Sick and Tired about Pan & Scan

Joe*A

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When will the studios STOP "Modifying the film from its original aspect ratio". I'm still walking into a Blockbuster to find to my horror films in Full Screen!?!? It gets worse when I see all the copies of a film in wide screen format already gone except for the Full Screen versions. People are starting to understand that seeing the black bars on top and bottom DOESN'T make one lose picture but actually gain picture. And with all the new HD televisions being purchased, why produce DVDs of films in Pan & Scan format? I don't get it. Please shed some light on this.
 

Matt Czyz

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Oddly enough, the Blockbusters near me always stock only the widescreen versions of dvds if available. There's probably a few old P&S discs lying around, but I can count on all new releases to be in WS.
 

TravisR

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Exactly. It's nothing even worth getting pissed off about because some people do not care and will never care that the movie is cropped and they'll continue to buy the P&S versions of movies. And as long as people are buying them, the studios will continue to produce them.
 

Marty M

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I am waiting for the day when all these P & S fans purchase their first HD TV. They will start complaining about the black bars on the side. No wait, they will just stretch the image won't they?

With the advent of more and more HD TVs in 16:9 format, the OAR movies should say "full screen".


Seriously, I have been trying for years and years to convince my friends to abandon the P & S. Very few have actually paid any attention to me. I have just stopped trying to convince them that it is their loss. And frankly most of my friends don't give a s&*t about OAR. They just want to make sure their 4:3 screen is filled with a movie image.
 

David_B_K

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People who watch P & S are not really into "film" as we are. To them, it is just "watchin' TV". If they watch TV, they want all of the screen used. It is pointless to argue with them.
 

Keith Paynter

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I had another one of those Wal-Mart experiences this week, overhearing some mother say she "made the mistake of buying the widescreen version" of a new release. I kept my mouth shut.

Like it or not, there is still a very large market for Fullscreen. Not everyone is ready to go out and buy a 16x9 television even though they take up 95% of the sales space over 4x3 screens at retailers, especially if their tv is just fine for them and the majority of their television programming comes on at 4x3. Maybe if Oprah started an appropriate club, these people would start changing their "View" .
 

Patrick McCart

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Yeah, if you're purposely buying fullscreen...

Just make sure both versions are available and I'm happy. Maybe there will be a wakeup call when those fullscreen DVDs look like crap on a 16x9 screen. Then again, a lot of widescreen advocates have no issue with stretching 4x3 material to 16x9.
 

John Lloyd

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I don't expect things to change much when a 16x9 television is standard for everyone in North America. HBO is already cropping 2.35:1 movies for people who don't understand black bars on a widescreen TV, even when they are subscribing to a high definition channel.
 

David Deeb

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It looks like most of the On Demand HD movies are doing this as well. I've watched several HD movies On Demand, and they just don't feel right. I think they are cropping and zooming. It's like I'm too close to the TV.

Thank goodness for being able to buy and own packaged media.
 

David_B_K

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I don't either. When I first started subscribing to DiSH Network's HDTV channels, they threw in a free month or so of HBO. Once I saw that everything was formatted to 16:9 sets (movies I knew were 2.35:1), I did not bother subscribing.

I was at a message board the other day where some doofus who just bought a 16:9 HDTV was complaining that some of his DVDs still had "those black bars".
 

Josh Steinberg

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Blockbuster has a corporate policy of carrying widescreen releases for rental if there are separate widescreen and fullscreen versions available.

However, franchise stores (not company owned) can do whatever they please, and that's where you're likely to find the fullscreen rentals.
 

Mark B

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If the studios halted production of modified ratios on DVD would the consumers stop buying them? I think not. They need to stop giving Joe Sixpack a choice.
 

Josh Steinberg

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I agree, but as long as there are secondary markets for where a pan and scan transfer would be profitable, we'll keep seeing those transfers on DVD. Most of the time when movies are broadcasted on TV or cable, it's a pan and scan version. So as long as they know they're going to make a P&S transfer anyway, if the bean counters think they can sell some and make extra money on it, they will.

I agree that DVD should always have been an OAR-only format. I hope that HD-DVD/Blu-Ray/whatever else becomes OAR-only. Would I count on it? Probably not. As long as movies are being made in different shapes and sizes than televisions, there are always going to be some people that want their screen filled, no matter what. Just doesn't matter to them. They see actors onscreen, hear dialogue being spoken, and that's all that matters. The other details not as much. I used to get pissed off about this, but I've realized it's just not worth expending the energy anymore... so hey, whatever man. Just as long as the OAR version is available for me. If it's not... well, that's when I have the problem.
 

Marty M

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Ironically, it's when Joe Sixpack gave up his VCR for a DVD player that the studios started appeasing them. When I first started purchasing DVDs in 1999 almost every DVD release was in the OAR. That was one of the things that excited me about DVD.
 

Bonedwarf

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I loved being able to pick up a DVD and not have to read the small print on it. I'd know it was widescreen. Now I have to trawl through the details to make sure it actually IS widescreen. (Nearly got caught a few times.) Getting very tired of know nothings being pandered too. I've been into widescreen for years. Even back in the early 90's, if a movie received a widescreen VHS release, that'd be the one for me.

The movie that taught me this was "Grand Prix". Used to be shown on BBC1 in pan'n'scan which renders the split screens all but useless. My Dad explained when I was very young why that was happening.

I've done the same with my kids. My six year old knows full well that widescreen is the way to go, and why. I've shown him the extra on "Die Hard" that explains the difference, but in fairness, he already understood for the most part. (Though the easter egg on the Vista Series of Pearl Harbor was a better one IMO.)

My six year old gets it. The fact that makes him smarter in this regard than a lot of the DVD buying public is pretty sad.
 

Viper

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Joe Fisk

That wouldn't be accurate though, because studios still insist on filming in those wide ass scope (i.e. Super35) formats that are still not the same aspect as the TV and probably never will be. I like that more studios are staying with standard HD aspect (1.78:1); like the Saw movies, Condemned, etc. I don't see the point in studios providing fullscreen editions of something that's 1.78:1/1.85:1 anyway, but I can see how people with small 4x3 TVs don't like movies that are 2.35:1/2.40:1. I was one of those people. Now that I have an HDTV, I always opt for the widescreen version of films. If I see a fullscreen version of something that I consider worth owning, but not great, I'll still go ahead and get it. It doesn't bother me with some movies.
 

Stephen_J_H

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FTR, Super35 is not a "wide-ass" scope format; it's a shooting format that attempts to have it both ways by using spherical instead of anamorphic lenses and extracting a 2.35:1 image from an approximate 1.66:1 frame. This makes it easier to convert films shot in Super35 to "fullscreen".

The real problem here is that the morons who determined the Digital TV standard had no originality. Instead of attempting a compromise between 1.85:1 and 2.35/2.40:1, they slavishly followed in NHK's footsteps and made the HD standard frame 16:9. It would have been better to have gone 2:1, thus making minimal side bars on 1.85 and 1.66:1 features, and minimal top and boittom bars on 2.20:1 and 2.35/2.40:1 features. Vittorio Storaro would have to make no adjustments (insert knowing laugh here).
 

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