Siskel & Ebert talking about the differences between the widescreen (original letterboxed version) & fullscreen (pan & scanned version) versions of The Last Crusade & There's No Business… DVD has an anamorphic widescreen mode, which is the innovation that killed Pan and Scan. Another recent and controversial example of this was with The Simpsons, which ran into this problem when it came to HD streaming platforms, first with FXX and now Disney+, though thankfully Disney is now letting viewers choose their preferred ratio. Pan and scan is the process of fitting a widescreen film into the confines of a 4:3 frame. While 16:9 can now easily show films originally in 1.85:1, the actual problem is with films in 2.35:1 being formatted to fit into 16:9. It also changed the way most people watched movies. So, images in 4:3 are thus cropped and stretched to fit 16:9. Some examples: This is a funny one to watch in P&S.... not only do our heroes shoot at nothing, but afterwards a pair of feet appear as the invisible victim dies. Showing a widescreen movie on a television set with a 4:3 screen requires one of two techniques to accommodate the difference: "letterboxing", which preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio, but is not as tall as a standard television screen, leaving black bars at the top and bottom of the screen, or "pan and scan", in which the image fills the full height of the screen, but is cropped horizontally on each side. Rarely do you get so good a unit of measurement as the suspect lineup is, due to the measurements written in the background! How the home video divisions of major Hollywood studios handled letterboxed or pan and scan versions of films on home video formats in the '80s & '90s. Firstly, a definition of what we are talking about. In many movies, you will see one character talking with the others that aren't seen on the screen. Additionally, there were certain movie channels, such as Turner Classic Movies, that always stuck to the original aspect ratio of a movie. Create robust and customizable shot lists. And even as DVD technology improved and more films were being presented in their original ratios, pan and scan was “still a threat.”. But the decade would also mark a massive change in the world of home entertainment: DVD. Certainly, widescreen got the shot in the arm it needed from DVD, but the likes of Warner Bros, Disney and more were either offering pan and scan releases, or … Still asking yourself, "What is pan and scan?" This can even be a problem for movies and shows originally in 4:3. Widescreen versus Pan-and-Scan: The Choice and the Differences Are Not Clear Cut Many so-called “pan and scan” versions actually have more picture. If you are interested in this topic, some articles that might interest you are: We encourage you to read our updated PRIVACY POLICY and COOKIE POLICY. We now see Angeleyes, and not just his weapon. But first, let's look at the first step in video formatting, turning moving pictures on film into moving pictures on video. -- Kevin Archibald was once a member of the infamous Widescreen Inquisition. The worst-affected scenes are those which have panoramic shots. The only problem was the one he saw was totally cut off in the Pan&Scan version. Ideally, you should only now be hearing about it in a historical context, but the truth is that the legacy of pan and scan lives on in various ways. The court ruled that so-called “pan and scan” (cropped) versions of widescreen movies are eligible for copyright protection as separate, derivative works. The worst-affected scenes are those which have panoramic shots. Not every channel or service does this, but enough of them do, especially major network channels or popular cable networks. I don't know how old I was, but this is where I first suspected I wasn't getting the full picture. A popular transfer technique sometimes used involves removing the widescreen matting of a film that is shot on a larger scale (like Super35). The removal of visual information from a film, which can vary from 45% to 75%. We can be thankful that we are alive today, when these alternatives are around, and not the early 80s, when pretty much all video was on P&S format, and pretty rough at that! Here's how this worked when Seinfeld started airing in syndication. What is CinemaScope? Sure, you might see more, but is more always better? Let’s define pan and scan before digging deeper into examples like Seinfeld, Alien, and The Avengers. So, while there were ways to watch movies in widescreen letterbox format in the ‘70s and ‘80s, they were mostly displayed in “full screen” around the world. "Great! The video below goes over that decision, as well as the issues associated with pan and