It's difficult to comment on this because we don't know whether the
references are talking about pre-Academy ratios or the standardized
Academy ratio which was in use from the early 1930's until the 1950's. I
have seen some silent films on video with slight masking on the sides
rather than top and bottom. Are we getting the "full frame" with those?
That depends entirely on the elements and process used for the creation of
the video master. Are we even seeing the entire intended image when we
watch contemporary letterboxed films on video? In almost all cases, the
answer is also no: we are missing from a teeny bit to quite a bit. It's
easy to check with a ruler against the tv screen. But then, even when we go
to see a movie in the theater we find that the projected image is either
washing over the scrim or we see overhead microphes clearly not intended to
be part of the composed image. It's hard to get perfection and too few
people demand it of theaters. I'm usually besides myself with excitement
when the film is actually in focus.
As to It Happened One Night, its aspect ratio is the Academy ratio (1.37:1)
while TV ratio is close but not exactly that of film from this period, so
there's very little loss and no reason to pan and scan.
Oksana Dykyj voice: 514-848-3443
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