OAR vs P&S: A Helpful Analogy for J6P?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Michael Martin, Dec 17, 2001.

  1. Michael Martin

    Michael Martin Screenwriter

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    I've been pondering ways to try and communicate what is being lost when a movie is watched in Pan & Scan mode -- some kind of analogy that might actually help show how much the director's artistic vision is being compromised.

    I did hit on an idea, but it only works if the person you are talking to is a reader. If they never read (and I'm talking BOOKS here, not magazines!), then I don't think this will have any weight.

    Ask the person to name a few of their favorite books. See if they can tell you what about those books they like --what particular aspects. Then ask them what are the basic building blocks of telling the story (and you want to get to the answer of "Sentences"). Then ask what are the two main elements almost all sentences share (subject/verb).

    "So really," you can say, "all the book needs is a bunch of short two word sentences with a subject and verb. How would those books read if you cut out all the words except the subjects and verbs of the sentences?"

    Of course they will object and say that either the book would make no sense, or that you would lose the richness of the story.

    And then they are yours!

    Of course, this argument assumes they are actually open minded about the whole issue. There are a lot of people who read who won't give a rat's bunghole about OAR, sadly, even if you use nice logic and reasoning.

    Someone else (forgive me for not remembering who) here on HTF also gave a great example -- take a picture of a beloved child (or grandchild) and crop it down to show only the basic facial features -- eyes, nose mouth. No hair, ears or clothing.
     
  2. Oswald Pascual

    Oswald Pascual Second Unit

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  3. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

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    The best book/movie analogy I read is that pan'n'scan is equivilant to Readers Digest Condensed Books.
     
  4. BrianMu

    BrianMu Stunt Coordinator

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    Actually, I think it's important to NOT say things like "the director's artistic vision is being compromised" to J6P. You'll just get an eye roll and dig yourself into a hole. J6P doesn't care about "the director's artistic vision". He only cares about being entertained. We just need to get J6P to see that it is a better, more entertaining experience when you get to see the whole movie - not just the half of the movie in the middle of the screen. Most people will actually see our OAR point when they see things like Oswald posted.

    Brian
     
  5. Michael Martin

    Michael Martin Screenwriter

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    Brian:

    I agree that using the phrase "Director's artistic vision" is not a good idea. It can come off as more uppity than it is meant to be.
     
  6. SteveK

    SteveK Supporting Actor

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    Richard- I may have coined that "Reader's Digest" analogy. Shortly after discovering the Widescreen advocacy page, I sent an e-mail to the guy that runs it and he ended up quoting that analogy in his next monthly "commentary". I still think it's an appropriate analogy. Just as Reader's Digest condenses books by some arbitrary standard that it can't be more than a certain number of pages, so is P&S done with an arbitary standard that it can't be anything other than a 4x3 aspect ratio.

    It's nice to think I may have said something useful.

    Steve K.
     
  7. Ken Seeber

    Ken Seeber Supporting Actor

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    "If you go to a movie theater and a guy wearing a ten-gallon cowboy hat and his big-haired wife sit in front of you, would you get up and move or be happy watching just the middle part of the movie screen that you can see between their heads?"
     
  8. Michael Martin

    Michael Martin Screenwriter

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    Ken --
    Great example![​IMG]
     
  9. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    Widescreen = John Wayne Bobbitt before he met Lorena.

    P&S = John Wayne Bobbitt afterwards.
     
  10. Dick

    Dick Producer
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    I will always...ALWAYS...believe that if all DVD's were released in OAR only, sales would not be affected (at least, not for long). J6P would have to accept the screen ratio or simply buy the VHS. By buyers the choice, there is the risk that eventually the studios will give in to them. By not doing so, the risk factor is gone, and too friggin' bad for those who can't have their DVD's artistically massacred just so their screens will be filled. DVD could have been (and still could be) the first OAR-only medium for home video.
     
  11. Lars Vermundsberget

    Lars Vermundsberget Supporting Actor

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    Amen, Dick.
     
