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Old 08-29-2015, 06:07 PM   #401
ZoetMB ZoetMB is offline
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Originally Posted by garyrc View Post
I believe the Coronet got THX certification just as soon as it became available. Thomas H (what was his name?) reportedly didn't like horn loaded bass, but in the one published study I saw, they did not consider Frequency Modulation distortion. Still, the theater sounded great with many later films over the next many years.
It was Tomlinson Holman.

Frequency Modulation distortion? How does that apply to movie sound? Are you sure you're not referring to harmonic distortion, which every amp and speaker system is subject to?

Personally, I never liked horns either. They always sounded metallic to me, as does much digital audio.

And in the Star Wars era, 70mm presentation used the Dolby "baby-boom" format, which was 5 channels, not 4: L, Le, C, Re, R behind the screen (+ optional subwoofer) and mono surround. Le and Re were low frequencies only. The subwoofer was not a separate track - it was a feed from channels 2 and 4 through another low pass filter.

Beginning with Apocalypse Now, some films used split surround where the surrounds were stereo. This was accomplished by spitting the signal out of tracks 2 and 4 through low pass and high pass filters: the lower frequencies went to Le and Re and the higher frequencies went to the stereo surround speakers combined with the low frequencies from track 6 (the former mono surround track). This enabled them to get 7 channels out of 6 tracks.

When I saw "Star Wars" in 70mm at the Loews Astor Plaza in NYC, the sound was far inferior to "Close Encounters..." at the Ziegfeld. But it wasn't strident. It just didn't have as much impact.
loose="not tight", lose="can't find it, doesn't have anymore" or the opposite of "win".
their="belongs to", there="place", they're="they are", there's = "there is"
it's="it is", for everything else use "its"
then="after", than="compared with"
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Old 08-29-2015, 10:57 PM   #402
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Originally Posted by ZoetMB View Post
...
Frequency Modulation distortion? How does that apply to movie sound? Are you sure you're not referring to harmonic distortion, which every amp and speaker system is subject to?

Personally, I never liked horns either. They always sounded metallic to me, as does much digital audio.
...

When I saw "Star Wars" in 70mm at the Loews Astor Plaza in NYC, the sound was far inferior to "Close Encounters..." at the Ziegfeld. But it wasn't strident. It just didn't have as much impact.
Thanks for the information.

Frequency Modulation distortion not the same as Harmonic distortion. I'm no expert, but "horny" designers say that Frequency Modulation distortion (so- called Doppler distortion) interferes with with clarity of attack in the bass (in theaters, the midrange and treble have less of a problem, because they are almost always horn loaded). With the same woofer cones, a good horn design can provide about 1/3 the Frequency Modulation distortion at a given SPL as can a non-horn (e.g., ported) design, everything else being held equal. The problem (as I understand it) is that the greater the cone excursion, the more the higher bass "rides" back and forth on a cone producing the mid bass and lower bass, with the resulting Doppler effect producing blurring, and a "looser" sound. A woofer in a horn loaded design moves much less, frequency for frequency, at a given SPL. There is good news and bad news. The good news is that the burden has been (largely) taken off of home and theater main front woofers with the use of subwoofers. The bad news is 1) bass attack frequencies above the crossover still need to be produced by a direct radiator, unless horn loaded, and 2) the subwoofers themselves move over a wide excursion -- but at least the frequencies above the crossover no longer have to ride on a wildly moving cone that is also producing deep bass (at least in HT, I don't know whether theaters are using a true crossover, which would protect the main woofers from VLF, or low pass filters, which would not). Several horn loaded subwoofers are now available to HT users to try to get around the problem. Some are DIY, and some from manufacturers. I believe Klipsch came out with one this year, but I'm not sure.

The metallic sound you are talking about would be in the range that is still horn loaded in commercial theaters ... at the moment, I don't think there is an alternative, because of the size of the theaters, and the SPL needed. But, I don't find most horns metallic with good program material, and good equipment. The Coronet used to be fully horn loaded, during its best days. After all of the changes we have been talking about, it always used horns above the bass range and always had a warm sound (except for Star Wars). I preferred the bass attack of the older mag films during the time the Coronet was fully horn loaded. The non-horn loaded bass at our local IMAX is unimpressive in that regard. Of course, modern films have an extra octave of bass, at least. We use horns in our HT and music listening room (except for the sub, unfortunately) and like them better than the alternatives we have heard. The source makes a huge difference. The rank order of sound quality in our home, across various media, starting at the best, is: Blu-ray sound, SACD or DVD-A, with CD at the bottom. Some of the CD sound might be called metallic, but I'd say slightly strident instead. Our longer horns are not made of metal, but of something else that looks like braced fiberglass.

