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Wondering about aspect ration changes on old DVDs

Old 05-26-22, 05:36 PM
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Wondering about aspect ration changes on old DVDs

NOTE: I meant Aspect Ratio, obviously. That's what you get for typing on a phone. :P

Hi all,
So, recently watched my new Audrey Hepburn collection on Blu Ray and decided I wanted to add a watch of Charde, which I only have on DVD at the moment.

When I popped it into my bluray player I noticed, despite the film being widescreen, there were black bars on the tops AND the sides (with a widescreen image in the middle).

This also happens on some of the films in the Woody Allen Collection DVDs.

Also, weirdly, when I pop the Charlie Chaplin set DVDs into my player it actually EXPANDS the picture from full to wide, cutting off some of the picture. However, in the PS4 it is in full screen.

Any idea what's up?

Last edited by ViewAskewbian; 05-26-22 at 06:00 PM.
Old 05-26-22, 05:51 PM
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Re: Wondering about aspect ration changes on old DVDs

I'm going to guess that Charade was a non-anamorphic DVD. Remember those? So when you put it in the player, it shows the 3:4 image which has black bars at the top and bottom.
Old 05-26-22, 06:01 PM
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Re: Wondering about aspect ration changes on old DVDs

Originally Posted by Nick Danger
I'm going to guess that Charade was a non-anamorphic DVD. Remember those? So when you put it in the player, it shows the 3:4 image which has black bars at the top and bottom.
Charade doesn't say. The Woody Allen flicks say WIDESCREEN version and STANDARD on the back. They were flippers.
Old 05-26-22, 06:37 PM
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Re: Wondering about aspect ration changes on old DVDs

That earlier single release of Charade *is* a non-anamorphic WS release and will have black all around the screen. You'll have to use a zoom and/or stretch mode to get it to fit the screen properly. AFAIK there is only *one* DVD release in anamorphic WS - it's the bonus disc/feature on the release The Truth About Charlie (a remake of Charade). I purchased that release solely for a true WS copy of Charade. Universal has done several other releases after that original release and from what I've read, *all* are the same release. However I don't know that for sure and didn't take chances as I knew the one in that 2 movie set is anamorphic. And it sounds like those Woody Allen ones are the same (I think I have a couple of those as well but don't know for sure).

Amazon Amazon

Of course the best option now is one of the BR releases...

To get all of those DVDs to project "normally" it sounds like you need to change the settings on your player's Aspect Ratio (usually a setting made when no disc is in the player) from "16:9 Original" to "16:9 Full" or something similar (terminology may differ - mine's an LG BR - BUT my region free LG DVD player has only 4:3 and 16:9 with 16:9 selected). I have to set my player to that mode and use the TV's ability (a Samsung) to switch the AR from "16:9" to "Wide Fit" to "4:3" to "Screen Fit" depending on what I'm viewing. If the player is set for "16:9 Original" then it won't display those non-anamorphic WS movies properly and I can't properly adjust for 4:3 product. It can be trial and error to find the correct combo of player and TV settings for it all to work properly.

Last edited by BobO'Link; 05-26-22 at 06:56 PM.
Old 05-26-22, 06:53 PM
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Re: Wondering about aspect ration changes on old DVDs

Originally Posted by BobO'Link

To get all of those DVDs to project "normally" it sounds like you need to change the settings on your player's Aspect Ratio (usually a setting made when no disc is in the player) from "16:9 Original" to "16:9 Full" or something similar (terminology may differ - mine's an LG). I have to set my player to that mode and use the TV's ability to switch the AR from "16:9" to "Wide Fit" to "4:3" to "Screen Fit" depending on what I'm viewing. If the player is set for "16:9 Original" then it won't display those non-anamorphic WS movies properly and I can't properly adjust for 4:3 product. It can be trial and error to find the correct combo of player and TV settings for it all to work properly.
Yeah, my first go to was to change to FULL mode (I also have an LG) but it didn't do anything (but I do believe the disc was in the player at the time). On the PS4 it did the same thing so maybe it's the TV.

