An Anamorphic Lens Installation

Thought it might be fun to run through a project.  This particular challenge involved a family of avid movie watchers who had been using a JVC Model 21U projector, and a Screen Research 16x9 motorized screen for a few years.  Having recently purchased a Blu-ray player, they wanted a solution to the black-bar problem they now had.  (Blu-ray players display in the original theatrical version, which means they’re in a wide screen format—typically a 2.40:1 as opposed to a 1.78:1 ratio.)

In order to eliminate the black bars above and below the picture (when showing the 2.40 on a 1.78 screen), we decided to use an anamorphic lens and video processor, much like the theaters do with film.  This meant it was a great time to upgrade to the JVC RS-2 as well.

A second reason we encouraged this change: if you’re showing the black bars, you’re giving away the performance capabilities of the projector.  That is because the black bars are unused pixels on the video chip set of a modern digital projector.  When you go to the trouble to eliminate the unused pixels, the picture is larger, brighter, and full resolution when viewing the wide-screen formats.

We chose the Panamorph lens.  First, we measured price against performance, and Panamorph won over Schneider.   And, Panamorph offered a kit that matched our client’s new projector model. 

We replaced the 16:9 motorized screen with a combination 1.78 / 2.40 motorized screen with masking.

We added a Lumagen Luminance Radiance XD external video processor, and automated the control with an Elan touchscreen.  Bye-bye to multiple remotes. The client was juggling five to just watch TV, and this upgrade would add four more.  The client asked for a single touchscreen with full control—to set each source to any format at any time—while keeping it simple to use.   We used macros for each input; for instance, the screen defaults to 1.78 when selecting satellite TV, with overrides to 2.40.  And the reverse with the Blu-ray player: it’s set to 2.40 with the ability to switch to 1.78.  All other sources default to the most recent choice, but the touchscreen provides icons to select either format as desired.

Our client is happy.  Can’t hurt that they also added Vienna Acoustics Musics (and monoblocks) with a Poetry center channel, and two REL B-1s.