|Originally posted by jagouar
The guys who show up at best buy one day and get a new TV right then and there (like your friend)... he had a good experince but for every one good experince there are 10x bad ones.
Ahhh, we don't know that :)
|Originally posted by jagouar
IMO, there has not been a movie ever made nor will there be one for a long time that actually NEEDS 2.35:1 vs 1.78:1, its just a slight preference of the director. A slight realingment of the directors viewfinder means half of the issues with DVD and future HD-DVD go away.... well complaints I should say.
This article was published in my local paper last summer. I think John Carpenter would disagree that it is a "slight preference" to frame a movie the way you are suggesting. I will go with the director's opinion on this debate.
DVDs refuel the widescreen vs. full-screen debate
By RANDY A. SALAS
MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL STAR TRIBUNE
It's an important scene in the 1998 film "The Mask of Zorro": Caught stealing a crucial map, Zorro squares off against his smarmy nemesis, Capt. Harrison Love. The adversaries brandish their swords and prepare to duel.
Well, they do in the widescreen presentation of the movie. In the version that has been modified to fit a regular TV screen, Capt. Love (Matt Letscher) faces the disembodied tip of the vigilante's sword. Zorro (Antonio Banderas) is no longer in the picture.
Ever since widescreen movies became popular in the early 1950s, watching them on a regular TV set has involved a compromise. Theater screens have different proportions than do TV screens.
Which format do you prefer for movies on DVD?
Full-screen (pan & scan)
Total Votes: 1572
It's an issue that has become more visible as DVDs, most of which have widescreen presentations, spread to the masses.
Full-screen-only DVDs have begun to proliferate, with stores such as Wal-Mart catering to uninformed consumers by using stickers on the package that proclaim "No black bars!"
Basically, when a widescreen movie is transferred for viewing on a regular TV screen, it's presented one of two ways :
The image retains its theatrical proportions, leaving black space (not "bars") above and below but showing the movie the way it was intended to be seen. This is sometimes called a "letterbox" presentation.
Or, the image is modified from its original presentation to fit the screen from top to bottom and side to side, losing part of the picture in the process. This is called a pan-and-scan presentation.
"If you don't see a widescreen movie in a widescreen format, you're missing a chunk of the movie. It's as simple as that," said Leonard Maltin, film historian, critic and DVD producer. "That particular chunk might be an actor or a group of actors; it could be the second participant in a two-person conversation; it could be a significant piece of action.
"There are really creative directors and cinematographers, and even art directors, who like to use the widescreen frame; otherwise, why bother shooting it that way?" he added. "When they carefully compose those shots, any variation on that is going to destroy what they did."
John Carpenter is one of those filmmakers. The director of films such as "Halloween" and "Starman" says he spent extra money for the widest presentations on even his lowest-budget movies because he thinks it makes a difference.
Asked what he thought of pan-and-scan home versions of movies, he said, "It makes me sick to my stomach."
He cited one of his favorite films, "Once Upon a Time in the West," as an example.
"You can't watch that thing in a pan-and-scan version," he said. "It's an atrocity."
Robert Harris, a leading film preservationist who has restored such classics as "Lawrence of Arabia" and "My Fair Lady" sums up the issue: "The message here is that the filmmakers know that a pan-and-scan version is no longer the film, so you do what you have to do to satisfy Everyman, the audience out there that wants to see pan-and-scan."
Even though watching a movie in widescreen format is preferable, it's not perfect on a regular TV set. Maltin tells of watching a widescreen VHS of "Lawrence of Arabia" long before the advent of DVDs.
"I put it in my machine and immediately moved 6 feet closer to the television, because it was hard to take it all in at a distance," he said, because the image was so small.
Even the director of the film, David Lean, expressed similar concerns, Harris said.
"When we were preparing 'Lawrence of Arabia' for home video in 1989, I sat down with David Lean," Harris recalled. "He looked at it in (its original widescreen) ratio on a monitor, and he said exactly what Alfred Hitchcock once said: 'It looks like a boa constrictor going across the screen. We're not using the real estate.'
" ... The filmmakers are aware of the fact that widescreen, especially on smaller TVs, can be really problematic, because you're using only half the pixels on the TV. So where do you go? A 27-inch TV, by today's standards, is tiny," he said. "It's always a tradeoff."
(The newer widescreen TV sets handle widescreen movies better. But they have the opposite problem from older movies and most TV programming: Those differently proportioned images leave blank space on the sides of the screen.)
Harris also pointed out that elderly viewers and those with poor vision might need full-screen presentations.
"They can't look at a boa constrictor running across the screen," he said, "and it's unfair to make them do it."
Then there are people who understand that they're losing part of the movie when watching a pan-and-scan presentation. They just don't care; the image must fill their screen.
"You're never going to convince those people," Maltin said. "It's as simple as that."
Maltin, Harris and Carpenter all agreed that educated viewers deserve a choice, but they didn't refrain from being blunt about those who opt for pan-and-scan.
"If you really want to watch some recent film that way, you get what you deserve," Maltin said.
"They have a right to watch something upside down and backward if they want to," Harris said, "although I won't give them a choice in anything that I do for home video."
"If I had my druthers, I'd give the option," Carpenter said. "Just put an extra disc in there and give the original (widescreen) version ... and then give the idiots their pan-and-scan version."
Ensuring that viewers know enough to make an informed decision is the key and remains the biggest hurdle.