Converting Full Screen to Wide Screen

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by sniderwj, May 24, 2008.

  1. sniderwj macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 20, 2008
    #1
    So before I got a nice big TV I would buy Full scree versions of movies and now that I am moving my movies over to my :apple:TV I was wondering if there was a way that I can convert my full screen stuff to wide screen. Right now I'm using Handbrake to do it directly. I would expect that the picture might be stretched if I did do that? I dunno but I figured this might be a place to start asking.

    Thanks
    -Wes
     
  2. Sijmen macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 7, 2005
    #2
    Basically there are three options:

    1. Removing content at the top and bottom.
    2. Stretching horizontally. Some tricks could be applied, such as stretching the sides more than the center – this is what our widescreen television does with 4:3 content by default.
    3. A combination of both.

    In all three options, you're losing stuff. You can't add what's not there (the extra content at the sides).
     
  3. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 4, 2008
    #3
    Some full screen movies actually have all of the information that the widescreen version has, plus additional information at the top and bottom (not all full screen DVDs are pan 'n' scan). This is called Open Matte (the movie is shot in full screen, then mattes are used to block off the top and the bottom in order to make the movie widescreen). A good percentage of 1.85:1 movies (ones that fill or almost fill a 16x9 screen) are filmed this way. A good way to check is to view the DVD in the zoom mode that's designed for watching non-anamorphic widescreen movies (this mode should be a straight zoom, no stretch). If it looks like you're not missing anything while watching it, there's a good chance the movie is open matte. To create a widescreen version, simply crop the top and bottom of the picture.

    For example, I have full screen versions of Doc Hollywood and the two Grumpy Old Men movies. When watching them, I simply zoom in on them like they're non-anamorphic widescreen DVDs. It's pretty obvious when watching them that they were filmed to be matted (the image doesn't look cropped). If I were to convert these for AppleTV, I'd use HB to crop them so that are are widescreen. The information I'd be cropping would be information that was intended to be matted, so I would actually be returning the films to their intended state.
     
  4. akm3 macrumors 68020

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    Nov 15, 2007
    #4
    Some Open Matte stuff actually ruins the intent of the movie.

    For example, in A Fish Called Wanda, John Cleese is supposed to be standing naked when people walk in the door (you can only see his back, but not his 'bottom'), however, in the open matte version it shows below his waist and you see he is actually wearing boxer shorts. This makes the scene make no sense as intended.

    You just can't win with 4:3, 16x9 and 2.35:1 all the way :) (Except for stanley kubrick)
     
  5. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 4, 2008
    #5
    It would be more accurate to say that displaying a movie open matte can ruin certain scenes, like the one you mentioned (I wouldn’t say this ruins the entire movie). However, if a fullscreen movie is open matte instead of pan ‘n’ scan, you can zoom in on it like it’s a non-anamorphic DVD and the result is a proper widescreen image with the intended framing (if it’s a perfect open matte presentation).

    So, my point was that a lot of fullscreen DVDs actually have all the information required for a proper widescreen presentation, they just need to be cropped. You can use Handbrake to crop away the parts of the image that were intended to be matted.

    It’s my opinion that open matte is not nearly as bad as pan ‘n’ scan, which really can ruin movies. Pan ‘n’ scan destroys the composition of scenes and you cannot “zoom” it back to a proper presentation.

    If you said “you can’t win with pan ‘n’ scan” I’d agree with you. However, pretty much every movie released prior to 1953 was 4:3. You can’t win with Casablanca? Miracle on 34th Street? Citizen Kane? And what about classic 4:3 TV shows?
     
  6. akm3 macrumors 68020

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    Nov 15, 2007
    #6
    You know, my Open Matte points were back in the laserdisc days, and before widescreen TV's...I never even considered you could simply 'zoom' on a modern TV and have a perfect picture :) Good point!

    I did certainly mean to say ruin a 'scene' not a whole movie (most people wouldn't even notice most of the open matte gaffes)

    Good point about the older, pre 'Wide-era' films. I confess that I don't watch many of those, and when I do it's not on my home theater - thats more for the whiz bang loud stuff in my house. I'm an uncultured oaf!
     
  7. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 4, 2008
    #7
    I figure converting DVDs with HB is a good way to "fix" some of my old open matte and non-anamorphic DVDs. When I get my new MacPro, that's going to be one of my priorities.
     
  8. gwsat macrumors 68000

    gwsat

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    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #8
    I agree that Handbrake should be an ideal tool to return to OAR a movie that been shown open matte in 4:3. So far, though, I haven’t changed to 16:9 the aspect ratio of any of the 4:3 DVDs I have ripped and converted to MP4 with Handbrake. It’s a good idea, maybe I’ll try it.
     
  9. mallbritton macrumors 6502

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    Nov 26, 2006
    #9
    I'm sorry, but cropping a 4:3, full screen DVD image will not return it to the original aspect ratio. When a full screen DVD is created about one quarter of the OAR is lopped off either side of the image when it is matted to 4:3. If you want the film in its original aspect ratio, "enhanced for 16:9 TVs" then you need to buy a new copy of the movie. As Sijmen has already pointed out: you can't restore what's not there.

    Regards,
    Michael
     
  10. gwsat macrumors 68000

    gwsat

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    Tulsa
    #10
    It's of course true that you can't restore what's not there. But some films shown 4:3 do contain all of the horizontal information. For example, many movies made in Super35 format are transferred to 4:3 for television with the top and bottom of the frame restored, so that you actually see more of the picture on the 4:3 version than you did in the theater. There is a downside, however. Scenes which include special effects in them are almost always filmed hard-matted in the appropriate widescreen ratio and therefore must be subjected to the pan-and-scan process. Here’s a link:

    http://www.cinemasource.com/products/theatrical_aspect_ratios.html

    See the Super 35 section on the Web page.
     
