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At the risk of looking stupid - how can you tell if a DVD is anamorphic?

At the risk of looking stupid - how can you tell if a DVD is anamorphic?

 
Old 10-06-03, 01:57 PM
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At the risk of looking stupid - how can you tell if a DVD is anamorphic?

(I apologize if this has been covered in depth... searching for "anamorphic" doesn't exactly yield just ten results, y'know? if there's a thread on this, feel free to direct me.)

So anyway, I have a 20-inch 4:3 Television.

My DVD Player, a Malata, has three settings -
4:3 Letterbox
4:3 Pan & Scan
16:9

As you might expect, an anamorphic DVD and a nonanamorphic DVD will both look about the same on my set (unless there's a better transfer, which is a different issue). I watch my DVDs in 4:3 Letterbox.

Now, when I watch an anamorphic DVD in 16:9 mode, the image stretches vertically and fills the screen. Nonamorphic DVDs will have black bars on the top, and the sides.

Now. I popped in The Thing last night, and since the Universal logo came up in what looked like 1.78:1, I decided to put it into 16:9 mode just to see. Sure enough, black bars on all sides.

I play the movie, and put it into 16:9 mode.

The image stretches vertically and fills the breadth of teh screen with narrower black bars on top and bottom, like you'd expect from an anamorphic DVD in a 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio. No black bars on the sides at all.

Now, I know that The Thing is not anamorphic. But I usually use this test to see if a DVD is anamorphic or not (Cases don't always say, and sometimes they report erroneously).

How can you tell if a DVD is anamorphic or not? I have no DVD-Rom, before anyone asks.

Thanks.
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Old 10-06-03, 02:00 PM
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The easiest way is just to look at the case ... most studios designate anamorphic transfer or "enhanced for 16x9 televisions" which is the same thing.
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Old 10-06-03, 02:02 PM
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Turn you DVD player to 16:9.. when you play a DVD if it's vertically streched, it be anamorphic.
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Old 10-06-03, 02:58 PM
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Originally posted by PixyJunket
Turn you DVD player to 16:9.. when you play a DVD if it's vertically streched, it be anamorphic.
Ah, but my copy of The Thing DOES vertically stretch, hence my question... I doubt I got the only anamorphic copy ever made!
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Old 10-06-03, 03:08 PM
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Yes you did!
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Old 10-06-03, 03:12 PM
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Re: At the risk of looking stupid - how can you tell if a DVD is anamorphic?

Originally posted by profbobo
The easiest way is just to look at the case ... most studios designate anamorphic transfer or "enhanced for 16x9 televisions" which is the same thing.
Might want to try reading posts rather than replying to just the thread title.

Originally posted by DonnachaOne

(Cases don't always say, and sometimes they report erroneously).
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Old 10-06-03, 03:17 PM
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Originally posted by DonnachaOne
Ah, but my copy of The Thing DOES vertically stretch, hence my question... I doubt I got the only anamorphic copy ever made!
Heh.. strange. Pics?
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Old 10-06-03, 03:17 PM
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I popped my copy of The Thing in the other night, to see how it looked on my new 57" Widescreen Hitachi. I thought I had read it was not anamorphic, and a quick check of the box showed no signs of it, so I was just expecting to use my Malata's stretch feature to fill out my screen. Well, the movie came up, and it filled the width of my widescreen! Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that a sure sign that it is anamorphic?

My Malata was not zoomed in, nor was my TV. Everything was set as they usually are, and I popped in other DVDs to make sure.

So what gives? Is this a case of a movie being anamorphic, when it is NOT stated on the box (I know there are many cases of that)? Maybe that's what I remembered reading, but I could have sworn it was not supposed to be anamorphic..
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Old 10-06-03, 03:23 PM
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When did the both of you buy your "The Thing" DVDs?
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Old 10-06-03, 03:27 PM
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I bought mine right after it came out...
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Old 10-06-03, 03:35 PM
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Interesting...

BTW, when I put my player in 16:9 mode with a non-anamorphic DVD, it just shows the exact same picture it would show on the 4:3 Letterbox function (and teh 4:3 Pan & Scan, for that matter). No black bars on the sides. A case of different players doing different things, perhaps? I have a Sony.

K
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Old 10-06-03, 03:36 PM
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Well.. I'm lost then. Maybe it's anamorphic on Malatas only.
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Old 10-06-03, 03:38 PM
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Originally posted by Cornelius1047
Interesting...

BTW, when I put my player in 16:9 mode with a non-anamorphic DVD, it just shows the exact same picture it would show on the 4:3 Letterbox function (and teh 4:3 Pan & Scan, for that matter). No black bars on the sides. A case of different players doing different things, perhaps? I have a Sony.

