-Not Logged In-

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.


What was your initial reaction to a widescreen presentation?

  • You cannot start a new topic
  • Please log in to reply
18 replies to this topic

#1 of 19 OFFLINE   SteveGon


    Executive Producer

  • 12,267 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 11 2000

Posted October 08 2002 - 05:21 PM

On a standard tv, that is... For the life of me, I still can't figure out why so many people have an aversion to letterboxing. Growing up, I saw hundreds of movies cropped on VHS and yet when I saw my first example of a widescreen presentation, I grasped the concept immediately and thereafter made a point of searching out widescreen tapes. Now I'm far from being a genius so if I can understand aspect ratio, you'd think it wouldn't be a problem for anyone else! So what was your first reaction to letterboxing?

#2 of 19 OFFLINE   Bernhard


    Stunt Coordinator

  • 193 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 10 1999

Posted October 09 2002 - 12:56 AM

My first contact with widescreen was my Terminator2 VHS. Here in Austria we only got the widescreen version on VHS and it wasn't even indicated as such.
So I threw it in with much anticipation and after watching some of it I thought there was something wrong with the picture.. it was so small... but somehow it felt right, it didn't really bother me. Some years later I found out about widescreen and what it was and suddenly it occured to my why I always thought there was something wrong with my movies, they always looked and feeled different from what I remembered from the theater. With the exception of Terminator2 Posted Image

I haven't bought a single MAR release since then.
My current DVD Collection

Mace Windu: "Do you know what they call a quarter pounder with cheese on Coruscant?"

#3 of 19 OFFLINE   Matt Pelham

Matt Pelham


  • 1,711 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 13 2002

Posted October 09 2002 - 01:05 AM

That about sums up my experience as well. Back in middle school days I started visiting the newsgroups and other movie related websites, and was introduced to widescreen as the superior format. Of course, I couldn't afford a laserdisc player, so I had to settle for hard to find and often overpriced widescreen VHS tapes. It was magical, something special to watch movies that were in this "widescreen" format, and I'd buy movies I didn't even like just because I was so excited they were in OAR. Of course, VHS widescreen isn't always OAR. (as is the case with my Last of the Mohicans tape which I discovered in horror was still slightly panned/scanned Posted Image ) How with DVD I'm so stingy I expect OAR for every title, but I do remember what it was like back in the day.

Ah, the memories.....

#4 of 19 OFFLINE   Vickie_M



  • 3,208 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 31 2001

Posted October 09 2002 - 02:13 AM

My first exposure was unfortunately Woody Allen's Manhattan. As far as I know, it was the first movie to be released in the US in letterbox, but the "black bars" were actually grey, and were very distracting and annoying. I still understood and agreed with the concept, but just had a bad taste in my mouth because of it. We just bought a DVD player for the bedroom, where we have a 25" TV. The first DVD we put in to test it was Gattaca and I was shocked at how much of the screen was empty, and our bedroom is fairly small. I could imagine how tiny the picture would look in a large living room. At that moment, I really could understand J6P's bitching. Again, not *agree*, just understand.
Favorite film of 2008 (so far): The Fall

Favorite films of 2007: There Will Be Blood, Across The Universe, The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, Black Snake Moan

My Happy Rhodes MySpace page

#5 of 19 OFFLINE   Lew Crippen

Lew Crippen

    Executive Producer

  • 12,060 posts
  • Join Date: May 19 2002

Posted October 09 2002 - 03:34 AM

I’ll probably have to turn in my art-house card after this, but; it was Star Wars. Years ago, I rarely watched movies on TV (mostly I thought due to commercials and cuts) and almost never rented a tape. We used the VCR to time-shift TV. My son was a big Star Wars fan and his grandfather got him a boxed set on VHS for a Christmas present. Was he disappointed that it was not letterboxed. I was unaware that you could purchase any movie (other than 1.33:1) in OAR, but quickly returned the present for the letterboxed version. When we watched that at home, I began to take a different view on watching movies on TV. Fast forward to today and the combination of OAR DVDs and quality displays has resulted in my seeing most movies at home—though I still love the theatre experience.
¡Time is not my master!

#6 of 19 OFFLINE   Jim_K


    Executive Producer

  • 10,090 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 07 2000

Posted October 09 2002 - 04:56 AM

Back in the early/mid 80's whenever I'd watch a film on Cable or VHS that I'd seen numerous times in the theater I noticed something was not quite right. I could never put my finger on it though.

