Letterbox vs. full screen?

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by Philip Marlow, Feb 24, 2004.

  1. Philip Marlow

    Justin Guest

    Bur wrote on [2 Mar 2004 10:46:57 -0800]:
    Not at all. A professional director should take full advantage of all
    the frame real estate he has. Otherwise it's nothing but a TV shot with
    extraneous crap around. I dunno about you, but I watch the MOVIE,
    and not the TV set.
    Justin, Mar 2, 2004
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  2. Philip Marlow

    Richard C. Guest

    : >
    : The majority of the movies we are interested in
    : have been filmed in the last 25 years, after it became apparent that
    : the video life of the movie far exceeds the theatre life.

    So what?

    Most directors and cinematographers don't pay any attention to anything
    that is not in the Theatrical Aspect area.
    Most monitors and camera viewers are hard matted to the TAR.
    : It means it looks better than a half blank
    : screen with a stripe across the middle on a home TV set.

    Not true in any movies that I have seen in P&S/Open Matte.
    They look like shit!

    : It also means the director was aware, while framing his shots, of how
    the P&S
    : transfer would eventually look and, when needed, changed the framing
    : to make sure the P&S contains relevant picture elements. That's what a
    : professional director should do.

    No, actually, it is not. Almost all "professional" directors pay
    attention ONLY to the OAR.
    Your wishful thinking is not the case in the real world.
    Richard C., Mar 2, 2004
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  3. Philip Marlow

    Card53 Guest

    : The majority of the movies we are interested in
    Speak for yourself. The majority of dumbed-down films from the last 25 years
    hold little interest for me.
    The artistic life of a film exceeds anything. People will still be watching
    "Citizen Kane" and "His Girl Friday" 50 years from now, long after
    "Independence Day" and "Dirty Dancing" have been forgotten. If I'm wrong, I'm
    glad I won't be around to see it.
    No, the original composition looks better than something with 40% of the
    picture missing. As many have said, watch the film not the black bars.
    Totally absurd. The better directors take full advantage of OAR, rather than
    pander to the uninformed.

    So when you get your first WS television, are you going to demand that older
    Academy Ratio films be matted for WS in order to get rid of those pesky black
    bars on the sides?

    John Larrabee
    Co-founder: Laurel & Hardy Central

    (To respond via e-mail, remove "nixspam")
    Card53, Mar 2, 2004
  4. Philip Marlow

    Jordan Lund Guest

    If your DVD player has a Zoom feature press that button once. 2x mode
    fills your screen and is (more or less) what pan and scan does. If you
    find that you're missing things off the sides that's ok. It's normal
    when you take a rectangular image and blow it up to fill an (almost)

    - Jordan
    Jordan Lund, Mar 2, 2004
  5. Philip Marlow

    Black Locust Guest

    Not the point. You quite clearly snuck in the words "FS looks better on
    a tv" and "ugly black bars" to further your own misguided and incorrect
    agenda. We know you're a screen filler and you know it, and that's not
    something to be proud of. There's more to watching a movie than trying
    to fill every inch of your outdated POS tv.
    Do you really believe directors give a shit about a VHS transfer? They
    barely did back in the 80's for heavens sake. But contrary to your
    backwords way of thinking, if "relevant" picture elements are not in the
    P&S transfer, it means he/she DID properly compose their shots. What in
    the blue hell is the purpose of filming in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio if
    you're going to CRAM all of the action in the very middle of the frame?
    You might as well not even bother with 2.35:1 then and just do a half
    assed open matte composition.

    You're line of thinking dates back to the 1970's when VHS(and betamax)
    ruled the roost and Joe Six Pack had the final say on how video
    transfers were done. This is now 2004; the era of DVD's and HDTV. You're
    thinking isn't going to cut the mustard anymore. Get with the now or get
    lost. Although it doesn't surprise me that someone who uses AOL thinks
    pan & scam is cool.

    I think monumental incompetance of directors is
    That's your opinion and it's an opinion not shared by most people. I for
    example have a standard 27" square tube set. Nothing fancy. Yet I still
    prefer to watch widescreen transfers on it. A movie ALWAYS looks better
    when you can see all of it and that's a fact. Filling up your screen
    doesn't in any way, shape or form make a movie look "better" and you
    need to get this through your thick skull. As they like to say, if you
    watch a movie that's been pan & scanned, you really aren't watching the
    movie at all.
    Black Locust, Mar 3, 2004
  6. Philip Marlow

    Mike Kohary Guest

    This is the oldest and tiredest debate on these forums, and the folks who
    say things like what you're saying clearly don't love movies. They just
    like being entertained, which ain't the same thing. There really is no
    debate to be had, since you're simply wrong, wrong, wrong.