True, digital sounds worse than analog, but with some of the newer Blu-rays with DTS HD Master, I think they are finally getting how to record it. My old recording professor, who was in the industry for about 40 years told me they took decades to learn how to baby analog, so it may take a while with digital. Also, I prefer tubes to ss, but have nothing but ss now. Ss has improved over the early years, when too much negative feedback lowered THD, but elevated TIM. My dead Luxman sounded "tube-like."

What you said about Close Encounters vs Star Wars in the two theaters was interesting. The theater makes such a difference. I saw both of the above movies at the Coronet; CE sounded better balanced. To be fair to Star Wars, the stridency occurred only during some parts of the score, and with R2D2's noises. When they re-released it -- also at the Coronet -- years later, in 35 mm and a dull sounding print, the stridency was gone, even with R2D2, but the shimmer was gone, as well. San Francisco used to have 6 70mm theaters, and they all sounded different, with the Coronet being the best.
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Old 08-29-2015, 11:21 PM   #403
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Originally Posted by garyrc View Post
True, digital sounds worse than analog, but with some of the newer Blu-rays with DTS HD Master, I think they are finally getting how to record it.
You should hear some of the new ones with Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1

Gravity and Mad Max: Fury Road are one of the best soundmixes ever on Blu.
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Old 09-01-2017, 06:16 PM   #404
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Hi i read for best realism in racing games one should have the tv/projector set at size/distance to get the same viewing angle as the field of view setting in the game.

Now im wondering what the field of view is in movies at various aspect ratios ?
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Old 09-02-2017, 01:42 AM   #405
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Originally Posted by eleganto View Post
Hi i read for best realism in racing games one should have the tv/projector set at size/distance to get the same viewing angle as the field of view setting in the game.

Now im wondering what the field of view is in movies at various aspect ratios ?
If, by field of view or viewing angle, you mean angle of coverage, it varies within each aspect ratio, depending on what lens the director selected for that particular shot.

A "long lens" provides a narrow field of view, and delivers a relatively close-up view of whatever is being shot. A "short lens" provides a wide angle of view.
All this is independent of aspect ratio, and each screen process has a set of lenses with a variety of angles of view. For instance, 70 mm Todd-AO originally had a "bug eye" extremely short lens with a super wide angle of coverage, which took in 128 degrees. It was nicknamed "Bugs." That particular lens was used for very few shots, though. Dimension 150 (D-150) had a lens that took in 150 degrees, but, I believe, all shots with that lens for the two films made with that process (John Huston's The Bible ... in the beginning and Patton) ended up on the cutting room floor. Both D150 and 70 mm Todd-AO had other very wide angle lenses, as well as a selection of relatively narrow angle ones. The [U]effective[U] aspect ratio of each -- in the theater -- depended on where you were sitting in regard to the deeply curving screen. In the camera, both had an aspect ratio of 2.2:1.

The original, three camera, three projector Cinerama was an exception. All shots had a 146 degree field of view. So, for Cinerama, sitting in a spot in the theater that would make the image 146 degrees wide might make sense. That would mean way down front!

Last edited by garyrc; 09-02-2017 at 01:47 AM.
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Old 09-02-2017, 06:10 AM   #406
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Thanks for the information.

