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Movie Formats: why are there so many?

37048 Views 48 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Richard W. Haines
After having upgraded my display to 106" 16:9 FP, I noticed most of my favorite movies are having black bars (well like my 29" SD TV). I couldn't imagine so many of the good movies are 2.35:1. Yet all pixar and some movies are 16:9 enhanced and will fit fine to the screen. But SD TV from the other side will have side bars.

When stretching to 16:9 with a 29" display was acceptable, it is not even thinkable with a 106" display:raped:!!

It is sad that with a 16:9 display we are still having bars, and Masking systems are not an option for me.

Why so many formats?:wits-end: How can people calculate the required screen size when the format is not fixed? Moreover the beautiful look of a flat pannel or "tableau" goes when there are bars.

Are some movies sold as differnent versions: anamorphic and 16:9 or 1.85:1? So that one can chose the most suitable format for his display?

Why doesn't the industry have a fixed standard format?
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Re: Movies Formats: why are there so many?

You have to go back to the fifties to understand why there are so many aspect ratios and
formats. Here's the timeline...

In the late forties, television gained in popularity until it usurped motion pictures as the
dominant mass media. By 1951, moviegoing attendence had been cut in half from about
90 million weekly to 45 million weekly. Theaters were closing everywhere and the film
industry needed to do something to bring back viewers. One simple option was to switch
to color since television broadcasts were black and white. Incrementally, more and more
movies were shot in color. That helped a bit but it still wasn't enough to fill the movie
palace seats.

1952 was a groundbreaking year in that two formats were introduced that were not only
smash hits but changed the industry permanently. Cinerama and 3-D.

Each process offered the polar opposite visual effect. Cinerama was an extreme widescreen
format that had an aspect ratio of 2.76 x 1 that was projected on a deeply curved screen.
It gave the illusion that the viewer was inside the picture. 3-D retained the same 1.33
aspect ratio as standard movies except it gave the illusion that the image was emerging
from the screen. "This is Cinerama" was a non-narrative infomercial that basically just
demonstrated the system in a variety of locations. It was in seven channel stereophonic
sound. Five speakers above the screen and two speakers in the rear of the theater.
"Bwana Devil", the first 3-D movie was mono sound but the picture that made the process
viable was "House of Wax" which was in four channel stereo sound. Three speakers behind
the screen and one in the back.

Audiences flocked to both formats and the industry took note and over the next decade
a new process was introduced yearly to drag people away from their television
sets. It worked for a while and attendence went up and stabilized until the mid-sixties
when it dropped again with the switch to color television.

Both Cinerama and 3-D were cumbersome processes and difficult to project. They involved
interlocked multiple prints and a separate soundtrack. Either could go out of synch during
the presentation and often did. Cinerama was shot with three cameras so you saw the join
lines making up the wide image. Many people found 3-D an eyestrain.

Fox was the first to try to create a more compact widescreen process and introduced
"CinemaScope" in 1953 with "The Robe". It wasn't a new format. Back in the twenties
the French had developed an anamorphic lens that squeezed the image during principal
photography and then stretched it out during projection. The original CinemaScope format
didn't have an optical track so the anamorphic image took up the entire frame, like a silent
film. Inside and outside the sprockets they put tiny magnetic stripes for four channel
stereo sound. Three speakers in the front and one in the back, like the 3-D movies except
the tracks were on the print itself instead of on a separate piece of film that was interlocked.
The original aspect ratio of CinemaScope was 2.55 x 1. While theaters did not mind putting on
the anamorphic lens and getting a wider screen, many of them didn't want to rewire their
cinema for stereo sound so Fox changed the format in 1955 to have both an optical track
as well as the magnetic tracks on the CinemaScope prints (aka mag/opt.). This reduced
the aspect ratio to 2.35 x 1. Later, Panavision came up with much better anamorphic
lenses without all the distortion of the Fox lenses and CinemaScope was phased out by

Michael Todd had shot the first half of "This is Cinerama" with his son and was impressed
with the audience response but didn't like the join lines. He sold off his Cinerama stock
and created his own process called "Todd-A0". Using 65mm wide film and extremely
wide angle lenses he generated a 2. 21 x 1 image on a similar curved screen that Cinerama
used. Rather than having separate film with the sound, he also put magnetic sound stripes
inside and outside the sprockets. Five in the front of the theater and one in the back.
The extra width for the magnetic stripes made the release prints 70mm rather than 65mm.
Later, Panavision made lenses for the format and it was called "Panavision 70".

