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I'm an ignorant DVD shopper. Convert me to Widescreen.

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52 replies to this topic

#1 of 53 OFFLINE   StevenFC


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Posted February 06 2004 - 08:26 AM

What's your best spiel when it comes to converting those that are oblivious to the difference between pan and scan and widescreen? Mine goes like this... Take the painting of Leonardo da Vinci's "The Last Supper of Christ". You wouldn't say it was okay to cut off the ends of that to make it fit on your wall better would you? How could someone say, "Well, Leonardo da Vinci won't mind if I just sliced off three or four Apostles"? After all, he didn't think they were important to the painting, right? Of course he thought they were important or else they wouldn't be in there. No one would dare do that to a work of art. Aren't movies works of art? If the director wanted something in the frame he did it for a reason. Only he can judge what belongs and what doesn't. If you chop off the sides you're no longer watching the same movie. You're watching what someone else thinks you should be watching. They've made the judgement that the director's vision of the film doesn't matter. How arrogant is that? And I'll ask them if they think it would be okay to remove some of the books of the Bible or chapters from their favorite books. After all, you don't really need to read all of that do you? Of course that wouldn't be okay. You should at the very least be given a choice should you not? Most of the time I just get a reluctant agreement so they can get away from the crazy man. I'm sure that most of the time they're saying to themselves that it's just a movie. Unfortunately I have a lot of these conversations with clerks. I really enjoy those conversations. Although I must admit, they're becoming less frequent. So what's the approach that you use?
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#2 of 53 OFFLINE   Jeff Swearingen

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Posted February 06 2004 - 08:36 AM

Hold up an Amaray case horizontally. I think it looks almost like 16:9. Hold your hand over a side of it to show just the square image. That seems the easiest way for me to show someone. I'll use two Amaray cases slightly overlapped to try and show 2.35:1. Haven't even given a thought to how I'd try and show Ben-Hur's 2.77:1 with this method.

#3 of 53 OFFLINE   Jimmy M

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Posted February 06 2004 - 08:56 AM

Hold up a dollar bill. Ask if they want this...

(tear the bill in half and offer one half)

...or this.

Posted Image

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#4 of 53 OFFLINE   Alex Spindler

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Posted February 06 2004 - 08:59 AM

Take a dollar bill. The ratio of it is 2.35, so it is a good example of a nice widescreen film. Tell them that this is what they saw in the theaters. Fold the bill at the 'H' in 'THE' and the 'C' in 'AMERICA' that is on the front of the bill (It's close to 55% of the bill). Tell them that this is what they see when they choose Pan and Scan. It's often as simple as that. For further illustration, unfold one side and fold along the portrait to show them how the actual Panning works.

#5 of 53 OFFLINE   Robert Anthony

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Posted February 06 2004 - 09:05 AM

This is how I did it at Sam Goody. "I don't get this Widescreen crap. What's with the black bars?? I want to get all the picture." "You are." "What? How? Look at those black bars." "Okay, well, think of it this way. What shape is your TV?" "It's square." "Right. And what shape is a theater screen?" "It's a rectangle." "Yup. So in order to fit a rectangle into a square, You either lop the sides off the rectangle, or you shrink down the rectangle and stick black space on the top and the bottom. So yeah, on the one hand, you're getting a SMALLER picture, but you're getting ALL of the picture that you remember from the theater. You choose that other one, you get a filled up screen--but you're losing all that stuff on the sides..in some cases almost HALF the picture. Like, say Star Wars or Indy Jones? you'd lose about half the picture that way" "Oh." Got a fair amount of people to grab the widescreen that way. Also got a few people saying "Eh. The stuff on the sides doesn't really mean much to me."

#6 of 53 OFFLINE   David Grove

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Posted February 06 2004 - 09:31 AM

Maybe one could print out an example frame from a widely recognized movie. One that is impossible to frame in 4:3 via panning, and looks obviously incomplete. Just carry it in your wallet. Demo the loss of essential picture. What would be good example scenes? DG
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#7 of 53 OFFLINE   Greg_S_H


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Posted February 06 2004 - 09:31 AM

I have Wilford Brimley hold up a copy of the widescreen edition and say, "It's the right thing to do."

#8 of 53 OFFLINE   Malcolm R

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Posted February 06 2004 - 09:44 AM

I'm always partial to the scene from "Indy Jones and the Last Crusade" where father and son are in the motorcycle and sidecar, fighting over which way to go at an intersection. In the widescreen shot, both father and son can be seen glaring at each other. In the pan-and-scan version, it's only Indy Jones and he's looking off-screen. The Last Supper example is a good one, though. That'll connect with a lot of people. I also like the six-pack example. You bring a six-pack of beer/soda up to the counter. The cashier charges you the six-pack price, which you pay. Then as the cashier bags it up, they remove two cans from the pack, leaving you only four to take home. You paid for the whole thing, but only get 2/3 of it.
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#9 of 53 OFFLINE   MarkHarrison


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Posted February 06 2004 - 09:50 AM

Here's what I say: "" Seriously, I'll all for seeing a movie in the proper format, but I really don't care what others do. If someone asks, I'd be happy to explain. Otherwise I just let them buy whatever they wish. I even had my sister ask once why I prefer widescreen (I returned a P&S copy of Scarface I'd received as a gift). I simply said I like widescreen better. I know her, her husband and their three children quite well. I could have gone into a long speach about squares and rectangles and they would have gotten it. But they wouldn't have cared. So I didn't even try. As long as they're happy with what they're watching, that's good enough for me.

