Tv blabs, movie blabs, book blabs. Lots of blab, but no flab.

Thursday, June 2

A Ratio of Aspect

This is one of my long time teeth grinding topics. Ye olde TV versus the aspect ratio of the item being viewed. My point of view could be summed up in a sentence: everything should be screened in it's original format.

Today I picked up the first season of The O.C. on DVD on-special. How disappointed was I to discover that it's a butchered 'pan and scan - full screen' version. What can the manufacturers of these DVDs be thinking that when someone hands over cash for their product that we don't want to actually get the whole product!

Is it selfish of me to want to watch ALL of something. It made me think of other films and TV shows I've been suckered into buying only to find out 15% of the film is missing. I think the worst one was Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone. And then they had the hide to re-release it in wide-screen format bundled with the CD. Chances are anyone who was interested in buying the 'whole' movie would already have the CD, which meant handing over more cash for something I already had.

I can understand some people having allergic reactions at the terrifying sight of black bars on the top and bottom of their TV screens, but who goes the the movies and has a panic attack at the fact that it's so very wide.

"OMG! Make it thinner!"

I know I'm crossing wires by talking about films and TV shows, but they came to an agreement that 16:9 would be the standard wide-screen. Most movies are filmed in that ratio (big budget epics use full 2.35:1). So they're not that different. Kinda.

So, back to TV. Most prime-time dramas are filmed wide-screen, yet local commercial analogue networks rarely air anything in it's original format. There is the argument that they are going to force me to cross over to digital to enjoy this wide world of wonders, but I'll get to that another time. I have seen, on my normal analogue TV, shows aired in their wide-screen format. ER is one show that I've seen with the evil black bars, Star Trek Enterprise is another. Nine seems to have the couple of shows that are wide-screen, but neither Ten nor Seven seem to be able to keep the bars up.

Thank the stars for ABC and SBS. Both aren't afraid of the black bars. SBS even manages to air films in 2.35:1, which helps greatly with subtitle space.

So my question to the producers of DVD TV packs is: why do you not sell us the product we are looking for?

We would never be happy about buying a car only to find it has no doors, nor would we be accepting of a book that was missing three lines off each page.

Give me my whole viewing pleasure or simply don't bother trying!

3 viewers interjected with:

Blogger Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Aspect ratio! Ah, one of my favourite rant topics. I won't clutter your comments box with my ranting, but suffice to say you can check out my comments on this over at Rullsenberg some time today. Buffy DVDs in the UK. Going against Whedon's intended vision. That's all I'm saying...


3/6/05 6:07 pm

Blogger Ben said...

yah... very silly of them to make TV a different aspect in the first place. not that all films are the same... nobody ever heard of standards :(

you'd think with dvd they could give you both versions (if they must do pan and scan). they could always put one on each side of the disc.

personally I'd like to see widescreen HD LCD TVs a bit cheaper ... ;)

7/6/05 10:49 pm

Blogger Kirsten said...

Hi! Recently found your blog and love it :) Have been reading through the posts I missed. I sure can relate to this one! (I have heard my fiancee rant on the same topic many, many times). We were lucky though... found out Harry Potter wasn't in widescreen so waited for the re-release.

11/7/05 8:14 pm


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