Frequency Modulation distortion not the same as Harmonic distortion. I'm no expert, but "horny" designers say that Frequency Modulation distortion (so- called Doppler distortion) interferes with with clarity of attack in the bass (in theaters, the midrange and treble have less of a problem, because they are almost always horn loaded).
I don't know everything, but I'm an ex-recording engineer and I would maintain that there is no such thing as far as a theater b-chain is concerned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by garyrc View Post
What you said about Close Encounters vs Star Wars in the two theaters was interesting. The theater makes such a difference. I saw both of the above movies at the Coronet; CE sounded better balanced. To be fair to Star Wars, the stridency occurred only during some parts of the score, and with R2D2's noises. When they re-released it -- also at the Coronet -- years later, in 35 mm and a dull sounding print, the stridency was gone, even with R2D2, but the shimmer was gone, as well. San Francisco used to have 6 70mm theaters, and they all sounded different, with the Coronet being the best.
Of course the theater makes a difference and the Coronet was amazingly good. I saw one of the Lethal Weapon movies there (I think it was the third) and the separation was so good that it literally sounded like there were live actors in the center of the screen and a live orchestra playing the soundtrack to the left and right.

One of the differences between the presentation of CE and Star Wars in NYC was that a lot of extra equipment was added for CE at the Ziegfeld and also at a theater in Los Angeles. They bolted the screen speakers to 3/4" plywood fronts, which is what THX eventually did; they added 8 Cerwin Vega Baby Earthquakes and 21 Bose 901 surrounds. It sounded spectacular.

A revival of CE is playing at the local Dolby Vision theater in NYC. I'm going to see it next week hoping it looks and sounds at least as good as did originally in 70mm. But I'm pessimistic that it's simply going to be too damned loud.
loose="not tight", lose="can't find it, doesn't have anymore" or the opposite of "win".
their="belongs to", there="place", they're="they are", there's = "there is"
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Old 09-02-2017, 08:39 AM   #407
garyrc garyrc is offline
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I don't know everything, but I'm an ex-recording engineer and I would maintain that there is no such thing as far as a theater b-chain is concerned.
Of course, I don't know everything either, but my understanding is that all loudspeakers are vulnerable to Frequency Modulation distortion, but it is minimized by minimizing excursion. Properly designed horn loading minimizes both. With the same speakers installed, a good direct radiator tends to produce something like 3 times the FMD as a good horn. A speaker with low frequency modulation distortion tends to produce fewer sidebands than one with higher FMD.

There are many articles on this. If you (still) belong to AES, you can get this one at no cost:

AES E-Library
Frequency-Modulation Distortion in Loudspeakers (Reprint)

As the frequency-response range of a sound-reproducing system is extended, the necessity for minimizing all forms of distortion is correspondingly increased. The part which the loudspeaker can contribute to the overall distortion of a reproducing system has been frequently considered. A type of loudspeaker distortion which has not received general consideration is described. This distortion is a result of the Doppler-effect and produces frequency modulation in loudspeakers reproducing complex tones. Equations for this type of distortion are given. Measurements which confirm the calculated distortion in several loudspeakers are shown. An appendix giving the derivation of the equations is included.

Authors: Beers, George L.; Belar, H.
Affiliation: RCA Manufacturing Company, Camden, NJ
JAES Volume 29 Issue 5 pp. 320-326; May 1981
Publication Date:May 1, 1981 Import into BibTeX
Permalink: http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=3912
Click to purchase paper as a non-member or login as an AES member. If your company or school subscribes to the E-Library then switch to the institutional version. If you are not an AES member and would like to subscribe to the E-Library then Join the AES!
This paper costs $33 for non-members and is free for AES members and E-Library subscribers.

Good luck at the showing of CE! To be "Too damn loud" for the recording engineers I have known, it must be loud, indeed!

Did the 3/4" plywood boards added for CE in NYC and LA extend to either side of each speaker enclosure? Cinerama tended to fill in all the space between the behind the screen speakers (often Altec) with 3/4" plywood "wings" to increase bass loading. Todd-AO did the same thing, except when the giant JBLs installed in many Todd-AO theaters were used, because the front surface of the speaker enclosures themselves (to either side of the 4 woofer front loaded horns) were broad enough to suffice. There is a picture of these somewhere on the Lansing Heritage website.

Last edited by garyrc; 09-02-2017 at 08:53 AM.
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Old 09-02-2017, 04:10 PM   #408
ZoetMB ZoetMB is offline
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Originally Posted by garyrc View Post
Of course, I don't know everything either, but my understanding is that all loudspeakers are vulnerable to Frequency Modulation distortion, but it is minimized by minimizing excursion. Properly designed horn loading minimizes both. With the same speakers installed, a good direct radiator tends to produce something like 3 times the FMD as a good horn. A speaker with low frequency modulation distortion tends to produce fewer sidebands than one with higher FMD.

