2.9.09

Why Widescreen Wins

When I was in the air from Los Angeles to Lima, Peru, I was impressed with the entertainment catalogue that LAN (the airline) offered. I went through the list of movies, mentally noting exactly which ones I would watch. As I started my first movie, my gut wrenched with horror and disgust when I realized that the entire catalogue had been pan-and-scanned.
What is pan-and-scan? It's redirecting the film with a different aspect ratio in order to eliminate the block boxes above and below movies. To me, pan-and-scanning is even worse than Clean-Flicksing a film. It nearly completely eliminates "art" from "entertaining arts," and I believe it is one of the contributors to a growing impatience in films. It brings the focus entirely on "action" (instead of development and exposition), leading people to believe if a movie isn't full of "action," then it's boring and lackluster, all the while inhibiting the film's ability to stretch the viewers concentration and to encourage the maximization of sensory input and understanding.
I must admit, I think our generation is more accustomed and willing to watch movies in their original aspect ratio. Thank goodness Blu-ray basically forbids the use of pan-and-scan, but after explanation after explanation, I still get asked why I would buy/rent/watch ONLY widescreen movies, even if my screen is square and rather small. I found a visual explanation that hopefully shows a little better exactly how much pan-and-scan cuts out of a picture.
Enjoy (in HQ!).

1 comment:

  1. oh wow. i never realized how huge the difference is.

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