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Resolving myself to this issue of Pan & Scan: Where we stand....

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, May 7, 2002.

  1. Qui-Gon John

    Qui-Gon John Producer

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    Then how come Seas. 1 & 2 were full screen on HBO and then Seas. 3 was letter-boxed? I always thought they went from 1.33:1 for Season 1 & 2, to 1.85:1 for Season 3.
     
  2. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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  3. Michael St. Clair

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    The Sopranos were not originally broadcast in letterbox, but the later reruns have been. I think every single episode has been seen in letterbox by now, at least on HBO Plus or whatever subchannel...
     
  4. Michael Ballack

    Michael Ballack Second Unit

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    All Sopranos Seasons were SHOT IN WIDESCREEN. 1 and 2 were origianlly broadcasted in full frame until they showed repeats in which they were widescreen. Season 3 was shown in widescreen from the begining.
     
  5. Steve Owen

    Steve Owen Second Unit

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    I agree that WalMart and the like are the big problem. The people that shop there for DVDs are not typically home theater enthusiasts, and as has been pointed out, the people that work there don't understand the issues either.
    Want to know how much power WalMart has? Here's a horrifying statistic that I read last year. Want to know who the #1 PC software seller in the US is? It's not CompUSA or CircuitCity or BestBuy or any of the mall software stores. It's WalMart. WalMart!!!! Frightening.
    I'd be wiling to bet that they are the #1 DVD seller too. If they're not, they're damn close. They're everywhere and have obliterated nearly ever mom and pop store in their path (many of which actually had a clue about the products they sold) leaving WalMart as the ONLY choice for things like DVDs within many miles.
    OK, so what do we do? First boycott. I already do for the reasons already listed. I can't in good concience give my money to a company like that. Next, let them know WHY you're boycotting them. Write to them. CC the studios.
    Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
    Attn: Customer Service
    702 S.W. 8th Street
    Bentonville, AR 72716
    1-800-WALMART (1-800-925-6278) or 479-273-4000.
    Fill out their online form/.
    Next, continue to educate your friends, neighbors, and those you bump into while shopping (wherever that is).
    If WalMart is the top DVD seller, and they probably are, then they have FAR too much power over this issue and over the studios. They MUST be shown that their insistance on having chopped and cut versions of DVDs will only hurt them in the long run.
    -Steve
     
  6. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Steve Owen, I agree with you. Wal-Mart needs to get the input that widescreen is wanted. That they need to stop giving studios the excuse to NOT make OAR versions of DVDs.
    This is the key, though: the studios are using Wal-Mart as an excuse. The real thing is that they don't want to be bothered with OAR, as a cost-saving measure if nothing else. If they can quote Wal-Mart's "exhaustive market research", then they pass the buck and feel okay about getting away with it.
    Scott Michael Bosco, a key person behind The Watcher in the Woods (a Disney film), reveals here his personal take on the whole situation. This is just HIS opinion, but it seems to hit the mark fairly well in my opinion, too.
    Here's the gist of it (corrected for spelling):
     
  7. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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  8. Phil Nichols

    Phil Nichols Second Unit

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    Ron E.,

    I only read your initial post that started this topic - the string is too long for me to read more - but I fully understand the issue(s).

    If anyone thinks that DVD's in OAR will be the norm when most of America has 16X9 viewing screens of affordable diagonal size in their homes sometime in the future instead of 4X3, they may be sadly mistaken.

    Wait til most people view 2.35:1 OAR's on their small 16X9 screens and see the upper/lower black bars that force them to (still) look through a too-small "slit view". I'm willing to bet that US DVD consumers will "scream" for 2.35:1's to be P&S'd down to 1.78:1 so they STILL don't see any black bars on their "wide screens"!

    With too-small 16X9 screens ("too-small" is a relative but very real consideration), 2.35:1 black bars will still be an issue. It's only with those of us fortunate enough to afford "large enough" diagonal dimension screens that OAR-or-Bust can be our passionate position.
     
  9. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Cinematographer

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    It is also dispiriting to read the otherwise-venerable DVDFile and have them cater to Disney and Columbia/Sony by posting an interview with Snow Dogs director Brian Levant (while at least addressing the P&S OAR question within his Q&A) and giving a glowing review to the "deluxe" version of Stuart Little which, as you know, is P&S only.

    My opinion of that site and its reviewers just dropped considerably.
     
  10. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    I've sent *many* emails to dvdfile regarding isolated issues with their site (like their WAY outdated review of BARAKA which mentions it as 4x3 lbxed only...a now out of print DVD replaced by the new reference 16x9 transfer) and other things and they neither respond nor do they make any modifications to their site.