scan. This was done in the days of VHS and early DVD, as most consumers still owned 4:3 sized televisions. Imagine if you will a frustrated 10 year old boy rewinding the tape frantically 27 times, looking for this mysterious Sand Person. Movie Sound — A Filmmaker’s Guide to Sound Effect Techniques, How to Become a Script Reader — Duties, Salary, and Resources. Letterboxing vs. Pan-and-Scan: Most Viewers Don't Know What They're Missing by John Cunningham 1997 "Pan-and-scan" is the process by which a portion of the widescreen theatrical image of a film is selected to fill your TV screen. Widescreen is obviously the intended format. That is where the pan and scan comes into play. Most DVDs have both a Pan and Scan and a widescreen format (either letterboxed or anamorphic) on a DVD. This page offers pictorial documentation to support a point made in the court decision of Maljack Productions, Inc., and Batjac Productions, Inc., v.UAV Corp. Widescreen vs. Pan & Scan. We'll also look at why televisions and theatrical movies have different aspect ratios in the first place and explore the "widescreen vs. pan and scan" debate. Definition and Examples →, Storyboard Examples from Movies & Animation →, The Ultimate Guide to Call Sheets (with FREE Call Sheet Template), How to Break Down a Script (with FREE Script Breakdown Sheet), The Only Shot List Template You Need — with Free Download, Managing Your Film Budget Cashflow & PO Log (Free Template), A Better Film Crew List Template Booking Sheet, Best Storyboard Softwares (with free Storyboard Templates), What is Practical Lighting in Film? We’re in a golden age of TV writing and development. However, you see Luke looks at someone to the left of the frame and you hear someone’s voice that isn’t visible. Okay, I was 23 at the time. Many who grew up with pan and scan wouldn’t even know anything was wrong, but from the outset, filmmakers didn’t like the process. This pan and scan issue ultimately comes down to aspect ratio, the dimensions of a film's image. But things are not quite so cut and dried in the world of aspect ratios. To give you an idea of what pan and scan ultimately does, and why it posed such a problem for directors, take a look at the video below. But what is pan and scan, how… If the answer to all this is yes, then you experienced “pan and scan” firsthand. You've killed the invisible swordsman!!". Nuff said. Aspect ratio: the ratio between the width and height of an image. When television sets were first created, they were in the aspect ratio of 1.33:1, also known as 4:3. Rafael Abreu received his B.A. We can see that the powers that be (I'm not sure who supervised this, but it is not a bad job) chose an open matte for key scenes, and Panned & Scanned other ones. The way it works is that a movie can letterboxed to 16:9 instead of 4:3, which provides more pixels to the movie and fewer to the letterbox. There were some widescreen VHS tapes in the 90's as well, but if you were really into seeing movies the best way possible, you bought an LD player. If you want to read reviews on the films above... we got them .... Ghostbusters One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest The Good, The Bad, And the Ugly A Bug's Life The Hudsucker Proxy Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery The Usual Suspects. Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. So, for years, as 4:3 was the only frame for TVs, both movies and TV (mostly) conceded defeat. Letterboxing Versus Pan-and-Scan: Ronin Ronin was shot in Super 35 format and distributed in anamorphic prints designed to be projected at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (according to the Internet Movie Database).This results in widescreen images that look like this in theaters: Conversion to Video. Did you ever rent or own movies on VHS tape, or even on DVD, that filled the entirety of your 4:3 aspect ratio tube television? The reverse issue came about later when 16:9 televisions became the norm and 4:3 movies and TV shows were retrofitted. But with new standards come new problems. The actual widescreen image has Beh-Hur driving four horses, but in the Pan and Scan version, only two horses were seen. More and more people are flocking to the small screen to find daily entertainment. Another way of dealing with a widescreen source and keeping a 4:3 DAR is to do something called Pan and Scan which will extract a 4:3 image from the source by cropping the edges like this: You can see the amount that has been removed from the image by comparing it … Also refers to the old practice of encodingblac… What is Pan and Scan? Then, when they bring the title on video, they can display the full frame. Most people still have 4x3 TV's, however, and