It wasn't until I watched a Siskel & Ebert show (back in 89/90/91?) in which they promoted the laserdisc format and explained the use of letterboxing the image. The examples they showed were Blade Runner & Indy Last Crusade.

I grasped the concept right away. What a revelation. Posted Image I finally got the answer to what was nagging at my mind. Posted Image

Then my mood swung to Posted Image for all the films I'd seen at home which could've looked so much better.

Needless to say I got interested in Laserdisc's but at the time could not afford it so started moderately collecting Letterbox VHS (the few titles available).

When I got ready to take the plunge into Laserdisc 6 years ago I heard about a new format on the horizon so I held off & waited for DVD. The rest is history.

Posted Image
Death before Streaming!

#7 of 19 OFFLINE   Rain



  • 5,020 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 21 2001

Posted October 09 2002 - 05:11 AM

My first reaction: "It's about time."
"Imagine all the people, living life in peace..." - Imagine by John Lennon

#8 of 19 OFFLINE   Steeve Bergeron

Steeve Bergeron


  • 2,541 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 03 1999
  • Real Name:Steeve Bergeron

Posted October 09 2002 - 05:24 AM

My first reaction: "What the hell is wrong with this thing?" Posted Image

#9 of 19 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

Patrick McCart

    Lead Actor

  • 7,507 posts
  • Join Date: May 16 2001
  • Real Name:Patrick McCart
  • LocationAlpharetta, GA, USA

Posted October 09 2002 - 09:48 AM

I thought it was weird, but I found compositions to look "cool." Monty Python and the Holy Grail was my first exposure and I loved it. I rarely watch pan & scan...and if I do, it's usually open matte stuff. I won't watch an actual pan & scan transfer (like from hard-matted film, etc) if I can help it.

#10 of 19 OFFLINE   Bjorn Olav Nyberg

Bjorn Olav Nyberg

    Supporting Actor

  • 948 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 12 1999

Posted October 10 2002 - 01:06 AM

I may be outside the intended area for this poll, as I more or less grew up with it in Europe (Norway) I was used to seeing both and I didn't really care one way or another.

The movie that actually turned me over was actually Young guns II, which was one of the first movies I saw after I turned 16 and was allowed into cinemas with movies with that particular age restriction. At the time I was also very much into the western genre, and Young guns II hit all the right buttons for me. A little while later I saw a featurette (probably the same that is on the R1 dvd) that had the scene where Emilio Estevez shot out candles out of the seven armed candelabre, only on tv only four arms were showing. This was the watershed moment for me where the difference really hit me. As I was just a poor kid economics and availability restricted me from going widescreen only as I couldn't afford to import WS VHS, but Young guns II I actually never saw again as the local VHS was P&S until I got the widescreen DVD.

And yes, I still like Young guns II Posted Image
My DVD list

#11 of 19 OFFLINE   Rob Tomlin

Rob Tomlin


  • 4,507 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 08 2000

Posted October 10 2002 - 11:37 AM

[quote] It wasn't until I watched a Siskel & Ebert show (back in 89/90/91?) in which they promoted the laserdisc format and explained the use of letterboxing the image. The examples they showed were Blade Runner & Indy Last Crusade. [quote]

You had the same experience I had Jim! And you are right, it would have been right around 1988-1990 or so. It was shortly after this that my father began his huge Laser Disc collection. All Letterbox editions!

Prior to that, the first time I saw a VHS widescreen movie (cant recall what it was) I really thought there was a defect with the tape! What's with those black bars at the top and bottom of the screen?!?! Siskel & Ebert set me straight! Posted Image

For ordinary men, it's a burning, fiery furnace.

#12 of 19 OFFLINE   Jan H

Jan H


  • 2,010 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 06 2001

Posted October 10 2002 - 12:51 PM

Like others, my first exposure to letterboxing came in the late '80's, and my reactions were (and are) the same. On a big-screen TV (45 +), it made sense, the picture looked and felt like the cinema. But on a small screen (27 and under), I'd still rather watch a full-screen picture (cropped and all) rather than a 2:35 letterboxed movie, especially from long viewing distances. The Great Escape on a 27-incher just didn't (and doesn't) do it for me.

#13 of 19 OFFLINE   Dome Vongvises

Dome Vongvises

    Lead Actor

  • 8,174 posts
  • Join Date: May 13 2001

Posted October 10 2002 - 02:49 PM

I thought, "I hate black bars." I can remember saying that. What I can't remember is when I was able to accept them. Again, I'll tout that magical summer I had after I graduated from High School where I saw Lawrence of Arabia, Chinatown, and The French Connection.