There are many articles on this. If you (still) belong to AES, you can get this one at no cost:

AES E-Library
Frequency-Modulation Distortion in Loudspeakers (Reprint)

As the frequency-response range of a sound-reproducing system is extended, the necessity for minimizing all forms of distortion is correspondingly increased. The part which the loudspeaker can contribute to the overall distortion of a reproducing system has been frequently considered. A type of loudspeaker distortion which has not received general consideration is described. This distortion is a result of the Doppler-effect and produces frequency modulation in loudspeakers reproducing complex tones. Equations for this type of distortion are given. Measurements which confirm the calculated distortion in several loudspeakers are shown. An appendix giving the derivation of the equations is included.
OK, I concede on the FM issue. But I doubt it's a problem for modern reproducers. That paper is 36 years old.

Quote:
Originally Posted by garyrc View Post
Good luck at the showing of CE! To be "Too damn loud" for the recording engineers I have known, it must be loud, indeed!
We never listened all that loud in the studio. Room filling, but I never walked out of the studio feeling tedium and certainly no ringing. In fact, one of the things all pop music studios did was have a set of small speakers on the mixing console so they could hear how the track would sound coming out of very small speakers to emulate how it might sound on the radio. Levels today in clubs, movies and even some Broadway shows are ridiculous. Everyone has forgotten what dynamic range means. Directors are so scared their movie doesn't work, they max the sound levels because they think it increases emotion, but all it does is increase tedium. You have films where two people are talking to each other conversationally and because of the high levels, it sounds like they're screaming at you.

I keep intending to bring an SPL meter to the theater, but I always forget. This time I'm going to bring it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by garyrc View Post
Did the 3/4" plywood boards added for CE in NYC and LA extend to either side of each speaker enclosure? Cinerama tended to fill in all the space between the behind the screen speakers (often Altec) with 3/4" plywood "wings" to increase bass loading. Todd-AO did the same thing, except when the giant JBLs installed in many Todd-AO theaters were used, because the front surface of the speaker enclosures themselves (to either side of the 4 woofer front loaded horns) were broad enough to suffice. There is a picture of these somewhere on the Lansing Heritage website.
As far as I know they did. I don't think I've ever seen pics of behind the screen of those particular installations, which were unfortunately temporary, but if you look at pics of later THX installations, they did. There was a trade ad, I think for JBL, that showed either the Director's Guild or the Academy Theatre with the screen up and the wings were continuous. If you look up very old issues of BoxOffice or maybe even MIX, Recording Engineer/Producer or "db", you can probably find such ads.
loose="not tight", lose="can't find it, doesn't have anymore" or the opposite of "win".
their="belongs to", there="place", they're="they are", there's = "there is"
it's="it is", for everything else use "its"
then="after", than="compared with"
"a lot" not "alot"

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Old 09-02-2017, 11:41 PM   #409
garyrc garyrc is offline
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Originally Posted by ZoetMB View Post
OK, I concede on the FM issue. But I doubt it's a problem for modern reproducers. That paper is 36 years old.
...
I keep intending to bring an SPL meter to the theater, but I always forget. This time I'm going to bring it.
...
There are newer papers -- I just didn't look them up. IMHO, there is good news and bad news about modern reproducers. The good news is that by crossing over to a subwoofer the mid and high bass generated by the regular woofers doesn't have to ride back and forth on woofer excursions occurring below about 80 Hz, therefore there is less FMD in the regular woofer. The bad news is that most subwoofers have very wide excursion (unless they are horn loaded). True, the FMD is kept out of the higher bass, but the lowest octaves of music (below 80, if that's where they are crossing over) are still under threat. I read that to keep FMD down, there is an advantage in keeping excursions of the regular woofer < 1/16," which some horn loaded bass drivers had in the past (the big, horn loaded, 4 woofer per channel bass units by Altec and JBL). There are now some horn loaded theater speakers by other manufacturers (some of the Klipsch pro line, and some British contenders), that achieve that. Fortunately, given the relatively high FMD of most direct radiating subwoofers, the ear is not too fussy about special effects from what I call The Infernal Bass Machine.