many consumers prefer the cut off sides of a Pan&Scan movie because it fills the whole screen vertically instead of - as with widescreen movies - merely stretching across the center and filling in the difference with those black bars (also called "letterboxing"). It is called "pan-and-scan" because the video operator who does it can "pan" or move across the widescreen image to (presumably) follow the action. The widescreen boom of the 1950s soon followed, with CinemaScope (2.35:1) and VistaVision (1.85:1) providing audiences with experiences they couldn’t have at home. In more common nomenclature, it was the process of making a … Here's filmmaker Sydney Pollack on his frustration with the pan and scan process. If you have a standard television and you are watching a pan and scan DVD on it, you will not experience any black bars as long as your DVD is set to the pan and scan mode. https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/win32/medfound/picture-aspect-ratio The addition of black bars on the top or bottom of the screen created confusion and frustration. It should also be noted that the newest DVDs are encoded as "Anamorphic Widescreen." Widescreen Today With the increased popularity of widescreen television sets and high-definition broadcasting (both typically in a 16:9 aspect ratio), the pan and scan format has decreased in popularity and most home media releases and content (including content shot for television or streaming) is now released in a widescreen format. What ends up happening is an evolution of the original pan and scan dilemma: channels want the movie to fill the whole screen and some audiences, now so used to 16:9, get confused whenever it doesn’t. However, you see Luke looks at someone to the left of the frame and you hear someone’s voice that isn’t visible. Matte removal cropping is less drastic than traditional pan-and-scan, but Kermit's sock, Frank's head and other unintended elements are visible. Pollack talks about how panning and scanning caused him to abandon the 2.35:1 ratio for 20 years but he returned to it for Interpreter. Master the art of visual storytelling with our FREE video series on directing and filmmaking techniques. The most obvious issue was that pan and scan removed information that could be seen in the film’s original form. Widescreen is obviously the intended format. A solution that DVD owners in particular are enthusiastic about is anamorphic widescreen. However, by the time HD DVD and Blu-ray came around in the mid-2000s, the idea of buying a movie in “fullscreen” was becoming obsolete. DVDs provided a more consumer-friendly disc option that could let consumers choose between a film’s aspect ratio. He also shows some shots from the film in their correct ratio and in cropped versions. It also created the need to “pan” between elements on-screen in ways the filmmakers never intended. Critics Siskel & Ebert talked about the process and why this controversial process was widely adopted. There were also an extremely limited number of movies on VHS that had widescreen versions in letterbox format like Woody Allen’s Pan and scan demonstrates how important aspect ratio preservation is when viewing a filmmaker’s work. He’s written reviews, scripts, and analytical essays focusing on all aspects of cinema. A fair question since it’s mostly an outdated process. Luke says something to the effect of "There are two Banthas down there, but I don't see any sand people.... wait a sec, I see one of them now." Pan and scan is the process of fitting a widescreen film into the confines of a 4:3 frame. But first, let's look at the first step in video formatting, turning moving pictures on film into moving pictures on video. Now that you have a better understanding of that concept, learn more about aspect ratios overall, along with tips on how they are utilized and what they can signify. 16:9Standard aspect ratio for high definition television 4:3Standard aspect ratio for standard definition television (NTSC/PAL) and Digital Television (DTV). This is a bad idea, for several reasons. Practically all widescreen films available on tape use the pan-and-scan method, primarily because a horizontal widescreen film does not fit the relatively square dimensions of the TV screen. Nowadays, directors (James Cameron being one of the most famous) are often shooting with more "open matte" meaning more in the ratio of your television set. Whether still on 4:3 TVs or the rising 16:9 sets, movies were now being offered in both “widescreen” and “fullscreen.” This was notable, as most movies on VHS were still only available in “fullscreen,” due to the tapes being exclusively created for 4:3 monitors. It is awfully difficult to make a widescreen movie