Enjoying the Anamorphic Bliss …

| July 8, 2013 | 0 Comments


It seems like only yesterday that all the movie channels were showing standard definition 4×3 “pan and scan” edits on high definition channels. It was so very annoying !

flower-drum-song-1961-scene-tv-cropTV screen crops are like watching a baseball game through a knot hole in the back field fence !

Yet – what I am always after is the original aspect ratio (screen size to put it simply) of movies.

Movies were framed by the cinematographers based on the aspect ratio they were shooting in. (or at least what it would end up as)

Even if they were using standard 35mm film shot with a standard prime lens, once the sides get chopped off to fit a television screen format there is a real loss to the movie as well as the story.


As can be seen, the old way of “pan and scan” cropping for the television screen looses so very much. So much of the experience is lost. Because cinema is an experience.

Why? Because film is watched … most of the story is seen and not spoken. TV is by nature disposable. It is more for listening to rather as opposed to being involved into a movie.

aspect-ratio-compareWell … good cinema shows the story rather than just tells it.

Cinema tells the story with images more than the dialog.

And there is also a lot of unspoken dialog in true cinema.

I deeply thank the channels who are finally showing the original aspect ratios with a little black above and below the image.
For example – the “mirror scene” in “Flower Drum Song” is awesome considering the optical printing technology for the time … The multiple mirrors start off reflecting the same Nancy Kwan but then each panel shows her in a different dress. losing half of the image looses that part of the story.

Across an anamorphic screen (panavision / cinemascope or 2.35 to 1 ratio) the entire story is told. Space is explored. Scale is revealed. It wraps around the audience or the single viewer. Even on a smaller screen.

cinemascope-star-warsImagine seeing the opening scene from Star Wars when the huge Imperial Cruiser flies over as it chases the Princess’ ship. It goes on and on and is so huge ! The TV crop just ruins the story. Even the 16×9 version looses so much.

It is refreshing to see the movie channels embracing original aspect ratios.

ditch-cable-and-satelliteAlbeit it is too late for us – we are joining those who are ditching the old 20th century cable/satellite service for the 21st century …

Sorry Epix – Maybe if you didn’t show the same 25 movies over and over for more than a year we might have hung in there.

Category: Tony Rollo Articles and Essays, Tony Rollo Blog

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