Film-Tech Cinema Systems
Film-Tech Forum

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile | my password | register | search | faq & rules | forum home
  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Film-Tech Forum   » Community   » The Afterlife   » 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen (DVD)?

Author Topic: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen (DVD)?
Dave Bird
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 753
From: Perth, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Jun 2000

 - posted 02-03-2002 11:59 AM      Profile for Dave Bird   Author's Homepage   Email Dave Bird   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Watched "Meet The Parents" on DVD last night. Stamped on the disc was "1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen". What does that mean? Flat movies are not anamorphic as I understand. Is this just "confuse the public buzzword marketing"? The only thing I can think of: Does this refer to the fact that they shrink my 4:3 television image to give me the 1.85:1?

 |  IP: Logged

John Walsh
Film God

Posts: 2490
From: Connecticut, USA, Earth, Milky Way
Registered: Oct 1999

 - posted 02-03-2002 12:14 PM      Profile for John Walsh   Email John Walsh   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't know the exact way it's done, but they do "squeeze" the image on the DVD such that it must be unsqueezed when played back. You need a newer DVD player with the "unsqueeze" feature.

I think it's done for the same reason they do it with film; to get a wider aspect ratio on the existing format. It allows them to use more of the "image area" (only electronically) to show 1.85. It's not just a buzzword.

 |  IP: Logged

Ian Price
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1714
From: Denver, CO
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 02-03-2002 12:15 PM      Profile for Ian Price   Email Ian Price   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Widescreen does mean that they shrank the picture to letterbox on your television. But I'll bet that Anamorphic Widescreen means that if you turned the DVD over in your player you would find a squished image. Some 16x9 monitors include a circuit to un-sqeeze this image so you see full resolution top to bottom and widescreen.

 |  IP: Logged

Adam Martin
I'm not even gonna point out the irony.

Posts: 3661
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: Nov 2000

 - posted 02-03-2002 12:19 PM      Profile for Adam Martin   Author's Homepage   Email Adam Martin       Edit/Delete Post 
Normally, a 4:3 picture on DVD will use a resolution of 720x480. With a letterboxed image, a good amount of those 480 lines are black. Instead of wasting that data space by storing black pixels, the disc is authored with the actual picture area using all 480 lines of data and the DVD player "anamorphically" unsqueezes the picture to look letterboxed. This allows the picture to use more data to create the same sized image. Similar to how Scope movies use full-frame to create a wider projected picture.

If you were to watch the disc without the automatic unsqueeze, it would look like a scope movie projected with a flat lens and scope plate.

(Good God, three answers at the same time! And yes, the widescreen televisions will unsqueeze this sideways and eliminate the letterbox.)

 |  IP: Logged

Dave Bird
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 753
From: Perth, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Jun 2000

 - posted 02-03-2002 03:05 PM      Profile for Dave Bird   Author's Homepage   Email Dave Bird   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks guys!

 |  IP: Logged

John Pytlak
Film God

Posts: 9987
From: Rochester, NY 14650-1922
Registered: Jan 2000

 - posted 02-04-2002 01:47 PM      Profile for John Pytlak   Author's Homepage   Email John Pytlak   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The setup menu of your DVD player should give you the option of setting it for the anamorphic display. On a standard 4:3 monitor, it will fill the screen and have a squeezed image. But on a true 16:9 monitor, or 4:3 monitor like a Sony WEGA that can be set to display 16:9, it will be 1.85:1 with the maximum possible vertical resolution.

John P. Pytlak, Senior Technical Specialist
Worldwide Technical Services, Entertainment Imaging
Research Labs, Building 69, Room 7525A
Rochester, New York, 14650-1922 USA
Tel: 716-477-5325 Cell: 716-781-4036 Fax: 716-722-7243
Web site:

 |  IP: Logged

Evans A Criswell
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1579
From: Huntsville, AL, USA
Registered: Mar 2000

 - posted 02-04-2002 03:16 PM      Profile for Evans A Criswell   Author's Homepage   Email Evans A Criswell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Many people have complained in the past that DVDs are often not labeled in a consistent manner concerning anomorphic encoding. Any of the following phrases:

Enhanced for widescreen TVs
Enhanced for 16:9 TVs
Anamorphic video
Anamorphic 1.85:1
Anamorphic 2.35:1

are used. There may be others. In the early days of DVD, many disks were not anamorphically encoded. To make matters worse, there were some disks that had packaging indicating anamorphic transfers, but weren't, and some disks were anamorphic, but the packaging did not mention it anywhere.

As people have stated before, DVDs have a resolution of 720 by 480, and that resolution can fit either a 4:3 (1.33:1) area or a 16:9 (1.78:1) area. In neither case are the pixels square.

For 4:3 material on a 4:3 set, the 720 by 480 resolution is fit into a 4:3 rectangle, using the entire screen. (Duh)

For 16:9 material on a 4:3 set, the 720 by 480 image is converted to a resolution of 720 by 360 for display, which produces a 1.78:1 image on the 4:3 set (remember, the pixels aren't square).

For 16:9 material on a 16:9 set, the 720 by 480 image is fit into a 16:9 rectangle, using the entire screen. (Duh)

For scope movies, unfortunately, rather than having a different anamorphic squeeze factor, the 2.39:1 image is letterboxed into the 16:9 rectangle (a 720 by 327 image), which gets converted down to a measly 720 by 268 for viewing on a 4:3 set). Most flat movies are probably transferred at 1.78:1 rather than being slightly cropped to 1.85:1.

