Letterbox vs. Pan And Scan

This isn’t new, and it’s not directly related to sci-fi or fantasy specifically, but it’s something that deserves to be visible. If you have friends who complain that letterboxed versions of movies are missing some of the picture, tell them to check out this link. It’s not as funny as most of the Rinkworks stuff, since it’s meant to be serious, but it’s very well done.

5 replies on “Letterbox vs. Pan And Scan”

  1. dubbayoo says:

    A slightly better article…
    There’s another article about this topic, though it deals specifically with anamorphic video versus non-anamorphic. It’s at http://www.dvdfile.com/news/special_report/production_a_z/anamorphic.htm.

    I also seem to remember a great article about this subject elsewhere (I thought it was at The Digital Bits, but a quick search of the archives there turned up nothing), and it had a myriad of visual aids to get the point across.

    Needless to say, it frankly amazes me that there are people out there (above the age of 5 anyway) who actually prefer pan and scan to widescreen. There’s nothing wrong with 4:3 if that’s the ratio intended and shot by the director and DP (for instance, in early films, or even more recent flicks like Full Metal Jacket); but bastardizing a widescreen presentation by making it 4:3 for any sort of presentation is just wrong.

    • kurros says:

      Re: A slightly better article…

      I also seem to remember a great article about this subject elsewhere (I thought it was at The Digital Bits, but a quick search of the archives there turned up nothing), and it had a myriad of visual aids to get the point across.

      You mean article the big white icon in the top left redirects to? :)

      • dubbayoo says:

        Re: A slightly better article…

        You mean article the big white icon in the top left redirects to? :)

        Yes, that would be it. That’s exactly what I was thinking about. Thanks.

  2. jpostel says:

    Letterbox andHDTV
    A friend of mine got an HDTV and then told me he was considering taking it back because the picture “bothered his eyes.”

    But he also has made comments about that black space of letterbox movies. Weirdo.

  3. TimeTrip says:

    Not the whole picture (no pun intended)
    What that rather informative article DOESN’T mention is movies shot in Super35 (a roughly 4:3 image or thereabouts) by a soft-matte that are filmed at 4:3, then shown at theaters has a masking area at the top and bottom of the picture to make it widescreen. This correctly reflects the directors intent, but sometimes when shown on TV or video, it shows the FULL picture, so when you see the 4:3 version you actually see MORE of the picture. Example movies of this are Jurassic Park, T2 (see when arnie beats the crap out of the phone to get a quarter, in the full screen version you see the BANG of the top half of the phone, and the quarters at the bottom. In the theatrical version you only see the BANG then the camera pans down to show the quarters).

    See my thoughts on it here:
    http://www.hometheateradvice.com/article.php?sid=widescreen
    Note that this is a few years old by now hehe ;)

Comments are closed.