Jump to content

Sign up for a free account to remove the pop-up ads

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests and remove the pop-up ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.


Worst pan-and-scan transfer you've ever seen.

This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
32 replies to this topic

#1 of 33 OFFLINE   Stephen_J_H



  • 4,140 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 30 2003
  • Real Name:Stephen J. Hill
  • LocationNorth of the 49th

Posted October 22 2007 - 06:43 AM

While I never condone P/S transfers as a matter of principle, some P/S transfers are SO bad they deserve special mention, so the question is: what is the worst P/S transfer you've ever had the misfortune to see, in any format? One that is right up there for me is My Best Friend's Wedding. The digital panning and scanning is so glaringly obvious as to be utterly distracting.
"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#2 of 33 OFFLINE   stephen^wilson


    Stunt Coordinator

  • 246 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 16 2002

Posted October 22 2007 - 07:05 AM

The worst pan and scan travesty i've ever seen was Ridley Scott's Black Rain on the BBC here in the UK.This is no joke,they actually screened a Pan and scan version of a super35 film Posted Image It was something I never want to have the misfortune of ever seeing again

#3 of 33 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

Patrick McCart

    Lead Actor

  • 7,482 posts
  • Join Date: May 16 2001
  • Real Name:Patrick McCart
  • LocationAlpharetta, GA, USA

Posted October 22 2007 - 07:26 AM

Hard to pick one, but Moulin Rouge! is incomprehensible without its proper 2.35:1 Panavision presentation. I watched a minute out of curiosity on TV and I had to turn it off. One of my favorites and I feel bad for anyone who hasn't seen the widescreen version on DVD.

It's in my signature, but the P&S crop job on The Thief and the Cobbler is terrible. Here's a comparison on YouTube:

Pan & Scan
Original 2.35:1 (not formatted right for 16x9, but you can see the difference)

#4 of 33 OFFLINE   Peter Neski

Peter Neski

    Supporting Actor

  • 903 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 14 2005

Posted October 22 2007 - 07:47 AM

Any of Leone's westerns look really Bad P&S,The close ups look silly Plus you lose all his great Compositions

#5 of 33 OFFLINE   Mark B

Mark B

    Supporting Actor

  • 724 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 27 2003
  • Real Name:Mark
  • LocationSaranac Lake, NY

Posted October 22 2007 - 08:10 AM

Back in the early 80s my local PBS channel used to show a beat up print of PICNIC in which even the CREDITS were panned-and-scanned (Not squeezed, as was common then). William Holden and Rosalind Russell's title cards featured their names across most of the screen, so for these they simply started on the first name, and slid over to reveal the last. For the technical credits, in which the "job" is far left and the person is far right, the left side was lingered on for a bit, then it slid over to the other side to reveal the names. Hideous. The actual film didn't fair much better, of course. Interestingly, this was one of my first, if not THE first film I ever owned on VHS in full letterbox.

#6 of 33 OFFLINE   Marty M

Marty M


  • 2,919 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 06 1998

Posted October 22 2007 - 08:18 AM

For me the worst P & S is of the movie the Graduate. There is one particular scene that is so glaring, I can't stand to watch it more than a few seconds. It's in the scene where Mr. Robinson comes in and sits down by Benjamin after he has returned from golf. In the OAR version you see them both sitting, with the hallway in the center of the shot. In the P & S version, the hallway is either severely to the left or right, and only one actor is on the screen at the time.
Lawn Ranger Motto: You're only young once, but you can be always be immature.

#7 of 33 OFFLINE   Colin Jacobson

Colin Jacobson


  • 5,354 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 19 2000

Posted October 22 2007 - 08:19 AM

I can't remember what it was, but I recall one Cary Grant widescreen flick that I saw on video back in the early 1990s. It was the worst framing ever - for shots with two actors on opposite sides of the screen, the camera would settle in the middle. This often meant shots where you'd see a big blank space with a couple of noses on each side! Man, I wish I could remember which film that was. Pan and scan gets no worse than that transfer...
Colin Jacobson

