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Answerman - Why Do Some Releases Of Older Movies Have Black Borders?


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Scalfin



Joined: 18 May 2008
Posts: 77
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 1:45 pm Reply with quote
I have an early HD LCD, and can't turn off the overscan setting, as far as I've been able to find. It's very annoying.
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mgosdin



Joined: 17 Jul 2011
Posts: 1184
Location: Kissimmee, Florida, USA
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:01 pm Reply with quote
Electron Gun, wasn't really all that safe - my parents always insisted that I stay back from the screen several feet. My dad's best friend was a TV technician. Died from cancer, melanoma on his face. Years and years of staring into TV tubes up close. Personally I'm glad they are gone.

Mark Gosdin
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I_Drive_DSM



Joined: 11 Feb 2008
Posts: 44
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:24 pm Reply with quote
There's a bit of an ethical argument also when dealing with 4:3. It usually has to always be pillar-boxed or black-barred as otherwise you'll destroy the "integrity" of the footage. For sure you could up-res or place the footage into a more modern appeasing format. However you'll either cut off entire portions of footage and/or mess up the aspect ratio. Akin to say playing an NES on a modern HDTV without going back to a proper 4:3 aspect.

Another issue that I believe that has been discussed in the past here is simply old DVDs themselves. Back during this transition period there was no real standard behind DVD encoding formats (arguably there still really isn't, although preferable formats are established), which gives you a serious hodge-podge of quality. I went for some years without buying a licensed US release (modern streaming is great) only to recently get back into physically releases and realize a lot of my older titles have some questionable quality on modern televisions. Dulled black hues, block artifacts, etc, that wouldn't have been as noticeable on a pre-HDTV television.
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mrakai



Joined: 30 Oct 2003
Posts: 27
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:38 pm Reply with quote
The other thing that comes up quite a bit is many older anime theatrical films (Sailor moon movies for example) were animated at 1.33:1 (4:3 TV aspect), but designed to be cropped to 1.66:1 ("Flat" Cinema ratio for film projection) in the theater. When these were released on home video, the 4:3 original aspect was used.

This is the intended release format from the creators and is not chopping anything off the sides, but instead is restoring the small amount cut off for the theatrical presentation.

HDTV adds another whole spanner in the works because it's ratio (1.76:1 aka 16:9) was a compromise between the 2 film formats (1.66:1 flat and 2.35:1 scope) and TV. This results in the following:

"Flat" films need to be pillar boxed to 1.76:1 or stretched, cropping off the top and bottom. "Scope" films need to be letterboxed or cropped to HDTV ratio.
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K.o.R



Joined: 31 Mar 2005
Posts: 165
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 3:21 pm Reply with quote
I never understood why a native 1080p panel would default to overscanning a native 1080p signal. Exact resolution or GTFO, television set Smile
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#861208



Joined: 07 Oct 2016
Posts: 325
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:09 pm Reply with quote
The safe area thing is similar to the guides to planning comics for print... though, I wonder how many how-to-draw-comics/manga books teach that anymore... the Japanese ones probably still do.

But if you buy pre-printed comics/manga drawing paper, it has the blue lines for that.

(Tip: if you draw at all, if you go to Japan, pick up some of that paper in Tokyu Hands or Animate, it's really great and cheap if you buy it there, but expensive to get as an import).
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EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
Posts: 3359
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:09 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
There are times when the letterboxing and pictureboxing collide, such as when you play an old letterboxed widescreen DVD (encoded as 4x3) on a modern HDTV. The TV will sense a 4x3 signal and add black borders on the sides, unaware that there already IS a black border on the top and bottom of the picture. The resulting image now has a giant black border all around it, and the picture is now a tiny inset in the middle of the screen.


And even that had a name since the early DVD days, too: "Windowboxing".

