View Full Version : Anamorphic vs. Non?

12-16-2000, 02:29 AM
over in the DVD Double Feature thread (one of the best in a while), we got to talking a bit about Anamorphic vs. Non-Anamorphic. it's an issue that's talked about endlessly. i thought i would (yet again) make a new thread on the subject:

some folks refuse to buy a DVD unless it's got the ole' anamorphic treatment. this is a strange and bizarre concept to me, and i'm hoping to understand that attitude.

first off, i'm no DVD techno expert. i couldn't tell you the details about the quantity of pixels, or this or that and the other thing. i do, however, have fairly decent vision.

recently, the Sony store here in Chicago had a series of DVD Experience workshops. part of these included a demo on amamorphic vs. non. for the most part, i could barely tell the difference.

i firmly believe that overall picture quality has 10x more to do with the quality of your television than with whether or not it's an anamorphic vs. non DVD.

Sony hauled out the KWP-65HD1; their latest HDTV that costs more than a decent, used Range Rover. it's an amazing piece of hardware. during the DVD experience session i really could barely tell the difference. they ran the same tests and demos on a variety of television sizes and types, and the pictures were very similar. it was only when you got down into their base models that you began to notice a break-up in quality with the non-anamorphic discs. (the non still having a superb picture, regardless.)

i just think that some people have convinced themselves that anamorphic is vastly superior (remember the CD vs. vinyl debates of the early 80s?).

is an anamorphic picture better than non? of course. is anamorphic vastly superior? no way. if it is, my vision isn't as good as i think it is...

any thoughts? am i missing something? should i become an amamorphiac?

[This message has been edited by landrvr (edited 12-15-2000).]

12-16-2000, 03:48 AM
Of all the movies I have, I couldn't really tell you what is or isn't an anamorphic transfer. It's never been a factor in my decision to buy or not to buy a film. I haven't got a top of the line TV, but on my 35 inch Sony Trinitron, I don't think there's much of a difference. I do notice a difference between some new films and some old films (the new films being better most of the time), as well as between bigger name labels and the small guys. But, like a lot of people, I'm more concerned with having a movie that won't wear out the more I watch it. You should see my poor VHS copy of Reform School Girls!!! It's getting SOOOOO difficult to watch!!!
The extras on the DVD's (when available) are nice to have too, but still not (much of) a factor in my buying decisions either.

12-16-2000, 06:02 AM
In my studies Ive learned that the main reasoning for anamorphic transfers is to please the people who have 16:9 tvs, there is no problem with that, that wasn't a threat to you lucky widescreen pleabians,lol.

Wanna see something really scary? Vistit http://www.SavageCinema.com

12-16-2000, 07:12 AM
On a regular T.V. you can hardly notice the difference at all, regardless of the size, but like mentioned earlier, Anamorphic DVD's are essential on 16:9 T.V.'s. On 16:9 T.V's they expand to use the whole T.V., while if it is not Anamorphic there will be black bars on both the top and bottom, and the sides. In America, Cable will be upgraded to widescreen by 2005, so 16:9 T.V.'s are sure to become standard. So by investing in Anamorphic DVD's, your DVD's will not seem dated when viewed on your new Anamorphic T.V. For me, I am buying DVD's so I have definitive versions of the films I love that will last forever, and since 16:9 is the future of television (IMO), why not buy a DVD that will take advantage of next years technology. There is a really good article on Anamorphic vs. Non-Anamorphic DVD's over at the digital bits. The link there is <a href="http://www.thedigitalbits.com/articles/anamorphic/index.html">http://www.thedigitalbits.com/articles/anamorphic/index.html</a>

Hope this helps!

"i spent eight years trying to reach him, and then another seven trying to keep him locked up for i realized what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply...evil." - Dr. Loomis, Halloween

[This message has been edited by rhett (edited 12-16-2000).]

12-16-2000, 08:20 AM
If your TV or your video projector is not 16:9 compatible and you have to compress the anamorphic picture on the DVD player side, the picture quality will not be superior to a nonanamorphic one.

As a movie lover, who is sometimes forced to even buy VHS tapes, I don't see any reason to be an anamorphiac. When I buy a disc, I am pleased if it is anamorphic but that's all.

Besides, there are some relatively cheap tweaks to improve on your video quality. You can have your TV set fine tuned for better picture quality and upgrade your video cables. If you are using the composite video output of your DVD player, you should by all means try to use the SVHS or even better the RGB video output, if your TV set has the appropriate inputs. With quality cables, the difference will be immediately noticable.

