Converting your Projector to Cinema 4K

Over 80% of the most popular movies since 1972 are made in the 2.4:1 cinema aspect ratio – much wider than 4K/UHDTV – and even streaming content is rapidly evolving toward this format.  

Over 80% of the most popular movies are made in the standard commercial cinema 2.4:1 aspect ratio and even today’s streaming shows are migrating to this format. This content is meant and created to be the largest experience in your theater but on a flat panel TV or 16:9 projection system it is actually displayed as the smallest experience with the lowest performance because millions of display pixels are turned off to create black bars (yes, even with “lens memory zooming“). But now today’s most popular projector models also include anamorphic upconversion modes for use with an external anamorphic lens to convert their full 4K performance into the larger 2.4:1 cinema format for the highest brightness and detail – all while still providing modes for watching 16:9 content. The anamorphic big screen advantage means your projector can actually deliver higher detail than you’ll see in most commercial theaters and certainly higher than you can see with a flat panel TV.

How does anamorphic cinema 4K projection increase the brightness and detail of movies?

THE ORIGINAL MOVIE SURROUNDED BY UNUSED BLACK DISPLAY PIXELS. Consumer cinema-format 4K movies are delivered using 3840 horizontal x 1600 vertical pixels to maintain their original 2.4:1 aspect ratio (ie 3840/1600=2.4). When displayed in the center of the 4096 x 2160 pixels of a 4K/4096 projector there are 2,703,360 unused black display pixels surrounding the movie. When displayed in the center of the 3840 x 2160 pixels of a 4K/3840 UHD projector there are 2,150,400 unused display pixels surrounding the movie.


THE UPCONVERTED MOVIE USING THE REPURPOSED BLACK PIXELS. Anamorphic upconversion is now an included option in all Sony ES and JVC DLA 4K projectors and also in most 16:9 4K (UHD) projectors from Digital Projection, Epson and BenQ. This upconversion applies digital scaling and possibly other image processing algorithms to convert the movie to a higher resolution of 4096 x 2133 (17:9 projectors) or 3840 x 2133 (16:9 projectors) using 43% (17:9) or 33% (16:9) more display pixels. While no real, additional source resolution is implied, upconversion from real movie content has been proven to not only provide substantial additional image brightness from these millions of additional pixels but also additional realistic detail and subsequent improved clarity. However, without an anamorphic lens this enhancement leaves the movie appearing vertically stretched by 25% (17:9) or 33% (16:9). Aspect Modes: Sony: “V-Stretch“. JVC: “Anamorphic C“. Digital Projection: “TheaterScope“. Epson: “Anamorphic Wide“. BenQ: “Anamorphic 2.4:1“. 


THE UPCONVERTED MOVIE ON A 2.4:1 SCREEN THROUGH A PALADIN LENS. The upconverted movie is optically compressed through an external Panamorph anamorphic lens to correct the 25% (DCR lenses) or 33% (CDR lenses) residual vertical stretch from the upconversion process. This restores the original 2.4:1 movie aspect ratio while retaining the significant performance enhancement from the upconverted pixels for greater visual clarity combined with a net brightness increase of approximately 38% (DCR) or 30% (CDR) over projection of the original movie.