(
NeilCresswell
post #10  on January 23, 2003 - 3:26 PM PST  
Hmm... I don't think I can find a decent sized quality w/s TV with progressive scan good enough for PAL as well as NTSC around here for sub $1500. Gonna wait a little longer while I stick with my fugly rear projection 4:3.
jaquestati
post #11  on January 23, 2003 - 9:45 PM PST  
> On January 23, 2003 - 3:26 PM PST NeilCresswell wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Hmm... I don't think I can find a decent sized quality w/s TV with progressive scan good enough for PAL as well as NTSC around here for sub $1500. Gonna wait a little longer while I stick with my fugly rear projection 4:3.
> ---------------------------------

what do you mean good enough for pal and ntsc? are you using (like me) a player that outputs/converts pal to ntsc (alot do that but only a few get the anamorphic conversion right from what i hear)
NeilCresswell
post #12  on January 24, 2003 - 4:17 PM PST  
> what do you mean good enough for pal and ntsc? are you using (like me) a player that outputs/converts pal to ntsc (alot do that but only a few get the anamorphic conversion right from what i hear)

Yes my DVD player is one that manages a true anamorphic conversion (according to the spec.), that is one of the reasons I picked it. (That plus it doesn't need to be hacked to be region free.)

I don't have a progressive scan TV yet, just an old 60" 4:3 interlaced projection TV. Maybe this is my mistake, am VERY ignorant here, but I noticed the # of horizontal lines on progressive scan TVs sold over here varies (cheaper ones seem to be around 520 and 540 lines) and I know that PAL needs 625 lines whereas NTSC is 525 so I was originally thinking that for the best quality without any line removal in the true scaling conversion, I'd need a TV with a lot more than 520/540 lines if possible.

Have I screwed up here? I am no expert when it comes to this. If you're telling me that the output of my converted feed is going to be no more than 520 lines anyway then sweet. The more I think about it, the more I feel that my thought process here is screwed.

I know that my DVD player will scale the frequency and x-axis/y-axis conversion properly but I'm trying to drop as few lines as possible in the scaling to keep the quality high. Now I think about this more, maybe the # of lines output by the DVD player is fixed at NTSC counts so the # lines on the TV is irrelevent. If so, am wondering why the # of progessive scan lines on the TVs over here varies? Confusing, ain't it!

It's even more confusing when I try and read up on it. I get a headache reading the lower half of reasonably explanatory sites like http://gregl.net/videophile/anamorphic.htm and that is without even getting into the mp2 compression standard used in DVD (there are not enough bits in the mp2 standard for the 720x480 DVD output so compression with loss is used.)
Eoliano
post #13  on January 24, 2003 - 6:17 PM PST  

> Yes my DVD player is one that manages a true anamorphic conversion (according to the spec.), that is one of the reasons I picked it. (That plus it doesn't need to be hacked to be region free.)


Having x y scaling capabilities is a big plus.



oldkingcole
post #14  on January 24, 2003 - 8:25 PM PST  
> On January 24, 2003 - 4:17 PM PST NeilCresswell wrote:
> ---------------------------------
>[...]
> Have I screwed up here? I am no expert when it comes to this. If you're telling me that the output of my converted feed is going to be no more than 520 lines anyway then sweet.

Neil, I'm not exactly an expert either, but I'm going to play one on the Internet for now :-) and tell you that, yes, I believe your DVD player is already downcoverting from PAL resolution (and refresh rate) to NTSC resolution (and refresh rate) in order to provide a signal that will be accepted by US televisions. Unless you've got a PAL TV (extremely unlikely, but not, I suppose completely impossible), the signal you're feeding it is already an NTSC signal, or something close (e.g., a line-doubled NTSC signal if you've got a progressive-scan output on your DVD player and a TV that will accept a line-doubled input). So I don't *think* you need to worry.

Also, any big-screen TV you could buy today is probably HDTV-ready at the least. Those TVs virtually *all* support a 1080i HDTV signal. That's 1080 lines -- way more than NTSC's nominal 480 (we're only counting visible picture lines, not extra lines that don't contain picture information. I think that might be where numbers like 525 and 540 come from -- those numbers probably include non-picture lines in the count).

If you're watching a lot of anamorphic DVDs, whether PAL or NTSC, you should notice a striking improvement in picture quality if you were to switch to a widescreen display, especially if your DVD player could deliver a good-quality progressive-scan signal to the display. It's not too hard to see the scan-lines on standard-definition rear-projection TVs. It is *much*, *much* harder to see them on a widescreen HDTV monitor displaying a progressive-scan image.

One more tip: once you buy a big-screen TV, don't ever move! I'm at the tail end of "the move from hell" (600+ miles from San Diego to San Francisco). I moved a lot of stuff myself, but my 65" Toshiba widescreen was just a couple of inches too tall to fit in the cargo van I rented, so I had to hire movers. I basically hired them *only* because of the TV, and wouldn't ya know it, that's the one item they broke! :-(

I bought the insurance, and am dealing with the claims process now. I suppose it'll all get worked out eventually, but for the next several weeks, I'm without a TV. I'm also without an Internet connection (I'm typing this on a borrowed account) because my DSL order will take 4 weeks to process. How did we ever live before big screen TV and the ubiquitous Internet? :-)

Cheers!
Eoliano
post #15  on January 25, 2003 - 5:57 AM PST  
>> How did we ever live before big screen TV and the ubiquitous Internet?

We read newspapers and periodicals, used hard-line telephones and actually had conversations, wrote letters with ink on real paper and went to the theater to see movies on the big screen.

= ; < ) >

What is the present wisdom on the larger flat display monitors? Panasonic vs Philips etc?
NeilCresswell
post #16  on January 25, 2003 - 2:15 PM PST  
Well looks like I need to start working on the wifey so I can get me a super-dooper-pooper w/s progresive scan TV.
SRhodes
post #17  on January 25, 2003 - 6:10 PM PST  

I'd still hold off on buying a HDTV set unless you need to buy a new tv. If your old tv is fine, just wait.

First, HDTV sets will get better and cheaper. It can't hurt to wait.

Also, there finally came to agreement on a standard for cable companies to deliver HDTV channels. I'm not sure when the sets with this will start being sold.

Eoliano
post #18  on January 26, 2003 - 8:37 AM PST  
Plasma monitor comments anyone?

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