Widescreen versus Pan and Scan

Director John Carpenter is my Hero Of The Day for this quote from a recent article about the differences between widescreen and pan and scan presentations:

“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.”

I get nauseous watching a movie on network television these days. Can’t stand all the extra camera movements. Don’t like missing out on half a picture. It stinks. Thank goodness for DVD.


9 Responses to “Widescreen versus Pan and Scan”

  1. Peter
    25. June 2003 at 10:47

    I have to agree with you. I was watching “A Few Good Men” once on TBS (it is always on TBS) and the camera did this funky slide thing that was very unnatural. I later found out that was pan and scan. It is nauseating to watch and I don’t get motion sickness. Same reason I never watched NYPD Blue. They couldn’t hold the camera steady.

  2. pmpknface
    25. June 2003 at 10:54

    Amen brother!

  3. Broc Heasley
    25. June 2003 at 12:48

    Agreed, widescreen is the only way to go. I will not watch movies on tv anymore. Hey Augie, how about a widescreen comment box. I can’t see half of what I’m typing!

  4. The Blue Spider
    25. June 2003 at 15:45

    I just want each and every DVD package to have both presentations included. I don’t care if it’s a double-sided discs or a multiple-disc set or what.

    I blame George Lucas for getting a ‘Standard’ edition copy of Star Wars: Episode II because they ran out of Widescreen editions. That’s right, if he decided to just sell one kickass edition instead of two half-assed products I’d be guaranteed to have my fun regardless of my TV size.

    Now? On my Christmas lists to other people I have to specifically note which edition I want.

    Fortunately a standard screen presentation doesn’t ruin Jaws, King Kong, or any of the Godzilla films (it’s like ‘Standard’ is good and Widescreen is ‘freaking awesome’).

  5. Augie De Blieck Jr.
    25. June 2003 at 16:44

    Hey Broc –>

    Which window are you having problems with? Is it the window you type the message into, or the larger window which holds this entire page? I did enlarge the typing window (“textbox”) a long time ago. It holds about 60 characters across now…


  6. John
    25. June 2003 at 17:10

    I was watching that same airing of A Few Good Men, and you’re absolutely correct, the pan and scan was simply atrocious. Another example where the extra movement is really obvious is A League of Their Own.

  7. Revster
    25. June 2003 at 23:38

    Curious that one would nominate Jaws as a standard bearer for pan-n-scan.

    Rather, it dramatically illustrates why such presentations actually butcher the original product.

    I’ll not even go into the fact that you’re missing part of the picture–that’s obvious.

    But next time you see Jaws on broadcast television, keep in mind the number of ‘cuts’ you see.

    The pan-n-scan version, because it can’t show everything in one frame, has to keep cutting back and forth: a reaction shot of Scheider and Dreyfuss now becomes two separate shots of each. This destroys the effort to maintain tension by ‘staying’ with the shot.

    So it’s more than just the picture that you’re missing. With pan-n-scan, more often than not, you’re also getting a film with butchered timing and pace.

  8. Broc Heasley
    26. June 2003 at 11:57

    It’s the window I’m typing into that’s the problem. The text box exceeds the boundaries of the actual window itself which means that what I’m typing runs right out of my visible area. There is no option for me to resize the window so I can’t fix it manually. Does no one else have this problem?

  9. Augie De Blieck Jr.
    29. June 2003 at 00:12

    I used to have that problem with not being able to resize the border of the window in another web browser. Which browser are you using right now? I have no problem resizing windows in Mozilla 1.4 RC3

    Oh, damn, I just checked MSIE and it’s giving me problems. It won’t resize the window. Crap. Maybe I’ll shorten it back up a bit to allow for that. Lots of people still use MSIE. Damned Windows.