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TheSL
07-14-2008, 08:18 AM
So I'm fairly new to this format and I've got a question. So far I've only purchased two movies for my fancy PS3 blu-ray player: Men in Black and Batman Begins. The former was formatted to fit the 16:9 ratio of my HDTV and looked amazing despite its age. Batman Begins, on the other hand, was indistinguishable from watching on a normal DVD, right down to the letterboxing on the top and bottom of the screen. Is there any way to tell before buying these if they're going to be worth the $10~20 premium or if they're going to be letterboxed, phoned-in DVD reprints?

Sven
07-14-2008, 08:28 AM
Batman Begins, on the other hand, was indistinguishable from watching on a normal DVD, right down to the letterboxing on the top and bottom of the screen.

That's the difference - Batman Begins' aspect ratio wasn't 16:9, it was the more common (these days) 2.35:1 (or approximately 22:9). The letterboxing is necessary if you want the full picture - TV and theatres use different aspect ratio, and therefore more movies will retain the letterboxing in HD.

(Just checked, MIB was 1.85:1)

But, trust me, the transfer is LEAGUES better on the Blu-Ray, even against an upscaled-by-the-PS3 version of the original DVD.

TheSL
07-14-2008, 08:31 AM
Hmm, interesting. It seems like it almost defeats the purpose of widening the home aspect ratio if you're just going to widen the movie one as well.

Brickroad
07-14-2008, 08:38 AM
Well they've got to have something to sell you in ten more years, aye?

A generation from now you'll have to have a dedicated TV room which you enter by a hatch from above or below, that has just one continuous strip of screen running along all four walls. Movies by this time will of course be holographic projections that travel through time.

Sven
07-14-2008, 08:42 AM
Movies have been 2:35:1 forever, though - it's a derivation of the original CinemaScope aspect ratio (and is technically 2.3*9* these days, but everyone still calls it 2.35). There was a shrinking as some movies didn't want to lose so much image for the VHS transition, but when widescreen gained traction in the 90s movies generally went back to the old standard. 16:9 was largely chosen because it was easier for conventional TV to adapt to.

(Note that all of Pixar's stuff pre-Incredibles was 1.85 - that's because Disney knew they still sold a lot of fullscreen VHS and DVD copies, and presumably didn't want to pan-and-scan the films to death)

IMAX is actually 1.45:1 (not 1.85:1 as I said in my mini-writeup of the DVD in the Gotham Knight thread), but that segment's got full bleed.

Paul le Fou
07-14-2008, 11:09 AM
Yeah, 2.35:1/22:9 (panoramic) has been around for pretty much the same amount of time as 16:9/1.85:1 (widescreen), neither of which is as old as 4:3 (classical/tv ratio). There will never be a single television which can play every movie in its original format without some kind of "bars" on the top or bottom - or the sides, if you get wider TVs.

As for transfers, I can't say. I feel like any given DVD review site which covers Blu-ray will probably comment on that, as many home video review sites seem to obsess over technical aspects these days.

teekun
07-14-2008, 06:10 PM
Hmm, interesting. It seems like it almost defeats the purpose of widening the home aspect ratio if you're just going to widen the movie one as well.

Some movie aspect ratios have always been wider than 16:9. Go rent a copy of Lawrence of Arabia for a great classic example. This has nothing to do with widening the movie in response to the widening of screens. That said, the draw of Blu-Ray is the resolution, not the picture size. Your copy of Batman Begins wasn't "phoned in", it's actually a fairly top-tier transfer. If you can't tell the difference between that and a DVD, then I think you've only got your eyes or your TV to blame.

Out of curiosity, do you have a 720p set or a 1080 one? And how large is it?