There were either 5 of these JBL units behind the screen in many Todd-AO theaters or the equivalent by Altec. They were only smooth to 40 Hz, and "usable" to 30 Hz, but, to my ears, they had much cleaner bass attack than modern theater speakers (which attempt to go down to 10 Hz, we are told). The JBLs were often labeled "Jim Lansing by Ampex," because the Todd-AO corp. hired Ampex to provide the Todd-AO sound. The Coronet was such a theater, until either all the speakers were changed, or subwoofers were merely added for Star Wars in 1977.
http://www.audioheritage.org/images/...crop_small.jpg

I took an SPL meter into a theater a few times. On "C," "Fast" I got a lot of readings in the 90s on loud passages, with some brief peaks as high as 105 to 110 db. I used "C," "Fast" in order to get some idea of the peaks. When THX was doing their early work (at the time of The Empire Strikes Back in 1980) they got peaks in a real theater of 108 dB for [U]Empire[U] with bass peaks of 110 dB. I've heard with a peak reading meter, a symphony orchestra can produce very brief peaks of 115 dB from the front rows.

Last edited by garyrc; 09-02-2017 at 11:59 PM.
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Old 09-03-2017, 01:16 PM   #410
eleganto eleganto is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by garyrc View Post
If, by field of view or viewing angle, you mean angle of coverage, it varies within each aspect ratio, depending on what lens the director selected for that particular shot.

A "long lens" provides a narrow field of view, and delivers a relatively close-up view of whatever is being shot. A "short lens" provides a wide angle of view.
All this is independent of aspect ratio, and each screen process has a set of lenses with a variety of angles of view. For instance, 70 mm Todd-AO originally had a "bug eye" extremely short lens with a super wide angle of coverage, which took in 128 degrees. It was nicknamed "Bugs." That particular lens was used for very few shots, though. Dimension 150 (D-150) had a lens that took in 150 degrees, but, I believe, all shots with that lens for the two films made with that process (John Huston's The Bible ... in the beginning and Patton) ended up on the cutting room floor. Both D150 and 70 mm Todd-AO had other very wide angle lenses, as well as a selection of relatively narrow angle ones. The [U]effective[U] aspect ratio of each -- in the theater -- depended on where you were sitting in regard to the deeply curving screen. In the camera, both had an aspect ratio of 2.2:1.

The original, three camera, three projector Cinerama was an exception. All shots had a 146 degree field of view. So, for Cinerama, sitting in a spot in the theater that would make the image 146 degrees wide might make sense. That would mean way down front!
It will be a too big step for me , im used to watch movies at home about 25 degree viewing angle independent of aspect ratio

I think ill start with: picture height excluding bars * 2.4 to get distance to watch the tv.

This will result in double viewing angle from what im used to when watching 21:9 movie.

And 40 degree viewing angle when watching 16:9 movies.


And change my habit of always sitting in the midde row at the cinema and move to the front row when watching movies like The Hateful Eight shot in Ultra Panavision.

Thanks very much for your help sir garyrc

Last edited by eleganto; 09-03-2017 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 09-03-2017, 10:09 PM   #411
garyrc garyrc is offline
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Default viewing distance/angle

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And change my habit of always sitting in the midde row at the cinema and move to the front row when watching movies like The Hateful Eight shot in Ultra Panavision.
The front row may be too close in many theaters. If you are watching an exceptionally good 70mm print of The Hateful Eight or Dunkirk it could be O.K., but with most films I'd sit farther back, but closer than your old location in the middle. Cinemas vary wildly in screen size, row spacing, and whether the seats come almost all the way down to the screen or if there is a pit and a stage taking up space. If the director uses many panoramic shots and relatively few close-ups (Gravity, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Around the World in 80 Days, 70 mm Todd-AO, 1956) it may be fine to sit close, particularly if the cinema is running a 70 mm print. For 35 mm or digital, you may want to be farther back.

In our Home Theater we have a 2.35:1 aspect ratio projection screen with "common height" which means that 2.35:1 and 1.78:1 (16:9), and almost all of the other eight aspect ratios have the same height, but the wider aspect ratios are wider on the screen, as originally intended by the movie industry. For "'scope" (2.35 or 2.39:1) there is about a 50 degree viewing angle, and less for standard format (1.85:1 and 1.78:1).