In 1957 MGM combined the 70mm format with CinemaScope. They put an anamorphic lens
on the 65mm negative to generate the same 2.76 x 1 ratio as Cinerama. They called it
"MGM Camera 65". Later it was called "Ultra-Panavision 70" and the Cinerama company
switched to that format in 1963 with "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" and abandoned
the three camera system. In 1966 they even abandoned the anamorphic 70mm process
and just used standard 70mm without the anamorphic lens (the same 2.21 x 1 ratio
as Todd AO) for the remaining Cinerama movies like "Ice Station Zebra" and "2001: A Space Odyssey".

Paramount came up with their semi-widescreen process known as "VistaVision". Standard
35mm film is four sprockets high. They turned the camera on the side and exposed an
eight sprocket image (the same as a still camera) which generated a large image that was
1.85 x 1. Later, the Technicolor company added an anamorphic lens to the horizontal
negative making it 2.35 x 1 like Panavision except much sharper and finer grain because
of the bigger negative area. It was called Technirama.

Howard Hughes was running RKO at the time and didn't want to pay Fox the licensing fee
for their CinemaScope lenses so he created the "SuperScope" format. Basically they just
shot the full frame silent ratio, then cropped off the tops and bottoms of the image to
make a standard CinemaScope frame for the release print. This process is still used but
it's called "Super 35". Because they're blowing up the image, it tends to have inferior
resolution. Early Superscope was 2 x 1 since they had black borders on the sides of the
image. Current Super 35 is the same ratio as Panavision, 2. 35 x 1.

In the sixties, the Italians came up with a variation of this and called it
Techniscope. Rather than shooting in 1.33 and masking off the tops and
bottoms to create the anamorphic image, they shot in a two sprocket
wide image but with the same results. It was basically a wide 16mm image
which would be blown up to 35mm anamorphic with the same 2.35 x 1
ratio. Incredibly, if you used a lot of light as Sergio Leone did in the
Spaghetti Westerns, it could look good. If you didn't overlight the negative
as was the case with "American Grafitti", it tended to look grainy. The
sole advantage was that since the frame was so small, you saved on film

Some studios chose a cheap method of creating a widescreen image which was to film the movie like a standard 1.33 picture then mask off the top and bottom of the image during projection. The problem was that you increased grain and lost some sharpness because less of the available frame was being used. The studios created their own ratios with the masked frame formats. MGM used 1.66, Universal used 1.85
and Disney used 1.75. One big problem was re-issues. MGM re-issued both
"Gone with the Wind" and "The Wizard of Oz" in masked off widescreen in the
fifties cropping the 1.33 image the films were designed for. (MGM has a funny
tag for the letters GWTW... "Greater With the Widescreen") The same problem
happened with Disney re-issues of his animated classics intended for 1.33 but
re-issued in 1.75. You lost the tops of heads in many compositions. Even
more rediculous, in 1967, MGM cropped the 1.33 image of "Gone with the
Wind" to 2.21 x 1 for a 70mm version. Wideshots became medium shots
and close ups looked like the kind that Sergio Leone created for his films.

Today the only formats that are used are Super 35 and Panavision which has the 2.35 x 1 ratio and 1.85 for masked frame presentations. There is still an occasional
70mm reissue in 2.21 x 1 ("Lawrence of Arabia") and of course IMAX but that
process is 1.33. It's basically 70mm VistaVision and shown horizontally.

