Widescreen or Fullscreen?

Discussion in 'Archive: The Amphitheatre' started by JediTrilobite, Oct 15, 2003.

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  1. JediTrilobite Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    This is something that has often made me wonder. Which format is more popular? Widescreen or Fullscreen videos or DVDs? Why?


    > I've always liked [WIDESCREEN]versions better. They have the same porportions as in the theater, and as a result, don't loose anything when put onto home video. My Fullscreen copy of AOTC is missing parts that i've been looking for.

    EDIT: I mixed up W/F screens. I meant Widescreen.
  2. Well_Of_Souls Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 26, 2001
    star 5
    Widescreen is clearly better as you're seeing the film the way the filmmkers intended it.
  3. Leto II Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 23, 2000
    star 6
    Consider the following:

    Pan-and-scan panned: Widescreen adaptation another frontier in DVD world

    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.

    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.

    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 felt it made 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 reall/>
  4. weezer Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2001
    star 6
    Almost everyone here will tell you that they prefer widescreen to fullscreen. In my entire "life" on the JC I think I've seen one or two that like fullscreen better but they are usually swayed to the widescreen-side. So I'm sure that your "results" here will show that widescreen is overwhelmingly more popular than fullscreen. But it really isn't.

    A lot of companies have talked about scrapping widescreen releases all together. The American public at large seems to prefer fullscreen. Blockbuster one of the largest renters of videos in the US was only releasing fullscreen DVDs for awhile because no one wanted to deal with explaining to people why they had black bars on their TV. If you've ever had a job at a video store or (like me) a tv store it does get old quick. The problem is that people just don't think that way. They see the black bars and think that something is being blocked off when for the most part the opposite is true. Heck I've even had to bust out the pen and paper and try to show people the diffrence mathmaticaly (didn't work so well now when people ask about it I just go up to the tv and make a square around it and say "this is how much of the picture you'll be missing").
  5. JediTrilobite Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    OOOPPPS: I meant Widescreen when I said Fullscreen.
  6. Well_Of_Souls Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 26, 2001
    star 5
    They could just solve the problem and make all DVD discs have one side in widescreen and the other side in fullscreen. That way everybody's happy.
  7. weezer Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2001
    star 6
    pfft. That would make far to much sense to ever catch on.
  8. Rogue1-and-a-half Manager Emeritus who is writing his masterpiece

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2000
    star 8
    I'm a purist. We must have the director's vision. That means not colorized, that means director's cut, that means widescreen, or more accurately original aspect ratio. Some directors treat the movie screen as a television screen. Kubrick, if I'm not mistake used to that quite a bit and Woody Allen has done it occasionally.

    And of course, all movies made before sometime in the fifties, I think are going to be full screen, because that's how they were shot.

    I recall when Gone With the Wind was rereleased to theatres and some idiots said that it need to be in "widescreen" so they hacked off the top and bottom of the original so it was in "widescreen." What morons.

    The key here is original aspect ratio. You want it the way it was filmed, otherwise you just miss a lot of subtext, you miss the mise en scene, you miss, well, darn it, seeing the whole darn picture.

    Original aspect ratio. Everytime I can. Which, tragically, isn't always. Full screen are more popular with the mass public, uninformed idiots that they are.

    My boss actually stated that in widescreen, you lose some of the picture, because of the black bars. So they like full screen. And so there are movies that you can't get in widescreen, which is a travesty. Ah well.
  9. weezer Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2001
    star 6
    Add Cameron to you list of directors that actually prefer the fullscreen cut to the widescreen one. The film he shoots on though actually is cut to make widescreen movie so you are sometimes missing some of the picture.

    Yes, widescreen was originaly a marketing ploy just like electrified seats, smell-o-vision, and 3-d. It caught on where as the others didn't (though wouldn't it be great if the movie had a smell track too [face_mischief] )
  10. Darth Dark Helmet Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 27, 1999
    star 6
    They could just solve the problem and make all DVD discs have one side in widescreen and the other side in fullscreen. That way everybody's happy.

    Nope, because those two sided discs annoy me almost as much as the cardboard DVD cases.

    99.9% of the time I refuse to buy fullscreen. Unless its a cheap movie that doesn't matter (like my copy of Ace Ventura) or one where I couldn't find widescreen, (such as my copy of Silence of the Lambs, even then, I am seriously considering selling it and buying the real one) or a movie that was shot in fullscreen, as some older movies have been.

    Wacthing a movie in pan and scan is not watching the movie you were intended to see. I love John Carpenter's comments in that article. I don't care if they put out a fullscreen, just make it seperate form the widescreen.
  11. Not_Applicable Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2002
    star 4
    It's a shame widescreen isn't very popular. Back when the AOTC DVD came out, none of my local stores carried even a single copy of the widescreen version. I had to drive fifteen minutes or so out of town just to find a store that did carry it.
  12. Gobi-1 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Dec 22, 2002
    star 5
    Wider is better.

