RE: Letterbox vs reformatted

Stan Gilliam (stan@pals.guilford.edu)
Mon, 23 Mar 1998 06:26:41 -0800

Besides seeing the whole picture, there is another advantage to letterbox
format when viewing foreign films. The subtitles can be put in that empty
space at the bottom instead of being superimposed on the picture.
A good example of this is Hara-Kiri. Likewise Red Sorghum, though when
there are two lines of text, one overlaps the image. (However, Girl from
Hunan, also a Chinese film from New Yorker Video, though letterboxed, has
the subtitles superimposed on the image.)

A disadvantage of watching letterboxed format, occurs when the film's
format is really wide- screen (as in the 2 Chinese examples above), and you are
watching the film on
1. A small monitor
2. an inferior monitor
3. An inferior vcr.

Sometimes the level of detail on the original film is so great that it
just turns to mush on vhs/ntsc. Since the image takes up only about 60%
of the scan lines of ntsc, you only get 150 lines of resolution instead of
240 or thereabouts. So the image quality is reduced by 40%.
But with a line doubler....?

Hope this helps.

At 06:36 AM 3/21/98 -0800, you wrote:
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>Dear Listserv Members:
>Seems to me letterbox is the WHOLE movie---you know, the one you pay for =
>at the theatre. Without the letterbox format, you don't get to see the =
>sides of the film. As the movies are a part of artistic expression, who =
>are we to argue with the director? My patron's don't mind letterbox, if =
>they come that way, we get them that way.
>Regards,
>Carol Dunn
>Audio Visual/NT Manager
>Findlay Hancock County Public Library
>206 Broadway
>Findlay, Ohio 45840
>
>Phone:419-422-1712
>Fax: 419-422-0638
>=09
> http://www.findlay.lib.oh.us
>
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Judy Jones [SMTP:JONESJM@libraryserver.lib.csus.edu]
>Sent: Friday, March 20, 1998 4:52 PM
>To: Multiple recipients of list
>Subject: Re: Letterbox vs reformatted
>
>Please help me here. Don't most people own normal TV sets? As an=20
>individual, nothing is more irritating to me than to rent a movie and=20
>get it home and find out it is "letterbox." I want my whole screen=20
>filled up with picture. What am I supposedly missing out on? =20
>
>Oh, we don't purposely order any titles in Letterbox here at CSUS. =20
>
>
>Date: Fri, 20 Mar 1998 13:40:45 -0800
>Reply-to: videolib@library.berkeley.edu
>From: Myles Jaeschke <mjaesch@ns1.tccl.lib.ok.us>
>To: Multiple recipients of list =
><videolib@library.berkeley.edu>
>Subject: Re: Letterbox vs reformatted
>
>Wow,=20
>I just joined this list and already interesting topic! When a video is=20
>available both ways, I don't even consider "pan and scan". Our system=20
>is medium-large--23 branches and 1 central library. When I order=20
>videos, some of the other branches attach to my order so, they too get=20
>what I order. (Widescreen) If a title is "letterboxed" our catalogers=20
>specify in the record if the title is "letterboxed". If it is not=20
>letterboxed then no notation is made.
>
>In short, educate the public, buy "Widescreen"!
>
>Hope this helps,
>Myles Jaeschke
>Film Librarian
>Tulsa City-County Library
>
>
>
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