    'Nuff said - enjoy your journey into ignorance and obsolescence, and let the
    rest of us celebrate what film is really all about.

    Mike Kohary, Mar 3, 2004
  7. Philip Marlow

    Black Locust Guest

    A) You mean before Betamax. B) Before Betamax, movies were frequently
    re-released to theatres to meet the demand. Get your facts straight.
    Haha. How ironic that you say that because many pan & scam movies are
    butchered so badly that they don't even make sense anymore.
    Black Locust, Mar 3, 2004
  8. (Bur) wrote in
    Who is "we"? And what do you consider a "majority" of the movies?
    Well, the bulk of them don't.


    Aaron J. Bossig

    Aaron J. Bossig, Mar 3, 2004
  9. Philip Marlow

    Bur Guest

    The artistic life of the film is the video life of the film. Before
    VHS, the only way to see old films was to try to catch a chopped for
    time version on TV. Some of those were chopped so badly they didn't
    even make sense anymore.
    Yes they will be watching Citizen Kane, ( May 1, 1941, DVD September
    24, 2002, Aspect Ratio: Full Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1) and His Girl
    Friday ( January 11, 1940 DVD November 21, 2000, Aspect Ratio: Full
    Screen (Standard) - 1.33:1) in FS standard. not WS.
    I presume you are suggesting a vertical P&S of the 1.33:1 to convert
    to 16:9. If you watch a 16:9 film on a standard TV the result is
    actually pretty good. Due to normal overscan on the display, the bars
    at the top and bottom of the screen aren't huge and aren't nearly as
    distracting as a 2.35:1 on the same display. I suspect the horizontal
    overscan on a 16:9 will take care of some of the problem, and what's
    left should be no more of a problem than the 16:9 on a 1.33:1 screen.
    I suspect most people will be happy with the result and vertical P&S
    is unnecessary.
    Bur, Mar 3, 2004
  10. Philip Marlow

    Card53 Guest

    The artistic life of a film exceeds anything.
    With each statement you make, it becomes increasingly difficult to take you
    The "only" way? I've lived in or near Chicago all my life, and the city has
    several revival houses and film societies that show old classics. Such venues
    were my first exposure to several major films.

    The way television used to present films in the old days (and today on crap
    stations like AMC) didn't fool anyone who appreciated film. Several TV guides
    in the late pre-cable years used to note if a film was edited to fit a time
    slot. It was a red flag that said "don't watch" for many of us.
    And that had nothing to do with my point, did it? I was responding to your
    statement that "most of us" are interested only in films made "in the last 25
    years." Substitue "Vertigo" and "Patton" if that helps your understanding.
    Fine, but please understand that you speak only for yourself. For those of us
    who choose to watch the film rather than the bars, the bars aren't distracting
    at all. Knowing that I'm missing 40% of the image on a P&S film is what's
    distracting to me.

    Here's are two examples of films, both shot in 2:35:1. The first is from
    Preminger's "In Harm's Way," for which I borrowed a quote from the AllMovie

    "In one compelling scene, while Kirk Douglas' Paul Eddington is seen in the
    foreground on the right side of the screen, claiming the effects of his wife
    (who died while cavorting with an Army Air Force officer the morning of the
    attack), a Japanese-American woman is seen on the left-hand side of the screen,
    in medium shot, frantically trying to find out what has happened to her son."

    Another example is from Robert Rossen's "The Hustler." Of the many inventive
    ways in which Rossen uses widescreen, one of the best comes at the end of the
    first Eddie-Fats pool match. In the center of the screen, we see Eddie (Paul
    Newman) crumble to the floor in defeated exhaustion. The left side of the
    screen has George C. Scott, unfeeling and unconcerned, stuffing money in his
    wallet and slapping it shut. The right side has Fats (Jackie Gleason) with his
    back turned to the action, his face registering a dozen mixed emotions. With
    one shot, Rossen tells three stories.

    These are just two example that come to mind, but the point is that you not
    only lose part of the picture in P&S, you lose part of the story. The P&S
    version of "In Harm's Way" loses the Japanese-American woman, and "The Hustler"
    loses both Scott and Gleason. Yet to your way of thinking, this is a "better"
    way to watch a film on TV?