  11. akm3 macrumors 68020

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    Nov 15, 2007
    #11
    They are saying for Open Matte 4:3 material, in which case the OAR actually IS there, with even more material on the top and bottom. Crop an open matte 4:3 image to 1.85 and you've restored the original aspect ratio.
     
  12. mallbritton macrumors 6502

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    Nov 26, 2006
    #12
    Well if you guys can figure out what movies are actually shot in this Super35 format than more power to ya. Let's just try not to give anyone the impression that cropping any full screen DVD will restore the original aspect ratio of the film. There are mostly likely very, very few full screen DVDs this process would work well on.

    Can you tell I'm skeptical? :)

    Regards,
    Michael
     
  13. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 4, 2008
    #13
    You guys need to do a little research on "open matte". Many movies are shot in 4:3, then matted to create a 1.85:1 image. When they are shown in theaters, mattes are applied to create the widescreen image. When they want to create a fullscreen DVD or video tape, they show the full frame (they "open" the mattes). In this thread alone there have been four movies mentioned that fall into this category: A Fish Called Wanda, Doc Hollywood and the two Grumpy Old Men movies.

    As mentioned, if there are special effects shots applied after shooting, they often do not apply these to the image, so they end up having to pan 'n' scan these scenes for a fullscreen DVD. However, many comedies and dramas were released as fullscreen DVDs that are pure open matte. These can be turned into proper widescreen movies with simple cropping.

    Yes, there are many movies that are pan 'n' scanned; these cannot be turned back into a proper widescreen presentation. But many movies (a good percentage of the 1.85:1 films) are open matte.
     
  14. mallbritton macrumors 6502

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    Nov 26, 2006
    #14
    These kinds of questions are exactly why I've never bought a full screen video (VHS or DVD) when the widescreen version was available. I want to see the film as it was presented in the theater, i.e. in its original aspect ratio (OAR).

    In my opinion when a movie is released in "open matte" on DVD it spoils the film makers original intent by not displaying the image properly. A notable exception to this is Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, which he filmed with the intent of releasing the full frame to the home video market. However I still want the theatrical OAR version.

    Regards,
    Michael
     
  15. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 4, 2008
    #15
    I am a big believer in viewing movies in their original aspect ratios. Unfortunately, not every movie has been released on DVD in it's OAR. When I learned about the concept of open matte, I realized that some fullscreen DVDs contained the full widescreen image plus extra information at the top and bottom of the screen. With my widescreen TV, I can zoom in on these discs exactly the same as if they were non-anamorphic widescreen discs and view the film in it's proper aspect ratio. The only open matte discs I've bought were both cheap and not available in widescreen.

    Anyway, the point of my adding Open Matte to this discussion is that, if you have a bunch of fullscreen DVDs, you can probably turn some of them into proper widescreen movies using Handbrake. If they're pan 'n' scan, you're out of luck; if they're open matte, it should work (for a good portion, anyway).

    By the way, I remembered another open matte DVD: My Fellow Americans.
     
  16. akm3 macrumors 68020

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    Nov 15, 2007
    #16
    Fortunately, most DVD's are now released with the proper aspect ratio, so we don't have to do any of this nonsense. WalMart is still a big offender carrying/preferring the 'Full Screen' version. And, most of these 'full screen' versions are NOT Open Matte, but pan and scan versions of the wider picture (i.e. you are losing picture on the left and right of the image)

    Most Open Matte stuff appears on the earlier DVD's (late 90's era) and it is still relatively rare. Quite a few laserdiscs were open matte as well, but who cares about that these days :)

    (Still have my LaserDisc player running downstiars...but I haven't used it in over three years :(
     
  17. mallbritton macrumors 6502

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    Nov 26, 2006
    #17
    I realize this idea may not appeal to everyone in this discussion but why not just avoid the hassle and buy the movie in the original aspect ratio from the iTunes Store? For many people this could be a viable solution.

    I'm just throwing this out there for the sake of discussion.

    Regards,
    Michael
     
  18. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 4, 2008
    #18
    I believe it depends more on how the movie was filmed than when the DVD was released. It's my understanding that a pretty high percentage of 1.85:1 films are shot full screen. Then, when they want to release a fullscreen DVD, they show the whole frame. Of course, this often isn't true for special effects laden films, but most comedies, for example would fall into this category.
     
  19. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 4, 2008
    #19
    If you have a substantial collection of fullscreen DVDs (which the OP implied he had), that would be an expensive proposition. Plus, it assumes that the iTunes store carries the movies you're interested in. In my case, they do not offer the four open matte movies I've got on DVD.

    The way I look at it, when I get my new MacPro in a few months, I will convert these four open matte discs, plus most of my non-anamorphic DVDs for AppleTV so I don't have to mess with zooming anymore.
     
  20. mallbritton macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Sure someone wouldn't replace all their movies at once, and of course not all of them might be available.

    But why not use the iTunes Store to replace some DVD's that might be full screen? I've replaced my ancient copy of 2010, which had a rather low resolution on the DVD, with a copy from the iTunes Stores that actually looks better and has a full resolution of approximately 850x356, anamorphic.

    Regards,
    Michael
     
  21. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 4, 2008
    #21
    Other than money and availability, there's no reason not to replace fullscreen DVDs with iTunes downloads or widescreen DVDs/Blu-ray discs. However, those are two pretty good reasons.
     

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