Netflix explains Pan and Scan!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by rbirk, Oct 7, 2001.

  1. rbirk

    rbirk Stunt Coordinator

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    I recently sent an email to Netflix asking why they only acrry the Pan and Scan version of Cats&Dogs and Mummy Returns. This is their answer. Notice the end where they explain why you would want the pan and scan version because you see more of the picture on most movies.
    Ron Birk
    ==========
    Hi Ron,
    Thanks for your inquiry. I sincerely apologize for any frustration you
    have experienced regarding the screen format of your DVD(s). The screen
    format, Standard, Widescreen or Letterbox, is determined by the movie
    studio that manufactures the title. Some DVD titles will only come in
    the Widescreen or Letterbox format. If you prefer the full screen
    format, look for "pan and scan" or 2 sided discs. If we do have screen
    format information for a specific title, you will find it to the right
    of the title when you click on a movie.
    Video on DVD can be stored in one of two ways: 4:3 format (standard TV
    shape) or 16:9(widescreen). The 16:9 format is called anamorphic,
    meaning the picture is squeezed horizontally to fit a 4:3 rectangle. DVD
    players can output video in four different ways:
    full frame (4:3: video for 4:3 display)
    letterbox (16:9 video for 4:3 display)
    pan & scan (16:9 video for 4:3 display)
    widescreen (16:9 video for 16:9 display)
    Letterbox means the video is shown in its theatrical aspect ratio,
    usually 1.85:1 or 2.40:1. Since this is wider than standard 4:3 TV,
    black bars must be added to the top and bottom. Pan & scan means the
    smaller TV window is panned and zoomed around the wider movie picture,
    chopping off the sides. However, most movies are shot soft matte, which
    means the full TV-sized film frame is used, with the top and bottom
    masked off in a theater. When transferred to video, the extra picture on
    the film can be included during the pan & scan process.
    If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to
    contact us.
    Thanks,
    Jahnae
    NetFlix.com
    Customer Service
     
  2. Sean Moon

    Sean Moon Cinematographer

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    One word...
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  3. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    They know not to which they speak.
    Dan
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  4. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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    Yup, that sure was an explanation. Too bad they were saying it a Home Theater Forum member...
    Bruce
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    Welcome aboard the Satellite of Love
     
  5. CRyan

    CRyan Screenwriter

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  6. Jason Whyte

    Jason Whyte Screenwriter

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    What amazed me is they actually said "1.85:1 and 2.40:1"....someone actually got the anamorphic scope ratio RIGHT!
    Jason
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    [email protected] ICQ: 16733922 2001 Film List I Am Jack's DVD List
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    My Own Film Review Website Is Coming Soon!
     
  7. AaronMK

    AaronMK Supporting Actor

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    Well, at least it is a better explanation than many Blockbuster employees would give.
    I guess if they included issues with special effects shots and soft matting, and that even soft matted films are shot and framed to their theatrical aspect ratios and still chop of a bit at the sides, it would be a better explanation. They should have included a bit about original intent if they really wanted to get the objective of OAR accross.
    But forget the explanation!
    It is irrelevent to the original question. Why don't they carry OAR versions of these movies? I didn't see that anywhere in the response.
    ------------------
    My DVD's
    If a movie is not available in OAR, than it might as well not be available at all.
     
  8. Sean Lee

    Sean Lee Auditioning

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    Actually, I think the Netflix form letter tries to differentiate between pan and scan and films soft soft matte, which is a valid differentiation. Perhaps netflix is suggesting that they carry full frame features only when presented open matte? I don't know the percentage of films shot w/ soft matte, but I do believe many are shot that way. Kubrick films are an example. All of his films save for ones shot in scope (ie., 2001, Spartacus)were shot full frame with black bars added for theatrical presentation. However, as we all know, Kubrick wanted his films to be presented in full frame, which does provide more image in the frame than the theatrical version.
     
  9. Edwin Pereyra

    Edwin Pereyra Producer

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    I wonder if the person from Netflix who actually sent this reply knows what he/she is talking about? [​IMG]
    ~Edwin
     
  10. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Lead Actor

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    Frankly, I don't think the customer service people at Netflix or many other places actually read what's written. When they see some comment about "why don't you carry Movie X?" they instantly send the same form letter than explains that they don't determine what movies come out on DVD. A few weeks after the GoldenEye SE came out in 1999, I asked why they didn't carry it; they stocked the SE reissues of Dr. No and Goldfinger, so this one didn't make sense. I was told that they didn't determine what movies were available on DVD. I wrote back again and got a more specific response, though I don't recall what it was.
    More oddly, when Netflix dropped a number of DTS titles they used to rent, I asked why. The response? You guessed it: "We don't determine what movies are available on DVD". I wrote back and pointed out that not only were the movies in question already OUT on DVD, but Netflix used to carry them! Again, I got a more specific - though not very helpful - response after that one.
    I suppose they get so many uneducated "why don't you rent Star Wars?" questions that it's simply more expedient for them to send these generic notes that often have little to do with the question. For the few who know what they're talking about, Netflix figures they can deal with them when they respond. It's annoying, but it's hard to blame them; I'm sure they get TONS of dopey questions...
    ------------------
    Colin Jacobson
    DVD Movie Guide
    www.dvdmg.com
     
  11. Peter Hollandare

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    Have anyone even got a good explanation why?
    I'm affraid this will happen over here in Europe to, and when it does - im done with rentals.
     
  12. Rob Tomlin

    Rob Tomlin Producer

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    I received a reply to my email that was just as vague and non-responsive. Basically they said they were sorry if I didnt like the pan and scan format, but gave NO reason as to why they only carried that version instead of the widescreen version. [​IMG]
     

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