    John Larrabee
    Co-founder: Laurel & Hardy Central

    (To respond via e-mail, remove "nixspam")
    Card53, Mar 3, 2004
  11. Philip Marlow

    Justin Guest

    Black Locust wrote on [Tue, 02 Mar 2004 21:10:35 -0600]:
    There are still many relreleases in "Art" houses.
    Justin, Mar 3, 2004
  12. Philip Marlow

    Bur Guest

    That's wonderful for you. Most of us don't have the luxury of such
    Yes, we agreee, movies edited for time (i.e. to allow more ads) are
    Both examples you give are somewhat compelling. Apparently the
    directors of those two movies did not shoot the scenes with the
    eventual video transfer in mind. Maybe the P&S transfer artist should
    switch to WS for those scenes in the movie, similar to the switch to
    WS in Oklahoma. Other possibilities involving digital manipulation
    come to mind, but I suspect you wouldn't agree. In any case, I think
    scenes such as these are the exception and most movies look better in
    FS on a TV, in my opinion. Your opinion obviously differs. Also, if
    I were watching movies to learn techniques or in an artistic
    appreciation mode, I would agree that OAR on a suitably large display
    would be preferable. I mostly watch movies for entertainment only,
    and, to me, FS is more entertaining.
    Bur, Mar 3, 2004
  13. Philip Marlow

    Black Locust Guest

    A video transfer should be the last thing on the mind of any competent,
    seasoned director. The director should use the canvas(in this case, that
    being the camera lense) to it's maximum abilities. Virtually any
    successful director will tell you he shoots his movies with the theatre
    screen in mind, not some Joe Six Pack's 15" thrift store television.
    After all, we're talking about MOVIES here, not tv shows. What part of
    this do not compute with you? I still recall quite vividly watching The
    Blair Witch Project in a Bay Area theatre when I lived in Northern
    California. As I'm sure you know, that was shot on hand held video
    cameras at a 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Guess what, the theatre displayed it
    like that with "black bars" on the sides. Why? Because that's the way
    the film was meant to be seen. It doesn't matter what kind of display
    you're using to view a movie or show; if it was filmed in a different
    aspect ratio then what your display is set at, then that's the way it
    needs to be viewed. You should never tamper with someone elses work just
    so you can use every inch of the display device. This is why John
    Carpenter thinks people such as yourself are idiots.
    Better yet, how about the P&S technician go find a real job and just
    leave the movie way it was originally?

    And I can't believe you just called a P&S technician an "artist." You
    really are completely clueless.
    Oh, I get it. You work for George Lucas. You clearly have no respect for
    motion pictures or the people that make them. Why do you even waste your
    time with something you have no respect for? Come to think of it, that's
    a good question for any screen filling pan & scam lover out there.
    Why are you so stubborn? If you hate black bars so much, why don't you
    buy a widescreen tv gods sake? Yes, I realize there will still be black
    bars on movies shot at 2.35:1, but they'll be much smaller and less of
    "annoyance." A widescreen set would solve most of your problems.
    I don't know about you, but I find The Matrix to be far more
    entertaining when I can actually SEE all of the action. What's the point
    in watching a visually heavy movie like that if you can only see about
    57% of it?
    Black Locust, Mar 3, 2004
  14. No, a professional director should take advantage of whatever filming
    format they have. That means using that extra width to expand the
    storytelling and add details that otherwise wouldn't come off as well
    at the 1.33:1 format.
    Brian Demolition Man Little, Mar 3, 2004
  15. So in other words directors should only worry about how the P&S
    is going to look instead of how they envisioned and how they really
    want their films to be shot. Get real. Widescreen/OAR is here and
    its not going away. And how can P&S be entertaining when up to
    50% of the film is being hacked off? To me that is NOT entertaining
    one bit at all.
    Brian Demolition Man Little, Mar 3, 2004
  16. P&S "artists" are equivelent to the person who has to edit the content
    of a film for TV airings. Neither person gets a lot of respect at all for
    what they have to do but sadly they still get paid for their "services"
    if you want to call it that.

    Pathetic as that sounds...
    Brian Demolition Man Little, Mar 3, 2004
  17. Philip Marlow