    When other sites were posting banners encouraging consumers to call Disney to express displeasure with their P/S only releases, dvdfile completely ignored my emailed requests.

    I'm sure they don't want to offend Disney too much now that they're gaining some favor with the studio. But still it's hard to imagine why they could neither respond to my emails nor post something civil and balanced on their site that at least informed consumers that they have an avenue to provide consumer feedback to B.V.

    -dave
     
  11. Steve_AA

    Steve_AA Agent

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  12. John_Berger

    John_Berger Cinematographer

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  13. Karl Englebright

    Karl Englebright Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, I just a got a call from a manager at my local Walmart's (Vancouver, WA) responding to my email that I sent through their web site about their P&S DVD's. The lady was very polite and helpful and listened to what I had to say. At the end she told me that she would talk to "their supplier" to make sure they get widescreen versions in!

    Now, I don't know if she is just feeding me a line or not, but I was impressed that they even called me!

    It sounds to me like their buying habits follow more what their local clientelle wants.

    Just send those emails, people!!!
     
  14. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Karl,
    that is simply amazing. WOW. Keep up the good work folks.
    It's important that we all realize that Walmart is not "anti-widescreen". They're just responding to the customer feedback they've been getting. Well now it's time to turn the tables and their policy by providing some customer feedback of our own.
    GO TEAM!!!!
     
  15. Tom Boucher

    Tom Boucher Second Unit

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    I don't buy anything at Wal-Mart. I refuse to shop at Wal-Mart because all of the Wal-Marts in my region feel like I'm in the hood and are dirty and dingy feeling. It could be the cheap lighting, I don't know.

    I buy on average $2000 worth of DVDs a year. I buy them from on-line retailers that have widescreen titiles. If I accidentally pre-order a DVD that doesn't have all the specs in the pre-order and shows up Pan-N-Scan or non-OAR it goes right back to the retailer with my apologies for not checking.

    Titles included in this type of return included Full Metal Jacket, Parenthood, Liar Liar, Happy Gilmour, and others.

    I do have 1:33 formatted DVDs. These are Farscape, Star Trek, and other originally formated 1:33 shows. I do wonder what will happen when I finally get a TV that is 16x9 formatted. For now, I prefer the black bars on my Sony Wega. Pac-Man is on the screen when I watch Tron.
     
  16. Phil Nichols

    Phil Nichols Second Unit

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    DaViD Boulet,

    What does your high-lighted statement mean "I've said it before and I'll say it again, using the electronic P/S feature only requires ***ONE*** transfer."??

    I thought P&S required a lot of human intervention to review all scenes in the movie to insure that the cropping of the sides always left the highest action showing in the central frame portion left after the cropping? This sounds tedious, labor intensive, and expensive to me.

    I call the above "active" P&S, as opposed to "passive" or "electronic" P&S, such as you might do in a DVD player to zoom-away the sides of, and increase the height of, a film's scenes to fully fit them onto viewing screen's particular aspect ratio. This passive or electronic P&S is of course not always centered on the action in each scene - because sometimes the action is not in the geometric center portion of each frame.
     
  17. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    At least the auto-pannscan will fill the screen; it might not be easy to have it selectively move left and right but anyone who wants their screen filled up won't notice that anyway.
     
  18. Jenna

    Jenna Second Unit

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  19. GregoryM

    GregoryM Agent

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    My wife and I have a Netflix subscription, and recently recieved our copy of "Timecop" for viewing. It turned out to be a 1.33 to 1 version which was pan n scan (I pointed out how you can see the electronic pans and look at headroom to differentiate betwwen p&s and open matte). Anyway, in one scene, set in 2004, Jean Claude goes home to his apartment and turns on his tv. His widescreen tv. Which displayed home movies from 1994 which exactly filled the screen. The exact size of the tv would be impossible to tell, but I paused it and measured to determine the ratio, which turned out to be 2.4 to 1. I just had to comment on the irony involved.

    I suspect that when 16 x 9 tv's becomes commonplace, we'll see most 2.35 to 1 movies edited down to 16 x 9 for cable and "family" releases, but I don't think we'll hear the same complaints about 4:3. See, I think a big part of the problem is that the typical mass market consumer doesn't "get" that the black bars on a 4:3 tv preserve the original picture because they have decades of familiarity with p & s. When viewing 4:3 on a 16 x 9, fewer will complain about black bars on the side because then the bars will be preserving the picture that they are already familiar with.

    When one of my friends visited recently and saw Casablanca on my new 16 x 9 played back in progressive scan, she literally said "Oh my God" at how good the picture looked. The black bars didn't bother her in the least, and she is one of those who steadfastly refuses to accept that letterboxing shows more of the picture than pan n scan.
     
  20. Mark_vdH

    Mark_vdH Screenwriter

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