ATH3 Lens Transport for 16:9 Content
The ATH3 lens transport is identical to the previous industry standard Panamorph ATH2 transport with modifications to work with XMU and XMU-S Attachment Kits. The ATH3 does not work with the XM2 Attachment Kit.
Why use the ATH3 for 16:9 content?
The ATH3 gives you a fourth option for watching 16:9 or TV content in your anamorphic UltraWide projection cinema. Roughly 30% of the most popular movies and naturally most “made for HDTV” content is made in (or close) to the 16:9 format. Without the ATH3, an UltraWide projection system with a fixed Panamorph lens offers three options for watching 16:9 content on a 2.4:1 screen:
1. Use the projector’s Panamorph “TV” mode. This will properly show 16:9 content in the center of the screen with black “pillar boxes” on the sides, OR,
2. Use the projector’s Panamorph “UltraWide ” mode. This will completely fill the 2.4:1 screen using the full performance of the projector but cut off the top and bottom 12.5% of the 16:9 image, OR,
3. Use the projector’s Panamorph “Stretch” mode. This turns off the anamorphic modes to completely fill the 2.4:1 screen using the full performance of the projector without cutting off the image but people will look horizontally stretched.
Now, while the TV mode (option 1) shows a complete 16:9 movie in it’s proper format with black pillars on the sides, the projector is still only using 75% of its performance because the remaining 25% is being used to create those black pillars. As an alternative, to see the complete content while using 100% of the projector’s performance requires the Panamorph lens to be moved out of the beam. Is this important? It’s actually a matter of personal preference. With the lens always in place you are always getting the same brightness and resolution per unit area regardless of the content. On the other hand, by moving the lens away you will be concentrating all the projector’s light and resolution into a smaller central area on the 2.4:1 screen so it will deliver higher performance per unit area for “pillar boxed” 16:9 content.
The other consideration is the type of Panamorph lens model you use. Since the Phoenix lens creates the 2.4:1 image by horizontally expanding the projector’s native 16:9 image, simply moving the Phoenix away with the ATH3 will automatically position the full 16:9 image in the center of the screen with no other adjustments other than turning off any ECC settings. The Paladin lens is different. Since the Paladin creates the 2.4:1 image by vertically compressing the native 16:9 image, moving it away with the ATH3 will show the 16:9 image filling the width of the screen while overlapping the top and bottom. This means that whenever the ATH3 Lens Transport is used to move the Paladin lens away the projector must also have an automated “lens memory” setting to shrink, shift and focus the image down to fit the height of the screen. Many projectors have this feature and, once programmed, it can be triggered with the simple press of a button on the remote.
In conclusion, there is a definite performance benefit to using the ATH3 if you want 16:9 content displayed in the center of your UltraWide screen with black pillars on the sides. For better insight into how this works please take a look at the Panamorph Demo Theater and experiment with moving lenses in and out (ie “no lens”) for 16:9 content. For further information, please also go to the “OK, SHOW ME WHAT’S “BEST” FOR 16:9 CONTENT.” section of the Panamorph Demo Theater Walkthrough.