Those Chaplin ones are boggling, too. The reverse. Full screen to wide. :P
Old 05-26-22, 07:01 PM
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Re: Wondering about aspect ration changes on old DVDs

Originally Posted by ViewAskewbian
Charade doesn't say. The Woody Allen flicks say WIDESCREEN version and STANDARD on the back. They were flippers.
Just because they *say* "widescreen" doesn't mean they're anamorphic WS. I discovered that when I got my first 16:9 TV and watched some "WS" movies. Look at the box specifications - if it doesn't specify "anamorphic" WS then assume it's "flat" WS, designed to produce a WS image on a 4:3 TV but *not* a "normal" WS image on a 16:9 TV. On those, without making adjustments on your player and TV, you'll see a WS image inside a 4:3 box - and you seeing those 4:3 images fit the width but *cropped* top and bottom means you need to change settings on at least the player.
Old 05-26-22, 07:06 PM
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Re: Wondering about aspect ration changes on old DVDs

Originally Posted by ViewAskewbian
Yeah, my first go to was to change to FULL mode (I also have an LG) but it didn't do anything (but I do believe the disc was in the player at the time). On the PS4 it did the same thing so maybe it's the TV.

Those Chaplin ones are boggling, too. The reverse. Full screen to wide. :P
Yep - sounds like it's likely the TV. Does it allow you to change its aspect ratio? If so, try a few different settings. On my Samsung, 16:9 is just that and used for anamorphic product (either WS or 4:3 produced to fit inside a 16:9 window - typically an older TV show on BR). The "Screen Fit" essentially zooms the image so the sides fit and crops the top/bottom of a 4:3 image (like what you're seeing on your Chaplin discs) with *most* true WS product looking OK. Then the 4:3 is used for old TVonDVD product produced for 4:3 so it is "window boxed" but in the correct AR. Finally, the "Wide Fit" takes that 4:3 and puts it edge to edge on all 4 sides, producing the "short and squat" look for older 4:3 product.

AND - If I *do* watch one of those older flat (non-anamorphic) WS discs I also sometimes have to use the player's "zoom" function to get that WS image to fit side-to-side. It's a pain and produces a much softer image.
Old 07-08-22, 02:21 PM
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Re: Wondering about aspect ration changes on old DVDs

I had a strange experience with the cheap Missing in Action 1 & 2 combo from MGM/Tiger Direct in which the first Missing in Action was technically encoded as 16:9 anamorphic but it appeared they used a 1.85 letterbox 4:3 source and encoded it as 16:9 giving the film a very strange distorted appearance.

One of the settings on my SONY HDTV was actually able to counter-correct the problem and deliver the correct picture.
Old 07-17-22, 06:51 AM
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Re: Wondering about aspect ration changes on old DVDs

I suppose that everyone is so used to HD widescreen tvs now that they've forgotten how many older DVD releases were 4:3 letterboxed. Or they aren't old enough to have gone through the anamorphic wars in the early days of DVD. Companies -- especially the ones who were lukewarm on DVD in the early days of the format like Paramount, Fox, and Disney -- staunchly refused to support the anamorphic/enchanced widescreen format. Even Criterion had to be shamed into supporting it.

Point of fact, I don't think Disney ever released an anamorphic DVD of Scream when they still owned Dimension/Miramax. Not sure Lionsgate (or whoever has the rights currently) ever corrected that.

A lot of those are probably old laserdisc transfers that they ported to DVD.

One interesting thing I've noticed about some of these old non-anamorphic DVDs is that they automatically zoom in when played on a blu-ray player. A while back, I put the aforementioned Scream DVD into my blu-ray player and it played the movie letterboxed, not windowboxed as one would expect, so I'm assuming there was some kind of flag on the disc that made it do that. The Halloween H20 DVD, also from Disney/Dimension, does the same thing. I usually have to manually zoom other non-anamorphic DVDs, so it wasn't something to do with the settings on my player.