    Fullscreen is for idiots. When all televisions are made in the widescreen format I'm going to laugh at the people who have to buy the widescreen copies of their fullscreen dvds so they can watch them properly.

    I wish the movie studios whould only make widescreen dvds as well.
  13. Darth_Omega Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2002
    star 6
    Back when the AOTC DVD came out, none of my local stores carried even a single copy of the widescreen version

    :eek: It's the complete opposite here, they only sold the widescreen edition here. In my opinion this isn't worth debating, widescreen is superior to fullscreen (if the theatrical version was in widescreen of course)
  14. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    OAR, or, in some cases (such as RoboCop or Evil Dead), DPAR.
  15. Katya Jade Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 19, 2002
    star 7
    That means not colorized, that means director's cut, that means widescreen, or more accurately original aspect ratio.

    Amen. I've had to educate my sister on this whole issue because she'll buy these movies with epic scenes - Gladiator, Braveheart - in Fullscreen. I brought over some of my DVD's and showed her the difference. People just don't understand what a huge difference it makes.
  16. weezer Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2001
    star 6
    Fullscreen is for idiots. When all televisions are made in the widescreen format I'm going to laugh at the people who have to buy the widescreen copies of their fullscreen dvds so they can watch them properly.


    Won't matter to them. They'll just stretch it out or zoom in on it. Again, you would be amazed at the number of people that think everything is all right just because the picture fits the screen. It doesn't matter that wheels are oval shaped and everyone looks like they put on a few extra pound, the picture fits the screen so everything is ok.

    Plus sometimes you'll still have black bars even on a widescreen tv (2.35 > 1.77) so once again it will get zoomed in on. You'll still end up missing about a third of the picture and IMO it looks like kerap, its all pixely and blury [face_plain]
  17. Sam_Skywalker Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2003
    star 4
    Widescreen preserves the original feel of the movie. You get the whole thing. And that is very comforting to film enthusiasts.

    Howver, some people do not like the confined feel of widescreen. These are usaully people who watch a lot of movies on tv, where they take out the widescreen. More comfortable for them.

    IMO, there is no inherently "better" version. It just all depends on what you want to get.
  18. Sebulba-X •X C2 C3 MW RSA•

    Member Since:
    Mar 11, 2000
    star 6
    The only plausible excuse I've heard of people preferring full-screen usually involves the limitations of the television sets...ie. they're in college and they only have a 10" screen or something, and WS movies are just too small to see. Now, what are you doing hooking up a DVD player to a tv that small? And if that's the case, why are you buying FS DVDs instead of saving up for a bigger set?

    So, there's no legitamate reason for buying a Full Screen DVD unless it's due to poor packaging and you grabbed the wrong disc. ;)
  19. Everton Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 18, 2003
    star 10
    There can be only one... WIDESCREEN. :)
  20. weezer Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2001
    star 6
    The only plausible excuse I've heard of people preferring full-screen usually involves the limitations of the television sets...ie. they're in college and they only have a 10" screen or something, and WS movies are just too small to see. Now, what are you doing hooking up a DVD player to a tv that small?

    I had a 13" all through out my last year of college and I still only watched WS DVDs. Didn't really bother me. I actually never got that argument.
  21. Not_Applicable Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2002
    star 4
    Heck, I've watched widescreen movies on my little portable TV, which has a screen size of about 4 or 5 inches. Doesn't bother me.
  22. Jedi_David Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 6, 2003
    star 1
    Widescreen. Always widescreen.

    I think it is getting more popular too. Which is a great thing.
  23. jadesaber2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 17, 2000
    star 5
    Widescreen. When I watch a scene with two characters talking to each other onscreen, I'd like to actualy see both characters on the screen. After a while, you don't even notice the bars. Especially if you're in a dark room.
  24. Bjork Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 21, 2002
    star 4
    Widescreen - most definantly. It's just painful to watch any other way, especially if you view two versions of a movie and compare them. [face_plain]

    Edit: I can't seem to spell tonight. 8-}
  25. ST-TPM-ASF-TNE Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 27, 2001
    star 6
    Widescreen, which brings up a dislike/hatred I have. There is a grocery stole a few houses down from my home. They always purchase the new, big movies on DVD to put on sale. But they ALWAYS buy fullscreen versions of the films. In the past they've purchased Attack of the Clones, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and this past Tuesday they purchased The Matrix Reloaded to put on sale, and every single copy was in fullscreen. The only DVD's they've ever purchased that were not in fullscreen was of Chicago, and that's the one film I didn't want to buy.

    The real reason it bothers me so much is that they only buy one version of the film. Would it kill them to buy both versions to put on sale?
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