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Widescreen is Dead, Long Live Pan & Scan

At least that's how things should be according to The Sunday Times. In an amazing display of ignorance that is surprisingly common in the popular media, Nigel Powell suggests that studios are shirking their responsibilities to provide 'regular' versions of films in a Pan & Scan format.

Nigel was asked by a member of the public why his DVDs played back with black bars on the screen. His response in full is as follows:

"Unfortunately, many DVD movie discs sold in Europe still ship with only widescreen versions. Early users of DVDs were assumed to be old laser-disc aficianados who would prefer widescreen, and in the early rush to bring out as many DVD titles as possible, many studios made the decision to omit pan and scan, or television shaped versions, in order to speed up the production process. Hopefully this state of affairs will change as DVD becomes mass market. Do check your disc, however, as many titles store the widescreen version on one side and the regular (4:3) version on the other"

No mention of watching films as the director intended, no mention of having to remove up to 43% of the picture to provide a "television shaped version", in fact no mention of much apart from ill-informed opinion. Not that Nigel is alone of course, we've seen many an example of bad reporting when it comes to the home cinema world. The worrying thing is a large proportion of these are provided by paper based DVD magazines with some startling inaccuracies such as films being stated as anamorphic when they're clearly not or vice versa. It is exactly this kind of issue that causes consumers to become confused and unsure about new formats. When will it stop?

So anyhow, there you have it, we should no longer watch films in their true format because they don't fill the screen. It must be true, Nigel said so. If anyone wants to drop Mr Powell an e-mail commenting on his article, please feel free.

Carl Prescott

Last updated: 19/04/2018 19:32:21

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