Black Bars and iTunes

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Boatboy24, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. Boatboy24 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2011
    Location:
    1 Infinite Loop
    #1
    Why is it that everything I get from iTunes has black bars on the top and bottom of my screen? I have a 4K Sony TV and 4K Apple TV. I don't expect that 30+% of my screen space should be wasted. Am I doing something wrong in the settings, or is this just a handicap of iTunes? Maybe a setting on my TV? Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. Rigby macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #2
    The black bars appear when a movie has a wider aspect ratio than your screen (e.g. 2.35:1 which is a common format for theatrical movies). It cannot be avoided without damaging the content (by either stretching and distorting the image or cutting off the sides). It is not specific to iTunes, but affects any media that offer widescreen movies in their correct format.
     
  3. priitv8 macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2011
    Location:
    Estonia
    #3
  4. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    #4
    I like the black bars on a film actually! I feel that you see 'more' of the film, the areas to the left & to the right etc. I feel that it feels more like a 'film'. :) HATE IT though when one or two older films or TV series are 4:3 Full Screen. That super spoils it for me & I usually don't sit through it.
     
  5. HobeSoundDarryl, Feb 12, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #5
    Adding to what others have shared here, it can't be "everything" because not all movies are shot in the wider aspect ratio likely causing (what you perceive as) the problem. Some are shot at 16:9 and will perfectly fill the screen. By "everything" is this more like, you've tried 2 or 3 movies and they've "all" been like that? Try a bunch of the trailers in the trailers app (or try a bunch of the trailers in iTunes rental info screens. Most modern television shows are shot in 16:9 to "fit" the mainstream HD screen. Try some TV show previews in iTunes and see if they fill your screen.

    If it really is "everything," I'd start suspecting something wrong with the set or settings. But the black bars above & below is not that common except for select movies shot wider than 16:9. You can always look up the aspect ratio of any movie on sites like IMDB. Aspect Ratio of 16:9 will "fit" the HD screen. Other Aspect Ratios will use black bars so you can see the entire picture vs. chopping off parts to reduce the thickness of the black bars.

    If bar reduction is more important than seeing the whole picture, your TV likely has "zoom" options that will chop off the left & right sides to vertically "fit" the picture to your screen. You are chopping off things the Director of the film wanted in the shot but this is one way to reduce or eliminate the black bars if NOT seeing them is more important than seeing the left & right sides of the film frame. Downside here can be dramatic. For example, some old westerns would pit the gunfight stare down with hero far left and villain far right. Zoomed in to clear black bars could chop both out of the visible frame altogether, leaving you watching a chunk of empty street while dramatic music plays.
     
  6. mallbritton macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2006
    #6
    What you are seeing is actually the original theatrical aspect ratio for the film. It's not that part of your TV screen is being wasted, it is that you are seeing the entire film as the director intended it. You might find this video interesting: .
     
  7. Boatboy24 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2011
    Location:
    1 Infinite Loop
    #7
    Thanks. No, it isn't 'everything', but feels like an overwhelming majority.
     
  8. HobeSoundDarryl, Feb 12, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #9
    Again, perhaps you have a TV problem... but I suspect you are just wanting to watch a number of movies shot at wider aspect ratios than 16:9. Lots of movies and about all modern television IS shot at 16:9, so most stuff you might watch will minimize or have no black bars. But particularly movies will sometimes be shot wider than 16:9. That's how the director wanted to present the story. You can see it as intended or you can use the "zoom" function to chop off a chunk of the left & right to fill the screen.

    In the old days, there used to be a technique for movies called pan-and-scan where, instead of significantly barring a wide-wide screen movie on an old 4:3 CRT, someone would go to the trouble of editing the movie by panning a 4:3 square left & right to arbitrarily try to get the action in the visible portion of the screen.

    Again, the old western showdown might have hero far left and villain far right, talking & taunting before letting any bullets fly. Pan-and-scan would swing left to catch the hero's line than swing right to catch the villian's line, like watching a tennis match when the camera has to swing left & right to stay on the ball. Conceptually, someone could rip wider-than-16:9 movies, pull them into some editing software and pan-and-scan them themselves... but what a hassle.

    The easier option is to make a personal choice: do you want to see the whole movie as the director intended or do you want to get rid of those bars with the zoom button, even if that means lopping off the far left & right pieces of the picture?

    The other option is to buy an even wider screen television at maybe 21:9 but then the vast majority of movies & TV shows will have black bars on the left & right because most stuff is not shot at super wide aspect ratios. Once again, a person could "zoom" there too to fill the screen to the left & right edge. However that would zoom top & bottom chunks off, perhaps decapitating a lot of the actors heads in various scenes.
     
  9. Cell-666 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 3, 2011
    #10
    Here's an proper visualisation of what the difference would be between 2.35:1 and s"standard" 16:9 cropped, or if you use the zoom function.

    As others have said quite a lot of the big epic movies are shot in 2.35:1 as it gives the director of photography a bigger canvas which to tell the story on.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. BJMRamage macrumors 68020

    BJMRamage

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2007
    #11
    Double-Tap the AppleTV Remote (Siri Remote) and you get a zoomed in version of the movie...it may not be fully zoomed but it will minimize the bars. works for 4:3 SD TV shows to enlarge to 16:9....and it'll boost most widescreen aspect rations to 16:9. BUT not those EPIC movies with ultra-wide ratios.

    Hope that helps.
     
  11. rmoliv macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2017
    #12
    I was just about to ask that. So annoying. Makes me want to ask for a refund.

    I did that yesterday, it totally removed the awful bars but parts of the movie itself were also "cropped" in the process. No option to adjust to TV's aspect ratio without zooming in so that you get the whole image?
     
  12. -Gonzo-, Feb 13, 2018
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018

    -Gonzo- macrumors 6502

    -Gonzo-

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2015
    #13
    Of course it would be, everything would be out of proportion otherwise. This is the nearest example I could find:
    [​IMG]
    It’s also like when you stretch a 4:3 image to fill a widescreen to remove the black bars either side of the image, it just looks wrong.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Sakurambo-kun macrumors 6502

    Sakurambo-kun

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2015
    Location:
    UK
    #14
    I'm rather amused that there are still people on planet earth moaning about films not filling their TV screen. I thought that particular battle had been won with the advent of DVDs.

    No film should ever be modified in any way for a home format. It must be exactly as it was in the cinema, unless of course the director is involved in some alternate cut.
     
  14. Gulfam macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2017
    #15
    To answer you question OP, the image you are seeing is how it's meant to be seen. Doesn't matter what TV you have there will always be black bars somewhere because not all content was filmed the same. If you really want to avoid them then I'd recommend checking the films aspect ratio on IMDb, just scroll down to the films technical specs section on the site and if it's listed as 1.78:1 or 1:85:1 then there won't really be any black bars. Anything else (which is bascially every other film) will have black bars. Your screen space is not being wasted because what's within the black bars is all that the filmmakers want you to see. The only other option is to zoom in but you will lose some of the image on the side. Back in the days of VHS (and even some TV stations these days) the black bars were cropped along with some image on the side. This was called pan and scan and is basically butchering the film
     

Share This Page