Am I the only one who doesn't give a damn if my DVDs are "widescreen" or not?

I’m tired of hearing all the crap about “Widescreen” DVDs. They cut up the directors original artistic vision, blah blah blah. Hey, I’ll bet the director’s original artistic vision was meant to be seen in a movie theater! And do I have a movie theater in my house? No, I have a television!
I can’t say I give two shits about whatever crap I’m missing on the sides of the picture. When’s the last time something important was positioned there, anyway?

Dude, I’m saying! I hate that panoramic bullshit. The black bars at the top and bottom of the screen drive me apeshit. Like you said, if I had an effing theater in my house, I wouldn’t have bought the damn DVD! I’d have a projector that cost about $6000!

I hate “pan and scan”. I want to see the movie, not the 2/3 that some half-assed editor decided was the ‘important’ part of the screen at that particular moment. I’ll choose widescreen every time.

Well, I’ll tell you: I own Star Wars Episode I on VHS, because it came out before I had a DVD player. There’s a scene on Tatooine where Qui-Gonn, Queen Amidala, and that guy who’s her security chief or something are talking. In the proper version, you can see all three, but in the “edited to fit your screen” version, you can only see Qui-Gonn and the security dude. No Natalie Portman at all! And really, it’s a dull scene. The main redeeming feature of it was that you got to look at Natalie Portman. (Actually, one of the main redeeming features of the whole movie was that it had Natalie Portman, even though her acting was atrocious, but still…)

Well, I’m rambling.

No, you’re not the only one. My mom feels the same way. “There’s these annoying black bars at the top and bottom!”

But me, I like to see the whole movie. And my TV screen is big enough that everything looks okay. I guess I can understand if you have a really small screen, but if you have a decent sized TV, why not see the whole picture?

I’ll just let my screenname be my response. :smiley:

All the time, in practically every film you’ve ever watched in your entire life. They use a process called ‘pan-and-scan’ to make sure you see the ‘important things’ on the sides, and IMHO (and many, many, many other people’s opinions) this looks like shit, distracts from the film, and is about as far from the director’s vision as you can possibly get. Doesn’t matter to you? Not a problem; I’m not going to try and talk you into caring. But understand that it DOES make a difference, whether you care about it or not.

Okay, so I didn’t JUST let my screenname be my answer…

Pan’n’scan is horrible. Especially in action scenes or dialog scenes with more than two people.

Two examples of particularly bad pan’n’scans come to mind:

White Men Can’t Jump: In the basketball games, the shots are usually framed with the shooter on one side of the screen and the basket on the other. This means you can have either the actor taking the shot, with no indication of wether it went in the basket, or the basket, with no indication of who made the shot. There’s one game in the middle shot “montage” style that makes no sense without widescreen.

Star Trek IV: Kirk, Spock, and the woman from the 20th century are sitting three abreast in the cab of a pick up. Kirk and Spock are talking to each other past the woman, and the dialogue is pretty rapid fire. The pan’n’scan editor tries to keep the speaker in shot, but he can’t move the shot fast enough to keep up, so half the time the speaker is off screen.

If you don’t like widescreen, why did you buy a DVD player? Stick to VHS tapes if you don’t like watching films the way they should be seen.

Though, to clear up some confusion, most “Full-Frame” DVD’s are not actually pan-and-scan. Movies made with the 1:85 ratio are usually shot at full camera apeture (bout the size of a TV screen) with the matte bars optically imposed later. So when you rent a “Full-Frame” movie that was shot for 1:85, you actually are seeing more top and bottom image and not missing anything off the sides.

Now, for that super-wide 2:35 ratio (STAR WARS, LORD OF THE RINGS, MATRIX, etc.) that’s when some horrible fucker cuts off 2/3 of the screen just to fill your TV screen up. In a perfect world, people who like watching this kind of travesy wouldn’t be allowed to own DVD players or TV’s. After all, would you buy a book that had 2/3rds of the pages missing? Would you buy a bag of potatos that said 1 pound but was actually only 1/3rd of a pound? Nope, you wouldn’t, and that’s why you shouldn’t accept panning-and-scanning of 2:35 films.

My advice to all of you whiners about widescreen:

GET USED TO IT. In the future, most TV’s will be widescreen, and TV will eventually broadcast in this ratio too.

Hey, if I had a widescreen TV, I wouldn’t mind. But I don’t. And neither do most people I know. To watch a widescreen version and be able to still see everything clearly on a TV screen requires a screen close to 30 inches, near as I can tell. How many people have a TV that large?