K
That's what it is supposed to do. The only difference the 16:9/4:3 mode will have effect on is anamorphic DVDs.
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Old 10-06-03, 03:39 PM
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I also have Cyberhome and Panasonic players.. when I get home I will test it on them as well, and report back.
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Old 10-06-03, 03:40 PM
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Originally posted by Geminix
I also have Cyberhome and Panasonic players.. when I get home I will test it on them as well, and report back.
Thanks!
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Old 10-06-03, 03:59 PM
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I'll have pics up soon enough.

I bought mine whenever Heavenly Creatures came out. Whenever that was. It was from Best Buy, the price was $14.99, and I'm sure it was no different than any other copy.

Perhaps there's a couple of Nonanamorphic DVDs that "fool" certain DVD players?
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Old 10-06-03, 04:00 PM
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I think you may have a player that displays properly flagged non-anamorphic DVDs correctly on a 16:9 capable TV. Just a guess.
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Old 10-06-03, 04:01 PM
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Originally posted by PixyJunket
That's what it is supposed to do. The only difference the 16:9/4:3 mode will have effect on is anamorphic DVDs.
Yeah, I know. But DonnachaOne said there were black bars on all 4 sides. Just wondering what that was all about.

K
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Old 10-06-03, 04:49 PM
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I had always gone by the advice of The Digital Bits:

But what if you've got a widescreen DVD and you can't find any markings about anamorphic on the packaging? Many of Columbia TriStar's widescreen DVDs are anamorphic (but not labeled as such). How do you tell? Well... remember that problem we mentioned a few minutes ago, where people were seeing "squished" pictures on their Standard TV? You can use that to find out - simply go into your DVD player's setup menu and tell it that you have a widescreen TV (it may be labeled simply "16x9"). On your Standard TV, if a disc is anamorphic, it will look squished. If it looks the same, it's non-anamorphic.
But this question has always intrigued me, so I did an experiment with my Malata DAV-3600 and my Toshiba 27AF43 (4:3) TV. I set the Malata to 16:9 TV source (this particular TV has a "16:9 mode, but I left it off).

Here are the results:

1.33 non (The Devil & Daniel Webster)---> sidebars & horizontally squeezed
1.66 non (Robocop/Criterion)---> windowboxed, normal
1.66 ana (Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie)---> fullscreen, horizontally squeezed
1.66 non [but listed as ana] (Belle de jour)---> windowboxed, normal
1.85 non (Brazil/Criterion)---> windowboxed, normal
1.85 ana (Miller's Crossing)---> fullscreen, horizontally squeezed
2.35 non (Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert)---> windowboxed, horizontally squeezed
2.35 non (The Wild Bunch)---> windowboxed, horizontally squeezed
2.35 not listed as ana (Pilliow Talk)---> bars top & bttm, horizontally squeezed
2.20 ana (Lawrence of Arabia/2-disc SE)--> bars top & bttm, horizontally squeezed


So, at least in this experiment, it appears that the best way to tell if a DVD is anamorphically enhanced is to use a 4:3 display device and set your DVD player output to 16:9.

Non-anamorphic DVDs in all aspect ratios (except 1.33) will appear windowboxed (with bars on all four sides) in this arrangement. The pictures on these non-anamorphic DVDs will appear "normal", except in 2.35 ARs, which will appear slightly horizontally squeezed.

Anamorphically enhanced DVDs can appear either fullscreen (1.66 or 1.85) or with bars top & bottom, but they will have a horizontally squeezed appearance regardless.

[Edited]

Last edited by FilmFanSea; 10-06-03 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 10-06-03, 04:52 PM
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http://www.dvdcompare.net would tell you.
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Old 10-06-03, 05:01 PM
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I'm pretty sure I tested my copy of The Thing in 16:9 mode on a 4:3 TV and there was no change in the picture, so your situation is quite strange (but I'm gonna go test mine again just to be sure).
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Old 10-06-03, 05:07 PM
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I think C_Fletch might have the best answer. Does anybody know other properly encoded non-anamorphic disc that could be used to test?
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Old 10-06-03, 05:10 PM
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See my edited post above
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Old 10-06-03, 05:13 PM
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This has been covered before in a previous thread. The Thing is definitively a non-anamorphic disc.

Malata DVD players have a feature built in which will scale some non-anamorphic discs to fill a widescreen display. The disc is still non-anamorphic.
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Old 10-06-03, 05:17 PM
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Cool, thanks. I knew it was nonanamorphic (check my previous posts), just wanted to know why it was happening.

How can you tell which ones it'll scale to fill? Now I'm curious about why it happens...
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