1.85 is comparable to 16:9 widescreen television. 2.35 requires thin black borders to
get the entire image within the 16:9 area. This only applies to new movies. Pre-1970 movies will be in all of the ratios detailed above which require various amounts of black borders. There were never standardized in the fifties because the studios
were all competing with one another hoping that their format would be the one
that survived.

If you want more details and lists of movies in the different formats, I
cover them in my two McFarland books, "Technicolor Movies" and "The
Moviegoing Experience 1968-2001" which are availabe on www.mcfarlandpub.com. So if you need a general reference, it's contained in the chapters.
For example, "Mutiny on the Bounty" is listed as "Ultra-Panavision" which is
2.76 x 1. So in the 16:9 video ratio, there will be thick black borders on
top and bottom of the image. "2001: A Space Oddysey" is later Cinerama which is
2.21 x 1 so there with slight black borders on top and bottom of the 16:9
frame. "North by Northwest" is VistaVision which is 1.85 which is nearly
identical to 16:9 so the image will fill up the frame. "The Wizard of Oz"
is 1.33 so you'll have thick borders on the sides of the 16:9 frame.
A Super 35 film can be in either 2.35 or 1.33 since the negative is
full frame.

By the way, just to illustrate how there's nothing new under the sun,
'anamorphic enhanced' standard DVDs are a throwback to CinemaScope
back in the fifties. In both cases they involved squeezing and unsqueezing
the image to make it wider.
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Re: Movies Formats: why are there so many?

Fantastic history, Richard! We see these format wars repeating themselves across so many technologies -- most recently Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD. Technological competition drives the industry forward, but can leave a sordid trail. At least with the variety of aspect ratios, all we have to do is endure black boxes on the image edges rather than having to abandon whole format systems for another (ie. Betamax, HD-DVD, etc.).
Re: Movies Formats: why are there so many?

Thank you Richard for having taken the time to write your very informative post. I have another question though: What does mean:
"The film is shown in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced".
Does this mean we can watch it on a 16:9 screen witout black bars (and without distortion as well)?
Re: Movies Formats: why are there so many?

Yes, Thank you Richard. That was very informative and a great read.
And thank you Ahmed for bringing up the subject.
Re: Movies Formats: why are there so many?

You're welcome one and all.


'Anamorphic enhanced' means the standard 3 x 4 TV frame has been encoded with an
squeeze (just like CinemaScope) so that when it's unsqueezed will generate the 16:9 ratio.
This is different than HD which is already in the 16:9 ratio without any squeeze.

Now 2.35 is something different. It's the ratio the film was shot in. That usually
means Panavision or Super 35. Since that's wider than the 16:9 ratio, they have to
put black borders on top and bottom of the frame to fit it within the 16:9 video image
area. As I detailed above, only films designed for 1.85 masked off ratio (which is most movies
today) and VistaVision from the fifties fit into the 16:9 ratio without any black borders. All
other ratios require black borders on the sides or on the top and bottom. While some people
may find this annoying, it's certainly better than cropping part of the image so it fills the
TV frame which is what they used to do in the sixties and seventies. They would take
a movie like "The Graduate" which was filmed in Panavision 2.35 x 1 and crop off the sides
and play the center of the image on the old 3 x 4 TV sets. Or, they would pan and scan
it which means they would use other portions of the wide frame to fill the 3 x 4 ratio.
You were literally missing half of the frame when you watched film like this way back when.
Sometimes you would hear someone talking but couldn't see them because they had been
cropped out of the available 3 x 4 frame. In movies like "Ben Hur" it was difficult to telll
where everyone was in the chariot race because you were only seeing a portion of the frame.
It was like watching a movie through binoculars.

Beginning with the Seletavision CED release of "Amadeus", followed by the laserdisc release
of "Manhattan" in the early eighties, they began to show movies in the ratio they were shot
in but use black borders to mask off parts of the TV frame so it fit within those borders.