Hence the fight for "Anamorphic" releases (where only the square/rectangular image itself had been mastered to let the TV sort it out, without any added bars), which became the battle cry in the early DVD days between early adopters who were willing to watch widescreen on 4:3 sets to get the whole picture, and nervous studios who thought nobody did, and still tried to sell "Fullscreen" 4:3 movies to Joe Low-Tech.
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TheAncientOne



Joined: 06 Oct 2010
Posts: 1589
Location: USA (mid-south)
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:20 pm Reply with quote
Scalfin wrote:
I have an early HD LCD, and can't turn off the overscan setting, as far as I've been able to find. It's very annoying.

It doesn't help that every manufacturer seemed to have a different way of labeling it. On my first HDTV, and old 720p Olevia (2007), it was accessed under the "Aspect" heading, but I can't recall what it was. I do remember under that same heading was "1:1" mode which would leave a black border on all sides for a 720p signal, as like most 720p sets, the panel was actually 1366 x 768.

While not mentioned in the article, another reason to hate overscan on modern flat panels is that it often softens the picture. It doesn't matter much if one is running a 720p signal to a 1080 panel or visa versa, as that already involves non-integer scaling, but with a 1080 source displaying on a 1080p panel, overscan kills what would have been 1:1 mapping of the pixels.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 6836
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:43 pm Reply with quote
Which brings me to the question, why the hell is the currently streaming Evil or Live natively letterboxed?? Confused
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NOGI48



Joined: 14 Feb 2016
Posts: 38
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 7:29 pm Reply with quote
My TV cant even show the 4:3 on a DVD but for some reason it can on a Blu-Ray. I've tried resetting all settings on my TV and my Blu-Ray player but nothing change and i fell like I'm getting footage lost.
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MrBonk



Joined: 23 Jan 2015
Posts: 156
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 8:56 pm Reply with quote
NOGI48 wrote:
My TV cant even show the 4:3 on a DVD but for some reason it can on a Blu-Ray. I've tried resetting all settings on my TV and my Blu-Ray player but nothing change and i fell like I'm getting footage lost.
4x3 Blu Ray is still encoded in a 16x9 box. You need to look into your TVs are settings
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Triltaison



Joined: 03 Jul 2011
Posts: 156
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 4:13 am Reply with quote
NOGI48 wrote:
My TV cant even show the 4:3 on a DVD but for some reason it can on a Blu-Ray. I've tried resetting all settings on my TV and my Blu-Ray player but nothing change and i fell like I'm getting footage lost.


That might actually be a problem with your BluRay player. I have a cheap BD player that doesn't have the option to change the resolution to 4:3 and so all my "full screen" DVDs have to display as stretched wide if I want to see the whole image. Those discs all display properly when using my Xbox One or other players, though.
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Just Passing Through



Joined: 04 Apr 2011
Posts: 196
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:40 am Reply with quote
Sony's release of Paprika on BD was windowboxed for overscan.

Manga Entertainment have just re-released it in the UK and the image is now fullscreen (they also made the English dub lossless (it was DD on the Sony BD).

On the other hand, Umbrella Entertainment in Australia recently released Tokyo Godfathers on Blu-ray, and they took a windowboxed imaged and windowboxed it again, so now you have an inch thick border around the film.
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TheAncientOne



Joined: 06 Oct 2010
Posts: 1589
Location: USA (mid-south)
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 7:45 am Reply with quote
Gina Szanboti wrote:
Which brings me to the question, why the hell is the currently streaming Evil or Live natively letterboxed?? Confused

I haven't viewed it yet, but it is probably a artistic choice. Those in charge of some shows purposely choose a wider aspect ratio. If I recall correctly, Star Trek Discovery fits into that category.
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Gina Szanboti



Joined: 03 Aug 2008
Posts: 6836
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:06 pm Reply with quote
^ I think they're just trying to enhance the feel of watching it in a theater, since the constant flickering of the image (which I think might be an artifact of poorly matched key frames and inbetweens) looks like it's being shown on a projector with its bulb about to blow. Smile
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