Updated: 9/29/02; 10:39:12 PM.
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Friday, September 27, 2002

Anamorphic Widescreen

For those baffled by my comment below (on the equally baffling omission of anamorphic widescreen from the Evangelion discs), here's The Ultimate Guide to Anamorphic Widescreen.

But that's a lot of words; here's a really simple demonstration:

These are screenshots of the DVD player window, playing two different DVDs. Note that the size of the content in each example is the same, but in the top image (which does not have anamorphic widescreen) there is a substantial black border surrounding the image. That's because non-anamorphic widescreen has a standard TV-sized 4:3 video stream which is "turned into" widescreen by actually explicitly adding the black bars on the top and bottom of the video stream.

It becomes abundantly clear why this is a problem when you view the image on a non-4:3 screen (like the widescreen PowerBook, or the new batch of HDTV-capable widescreen TVs). The non-anamorphic encoding is played back as a standard 4:3 image, which means it isn't stretched out to fit the wider dimensions of the screen -- which means you get black bars on the left & right as well as the top and bottom. Also, as you can see, a non-trivial amount of the pixels are wasted on black space; so even if you did zoom it so that it was properly wide enough, it's still lower resolution than it would have been otherwise.

Considering that anamorphicly encoded video streams play back just fine on a 4:3 TV (because the DVD player formats things such that the black bars are automatically added), there's just no excuse for a non-anamorphic encoding. Grumble.  12:27:03 PM  (comments []  

Additional Grumpiness on Things I've Spent Money On

Also, I don't want to lead anyone down the wrong path here. Robotech is a mediocre game; the deep satisfaction I get out of it is simply because I can actually transform this mecha, and because the drunken missles flow fast and furiously. The story is so far almost nonexistent, the tactical depth is also missing in action, and the levels are pretty repetitive. If it were any other license, I'd be screaming in frustration. (Also, it's a console-only game, anyone trying to find it in the PC section of EB.)

But, see, it's a giant robot. And you can transform it into a plane. And this is probably the one license I'll let myself be this irrational about. (I didn't even pick up the hideous Transformers game from a few years back, for the love o' Mike.)  11:46:31 AM  (comments []  

The End of Evangelion

EoE, the final disc of the Neon Genesis Evangelion series, was released earlier this week, and I recently finished watching. First, the good news: it's a much more satisfying ending to the series. It goes to essentially the same place as the original ending did, but this time it makes narrative sense. Also, the motivations of the various characters become much more clear.

Now the bad news: this alternate ending is supposed to be composed of two discs, Death & Rebirth and End of Evangelion. But it turns out -- and I'm pretty pissed about this -- that D&R is completely superflous. D&R contains two parts. The first part ("Death") is an hour long recap of the entire series to date. It contains a very small amount of new information, but -- with the exception of about three minutes of content relating to Second Impact -- nothing important. The second part ("Rebirth") turns out to be the first twenty minutes of End of Evangelion. So it was a complete waste of time and money.

EoE is, however, worthwhile, even if still flawed. Evangelion is an excellent, fucked up, and intriguing series, and I'm glad to have finally seen an ending that's at least internally consistent with the rest of it.

(Oh, one more bitter complaint -- why the fuck are the final two Eva discs not in anamorphic widescreen?)  11:35:26 AM  (comments []  

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Last update: 9/29/02; 10:39:12 PM.