Upon the introduction of DVDs in the late nineties, they added the anamorphic enhancement
to spread out the image for the new widescreen TV sets and DLP projectors.
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Re: Movies Formats: why are there so many?

Here's a simpler way of understanding it for those who might be overwhelmed by all this.

TVs come in two shapes. Square (3 x 4) and Rectangle (16:9)

Movies that are shown in theaters come in a whole variety of shapes including square (1.33), rectangle (1.85, 1.66, 1.75) and in the shape of a business letter
(2.35, 2.21, 2.55, 2.76).

The challenge is to fit all of these movie shapes into the two TV shapes. So, they can try squeezing them so everyone looks skinny then stretching it out so they look normal within a wider frame which is anamorphic enhancment.

But that may not be enough for some of these movie shapes so they still need to put black borders on the tops and bottoms or sides to fit all of them into
standard TV (3 x 4) and High Definition TV (16:9).
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Re: Movies Formats: why are there so many?

The other option (which I hate) is to take the various movie shapes and chop off the sides to
fit into the standard TV shape of 3 x 4. This used to be called 'pan and scan' but today is
called 'full frame'. While the image will fill the entire square frame of the TV set without any
black borders, part of the film shape that was shown in theaters is missing.
Re: Movies Formats: why are there so many?

A friend noted that I left off one process in my above descriptions. It was Cinemascope 55
which was only used on two films, "Carousel" and "The King and I". As the name implies
it was an anamorphic lens on large 55mm film. However, it was abandoned by Fox which switched
to 70mm for their big budget productions after these two pictures. As with VistaVision, the larger
the negative, the finer grain the image is. Fox actually created a special printer to restore
these two movies on DVD in their original 55mm format a while ago and they look great.
Re: Movies Formats: why are there so many?

I have checked my collection of DVDs lately and I noticed most of the (good??) movies are 2.35:1. Propably only 25% of them is 16:9 or 1.85:1.

Is really the majority of movies 1.85 as people say? Or is it something else? What about future of movies? Are we going to see more and more 2.35:1 movies? What about 1.85:1

I noticed that Pixar changed after monsters and finding nemo to 2.35:1, even the incredibles is also 2.35:1 although on the cover I can see 1.85:1.
I had received a version of the return of the king movie from the us which was "remastered to fit your TV" if memory serves. I played it on my 4:3 CRT and it was fullscreen, but I can't remember if it was only a Pan and scan, but there was no distrotion or so.

Any thoughts?

B Rgds
Re: Movies Formats: why are there so many?


I can't really comment on the first statement since 'good' is very subjective. I guess it
means you're not that fond of pre-1950 movies which were all 1.33.

I don't know what the future will bring in terms of ratios. Probably many producers will
opt for the Super 35 format since the camera negative is full frame and from that they can
derive all three ratios (1.33, 16:9, 2.35). It's not the best quality format but it's the most
adaptable. So readers don't get confused, the Super 35 format is different
than standard 1.33 filming. They expose the entire silent frame ratio including
the area that would contain the optical track. The photographed image is
smaller in a 1.33 film since the left side is used for the optical soundtrack area. So even
if they want a full frame version of a Super 35 feature, they have to reduction
print the image to fit into a 35mm frame with the soundtrack.

In terms of the cropped versions of movies, (pan/scan; full frame), there wouldn't be
any distortion. Just a large percentage of the image will be missing. You won't lose
continuity but you lose whatever artistry there was in the composition. Now admitedly,
not all contemporary directors utilize widescreen as dramatically as they did in the fifties
and sixties. Very few films spread out characters across the entire width of the screen
as they did in classics like "Ben Hur", "Lawrence of Arbia" and "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World".
In general, they tend to keep the key actors and action centered so it plays better in the
various formats. I'm not fond of this compromise but that's the way many directors frame
their films. I've seen a number of films recently which were technically widescreen 2.35 x 1
but the wide frame wasn't utilized. "Fracture" would be an example of this. In a cropped
full frame presentation, you probably wouldn't notice anything missing whereas in a movie
like "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly", the loss of information would undermine the
visual impact of the cinematography.