    Bur Guest

    No. The director should be primarily concerned with telling the story
    using the tools he has to work with. One of those tools is the wide
    screen where contrasting picture elements can be separated. Using
    this visual separation should be (and is) done sparingly. For one
    thing, many in the audience (assuming the audience hasn't been prepped
    by a Cinema Appreciation teacher telling them what to watch for)
    probably wouldn't take it all in at the first viewing. And the first
    viewing is usually the only viewing. Several examples were given of
    the effective use of this technique. However, the continuous use of
    this technique would end up with the movie audience having to
    constantly scan the picture to make sure they aren't missing anything.
    I think a well directed movie draws the eye naturally to the action
    center and helps the viewer track the action effortlessly. You
    shouldn't have to constantly think "I am watching a movie here and
    need to scan for important information." Given that there is usually
    (not always) such an action center, then a well done P&S will aid in
    the effortless tracking. Also, a good director, knowing that his movie
    will someday be transferred to at least 16:9 (for cable broadcast) and
    1.33:1 (VHS and DVD) should, when it doesn't detract otherwise from
    the story he is telling, try to ensure the video transfers will also
    tell the story.
    When you say it's not entertaining when 50% of the movie is ‘being
    hacked off' you are using extraneous information to judge the movie.
    I could say the same thing about cuts made to shorten a movie before
    release, or the cuts made to an open matte. I say judge the movie
    presentation as it stands. If you prefer a WS presentation, then watch
    your movies that way. Not everyone agrees with you. I prefer FS
    because it just plain looks better which, I think, makes it more
    Bur, Mar 4, 2004
  18. Philip Marlow

    Bur Guest

    I have never had a conversation with a successful director and was
    previously unaware that successful directors look down with utter
    disdain upon us lowly peasants who might dare to view their elysian
    art on a plebian ‘15" thrift store television.' Now that you have
    explained it, I am sure the great and wonderful director knows what's
    best (No! Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!) for us.
    We are talking about TV shows here – a show presented on a TV. I get
    the feeling that you hold movie directors in some kind of
    superstitious awe – greater beings than the great unwashed, with
    powers far above those of mortal men. To me, the director is the guy
    who directs the movie.
    Very strange. The film needs …? The film needs nothing. The film
    without a viewer is nothing. A viewer viewing the film is something.
    The film by itself without a viewer is nothing – worthless – pointless
    – nothing.
    Why not? If I choose to watch the movie upside-down, why shouldn't I?
    If I choose to watch the movie in FS, it's my choice.
    Many years ago I read an interview with John Carpenter where he
    commented, in a condescending manner, on Kubrick's "The Shining" and
    (I'm going by memory here, so the details may not be exact) how it was
    kind of a good try but not up to the standards of Carpenter's films.
    My reaction was "What a pompous ass!" The Shining was truly
    frightening on several levels. Carpenter's films are jump out from
    behind something and scare you. Scarey, yes, truly frightening, not
    to me. Since then he took on Wolf Rilla's 1960 Village of the Damned
    and proved once and for all he is a wannabee. Yes, I do think John
    Carpenter is an idiot.

    The P&S operator is an artist. He may be a good artist and do a good
    or great transfer, of a not so good artist. He is an artist because
    he applies his sensibilities to make a ‘good' transfer when ‘good' is
    defined as an aesthetic rather than a measurable quantity.
    I don't need to respect motion pictures and the people who make them
    beyond the respect I give any product and it's designers and builders.
    I ‘respect' the motion picture if it is entertaining. I don't if it
    isn't. Your deprecating reference to George Lucas is strange. He is
    one of your semi-divine heroes – a director - and a very successful
    Actually, I don't really have a problem. I watch movies in FS, when
    available, and mostly enjoy them. One of these days I will buy a 16:9
    TV, and I'll enjoy that too.
    If you feel that way, you really should watch it in WS. Your point
    about The Matrix being visually heavy is well made. I thought The
    Matrix was almost entirely visual, the plot (or story) was weak or
    nonsensical. Not really one of my favorites.
    Bur, Mar 4, 2004
  19. Philip Marlow

    Justin Guest

    Bur wrote on [3 Mar 2004 22:13:10 -0800]:
    And one of those tools is having more room to fit the story into.
    I'm can't say I agree with you. In a scene with multiple people, you can
    either cramp them all together in one place or have them act much more
    naturally and spread out a litte.
    Until they buy the DVD and watch it at home.
    I know I don't. I can see what's going on in most movies, the only
    example of late that I couldn't pay full attention to was the Matrix
    Reloaded when Neo is talking to the dude in the TV room.
    Assuming the "action centre" fits in a 1.33 frame.....
    Justin, Mar 4, 2004
  20. Philip Marlow

    Shadowspawn Guest

    One of my favorite examples of the benefits of widescreen is
    Multiplicity - arguably not the best movie but when you watch this on
    TV the P&S is so freaking obvious it almost makes you queasy,
    especially in the scenes where all the clones are side-by-side. In
    the wide screen this is framed perfectly but on TV the camera is
    constantly in motion.

    Another good example is Italian Job when the NAPSTER message is
    displayed in traffic control - it barely fits in widescreen but they
    have to do a quick left-to-right pan and you still miss it if you
    aren't quick.
    Shadowspawn, Mar 4, 2004
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