2 questions about...VHS

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dean Kousoulas, Jul 17, 2002.

  1. Dean Kousoulas

    Dean Kousoulas Second Unit

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    OK before you guys plot ways to kill me, I had 2 questions about VHS that puzzles me (And it's not why some people still perfer it).

    #1 Unless it was a huge hit at the box office, all new releases are priced at outrageous amounts, like $114.99. This continued even after DVD came out. All new releases DVD's are priced to own. Is it because DVD's are alot cheaper to produce then VHS is?

    #2 Why is pan & scan still the preferred viewing choice on VHS? If you wanted widescreen, you'll have to go in a different section, where there was a small amount of titles availible (at least, at the Suncoast in my mall) Even the short lived DIVX was pan & scan only. Why did studios wait till DVD, and Laserdisc to show movies the way they should ONLY be seen?


    [rant]Viewing a movie in pan & scan should not be considered an option. It should be considered a joke.[/rant]

    Dean
     
  2. Brian E

    Brian E Screenwriter

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  3. Dan Galyen

    Dan Galyen Agent

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    Another thing that needs to be considered is that the bulk of the population is still the baby boomers, when a VCR cost $900 new. People used to rent VHS all of the time. I ran into an older gentleman at WM (I know, I know) and he said he had around 500 movies, and couldn't switch to DVD now.

    Most people outside of HTF don't understand the difference bt PS and WS. PS IS a joke to us because we understand the process behind hacking apart a perfectly good movie to fit 4:3. Many people would actually think something is wrong with their TV if it has "black bars".

    Those of us videophiles truly love our movies "the way they were meant to be", not "formatted to fit your screen".

    I would imagine someone was smart enough to realize that if they started marketing something that looked like "half a movie", VHS maybe would have never got off the ground. I think it would be an interesting history research project to find out why they started it that way.

    What makes even less sense is why there are DVD's and LD's in PS if they are going to put out PS VHS.
     
  4. Brian E

    Brian E Screenwriter

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  5. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    Warner and New Line seem to have stopped rental pricing on their new movies on VHS; certainly a step in the right direction. The rental prices are really a holdover from the days when videotapes themselves were expensive; blank tapes used to cost $20 each! Pre-recorded tapes averaged $50, so that's why most people rented tapes instead of buying them since they were so expensive.
    I never understood why they couldn't put out TWO releases of every movie in widescreen and pan and scan; it seemed only the 'special' movies got that. I complained about this to a few studios several times but always got "The general public has not accepted the letterbox format; laserdiscs tend to be bought more by those who appreciate it", even though several laserdiscs were also put out in two versions as well.
     
  6. Matt Pelham

    Matt Pelham Screenwriter

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    Panning and scanning can be traced back to the pre-home video days when the only way to watch movies at home was when they were broadcast on network TV. Someone back then decided to go ahead and modify the movie to fit the 4:3 screen. When VHS came around they simply adopted the MAR practice and kept the "tradition" going. Laserdiscs were really the first time movies were available OAR.
     
  7. Jeffrey Gray

    Jeffrey Gray Second Unit

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    Matt Pelham:

    Pan-and-scan actually wasn't invented until the late 70s. Originally, scenes were simply cropped. But when video editing techniques became more advanced, pan-and-scan was devised. The reason wasn't because they thought people wouldn't like letterboxing...it's because letterboxing didn't exist. Letterboxing was invented in 1983 by someone at RCA, and first used on the CED of Fellini's AMARCORD. Then, it was used by MGM/UA for the VHS and laserdisc of MANHATTAN. And it just continued to be used from then on...but it wasn't used widely until about 1990. So that's why cropping and pan-and-scan are in use...because there was originally no other way to get the film to fit the TV screen.
     
  8. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    The Amarcord CED is actually a full unmatted image of a hard-matted film print; the black at the top and bottom of the screen are actually on the film, plus video-generated subtitles are on it.
     
  9. Jeffrey Gray

    Jeffrey Gray Second Unit

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    OK, then...letterboxing was first used for "Manhattan." Still, it was invented in 1983 or 1984, by some person or another...
     
  10. Dean Kousoulas

    Dean Kousoulas Second Unit

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    Thanks for all the infomation guys.

    Dean
     
  11. John P Grosskopf

    John P Grosskopf Second Unit

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  12. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    Interesting- I watched "A Boy And His Dog" on VHS from Media and it was definitely pan and scan- very noticable too. I do remember seeing a couple movies on UHF stations in the early 80's that were letterboxed, and of course there were music videos.
     
  13. John P Grosskopf

    John P Grosskopf Second Unit

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    I don't know about "A Boy and His Dog" on VHS, but I would assume that the same master used for my old Beta tape was the same for a VHS release at the same time. I seem to remeber it being a MEDA title though, so maybe a different master was used after the name change.
    I got the tape when I bought a Beta machine from a neighbor for $75 when he got into VHS Hi-Fi. It came with about 15 titles, ABAHD being one of them. Most of the titles were from Paramount and Magnetic Video, with Refer Madness and ABAHD on the MEDA/MEDIA label. Everything was long ago given to Goodwill, so I cannot check the tape sleeve for a date.
    I remember being annoyed by the "blue" bars the first time that I watched it when they didn't go away after the opening credits. I soon realized afterwards when I started watching more and more films that I was missing 1/2 the screen in many cases! It was the only movie other than Manhattan that I ever saw letterboxed on tape Until I got into LDs and was able to start collecting widescreen films in their proper aspect ratio. Everyone thought I was nuts![​IMG]
     
  14. Mark Philp

    Mark Philp Second Unit

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    I think letterboxing actually started with credits on tv prints in the '70s. I remember films from Universal had letterboxed credits but instead of black or blue bars they filled the space with fancy scrolls or other art work.
     
  15. Hendrik

    Hendrik Supporting Actor

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    "...The term"letterbox" is a British term refering to the shape of the slit in one's front door through which the postman/woman deposits the mail..."
    ...ahh... being the old croak that I am, I have dim memories of reading the term "letterbox" waaay back when CinemaScope was introduced - we're talking Christmas 1953 now, when I was a foreign exchange student, on vacation in New York City, where I saw "How To Marry a Millionnaire" and "The Robe" - the latter at the Roxy (I think), just off Times Square.
    ...This was also (still) a time when every studio made at least one 3D movie - I remember seeing Rita Hayworth shaking it in lovely Technicolor and 3D in "Miss Sadie Thompson"...
    ...ahh... memories... (...dozes off for a moment...)
    ...ANYWAY, I think the term "letterbox" may have been used in a contemporary LIFE Magazine article, explaining how CinemaScope worked... no mention of "British" origins, though, more something like: watching a movie while sitting inside a (US!) mailbox, looking out...
    (signed) Trembles Dimeyes
    . . . [​IMG] . . .
     

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