It will be obvious to anyone who reads my comments and reviews that I'm rather
biased towards features made prior to the seventies. I felt there was a decline in
the overall quality of movies after that decade, at least in terms of color, cinematography and composition. Sound is better now but in general I'm not impressed with the
way most movies look. I don't believe there are any DPs on the level of Freddie Young
(David Lean films), Ted Moore (Connery Bond films) or Robert Burks (Hitchock films).
There are occasional exceptions but we're certainly not in a "Golden Age" of moviemaking.
We're more along the lines of a transition period where video and cinema merge into one
medium...and not necessarily a better one.
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Re: Movies Formats: why are there so many?


Would you kindly provide some examples of the occasional exception. And which modern directors and cinematographers strive to produce films that contain more than just whiz bang golly gee wasn't that neat. Don't get me wrong, I love a good leave your brain at the door action romp (Transformers, Aliens, Resident Evil, The Mummy, etc.) I just get really dis-appointed that so many newer filmmakers/producers/studios take the easy way out, all action, special effects, poorly written scripts and below par made for TV cinematography/composition.

Finding Neverland, Snow Falling on Cedars, Serenity and Amadeus are a few recent films that I thought were pretty good. In general, I feel most newer films leave a lot to be desired,... then again, I prefer the '31 version of The Maltese Falcon over the '41, so maybe I'm just :coocoo:

Your question goes back to a subject I covered in my last book which is audience
demographics. Prior to 1968, movies were made for 'general audiences'. Contrary to
myth that did not mean children. It meant they wanted to encompass the largest
group of people which included educated adults and seniors. As a result
the scripts tended to be more intelligent and assumed the viewer had some basic
knowlege of history. For example, in "Lawrence of Arabia" and "The Longest Day" the
producer, diredtor and writers assumed you were familiar enough with those wars that
you could follow the narrative without a lot of explanation.

Beginning in 1968, two events happened that permanently changed the moviegoing
demographic. The first one was to completely abandon the Production Code and replace
it with the ratings system. The Production Code had been reformed by
1966 to allow virtually any subject matter providing it wasn't so graphic that any age
group was restricted from seeing it. The reason the Code was in place to begin with was to allow
general attendence. If you restricted attendence, then you couldn't fill up the seats
in the movie palaces and indeed attendence dropped in half once the Code was abandoned
and replaced with the ratings system. Because so many movies were restricted by 1970,
theaters began folding like dominoes except for those that twinned them to stay in business.
The figures are 41 million weekly in the mid sixties down to 25 million weekly from 1968-1970.

Aside from the reduction in attendence and lack of 'general audience', New Hollywood
dominated the business from 1968-1975 which coincided with the counter culture movement.
They specifically geared their movies for the youth demographic of 16-26. The content of
films like "Woodstock" alienated most older viewers. This demographic has remained the targeted
audience ever since with an occasional adult oriented film.

The trouble with targeting films for the youth audience is that Hollywood screenwriters
seem to have a low opinion of their level of intelligence. Many screenplays are very dumbed
down now to the point where I have trouble sitting through the movies with the shabby
characterization, bad dialogue, rediculous plot twists and incidents that haven't been set
up and seem to come out of no where. And...films with no endings. They just fizzle out.
I don't think young people are as stupid as these screenwriters assume or at least the ones
I come into contact with through my nieces complain about how idiotic so many current films
are. In any event, you're not getting the quality of craftsmanship that you had in the days
when films were made for a larger demographic. It's interesting to note that
some cable shows are geared for a more adult audience which is why series
like "The Sopranos" has better writing.

