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  • Anamorphic widescreen is a process by which a widescreen image is compressed horizontally to fit into a storage medium with a narrower aspect ratio. Compatible playback equipment can then re-expand the horizontal dimension to show the original widescreen image. This is typically used to allow one to store widescreen images on a medium that was originally intended for a narrower ratio, while using as much of the frame - and therefore recording as much detail - as possible. The technique originally comes from cinema. A film would be framed and recorded as widescreen, but the picture would be "squashed together" using a specially crafted concave lens to fit into non-widescreen 1.37:1 aspect ratio film. This film can then be printed and manipulated like any other 1.37:1 film stock, although the images on it will appear to be squashed horizontally as in a fun house mirror. An anamorphic lens on the projector in the cinema corrects the picture by performing exactly the opposite distortion, returning it to its original width and its widescreen aspect ratio.

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