Learn about the pan and scan technique used to adapt widescreen Hollywood movies for older TVs with rectangular screens. Before the late 1990s, most TVs had a 4:3 aspect ratio, which meant that displaying a widescreen movie would result in black bars at the top and bottom. To avoid this, a pan and scan technique was employed to reformat the film for home viewing.
What is the manual procedure for pan and scan?
A technician would manually select the crucial portions of the film and move a viewing window over the wide screen while it played to record it. However, about half of the original scene was lost due to cropping, resulting in a degradation of the creative components. For instance, when two significant things were at the opposite ends of the frame, one was lost.
How did it become automatic?
Many widescreen movies were shot with a conventional TV outline in the center of the camera’s viewfinder so that the director could keep the essential components in the center of the frame at all times without having to use pan and scan. With the advent of technology, the entire process became automatic. By mechanically trimming both sides, a movie could be converted to a 4:3 aspect ratio.
Pan and scan was a practical solution for adapting movies to an older TV format. While it resulted in some loss of creative components, it provided a way for people to enjoy widescreen movies without black bars on their TV screens.
- What is pan and scan? Pan and scan is a technique used to reformat widescreen movies for older TVs with a 4:3 aspect ratio to avoid black bars at the top and bottom of the screen.
- What was the manual procedure for pan and scan? A technician selected the crucial portions of the film and moved a viewing window over the wide screen while it played to record it.
- How did pan and scan become automatic? With the advent of technology, the process became automatic with movies shot using a conventional TV outline in the center of the camera’s viewfinder.
Experience the evolution of movie formatting and enjoy watching movies in their original widescreen format on modern TVs.