Parody of people who complain about letterboxing

There’s a site called The Widescreen Museum which contains a lot of great information about the history of widescreen cinema, the various formats, the development of color and sound, etc. He recently put up a little parody concerning letterboxing that is so subtle, you hardly realize it at first. Check it out:

For added fun, check out his “Letterbox Lunacy”, where he shows how badly the studios screw it up on the home releases sometimes.

Reminds me of a co-worker I talked to a while back who complained about letterboxing because he thought they “cut off the top and bottoms of the movie.” My jaw actually dropped. Not exactly the sharpest tool in the shed.

I usually don’t mind pan-and-scan, but sometimes (especially lately) it’s done so awfully. Have you guys seen Multiplicity? The job was done so badly that it REALLY REALLY distracted from the great special effects. I almost turned it off.


As you can probably tell from my screenname, this is an issue near and dear to my heart. I can only hope that as technology advances, people will be educated on the importance of widescreen. Thanks for the link to Letterbox Lunacy. Some funny stuff! I had to pan-and-scan my own short film for an appearence on HBO. It was one of the most painful things I’ve ever had to do. Oh, the heartbreak!

The parody was wonderful – love that FlixFX digital recomposition.

jb, Multiplicity was the first time I really ever noticed pan and scan. Now I can’t go without noticing it. Same as the end-reel circles that appear in the theatre. A Few Good Men was on TNT last week, and it had a terrible pan and scan job. And my OWN MOTHER is convinced that letterbox takes away from her viewing enjoyment. “There’s less movie to watch!”

Oh the humanity…

Anamorphic, what was your short film? I wonder if I’ve seen it.

I’m convinced the single worst P&S job I have ever had the misfortune of seeing is A League Of Their Own. It’s really, really, really awful.

I went through this thread thinking “I’m gonna post about the horrible pan-and-scan on A League of Their Own.” And now I have to settle for “me too”-ing pldennison. It was crazy distracting, and it almost made me seasick. It was kind of like “Whoah, okay, we’re over here now…whoah…” Did that make any sense?

Up until the age of 19 or so I thought that “pan and scan” was a director’s technique, used especially by directors of the 1970s (since at that time I had only seen “2001: A Space Odyssey”, “The French Connection” and “Patton” on television, in the days before they aired letterboxed movies). For years I wondered how the camera operator could pan so smoothly and seemingly stop the camera on a dime.

I was always kind of “ehh” about widescreen movies. I never saw what the fuss was. I had a couple of DVDs that were widescreen only and I didn’t mind, but if they came with a fullscreen option I used it (since I was watching them on a 17 inch computer monitor and wanted a bigger picture).

Then I saw the VHS re-release of Ghostbusters. The pan and scan is awful. In some wide shots, the whole picture slides over so unnaturally even my sister (who is much less a cinephile than me) noticed how crappy it was.

Widescreen is the way to go, folks. I pretty much avoid all VHS from then on.

BTW, some of Kubrick’s films were actually shot in 4:3 (TV ratio) instead of the usual 16:9 (or so) for movies.

<plug> “Hate* (*a comedy)”. It’s been on Cinemax and HBO a couple of times. It’s a live-action short about a psychotic chicken. Check out my website to learn more about it! </plug>

Besides the old “it cuts off the top and bottom of the picture” routine that these f**king retards bring up, they, when you sit with a DVD that has both WS and Standard, and carefully select a sequence and show it on both, and they get into their micro-heads that their argument has been shot to hell, then respond with their backup–“Well, it doesn’t fill the entire TV and I have to stare at the black bars at the top and bottom of the screen.” Then one, if one has the patience of Job, asks why they aren’t distracted by other objects, say the photos on top of the TV or the stand the TV is placed on. Once all arguments are slam-dunked into their puny minds, they fall back on their final retort–“Well, I just don’t like it, that’s why.”

There oughta be an FCC rule–films are shown in the original ratio, period, end of friggin’ discussion.


Damn straight, liver man.