My favorite cinema was the Coronet in San Francisco, which was equipped for 70 mm. The seats came almost all the way down to the screen. Originally, the screen was very large and fairly deeply curved. For the first several films shown there, the image -- and the screen itself -- filled the curtain area, side to side and top to bottom, providing a huge image. I sat in the 9th row from the screen for films without too many close-ups, and about row 14 for close-up infested films.

http://photos.cinematreasures.org/pr...jpg?1418371520

Then they did a terrible thing. They removed the big, curved screen and substituted a smaller and barely curved one. This was the result of a war in the industry over whether prints would build in distortion correction for a deeply curved screen. Without this correction, a special projection lens would be needed, and most theaters didn't want to pay. They left the large, curved curtains in place, but when they opened, behold (!), a smaller image. The difference was great. To get an image the size people were used to getting from the 20th row, they had to move up to the 11th row. So it goes. Here is the smaller screen they put in. Inside the curtain area, any thing that is BLACK used to be part of the image. As you can see, the newer image area is much smaller, although still bigger than the image in some theaters.

http://www.outsidelands.org/Image/70...erior-2005.jpg

Later, several theaters did incorporate deeply curved screens, with corrective lenses. The Century 21 in San Jose, California had a screen 85 feet across the chord of the arc. For the second viewing of 2001: A Space Odyssey, in 70 mm, my friends and I sat in the front row. The image was larger than what my eyeglasses took in. To read the title, we had to turn our heads. Yet, the image was sharp and clear. It was a life changing experience.

Last edited by garyrc; 09-03-2017 at 11:16 PM.
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Old 10-03-2017, 07:39 AM   #412
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I have a Panasonic TC-P55VT50. Aspect ratio options include: Full, Just, 4:3 and Zoom. Which option do I want to use for optimal viewing? Black bars don't bother me but i want to be sure i'm viewing in the correct aspect ratios.

Display : Panasonic TC-P55VT50.
Audio : YAMAHA RX-V867.
Media : oppo BDP-103 (region free) / PS3 Slim / Wii U.
Center : polkaudio CS2 Series II.
Front : polkaudio Monitor60 Series II.
Surround : polkaudio Monitor40 Series II.
Subwoofer : polkaudio PSW505.
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Old 10-03-2017, 09:37 AM   #413
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That would be 'Full'.
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Old 10-04-2017, 12:45 AM   #414
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I have a Panasonic TC-P55VT50. Aspect ratio options include: Full, Just, 4:3 and Zoom. Which option do I want to use for optimal viewing? Black bars don't bother me but i want to be sure i'm viewing in the correct aspect ratios.
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Originally Posted by Roonan View Post
That would be 'Full'.

Yes, you can use "full." Don't use "Just" on an older standard shaped image (1.33:1 for older TV broadcasts, or 1.37:1 for many American movies like [U]Citizen Kane[U] made before 1953), because it will "Justify" the image by stretching it horizontally to fill your 16:9 (1.78:1) screen, making people looking misshapen and silly.

Speaking of silly, the TV people never made a screen that was exactly the shape of any popular American movie's image. Most movies used to be 1.37:1, so the TV people made their standard 1.33:1. Most standard shaped movies in the late 1950s and thereafter were either 1.66:1 or, more commonly, 1.85:1, so the TV people made their HDTV "wide screen" format 1.78:1. By movie house standards, though, 1.85:1 was not "wide screen" -- it was "usual." Compared to CinemaScope or Panavision, it was "narrow screen," which is just what we used to call it. By those standards, HDTV's "wide screen" was embarrassingly "narrow screen." Real widescreen, to a filmmaker, was usually 2.35:1 or 2.39:1 (the latter is sometimes called 2.4:1, on the web or in magazines), with variations including 2.20:1, 2.76:1, and others, more than 10 in all. Some rare TVs (including some monitors for professional use) have a 2.37:1 shape (64:27), often nicknamed 21:9, for reasons that pass all understanding; once again not the shape of any movie. That would be too easy. Close but no cigar. I doubt if you will find them at Walmart ... yet.