#14 of 19 OFFLINE   Stacey


    Stunt Coordinator

  • 174 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 10 2002

Posted October 10 2002 - 03:53 PM

I believe my first experience with wide sceen was Blade Runner (VHS) and I was in AWE of how great the picture looked and the movie just "felt" right. Therafter I always got the Letterbox version of all my movies on VHS then "glory be DVD!"...lots of titles previously in Pan-N-Scam now in eyepoppin wide. Posted Image
"A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men."

#15 of 19 OFFLINE   Graeme Clark

Graeme Clark


  • 2,181 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 05 2000

Posted October 10 2002 - 05:37 PM

I found out what widescreen movies were for somehow, and always sought them out, but never actually bought any (just looked at the boxes for movies I already had for the most part) since they were quite a bit more expensive. I finally got the THX Widescreen set for Star Wars and I think I must have said to myself "I don't remember that before" about 100 times. That and "Oh, there's sand people alright, I CAN see one of them now". Overall it just felt like a much more cinematic experience, even on a terrible 20" TV. I loved it!

#16 of 19 OFFLINE   Jack Briggs

Jack Briggs

    Executive Producer

  • 16,727 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 03 1999

Posted October 11 2002 - 06:07 AM

I often have more fun watching widescreen films, including extreme stuff wider than 2.35:1, on my three-year-old bedroom set, a Toshiba CZ27V51. And I would never countenance the idea of watching an MAR presentation. The 27-inch size seems just fine. (I once watched Ben-Hur in widescreen on a 20-inch Panasonic CT-20G11, and marveled over the photography rather than look at the black bars.) There are no circumstances in which MAR is acceptable. As for my first encounter with letterboxing for presentation on a 4:3 set, it was the same as Vickie's: My then wife and I were watching the network broadcast of Manhattan in 1981, and we both immediately grasped what was going on and were quite pleased with the presentation.

#17 of 19 OFFLINE   Rob Tomlin

Rob Tomlin


  • 4,507 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 08 2000

Posted October 11 2002 - 12:53 PM

[quote] There are no circumstances in which MAR is acceptable. [quote]

I personally agree!

Heck, just the other night I watched Yojimbo (2.35) on my 17" Computer Monitor because my wife had hijacked our 46" HDTV! As long as the viewing distance is ok, there is no problem. Much better than having Kurosawa's incredible compositions "lopped off" at the sides!

It should be noted that I had already seen Yojimbo on our big screen. I don't think I would ever watch a 2.35 movie for the first time on my computer!

For ordinary men, it's a burning, fiery furnace.

#18 of 19 OFFLINE   JohnRice


    Lead Actor

  • 8,686 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 20 2000
  • Real Name:John

Posted October 11 2002 - 03:57 PM

I'm pretty sure my first had to be Manhattan on VHS probably in college in the mid '80s, or on broadcast TV in the early '80s. It was different, but I knew why it was better. You have to admit, it takes a little getting used to at first. Still, even on my 20" bedroom TV, I still prefer OAR, even at 2.35. Ben-Hur might be a little difficult on that size screen, so I just don't watch it on that TV. I guess I jumped into LD in late '89. I remember the thrill I would have as movies like Fiddler on the Roof and The Deer Hunter were finally released widescreen, as well as the anger over how much some studios charged for those versions, particularly in the earlier days.

The Hybrid System

The Music Part: Emotiva XSP-1, Thiel CS 3.6, Emotiva XPA-2, Marantz SA8004, Emotiva ERC-3, SVS PB-12 Plus 2

The Surround Part: Sherbourn PT-7030, Thiel SCS3, Emotiva XPA-5, Polk & Emotiva Surrounds.

#19 of 19 OFFLINE   Evan Case

Evan Case


  • 1,113 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 22 2000

Posted October 11 2002 - 04:25 PM

Most likely a Star Wars broadcast on the Sci-Fi Channel back in the early/mid 90s. Understood it immediately and never bought a P&S title again (except for some OOP titles in a 2-for-$1 bargain bin--and even that stopped once DVD showed up). Evan
"               " - Buster Keaton
S&S (1992 & 2002), The 1930s : Finished! S&S Club : 311 seen (Recent: Bigger Than Life)
AFI Challenge Stars: 36 left, Songs: 11 left, Passions: 2 left, Cheers: 4 left, Quotes: 2 left, Top Tens: 1 left; (Most Recent: Camille [Passions, Stars]) 

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users