The anamorphic squeeze factor for DVD is 1.33, which is much more gentle than film's 2:1.

Evans A Criswell
Huntsville-Decatur Movie Theatre Information Site

 |  IP: Logged

Dave Bird
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 753
From: Perth, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Jun 2000

 - posted 02-04-2002 09:31 PM      Profile for Dave Bird   Author's Homepage   Email Dave Bird   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thankfully, my player's default is to show it in the proper cinematic ratio, I haven't even bothered to find out how to switch to pan-n-scan.

 |  IP: Logged

Aaron Haney
Master Film Handler

Posts: 265
From: Cupertino, CA, USA
Registered: Jan 2001

 - posted 02-05-2002 02:37 AM      Profile for Aaron Haney   Email Aaron Haney   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think you've misunderstood. If a disc contains both the pan-n-scan and the letterboxed version of a film, they are stored as completely separate copies of the video, usually on separate sides of the disc (but sometimes on the same side, accessed through the menus). When you tell your player what type of screen you have (4:3 or 16:9), it only affects how 16:9 enhanced material gets displayed.

Now what I just said isn't quite the whole story, because on every player I've seen, there is more than just the option to tell it whether you have a 4:3 or 16:9 TV. There are always three options. 16:9, 4:3 letterbox, and 4:3 full frame. I'm not sure what the difference is between those last two, as they both appear to have the exact same effect. As long as you choose one of the two "4:3" options, and it doesn't seem to matter which, 16:9 enhanced discs will show up correctly on your display.

It seems the distinction between the two 4:3 options stems from part of the DVD standard that so far has not been used by any discs in circulation. This question in the "official" DVD FAQ gives a bit more info. It talks about "automatic pan & scan mode" for 16:9 video on 4:3 screens, which is probably why there are two 4:3 options on most players rather than just one, but as far as I know, there are no released discs which use this, so it really doesn't matter which of the two 4:3 options one chooses. They will both have the same effect.

Now, when it comes to labelling, I think they should avoid the term "anamorphic" on DVD covers altogether. Why? Because, as Evans pointed out, in a sense, all DVDs are anamorphic. That is, the pixels are always non-square. If you were to consider the pixels of a 720x480 image to be square, its aspect ratio would be 3:2 (1.5:1). No television in the world is that aspect ratio! So, in the case of 4:3 video, the image must be slightly squeezed in the horizontal direction in order to make it fit. And in the case of 16:9 video, it must be slightly stretched in the horizontal direction in order to make it fit. In both cases, the image is "anamorphic". So, it is misleading for the packages to say "anamorphic" in some cases and not in others. Instead, they should say "enhanced for 16:9 TVs" in cases of 16:9 discs, and nothing at all in the case where it is 4:3. A few discs do actually use this labelling scheme, but most do not.

Here is a little more info:

 |  IP: Logged

Dave Williams
Wet nipple scene

Posts: 1836
From: Salt Lake City, UT, USA
Registered: Jan 2000

 - posted 02-05-2002 03:13 AM      Profile for Dave Williams   Author's Homepage   Email Dave Williams   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Time for me to chime in here. I used to work for a video rental chain here in Utah and we were the first nationwide to get into DVD rentals. We did extensive research on the subject as the technology was getting readied and we purchased the first machines and DVD's right from the manufacturer so we could immediately get them to rental.

Here is what we knew then, and I am sure it applies now, about DVD's.

1. there are two kinds of widescreen presentations,

When a DVD is letterboxed, it is presented in its theatrical release format, but on a 4:3 or television frame with the black bands at the top and the bottom. You see the same thing on some flat prints that are HARD MATTED. This means that the top and bottom of the frame are cut off. If you show it on a 16:9 screen, you will have to zoom in to make it fit the screen, as it is encoded at 4:3 with the bands at the top and the bottom, resulting in lower resolution.

When a DVD is in an ANAMORPHIC ratio, and it can be at this in the 1:85 or 2:35 or whatever format, it actually takes the entire image and compresses it into the 4:3 tv screen. Your dvd player will automatically be set to to the 4:3 tv screen, and will decode the film appropriately. You will see it in the correct format. If you have a 16:9 screen, you then tell your DVD player to compensate in its settings, and you will fill the screen, with much better resolution than the letterboxed version, because it uses all the pixels to create the image, and has no black bands at the top and bottom. In anamorphic DVD's the black bands you see at the top and bottom on your 4:3 screen are placed there by the DVD player, and not encoded into the DVD itself, as it is with letterboxed.


it is really necessary to know if a DVD is anamorphic or letterboxed.

Anamorphic = more resolution

Letterboxed = less resolution

Theres my two cents, and now I am broke.


 |  IP: Logged

All times are Central (GMT -6:00)  
Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic    Move Topic    Delete Topic    next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:

Powered by Infopop Corporation

The Film-Tech Forums are designed for various members related to the cinema industry to express their opinions, viewpoints and testimonials on various products, services and events based upon speculation, personal knowledge and factual information through use, therefore all views represented here allow no liability upon the publishers of this web site and the owners of said views assume no liability for any ill will resulting from these postings. The posts made here are for educational as well as entertainment purposes and as such anyone viewing this portion of the website must accept these views as statements of the author of that opinion and agrees to release the authors from any and all liability.

© 1999-2018 Film-Tech Cinema Systems, LLC. All rights reserved.