Last edited by garyrc; 10-04-2017 at 12:49 AM.
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Old 10-04-2017, 11:16 PM   #415
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Speaking of silly, the TV people never made a screen that was exactly the shape of any popular American movie's image. Most movies used to be 1.37:1, so the TV people made their standard 1.33:1. Most standard shaped movies in the late 1950s and thereafter were either 1.66:1 or, more commonly, 1.85:1, so the TV people made their HDTV "wide screen" format 1.78:1. By movie house standards, though, 1.85:1 was not "wide screen" -- it was "usual." Compared to CinemaScope or Panavision, it was "narrow screen," which is just what we used to call it. .... Real widescreen, to a filmmaker, was usually 2.35:1 or 2.39:1 (the latter is sometimes called 2.4:1, on the web or in magazines), with variations including 2.20:1, 2.76:1, and others, more than 10 in all. Some rare TVs (including some monitors for professional use) have a 2.37:1 shape (64:27), often nicknamed 21:9, for reasons that pass all understanding; once again not the shape of any movie. ...
No theater ever exactly showed a film in 1.37 (or any other aspect ratio for that matter). Due to the fact that projection lenses only come in even inch focal lengths and because of parallax distortion from the booth to the screen as well as the fact that projector gates were usually hand filed, the image is usually heavily cropped.

So it didn't matter that TV was 1.33:1. You weren't seeing a fair portion of the image anyway because of over-scanning on CRT televisions. The cheaper the TV, the larger the overscan. That's why TV's had what was known as a "safe area" and once TV came in, film viewfinders were fitted with ground glass markings that identified this safe area.

It was SMPTE who came up with the 16:9 HDTV aspect ratio. i forget the exact details, but it supposedly was a compromise having to do with boxes fitting inside each other, but I forget whether the boxes were 1.33 and 1.85 or 1.33 and 2.35. At the time, the Director's Guild pushed for 2.0:1, but SMPTE unfortunately didn't go with that. That would have been great because it would have meant small black bars on the sides for 1.85 and smaller black bars on the top and bottom as compared to today for 2.35/2.39/2.4. If they had done that, maybe idiot consumers would complain less about black bars and TV and cable networks would show widescreen movies at the proper aspect ratios.

One of the issues was that at the time the HDTV standards were developed, there weren't any flat screen TV's as yet. It was very difficult to make a CRT wider than 1.78 because the edges were at a longer distance than the center which means they would have been out of focus by the scanning gun. That would have been exacerbated by going larger. And the original 16:9 CRT TV's were already extremely heavy - I think the Sony was over 300 pounds. Going wider would have meant more weight.

When most 1.85 films are mastered for Blu-ray or shown on TV, they're usually "opened up" to 16:9 (1.78:1). So you're seeing a drop more height than intended, although it's only a few pixels. This used to bother me, but film restorian Robert A. Harris once wrote that it was no big deal and if he doesn't think it matters, then I have to concede the point. I did notice that this past season of "Fargo" was presented 1.85 and even though it is just a few pixels, it seemed more cinematic to me. Maybe it was not so much the actual AR, but because the very slight sharp black frame top and bottom made it seem more cinematic.

The TV industry has always used multiples to define aspect ratios. The original TV's were "4:3", not 1.33 and current TV's are 16:9, not 1.78:1. And the few true widescreen TV's are actually 2.33:1 (21:9). The purpose of using AR multiples was to clearly identify TV aspect ratios from film aspect ratios and to make the numbers whole numbers for consumers to understand. Remember, in the film days, there was never any marketing that promoted the aspect ratio number. The only thing ever promoted if anything were the brands: "Cinerama", "Cinemascope", "Panavision", etc. And in the 1950's and 60's, they ads used to proclaim that these new formats were like "3D without the glasses" which was total hogwash. It's amazing they got away with that.

2.2 was used for 70mm for both 65mm origination and 35mm blowups. A few films at the end of the 70mm blowup era did use a 2.35:1 AR by reducing the height of the image. In this way it exactly matched the 35mm source.

2.75:1 was used for 70mm Ultra Panavision and MGM Camera 65. This was 2.2:1 anamorphic image on the film that was used with a 1.25x anamorphic projection lens. 2.2 x 1.25 = 2.75. A majority of the Ultra Panavision films were for single projector Cinerama. Only 10 films were produced in this format beginning with "Raintree County" and most recently with "The Hateful Eight".