#10 of 53 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted February 06 2004 - 09:57 AM

My Speil usually goes like this: Them: I don't like the bars cutting of the top and bottom of the picture Me: What are you, a f***** Moron? You are clearly to ignorant to to own, much less use a DVD player. You stupid dick! Put that disk back on the shelf. You are F***** banned from ever buying DVDs! Get out! GET OUT THE F*** out of this store! well, thats what I want to say...:b

#11 of 53 OFFLINE   Robert Anthony

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Posted February 06 2004 - 10:04 AM

Yeah, Mark, I never actually PUSHED it on people--I only answered the specific "What's with this widescreen!" question when directly asked. otherwise, I'd just ring em up and be quiet. Seriously, there were plenty other things for me to worry about as a Sam Goody employee at that time Posted Image

#12 of 53 OFFLINE   Tony Whalen

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Posted February 06 2004 - 10:05 AM

Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Oh that's just like what I *ALWAYS* say to people!!!!!

...in my head... Posted Image

#13 of 53 OFFLINE   Zen Butler

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Posted February 06 2004 - 10:08 AM

Another vote for the dollar bill

Get out the fuck out.....priceless Posted Image


#14 of 53 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted February 06 2004 - 10:19 AM

I like the Wilford Brimley idea. Posted Image

Here's what I had in mind:

Simply show someone the pan & scan version of Moulin Rouge! next to the widescreen version.

Sure, even Lawrence of Arabia is ALMOST watchable in pan & scan (I use the word "almost" as in someone being eaten by a tiger except for their head and saying "they were almost completely eaten"), but MR! must be one of the few films that makes absolutely no sense without OAR.


Ok, I forgot... Ben-Hur (1959) and It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World are also totally unwatchable.

#15 of 53 OFFLINE   Christian J

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Posted February 06 2004 - 10:31 AM

Someone dug this link up at one of the other forums - rexer.com/cine/oar.htm - and I found it very informative without being condescending. Sorry, not enough posts to use links...

#16 of 53 OFFLINE   Jeff D Han

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Posted February 06 2004 - 10:35 AM

The best examples of films to demonstrate to
the uneducated would be It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad
World (alot of scenes with 2 or 3 people in
cars talking in the same shot- in the 4:3 ratio
screen you hear voices of people that are lopped
off the screen), and Lord Of The Rings (the 4:3
ratio screen destroyes the awesome cinematography).
If you were to put 2 TVs side by side and show both
MAR and OAR, the uneducated would understand that
OAR is the ONLY way to view movies. Posted Image
Pretty please, with sugar on top,
clean the f**king car.

#17 of 53 OFFLINE   Harminder


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Posted February 06 2004 - 10:43 AM

I just tell fool-screen lovers that it sucks. Why? Cause they're missing the picture... LITERALLY!

Would you take a photograph of your entire family and cut the sides to fit a frame? Or would you go buy a frame (a widescreen TV) that fits it?

If you don't have the funds now, collect widescreen DVD's until then! Cause when you do buy that widescreen TV, you're going to be watching a streched image Posted Image!

#18 of 53 OFFLINE   Matt Rexer

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Posted February 06 2004 - 10:55 AM

Someone dug this link up at one of the other forums - rexer.com/cine/oar.htm
- and I found it very informative without being condesending.

Whoa! That's my page. How'd people find it, I wonder? I made it for my family over the holidays. I found out my aunt asked for Chicago on DVD in fullscreen for Xmas and I had to do something...

Thanks for the compliment, Christian. What other forum mentioned it? [and, I know, some of the details are a little fudged -- movies in theaters are 1.85:1 and not 16:9 -- but I was trying to keep things as simple as possible]
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#19 of 53 OFFLINE   MatthewLouwrens



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Posted February 06 2004 - 11:36 AM

Christian - Thanks. It's an excellent link - with one exception.

I don't like the way they describe fill-screen Super 35 as OK...
S35 may have been filmed for an OK full-frame picture, it's still a compromise to appease the luddites. Even in the shot from Air Force One used as an example - the widescreen brings us up so close to the action. The extra picture information at the top and bottom actually distances us from the action.

EDIT: Matt - I hope you're not offended by my criticsm. It's just my own personal view, and it is an excellent page. You should be proud of it.

I have used the Last Supper example myself (and there I was, feeling proud of myself for thinking of it.)

One other example, that I am thinking about trying to use with my father, is to explain not just how much information you're losing, but how even when it's not obvious that any information is being lost the impact of a scene is being impaired.

For this, you need a film from a director with a great eye for composition and visual storytelling. One example I have thought of is the scene in Punch-Drunk Love where Barry is waiting for the phone sex girl to call him back. It's a fascinating scene that is framed completely contrary to almost every rule of frame composition - Barry is sitting on the extreme right of screen with a hell of a lot of headroom. Most of the frame is occupied by a grey wall and an empty table with two chairs, one that Barry is sitting on and the other on the other side of the table.

Barry is presented really as a very small almost insignificant element in the image - visually presenting his own insignificance. The drab grey wall also brings his lack of strong presence - there is nothing in the room to show anyone real lives there. The table, with the empty chair representing Barry's loneliness and desire to have someone sitting in that chair. You get a lot of information from a single frame about Barry's personality.

Full frame it - Barry is proportionally now twice as large in the image - not insignificant. There is less of an expanse of grey, and the all-important empty chair is out of view. End result - the scene has a completely different impact from what was originally intended, even though you only lose a chair and some wall.

Of course, an explanation like this needs someone willing to listen to you - so it would probably only work (if at all) with family members.

(Incidentally, does anyone happen to have a screengrab of that image from PDL? Thanks.)

#20 of 53 OFFLINE   ScottFH


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Posted February 06 2004 - 11:38 AM

This usually works for me, esp. with musician friends and music lovers: I ask 'em what they'd think if they bought a CD and discovered all the high and low frequencies were completely missing: pan-and-scam is the visual equivalent of that.

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