pan and scam

J. Kottke posted this video about pan and scan (you know… ‘this film has been modified to fit your screen blah blah blah’)… and though I’ve always preferred wide screen videos when given a choice, I never realized just how much is cut out of the frame to produce the full screen version… wow:

A great example of how much of the action is lost in the pan and scan process (about half!) appears at around 1:00 with the chariot race from Ben Hur. Sydney Pollack drops one of my favorite comments during this section of the video:

Images collectively… add up to something when one frame contains many elements. Your eye sees all of them: some of them peripherally, and some of them as a point of focus. And collectively, it creates a mood…


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