Old 07-17-22, 07:16 AM
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Re: Wondering about aspect ration changes on old DVDs

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man
I suppose that everyone is so used to HD widescreen tvs now that they've forgotten how many older DVD releases were 4:3 letterboxed. Or they aren't old enough to have gone through the anamorphic wars in the early days of DVD. Companies -- especially the ones who were lukewarm on DVD in the early days of the format like Paramount, Fox, and Disney -- staunchly refused to support the anamorphic/enchanced widescreen format. Even Criterion had to be shamed into supporting it.

Point of fact, I don't think Disney ever released an anamorphic DVD of Scream when they still owned Dimension/Miramax. Not sure Lionsgate (or whoever has the rights currently) ever corrected that.

A lot of those are probably old laserdisc transfers that they ported to DVD.

One interesting thing I've noticed about some of these old non-anamorphic DVDs is that they automatically zoom in when played on a blu-ray player. A while back, I put the aforementioned Scream DVD into my blu-ray player and it played the movie letterboxed, not windowboxed as one would expect, so I'm assuming there was some kind of flag on the disc that made it do that. The Halloween H20 DVD, also from Disney/Dimension, does the same thing. I usually have to manually zoom other non-anamorphic DVDs, so it wasn't something to do with the settings on my player.
I've never seen a non-anamorphic DVD image do that. I always have to manually zoom those to get out of windowbox. That said - I do not have those two titles so maybe there's something that would do that but I don't see such a thing as that'd practically negate the need for anamorphic WS and eliminated those format wars. What happens when you play a 4:3 program in your BR player?
Old 07-17-22, 10:56 AM
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Re: Wondering about aspect ration changes on old DVDs

I knew that the widescreen TVs were coming so I did everything possible to avoid titles that weren’t 16x9 enhanced. I figured out early on that there were so many interesting titles that I’d love to have and couldn’t possibly get them all that I should give myself some rules about buying them and one of those was no Un-enhanced discs. A few slipped in at the beginning but otherwise I was pretty firm about it.

The only titles I would ever knowingly buy like that would be something like the Star Wars set with the original versions and I just got those like last year.
Old 07-18-22, 02:26 PM
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Re: Wondering about aspect ration changes on old DVDs

Originally Posted by BobO'Link
I've never seen a non-anamorphic DVD image do that. I always have to manually zoom those to get out of windowbox. That said - I do not have those two titles so maybe there's something that would do that but I don't see such a thing as that'd practically negate the need for anamorphic WS and eliminated those format wars. What happens when you play a 4:3 program in your BR player?
I think SONY players would often do this for some 4:3 letterbox films. I noticed it with Days of Thunder, Escape From L.A., Ghost and the Darkness etc.

On one of The Abyss copies I have, which was incorrectly listed on the packaging as "anamorphic 1.85:1", actually fooled me into thinking I had a legitimate rare anamorphic version until I opened it up in a software program which read it as 4:3 format.

Of course a zoomed 4:3 letterbox image loses a certain percentage of the pixels in the black areas as opposed to the proper 16:9 anamorphic versions.

When a legitimate 4:3 film such as "Casablanca" is played, the SONY player I have does not zoom-in. I suppose there is some digital "flag" in the disc which the player reads that automatically zooms-in on some 4:3 letterbox titles.
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Old 07-18-22, 05:32 PM
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Re: Wondering about aspect ration changes on old DVDs

Interesting. It was a Sony player that automatically zoomed in the non-anamorphic discs in question.

I've never heard of any kind of software flag that does that; wonder if the player somehow autodetects certain discs are letterboxed widescreen and then zooms them.

The players themselves don't have any kind of manual zoom feature like most old DVD players did.
Old 07-26-22, 12:42 PM
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Re: Wondering about aspect ration changes on old DVDs

This reminds me, I still need to start a petition to get Disney to finally give Six Days, Seven Nights a proper release. To date, its only disc was its original, non-anamorphic, bare bones 1998 DVD.
Old 07-30-22, 08:08 PM
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Re: Wondering about aspect ration changes on old DVDs

Originally Posted by Travis McClain
This reminds me, I still need to start a petition to get Disney to finally give Six Days, Seven Nights a proper release. To date, its only disc was its original, non-anamorphic, bare bones 1998 DVD.
Surprising that one never got out on BD, but Disney is terrible about their live-action back catalog.

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