12-16-2000, 09:26 AM
I agree with everything said so far, but I want to add one complaint about anamorphic transfers when watching them on a standard television.

They flash 60% of the time. You know what I'm talking about, all too brief white flashes within the black bars of the picture. Now most of the time, I can chalk it up to being part of the down conversion, remind myself that once I go 16:9 they won't happen and go about enjoying the movie in question.

Then there are those cases when it seems to happen every couple of minutes. The worst cases I've seen are always with Paramount DVDs for some reason. Thankfully this doesn't happen to the two anamorphic titles I watch the most from them (South Park BLU and Star Trek 2), but theres a couple that I can barely watch at all one of them being Sleepy Hollow.

How do I know its only a problem with 16:9 titles? Cause it's never happened with the non-enhanced ones, not once.

So between that and the whole issue of laserdiscs not being able to remove the black bars, you'll have to excuse me when I scoff at all the bitching that goes on around here...

12-16-2000, 10:40 AM
Django, I did not experience the problem you mention with the anamorphic transfers on my standard TV set. Probably your DVD players down conversion is the cause. But I will check various anamorphic titles again, especially Sleepy Hollow.

12-16-2000, 02:31 PM
I will buy non-anamorphic discs if I like the movie but it annoys and concerns me greatly. When 16:9 TVs come along (and they will) those non-anamorphic discs will look awful. You will have black bars not only on the top and bottom, but the sides as well.

As for anamorphic now, I have never seen any down conversion effects. Believe me, flashing in the black bars would really annoy me, but I see none of that.

"You know the rules, when we work undercover we have to remain faceless."
"Oh, I get it, just in case we kill lots of innocent people."
Frank and Ozzy, Bad Taste

12-16-2000, 07:00 PM
Yeah, I agree, Django...it's probably the way your player handles downconversion. Some players do it better than others...

My DVD list (http://www.dvdtracker.com/~ctyner) | bigwolfoncampus.org (http://www.bigwolfoncampus.org)

12-16-2000, 08:43 PM
If you want to be sure the artifacts you're seeing are due to poor down-conversion, just watch the same scene, but set the player to 16X9. Yes, everyone will be skinny, but if the artifacts go away, there's your answer.

One disc I noticed a few artifacts on was Deep Red. Watch the scene where Marc first enters the house. He goes up the stairs, and the railing just seems to......move. That goes away in 16X9 mode.

The Toshiba players seem to be the worst at down-conversion. Of course, that's the one I own.

Finally, new TVs that are coming out (so far, just the Sony Wega) have 16X9 capability, even though they're normal 4X3 shape. They look pretty damn good, and I'll be buying one soon.

12-16-2000, 09:20 PM
I know it isnt a horror film, but wasnt NORTH BY NORTHWEST in order to satisfy the anamorphic fanatics, they had to crop a 1.66 movie into 1.85, thus cropping more info on the top and bottom, which lead to a huge pro/anti anamorphic thread/debate at another board? It was so bizarre, you had the anamorphic fanatics pretty much saying they would rahter see a "cropped" NORTH BY NORTHWEST as long as its anamorphic while film purist was trying the best to tell them they are wrong, in that rather be non anamorphic to see the film as intended by the director! LOL

DVD Connoisseur
12-16-2000, 10:11 PM
ArrowBeach, I agree with you 100%...a movie should be shown in its correct aspect ratio - it really does annoy me when a studio tampers with the film so that it fits into the 16:9 anamorphic scheme of things. That's just plain wrong.

12-16-2000, 10:24 PM
There was a lot more to that North by Northwest discussion that you're leaving out.

There's also absolutely no reason a 1.66:1 movie has to be non-anamorphic. I have quite a few anamorphic 1.66:1 releases.

My DVD list (http://www.dvdtracker.com/~ctyner) | bigwolfoncampus.org (http://www.bigwolfoncampus.org)

12-16-2000, 10:25 PM
For the record, I have an RCA that has never given me problems save for the down conversion...

12-18-2000, 10:00 PM
I just watched Sleepy Hollow over the weekend, and I didn't see any flashes - and I don't think I've ever seen anything like that on good anamorphic releases (as opposed to crap like Simitar's Bay of Blood that flickers and stuff).

I have a Panasonic A110 that usually works pretty well.