As any movie fan knows, many so-called "epic" films these days are shot with an extreme aspect ratio. Superman Returns, for example, was shot in a 2.40:1 ratio as opposed to 1.78:1, the ratio of almost all HDTVs, including projectors. Which means that when you watch those flicks at home, a good chunk of your pixels are going unused, since they're left showing nothing but black (or gray) bars on the top and bottom of the image. Tragedy!
Well, SIM2 has a way to get those pixels back. The projector manufacturer's Flex system can get a 2:35:1 image from a 1.78:1 chip — with no black bars. How does it do that? Read on, my film-connoisseur friend.
First you hook up the Flex system to your SIM2 projector. Then, when you're watching a 2:35:1 film, the built-in image processor will stretch the image vertically to a 1.78:1 ratio so every pixel on the chip is used. "But wait — that's just distorting the image!" you say? You're right, but we're not done: When the image is projected through the lens, the Flex optics do a second stretch, a horizontal one, to restore the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio.
How is this any better than just moving the projector further back, so the image is just as big? Well, smart guy, if you do that, you won't be using all the pixels on your projector's chip — some of them are still giving you nothing but blackness, which can result in decreased brightness in addition to less resolution. SIM2's method ensures the whole chip is working on your image.
Now for the catches: To enjoy this cinematic perk, you'll need a SIM2 projector (not exactly known for their inexpensiveness), plus at least $3,195 for the Flex itself ($5,995 for the motorized version). Even though that's a fair bit cheaper than the company's high-end Scope system that does the same thing (just with better optics), it still puts this full-res ultra-widescreen action within a certain cachet. If that's you, let me know when I can come over.