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TV Shows Widescreen Question (1 Viewer)

Michael Pakula

Second Unit
Jun 20, 1999
I just wanted to know that if certain shows are shot in film than shouldn't the dvds be widescreen or were some shows shot in super 35 this why all the dvd releases are full screen?. Im just a little confused about the whole process so hopefully someone here can clear things up.


Rocky F

Second Unit
Jun 13, 2002
Generally speaking, we all want OAR. Most shows older than 5 years or so would be in fullscreen. Many more recent shows are actually shown in both aspect ratios (full on analog stations and wide in digital.) If that's the case, I would hope they would release them in widescreen.

Joseph DeMartino

Senior HTF Member
Jun 30, 1997
Real Name
Joseph DeMartino

I think you're confusing your terms. Super 35 is a film format. And film can be any aspect ratio from 1.33:1/1.37:1 (the old pre-1950s sound film standard and original TV standard) to 2.70:1 or greater. (Although today the common film aspect ratios are 1.66:1, 1.85:1 and 2.35:1.)

"Widescreen" does not equal film, Super 35 does not mean "not film" and purely electronic forms like analog and digital video tape can also have different aspect ratios.

Nearly all U.S. made television dramas and many sitcoms are shot on film of one kind or another. Starting about ten years ago a few shows -anticipating an earlier arrival of HDTV than proved to be the case - starting shooting in Super35 for the same reason that films do: so that shots could simultaneously be composed for 1.33:1 standard NTSC and the 1.77:1 widescreen standard already selected for HDTV. Babylon 5 and Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman were among the earliest shows to do this. In part this was intended as a way of keeping them viable in the all-widescreen, post-HDTV syndication market.

Today, as Rocky noted, many shows are broadcast both ways, widescreen on digital HDTV carriers, 1.33:1 on analog channels. Many shoot on Super35 for simultaenous framing, although some may shoot wider and pan and scan for the analog version. Which ends up on DVD is up to the studios and the producers. The first season of CSI was released in the standard 1.33:1 aspect ratio on DVD, even though it had aired in widescreen on digital channels. The next two seasons were released in widescreen after fans complained. Buffy was shot for widescreen but released in 1.33:1 because Joss Weldon preferred it that way. It all depends. But whether or not a show was shot on film is one of the least important factors in deciding these things.



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