Re: Possible anamorfic format for DVD (Re: Satantango)

From: Randolph Jordan (email suppressed)
Date: Sat Sep 16 2006 - 06:12:43 PDT

Freya said:

"I've never seen it happen, but it seems to me that if
you introduce pillarboxing into the file on the disc
then the width of the image will include the black
bars, so even if the width stays the same the black
bars will still be there as they are part of the

So yes you are right that the image will be expanded
so that there is automatic letterboxing on a 4:3 set,
but that image now includes black either side!!

For this not to be the case DVD's would have to be
able to handle anamorphic aspect ratios other than

Yes, actually you are right about this Freya. Sorry about the confusion. I
install home theatre systems for a living, and I've become used to thinking of
"pillarboxing" strictly in terms of vertical borders resultant from the negative
space present on a screen when the native aspect ratio of the source is different
from that of the screen. This usually happens when viewing 4:3 material on a
16:9 screen, but I've also seen it happen the other way around when people don't
have their DVD players set to output correctly, or when the screen itself has
various aspect ratio controls that have not been configured properly. But these
effects are not the result of vertical black borders actually recorded on the
disc, which pretty much only happens on 1.66:1 material stored anamorphically on
DVD. But yes, in such cases there are pillarbox borders recorded in the file to
fill out the remaining space of the 16:9 ratio. And yes, these do appear when
watching on a 4:3 set, so in that sense you will get both pillarboxing and
letterboxing at the same time.

So for people with 4:3 sets, you'll get the biggest picture out of a 1.66:1 film
when it's stored as a letterboxed 4:3 file. And vice-versa for those with 16:9 sets.

I heartily agree with everyone who would like our storage formats to support a
variety native aspect ratios, and its a shame with technology having adavanced to
the point we find today that the powers that be have decided it's not worth the
effort to make this a reality.


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