  12. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Since we all support OAR, take the time to sign the online petition HERE to convince Blockbuster to carry widescreen and pan&scan copies of DVD's.
    One of the members of the HTF was working on an online flash tutorial. I forgot who he is and I am hoping he will respond in this thread.
     
  13. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    As an experiment, I tried using the popular Mona Lisa analogy on my mother (ya know, would you cut up the Mona Lisa to fit inside a frame). It didn't work. She said that as long as she can see Mona Lisa's face, that's good enough. As long as she knows what's going on in the movie, she wants it to fill up her screen, and she hates the "black stripes."

    I now what you're thinking. No, my mother isn't stupid or ignorant, and yes she does enjoy movies a lot. In fact, she's a bit of a buff and knows a hell of a lot more than I do about film history, and has impeccable judgement about performance and story, and even though I often disagree with her, I trust her movie reviews over any critic.

    People here are saying that if all DVDs were released OAR, people would have no choice but to buy them. True, but the same could be said if all films were released in non-OAR. Oh sure, there are plenty of people here that would refuse, but most of the market wouldn't.

    I guess my point is that it's not just a simple matter of "J6P doesn't understand." Many non-J6Ps, like my mother, do understand, they just don't care.
     
  14. Lars Vermundsberget

    Lars Vermundsberget Supporting Actor

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    Quote: "I guess my point is that it's not just a simple matter of "J6P doesn't understand." Many non-J6Ps, like my mother, do understand, they just don't care."

    ---

    And most of the people who "just don't care" will accept and live with the "black bars" eventually...
     
  15. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  16. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Another problem with explaining the "director's artistic vision" to some persons is that they don't even know what a director is. Notice how people beeline out of a commercial theater as soon as the credits roll?

    I once was having a conversation about film with a co-worker a few years ago. The name Stanley Kubrick came up, as it invariably will. This woman had never heard of him. Then I started mentioning a few titles--and then something clicked. "Oh, you mean he made that Dr. Strangelove movie? Then I think I like his work. I just don't pay attention to who makes the movies."

    Now, imagine trying to explain OAR versus pan-and-scan to someone at that level of awareness.

    Of course, we must be diplomatic and, above all, non-condescending when we have these conversations. Squirm inwardly all you wish--just don't let it show.
     
  17. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

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    Thanks Ryan, looking forward to it.
     
  18. John P Grosskopf

    John P Grosskopf Second Unit

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    A Little play on how you can get Joe Sixpack to understand letterboxing.

    You:Hey Joe!

    Joe: Huh?

    You:Put down that new NASCAR clock you bought and come over here.

    Joe:Whut fer?

    You:I'm gonna show you something.

    [show difference between pan & scam & letterboxed DVD's on a TV monitor]

    You:Well what do you think?

    Joe:It ain't all filled up on that screen.

    You:But you miss up to half the picture information on the

    sides with pan and scam.

    Joe:But it ain't filled all up on the screen.

    You:Errrrrr. Wait, I'll explain it this way.

    Joe:Whut?

    You:Suppose you go to the store and pay for a 12 pack of

    Lonestar beer and a pack of smokes. They give you your

    change, and you only get 7 of the beers and 11 of

    cigarrettes.

    Joe:That ain't right. They're keepin' my stuff.

    You:Well that's Pan and Scam.

    Joe:Oh. I see Let's go get some beer, cigs, and the

    widescreen versions of Smokey and the Bandit 3 and

    Days of Thunder.

    The End

    Well, other than the total fantasy ending, it my be a way to reach ole J6P.
     
  19. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    "Widescreen = John Wayne Bobbitt before he met Lorena.

    P&S = John Wayne Bobbitt afterwards."

    JWB 'screen' is 'wider' now. He's 'anamorphic Widescreen'!
     
  20. Paul Richardson

    Paul Richardson Second Unit

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    The problem is that many fullscreen films are not conventional pan and scan. The "you are losing half the screen!" argument doesn't work on open matte 1.85:1 movies or on Super-35 features.
     

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