What's the deal with widescreen?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by mfacey, Mar 25, 2006.

  1. mfacey macrumors 65816

    mfacey

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2004
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #1
    Having just recently bought my first widescreen (16:9) tv I've been looking into the different widescreen aspect ratios available on DVDs and such.
    I find it really odd that there seem to be 2 different ratios. There is 16:9 (often listed as 1.77:1), which is the standard widescreen tv ratio, but there is also 2.35:1, which I presume is the ratio used in cinemas. Oh and there there's your standard fullscreen or 4:3 which is still available is countries like the US where widescreen has taken longer to break through.
    My biggest irritation is the 2.35:1 ratio. Even on my widescreen this leaves the inevitalbe black bars top and bottom. I can understand this is a great aspect ratio for cinemas and possibly for people using beamers/projectors, but doesn't the average consumer just have a regular 16:9 or 4:3 screen?:confused:

    Anybody have any ideas as to why the movie industry constantly releases movies in this aspect ratio or why tvs aren't made in this ratio instead of 16:9?
     
  2. virus1 macrumors 65816

    virus1

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2004
    Location:
    LOST
    #2
    I completely agree.
    i have no idea
     
  3. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #3
    Filmmakers chose an aspect ratio that they feel best benefits the story they are telling. The most common aspect ratios are 4:3, 1.78:1 (16:9), 1.85:1, and 2.35:1. Obviously making a TV that supports every ratio "w/o black bars" is impossible so 16:9 was chosen. Why? Not sure, but maybe because it provided a good "middle ground?"

    Asking filmmakers to always shoot in "TV friendly" aspect ratios would be like asking painters to always use a specific canvas size because it's easier to center it over your couch.


    Lethal
     
  4. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #4
    And heck, movies went widescreen in the first place to make them DIFFERENT than TV. Go watch some movies from the '40s or earlier. They are all 4:3. Then TV came out, and the movie studios had to differentiate themselves. So they came out with widescreen. Unfortunately, there were competing companies that made the cameras, with different aspect ratios. So now, it's a matter of either:
    A. money (the studio mandates the cheaper option,)
    B. artistic license (the film maker decides on whichever one he likes best.)

    Watch Dr. Strangelove on DVD, it's a mishmash of aspect ratios. It alternates between 4:3 and widescreen often. (Kubrick was odd that way.)

    So, yes, when the TV companies decided to go widescreen, they had to pick a ratio. They chose 16:9 as the 'lowest' widescreen, so you'd end up with black bars on top and bottom for 'wider' movies, but you'd never end up with bars on the sides (for modern theatrical movies. Obviously you do for native 4:3 movies or SD TV shows.)
     
  5. irmongoose macrumors 68030

    irmongoose

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2001
    Location:
    Sometimes Tokyo, sometimes California
    #5
    The cinema is where you are supposed to watch films. TVs are a substitute for when you're too lazy to take the walk to the nearest cinema.

    I understand that in this day and age more people watch films on TV and blah blah but that's tough. Heh.




    irmongoose
     
  6. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #6
    What about films that are no longer showing in the theaters? Hrm? :p

    (And where I live now, the nearest theater is 3 non-pedestrian-friendly miles away. I used to live a couple blocks from a cool brewpub arthouse theater, but I don't any more. :( )
     
  7. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2002
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #7
    Revival theater's baby. :D I've seen Jaws, 2001, and Escape from New York projected in 35mm goodness (although the print for Escape from New York was in pretty bad shape).


    Lethal
     
  8. mfacey thread starter macrumors 65816

    mfacey

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2004
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #8
    I usually don't really like going to the cinema. You have to leave the house, you're stuck to their viewing times. And most of all, here in Holland you can buy potato chips to eat during the movie. I can tell that that is just about as irritating as people talking during the movie. All that bloody crunching and ruffling of the chips bags. Ggrrrrrr :mad:
    That's why I'd rather just watch at home.
     
  9. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #9
    But you don't have any option on what movies are playing at such theaters. I frequent them often, but every once in a while, I just REALLY want to watch a movie that isn't playing anywhere...

    Like Labyrinth, for example.
     
  10. 3dit3r macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    #10
     
  11. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    Location:
    CT
    #11
    try this.
    http://www.high-techproductions.com/widescreen.htm

    Cinerama

    2.77:1 to 3.00:1 aspect ratio. When transferred to video in its full ratio, this format produced the most "letterboxing" effect. This method of filming actually used three cameras, after which the three images were interlocked together. Any transfer to video (and the only one is "How the West Was Won") would be from a 35mm 'scope reduction print and therefore have a 2.35:1 ratio.

    CinemaScope

    2.35:1 (originally 2.66:1) aspect ratio. This was once the most commonly used method of filming movies because its only major requirement was a special CinemaScope projector lens, which was available at virtually every movie theatre. CinemaScope was originally created by 20th Century Fox, but it is no longer in use by studios other than Fox. All of the original 3 "Star Wars" movies and even the 1997 animated version of "Anastasia" were filmed in CinemaScope.

    Panavision

    2.40:1 aspect ratio. The Panavision company became the most successful maker of wide screen lenses, and in the 1970s their Panavision lenses became the "standard" for wide screen. Panavision still makes the lenses for most of the major studio productions today. Panavision also makes lenses for films made with matting as opposed to true wide screen. These matted films are not necessarily 2.40:1, but are most likely 1.85:1.
     
  12. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    Location:
    キャンプスワ&#
    #12
    The bars never bothered me.

    I much prefer to see a movie in a Widescreen version than 4:3.
     
  13. mfacey thread starter macrumors 65816

    mfacey

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2004
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #13
    Same here. But its a bummer when you fork out a substantial amount of money for a nice widescreen tv and you end up still not having full screen picture! :mad:
     
  14. portent macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2004
    #14
    Yeah. A movie just ain't a movie unless the lady two seats over is giving an impromptu running commentary, and the guy behind you won't shut off his cell phone. Take those things out and you're not getting the full impact of the filmmaker's vision.
     
  15. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #15
    I guess it is a good thing that widescreen TV's are 16:9, though, as they are capable of accommodating all widescreen aspect ratios.
     
  16. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #16
    I prefer viewing widescreen media on my 4:3 TV. Yes it leaves black bars. Yes the image is smaller. But with widescreen you see more graphical info on the sides of the footage (unless the editor just cut the Y of the video)

    When I watch my SW: Episode 2 on a VHS (4:3), I feel trapped in the small space... dont know really how to say it in english.

    But when I watch for example SW: Ep 3 on my DVD (widescreen, dont remember which ratio), it feels ok :)
     

Share This Page