Another impact that New Hollywood had on the industry was a change in the look of
film. In the late sixties and early seventies, many of the young cinematographers (some
right out of film school) rejected the classic studio look of DPs like Freddie Young who liked
to say he 'painted with light'. They shot with very limited lighting on high speed stock.
I thought their films looked awful but that style eventually became the new standard.
They don't use the type of high key lighting as the past where the frame was artistically
lit like a portrait with composition, shadow and color all important ingrediants. In many
cases, there isn't enough light on the actor's face or the backgrounds look murky because
you don't get a good depth of field with low lighting. The compositions aren't as dramatic.
Of course you only see the difference when you watch pre-1970 films which tended to look
quite spectacular. Even a cheap Roger Corman film like "Pit and the Pendulum" has better
lighting, composition and color than many current features.

One trick that contemporary DPs use is to send out a second unit to film a few decent
looking sunsets and establishing shots to fool people into thinking the movie is well photographed.
The rest of the movie will have poor lighting and compositions but the establishing shots will
look so good it will stick in your mind longer and in some cases people will think the overall
feature looked good.

Another trend is to add backgrounds and sets digitally rather than actually build and
photograph them. This gives the movie a very artificial look (i.e. "Gladiator") but so many
movies do that now that it's become the 'new look' for many genres. As I mentioned in
a different post, I look forward to the new Indiana Jones movie with real stuntmen and
an avoidance of digital fakery which ruins most action films for me. I'm not impressed when
I see animated stuntmen or car crashes. It's like watching a live action cartoon.

I guess my problem is my frame of reference. I consider pictures like "2001: A Space
Odyssey" and "Lawrence of Arabia" as the zenith of the motion picture art form. Most
contemporary films do not compare favorably to them on any level from craftsmanship
to screenwriting. That's because I'm a historian as well as a film buff so I observe the
trends and changes in the medium over the decades. If you just watch current films
you get used to the way they look and the writing and I guess on some level, don't expect
as much or at least don't know what's missing.

In terms of current films, the only relatively recent one I saw that had decent photography was
"The Astronaut Farmer". However, I haven't seen every current film and usually watch them at
a later point projected on my DLP when I have the time. I usually research what the subject matter
is and read the reviews first so I don't waste my time on pictures that I know I won't be able
to sit through and will turn off after twenty minutes of bad writing, acting and camerawork (i.e.
remakes of old TV shows or anything starring Will Farrell) I did slog
through "Disturbia" the other day but I was doing some tax paperwork at the same time it was
basically background noise. It looked
horrible and was so dark I couldn't make out what was going on in the climax. It's a very mediocre
remake of "Rear Window" with some obnoxious actors playing teenagers except for the female
lead who was attractive. Otherwise a completely predictable, dumbed down screenplay...
especially if you've seen the Hitchcock classic. No motivation for the villain at all. I guess
they didn't think that was important. These screenwriters will be getting a bigger piece
of the pie since their strike has been settled.

There are no current Hollywood cinematographers that I would hire to shoot one of my
features...assuming I could afford them. If you screen some of my movies you'll notice
that they are shot in the classic studio style even though I work on very limited budgets.
Brendan Flynt shot my 3-D movie "Run for Cover" and the noir "Unsavory Characters".
We were able to simulate the film noir look in both black and white and color. Tom Agnello
shot my current horror feature, "What Really Frightens You" and we tried to similate the
look of a Hammer horror film in the fantasy sequences and I think we came pretty close.
We even rented a real castle in Milbrook for the climax (Wings Castle). In these cases,
I screen my collection of 35mm Technicolor prints (and some DVDs) for the cameramen
and then analyze how they obtained their look and dramatic compositions and try
to copy them. I specifically tell my DPs that I do not want to shoot in the contemporary
style with limited lighting. I always use a lot of light on my locations and try not to shoot
below f. 5.6 indoors because you lose your resolution and depth of field if you film at a lower
f stop. Also, grain will become more noticeable in the digital domain when it's transferred.
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We can't thank you enough for sharing your knowledge through your exceptional posts. :clap:
It is really great you are posting here.:T