My screen’s about twenty four inches, and I have no problem watching wide-screen DVDs. And my vision absolutely sucks.

I watch my DVDs on a 19inch computer monitor, and I can not stand Pan&Scan. Wide Screen all the way people.

What he said. Unless you’re talking weird Cinemascope-style stuff, where the image is 6 inches high on a 24-inch TV screen, I’ve got no problems watching widescreen movies on my TV. And I have a big problem with watching pan’n’scan, all for one reason. It’s not because of the purity of the director’s vision, or even because the letterbox makes stuff seem more “epic” (which it does), it’s because of Yojimbo.

I’d heard great things about this movie forever, but could never find a copy. Finally I found a VHS copy (fullscreen) and snatched it up immediately. It was a fine movie, although I couldn’t tell what was going on for a lot of it – I assumed because all the Japanese names were confusing me.

And there was one scene that was very avant-garde and full of meaning: the two sides of the town are going to battle against each other, and it’s all depicted very symbolically. Kurosawa chose to show only a tower in the center of town, with the tips of the spears from the two sides advancing and retreating at either side of the screen. The meaning was obvious; their petty bickering was pointless and counter-productive, and the town would remain standing no matter what.

A couple of years later I got a DVD player and picked up the Criterion Collection edition of Yojimbo. It all made a lot more sense this time. I hadn’t been confused by all the Japanese names, I’d been confused by the fact that people would have entire conversations from one side of the screen. And of course, the big “symbolic” battle scene wasn’t symbolic at all, it had just had everything of interest edited out of it for the fullscreen version, leaving nothing but the one point of the screen where nothing was going on.

Miller, Anamorphic & Keith Berry gave some good examples and points about watching movies in their original aspect ratio.

I dont have a widescreen TV but I will never buy a fullscreen dvd. The black bars dont bother me. I wanna see what the director intended the audience to see (this of course excludes films produced before 1953 i.e. pre-widescreen).

I suggest you check out It’s a great site.

Widescreen is the way!

I’m not disagreeing with you at all, SolGrundy; obviously I completely agree with your stance. But I would like to point out that while you start off by saying the reason you prefer widescreen “[is] not because of the purity of the director’s vision…”, what you go on to describe is exactly that. Kurosawa and his d.p. very carefully set up the shots that were mangled though the butchery that is pan and scan. It is the director’s vision that you were missing. Yeah, it might sound snobbish, but the director’s vision was the best way for him to tell the story, through those carefully composed shots, and that was lost. It’s a perfect example of what’s wrong with pan and scan.

There’s a scene in the first Star Wars movie where Luke is looking through binoculars at some creatures. He says, “They’re Sand People all right. I can see one of them now.” But in the pan-and-scan version the Sand Person isn’t visible; he’s part of the “unimportant crap” cut off the side, leaving many viewers confused.

I watched Ghostbusters 2 on HBO once. The artificial camera motion of the pan-and-scan process was so poorly done it nearly made me nauseous (literally). That’s an extreme case, but it does happen sometimes.

Hmm. I may have to give widescreen another shot.

So? Why butcher the movie just because you can’t watch it in exactly the way the director intended? Surely we should aim as close to the director’s vision as we can?

My TV’s fifteen inches, and I get the killing urge whenever I see a pan-and-scan film.

Two more horrendous PnS examples:

A League Of Their Own
Blazing Saddles

The “camera” swings back and forth in a single cut so many times, you’ll get sea sick.

Isn’t it more important to be able to see the detail in the centre of a frame than to see what’s happening on the edges? Not always, but mostly. With a good TV, this isn’t an issue, but not all of us have expensive big TVs.

If you don’t have a widescreen TV, with a widescreen DVD you could be watching an image with only 300 lines of horizontal resolution. Especially if it’s TV rather than DVD, you will lose a lot of detail. And how is it closer to the director’s vision to see a tiny blurry picture rather than a bigger one?

At least you see what he wanted you to see when he wanted you to see it. If he wanted to show you two people talking, you get to see two people talking, not first one, then the other, back and forth. If he wanted to show you a panorama pass of a desert, you see just that, not a tiny bit of a desert flashing past. If he wanted you to see a great battle, you get to see the battle, not a couple of guys fighting.

I’ll happily give up a little image quality for that.

There comes a time when service providers must stop providing services to people with outdated technology. You won’t find many companies explaining how they can be contacted by telegram, for example. The Linux distribution I had supports only broadband users, as it’s time to start phasing dial-up out. Since people are going to have to buy new TVs anyway if the FCC deadline on HD television is to be enforced, people might as well get a TV that shows widescreen in all its glory.