#8 of 33 OFFLINE   John Kilduff

John Kilduff


  • 1,672 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 27 2001

Posted October 22 2007 - 10:50 AM

I had mentioned this in another thread, but the TBS print of "Earth Girls Are Easy", besides being horribly edited, also has a hideous P&S job. The movie was designed to make use of widescreen, especially in the musical numbers. In the "Brand New Girl" sequence, when Valerie (Geena Davis) is imagining herself as different people, words can't even describe how chopped and blurred the image is. Interestingly, in the TBS print, when Valerie is looking at different images of herself in the Makeover Machine, they had to show it in non-anamorphic widescreen. I much prefer the DVD release, unedited and with an anamorphic widescreen transfer. The disc came out in the late 90s on the Artisan label. This was back when the company that would eventually become Lions Gate gave a damn about older titles that didn't involve Schwarzenegger, Stallone or Swayze. Sincerely, John Kilduff... Oh, for Artisan's younger days.
Forget the Rewind. If you want real retro action, go to http://www.retrojunk.com.

Proud member of the American Film Institute and a Wal-Mart employee (Yes, you can be both).

From Michelle Pfeiffer to Daryl Hannah and all points in-between, I love 80s women. Don't believe me? Scope out this link: htt.....

#9 of 33 OFFLINE   george kaplan

george kaplan

    Executive Producer

  • 13,064 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 14 2001

Posted October 22 2007 - 10:57 AM

For me it's a tie for worst with every single pan & scan transfer ever done.
"Movies should be like amusement parks. People should go to them to have fun." - Billy Wilder

"Subtitles good. Hollywood bad." - Tarzan, Sight & Sound 2012 voter.

"My films are not slices of life, they are pieces of cake." - Alfred Hitchcock"My great humility is just one of the many reasons that I...

#10 of 33 OFFLINE   Stephen_J_H



  • 4,140 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 30 2003
  • Real Name:Stephen J. Hill
  • LocationNorth of the 49th

Posted October 22 2007 - 10:57 AM

Another one I thought of in reviewing the submissions so far is The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm, but any 3-panel Cinerama would look atrocious in P/S.
"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#11 of 33 OFFLINE   Mary_P


    Second Unit

  • 451 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 14 2005

Posted October 22 2007 - 11:21 AM

Hands down, "Hell in the Pacific." The P&S 16mm print was made by placing the camera dead center of the frame and never, ever moving it, for anything. There's a climactic showdown between Lee Marvin and Toshiro Mifune, with each of them standing at the far sides of the 'Scope frame -- they are both completely OFF THE FRAME in the P&S version, so all you see is waves lapping up on a rather peaceful-looking beach. This type of print may have been what was used to make the P&S side of the Anchor Bay DVD release of the title. Honorary mention: "Expresso Bongo." Not so much pan and scan as cut and paste. There were three camera positions, far right, far left, and dead center. Depending on what was going on in the scene, the person making the transfer could alternate between the positions, but there was no movement between these positions. What had been a fairly static shot in its original ratio could thus become in the P&S transfer a frenzy of jumpcut-like activity. I remember one scene with three characters, one far right, one center, and one far left, and Left and Right are talking, with the camera position changing to feature each one nearly every time he speaks. And the poor guy in the middle is left bouncing from side to side of the frame. I believe the DVDs are the correct ratio, but I remember seeing this on late night television quite a few times, and the cutting back and forth was very distracting. And for cut-off, non-squeezed main titles, try this one:
"US STO" starring "lyn Mon" and "n Murr"

#12 of 33 OFFLINE   Eric Vedowski

Eric Vedowski

    Second Unit

  • 311 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 30 2002
  • Real Name:Eric
  • LocationChicagoland

Posted October 22 2007 - 11:46 AM

Years ago I once saw a full screen version of the 1954 Cinemascope "A Star is Born" that wasn't even panned & scanned-the image was whatever was in the center of the frame. One scene had Garland on one side and Charles Bickford on the other but all you saw was the back of the wall between them. The whole movie was like that.