My pleasure. I've been thrown off or forced off of most other film related sites because
I'm so opinionated. At least I try to qualify my positions and never resort to name calling
another forum member who disagrees with me. I've been called every imaginable
name on other sites for daring to go against conventional wisdom in some areas. For example,
some people will claim that New Hollywood "saved" cinema. I have to question...saved it from
what? It certainly changed cinema and not for better in terms of exhibition. New Hollywood
freed cinema from any restraints but there were trade offs. I tend to look at everything in
terms of trade offs. Few, if any, subjects are clear cut. Every change that occurs involved
trade offs and you have consider whether the trade offs were worth it. And is often the case,
it isn't obvious what the trade offs will be until after the fact. Many exhibitors championed
the demise of the production code. What they didn't count on was the drop in attendence and
loss of general audience. In hindsight they probably would've advocated keeping some form of
a production code but allowing a small percentage of movies each year to be released without it.
That would've kept R and X rated type of content to a minimum of about 15 % and the rest of
the films mainstream within the PG and PG-13 content. That's actually the way it is now but
it's too late to get back the crowds since the quality of exhibition is so poor compared to what
you can get at home. There are still superior processes that can 'wow' people back into theaters
like curved screen projection, 70mm and dye transfer Technicolor but they've all been abandoned.
There's really no reason to go to a megaplex and put up with all the distractions (commercials,
scratchy print, trailers too loud, people talking etc.) if you have a home theater...especially if
you project high definition DVDs. They will look better than any high speed junk print shown
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We can't thank you enough for sharing your knowledge through your exceptional posts. :clap:
It is really great you are posting here.:T
I have to agree, The information you have given us on this topic is great.

@Richard, I think you have really hit the nail on the head with your last post. Going to a movie theater is sadly becoming a thing of the past. I was looking at a theater just this past week thats a few blocks from my place in a mall and as I waited 20min for my wife to pick me up not one person went into it to buy a ticket and the shows were just about to start. At $11 a ticket its no wonder why. The sound alone in my home theater is far better than I have heard recently in even the best multiplexes we have here (and they are very good) there simply is no reason to go.

There seems to be some variance between movie formats even on SD and HD DVD. my screen is the standard 16x9 but some movies still do not fit perfectly there are still thin black bars on the top of bottom.

Thank you.

I have a 10 foot wide pull down glass beaded screen in my set up. I just zoom up the image
so the extra black is not on screen and whatever the ratio is fills up the screen. I do have black
curtains I have to pull in for 1.33 movies for the sides. For 16:9 (1.85) films I just pull the screen
down lower. For 2.35 type of films I pull the screen up. In my projection booth porthole window,
I use black cardboard to keep the stray light from the black borders from being seen above and
below the screen. Screen masking is very important in a presentation and I'm of the opinion that
you should never see any white or silver screen extra out side of the actual image being projected.
It's too distracting. If you already have a 16:9 screen then get some black cloth to mask off
whatever area you need to so there is no black borders on the actual screen nor extra screen
that isn't being used for the image.
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In my projection booth porthole window,
I use black cardboard to keep the stray light from the black borders from being seen above and below the screen. Screen masking is very important in a presentation and I'm of the opinion that you should never see any white or silver screen extra out side of the actual image being projected. It's too distracting.
Thats a great idea, For me that wont work as I have the projector ceiling mounted, this is my setup.

NOTE: for some reason none of the buttons at the top of the reply box or smilies are working. so I cant use the "link" button.
Looks like a nice set up. I would suggest get some black masking for the top or bottom of the
screen then. You can use the position function of your projector to move the image up or
down to put all of the extra black on top or bottom accordingly, then mask it off with black
curtain material. Use similar curtain material (matte black) for the sides for 1.33 films. You'll
see it makes a big difference in the presentation. Extra screen that viewers see without any
picture on it undermines the 'moviegoing experience'.
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