Anamorphic Widescreen vector logo
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About Anamorphic Widescreen
Anamorphic widescreen, when applied to DVD manufacture, is a video process that horizontally squeezes a widescreen image so that it can be stored in a standard 4:3 aspect ratio DVD image frame. Compatible playback equipment can then re-expand the horizontal dimension to show the original widescreen image.
Anamorphic widescreen is also a term to describe widescreen films projected using an anamorphic lens on the projector. The film is printed in 1.37:1 format, but the picture is “squashed together” using a specially crafted concave lens, with everything on it looking elongated vertically, as in a fun house mirror. The anamorphic lens on the projector is a specially crafted convex lens that corrects the picture so that the images on the screen look normal. The optical scaling of the lens to a film medium is considered more desirable than the digital counterpart, due to the amount of non-proportional pixel decimated scaling that is applied to the width of an image to achieve (somewhat a misnomer) a so-called “rectangular” pixel widescreen image. The legacy ITU Rec. 601 4:3 image size is used for its compatibility with the original video bandwidth that was available for professional video devices that used fixed clock rates of a SMPTE 259M serial digital interface. One would produce a higher quality upscaled 16:9 widescreen image by using either a 1:1 SD progressive frame size of 640×360 or for ITU Rec. 601 and SMPTE 259M compatibility a letterboxed frame size of 480i or 576i.