#13 of 33 OFFLINE   GregK


    Supporting Actor

  • 970 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 22 2000

Posted October 22 2007 - 12:09 PM

To take that one step further, I think most of the CinemaScope features from the 1950's also suffer greatly from Pan-N-Scan. Before the early 1960's, pan-n-scan was never a factor when framing a given shot for Scope. After panning and scanning for TV became common, many rethought their shot compositions for Scope, knowing full well their work would have an extended life on the 1:33:1 small screen, long after the original widescreen film release was over.

#14 of 33 OFFLINE   Jim Peavy

Jim Peavy

    Supporting Actor

  • 717 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 12 2002

Posted October 22 2007 - 12:49 PM

I rented a VHS of the Hong Kong Inframan years ago that was the same way - it was hysterical. Glorious 2.35:1 Shawscope, not panned and scanned, but a 1.33:1 chunk taken out of the middle. Unwatchable!
"I just pre-ordered I DRINK YOUR BLOOD, even though I have no job."

#15 of 33 OFFLINE   Lord Dalek

Lord Dalek


  • 2,212 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 04 2005

Posted October 22 2007 - 01:02 PM

The quintessential Pan and Scan nightmare for me has got to be Ben-Hur. Wyler created very wide compositions for that film and those compositions are all but destroyed by the PandS.

#16 of 33 OFFLINE   Travis Brashear

Travis Brashear


  • 1,175 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 31 1999

Posted October 22 2007 - 01:43 PM

I defy anyone to tell me what the f is going on in 90% of the pan-and-scan version of THE LAST BOY SCOUT. An assault on nature, that is.
Ernest Hemingway once wrote, "The world is a fine place and worth fighting for." I agree with the second part...
--Det. William Somerset, SE7EN

http://www.dvdanthol...-movielist.html), http://LDDb.com/coll....user=Filmmaker

#17 of 33 OFFLINE   Mark-P



  • 2,470 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 26 2005
  • Real Name:Mark Probst
  • LocationCamas, WA

Posted October 22 2007 - 02:20 PM

I think you are referring to "That Touch of Mink" starring Doris Day and Cary Grant. Back in the 80's I had the P&S VHS that was exactly as you described.

#18 of 33 OFFLINE   Corey3rd



  • 1,721 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 24 2007

Posted October 22 2007 - 05:16 PM

Nothing touches the hideous pan and scan of "Man Who Fell To Earth." It was done "live." Whenever there was an edit, chances were good you were stuck watching the empty space between the actors. And then you'd see the camera try to pan to the action. And then the next edit would come and you'd be left floating in space. The greatest waste of my film school education was when a teacher gave us a lecture on editing using a pan and scan VHS of Chinatown. He kept going on about Polanski's shooting of the scene with Jack and John having lunch and how Polanski was cutting between single shots of the actors to "build the scene." He refused to admit it was a Scope shot with both actors in the frame. F'n genius. It was like an English professor teaching straight from the Cliff's Notes.
come see the reviews at

and the Seinfeld Tour Bus

#19 of 33 OFFLINE   Mark B

Mark B

    Supporting Actor

  • 724 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 27 2003
  • Real Name:Mark
  • LocationSaranac Lake, NY

Posted October 23 2007 - 01:44 AM

Are you KIDDING me? That's appalling. I remember when I was first seeing the AIP "Poe" pics on late night TV there were several that were extra bad. In PIT AND THE PENDULUM, the credit sequenced was squeezed, unsqueezed, and partially squeezed throughout depending on the width of the text. The edits would occur during the dissolves and the image would "pop" back and forth. There would also be moments when the placement would snap just a hair to the right or left in anticipation of camera movement and where the framing would need to be at the end of the pan/dolly, etc. BOY, was I glad to finally get those in their proper format. 10 years ago I stopped watching pan and scan transfers altogether.

#20 of 33 OFFLINE   JohnRa


    Stunt Coordinator

  • 123 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 15 2006
  • Real Name:John Needham
  • LocationTennessee

Posted October 23 2007 - 02:21 AM

Two movies are tied for my choice as worst: the vhs and tv showings of "Rebel Without a Cause" for that show-the-middle-to-hell-with-the-sides approach, and the motion-sickness-inducing panning of "The King and I" vhs.