Cinemascope and Panavision were nominally 2.35:1, although Cinemascope was originally 2.55:1. It got reduced to 2.35 in 1955 or '56 in order to include an optical sound mono backup track in addition to the 4-track mag. Theater owners insisted upon this. When digital sound came in, the AR was changed to 2.39.1 to make room for the DTS time code and also because lab splices were visible on screen, so they made the official frame a little smaller. But it made little difference in most theaters because no one bothered to recut their gates. Digitally presented wide screen movies are actually 2.4:1, they're not just "called" 2.4:1.

Aside from the early 50's, when the studios were fooling around with many different aspect ratios, 1.66:1 was mainly used for foreign films (foreign to the U.S.) 1.75:1 was frequently used by Disney. The industry largely consolidated around 1.85 and 2.35:1 for 35mm after theater owners begged them to reduce the number of aspect ratios, which was driving them nuts.

And just for the record, in the film days, some of the film chains decided to show both 1.85 and 2.35:1 movies at 2.0:1. So for 1.85, they cropped the height and for 2.35:1, they cropped the width. Most people never noticed although I personally would have walked out.
loose="not tight", lose="can't find it, doesn't have anymore" or the opposite of "win".
their="belongs to", there="place", they're="they are", there's = "there is"
it's="it is", for everything else use "its"
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warrian (10-04-2017)
Old 10-04-2017, 11:43 PM   #416
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Fantastic post, ZoetMB. Really appreciate it.
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Old 10-05-2017, 01:21 AM   #417
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... the Director's Guild pushed for 2.0:1, but SMPTE unfortunately didn't go with that. That would have been great because it would have meant small black bars on the sides for 1.85 and smaller black bars on the top and bottom as compared to today for 2.35/2.39/2.4. If they had done that, maybe idiot consumers would complain less about black bars and TV and cable networks would show widescreen movies at the proper aspect ratios.
I, too, think that would have been great for all the same reasons.

The AR that I think is most comfortable and aesthetically pleasing is 2.2:1. When sitting fairly close to a big screen with 70 mm projection, 2.2:1 allows me to lose awareness of the borders of the picture and almost live inside the picture, seeing whatever the director wants me to see, unframed. The modern practice of using rack focus zillions of times during a film would tend to nullify that experience, I think. Films that allowed me to live inside the picture were 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Around the World in 80 Days (1956 Todd-AO version). Others, perhaps a little less so, were the only two films in D-150 (seen by me in conventional 70mm, rather than in an available D-150 theater in the area), John Huston's The Bible ... in the Beginning and Patton. Baraka might have provided that opportunity, had I seen it in a 70mm equipped theater.
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Old 10-05-2017, 01:30 AM   #418
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I, too, think that would have been great for all the same reasons.

The AR that I think is most comfortable and aesthetically pleasing is 2.2:1. When sitting fairly close to a big screen with 70 mm projection, 2.2:1 allows me to lose awareness of the borders of the picture and almost live inside the picture, seeing whatever the director wants me to see, unframed. The modern practice of using rack focus zillions of times during a film would tend to nullify that experience, I think. Films that allowed me to live inside the picture were 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Around the World in 80 Days (1956 Todd-AO version). Others, perhaps a little less so, were the only two films in D-150 (seen by me in conventional 70mm, rather than in an available D-150 theater in the area), John Huston's The Bible ... in the Beginning and Patton. Baraka might have provided that opportunity, had I seen it in a 70mm equipped theater.
I think what allowed you to live inside the picture when you saw "2001" and "Around the World..." was the size of the screen if you saw them in original releases at a roadshow theater. The big 70mm roadshow theaters had 60' to 90' screens. If those had been 2.35 on the same screen, you still would have been inside the picture. And if you saw 2001 at a Cinerama theater, you probably saw it at 2.75:1, although on the deeply curved screen, it could have seemed like less.
loose="not tight", lose="can't find it, doesn't have anymore" or the opposite of "win".
their="belongs to", there="place", they're="they are", there's = "there is"
it's="it is", for everything else use "its"
then="after", than="compared with"
"a lot" not "alot"

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