Small report about widescreen broadcasting in Sweden

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by rbirk, Dec 25, 2002.

  1. rbirk

    rbirk Stunt Coordinator

    Dec 26, 1998
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    I moved to Boston from Sweden six years ago and sometimes I feel I live in a third world country in regards to widescreen broadcasting in US.

    I went back home to Sweden for the holidays and noticed that most movies I am watching in Sweden on regular TV broadcasts and cable/satellite movie channels are all in widescreen. Many even 16:9 anamorphic. This is very nice.

    A funny thing. I told my parents that in Boston most movies on TV are zoomed in and only showing part of the image in order to fill up the screen (my way of explaining P&S) and they just looked at me and asked: "Why would you do something like that?"

    It seems the letterboxing was very natural to them even though they had no idea that some of the movies they have been watching on TV where P&S or not. They just assumed that if the picture filled up the screen, that how it was released and vice versa.

    When I went to the TV stores, it seems even hard to find a TV in the 4:3 format. They seem all to be widescreen, except the really small sizes.

    Ron Birk
  2. Joe McKeown

    Joe McKeown Stunt Coordinator

    Apr 19, 1999
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    I have heard similar before. Welcome back to the home of the "Warning coffee is Hot" label.

    There is a real belief that the black bars are taking something away. The studios that tried to educate people only do it on the widescreen version, and they continue to feed the confusion by using terms like "Full Frame" Call me an idiot, but it seems to me that getting the "full frame" version of a movie would imply I'm getting the whole thing. "Widescreen version" seems to say something has been changed to make it wider. (think extended cab truck)

    The popular termonology solidifies the misconceptions about aspect ratios. I can accept that people have different opinions from me, and may actually WANT pan-and-scan versions. What bugs me is how many people just don't understand.

    I want to abolish "Widescreen" and "Full Frame" from all DVD packaging. "Standard" should refer to OAR, but since it has been used as a synonym for 1.33; it too should be avoided as confusing. What I want to see is terms that show the truth. I want packages clearly labeled "Pan and Scan" or "Open Matte" instead of "full frame." The "Theatrical presentation" may be less confusing to people than "OAR", but I'm so used to OAR that that says it all to me. I think anamorphic should not be considered as a feature, but there should be some sort of disclaimer indicating non-anamorphic releases. Maybe if studios put big "YES! IT'S ANAMORPHIC!" stickers on the box,(on the outside wrapper of course) people would learn that that too is a good thing.

    Bottom line, I think if people really understood what they were getting the "fill the screen" mentality would fade away. The studios need to do more to help people understand what is being released. I suspect that with proper education the "Screen Fillers" would actually be the niche market, not the other way around as the studios and Wal-mart believe.

    OK, rant over...

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