fit on a standard television that uses the 4:3 aspect ratio. The Black Hole review is coming soon.... Star Wars is never coming. Pan and Scan is a method of adjusting widescreen film images so that they can be shown within the proportions of an ordinary TV screen, by cropping off the sides of the original widescreen image. Widescreen Today With the increased popularity of widescreen television sets and high-definition broadcasting (both typically in a 16:9 aspect ratio), the pan and scan format has decreased in popularity and most home media releases and content (including content shot for television or streaming) is now released in a widescreen format. The DVD of Ronin contains both letterboxed and panned-and-scanned versions--on oppposite … In more common nomenclature, it was the process of making a “widescreen” picture into a “fullscreen” one. Pan and Scan is a method of adjusting widescreen film images so that they can be shown within the proportions of an ordinary TV screen, by cropping off the sides of the original widescreen image. The sample was split nearly evenly in their preferences, with 47.9% giving a higher average liking score to the widescreen clips, 46.5% giving a higher liking score to the pan and scan clips, and 5.6% giving identical scores to the two aspect ratios. If you put on the widescreen version of the film, you see that Obi … An anamorphic widescreen-encoded DVD can be played on a widescreen TV without any black bars at all (or with much, much smaller black bars, depending on the aspect ratio), and has higher resolution than video encoded for a regular TV set. Now that we've seen an example of pan and scan in action, let's go back to the technological innovations that got us into this mess. I've never encountered a disc that actually offered this though. Let’s take a look at how one franchise evolved in its presentation on VHS and LaserDisc before being released on DVD. There are a number of solutions... one is to PAN & SCAN, which involves just picking part of the picture and letting it take up the entire TV screen. I was surprised when I went to get shots from The Usual Suspects: A Clear case of Panning and Scanning. widescreen.org History of Widescreen Aspect Ratios Examples Podcasts Audio/Video Contact Although this section might not be as valuable as it was back in the days of 4:3 TVs, I've decided to keep it and update it with some newer examples. Reframing is a technique used on most of Disney/Pixar's home releases of its earliest films, seperate from the original widescreen release. So the challenge is to fit the rectangular image onto a square box. Now if you are at all familiar with this issue you have probably seen these sorts of images before. We have the technology. A visual medium requires visual methods. We'll also look at why televisions and theatrical movies have different aspect ratios in the first place and explore the "widescreen vs. pan and scan" debate. If you put on the widescreen version of the film, you see that Obi-Wan Kenobi is at C … in English from Florida International University, along with certificates in Film Studies and Asian Studies. A small piece of the bottom of the image was snipped to give us a 16:9 ratio. In many movies, you will see one character talking with the others that aren't seen on the screen. When trying to watch a widescreen DVD on a standard television, you will have the letter box black bars on the There are alternatives. Now look at his boot on the left. Some directors are simply shooting in ratios that are friendlier when transferred to video: Disney's Pixar Studios has a solution of their own, involving complex software they wrote to recompose the frame for the television format. Then we can answer, "What does pan and scan mean?" In the pan-and-scan version, the only person visible at C-3P0’s side is Luke. To fully understand the pan and scan process, let's remind ourselves of how aspect ratio works. Movies were released on home video mediums that allow consumers to watch movies whenever they want. Some directors can choose to do a variation of both formats: Pan & Scan an image when they feel like it, and show a full matte when they feel like it. Due to many post-1953 movies being in an aspect ratio wider than 4:3, pan and scan was introduced. Mechanical “pan” movements to accommodate lost visual info. The pan and scan is basically a method of adjusting a widescreen movie so that it fits within the constraints of a standard television aspect ratio. Check em out! The short answer is that images with a certain shape don't easily fit onto TV screens with a different shape. An anamorphic image is arbitrarily coded at a ratio of 16:9. 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