Pan & Scan

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A picture of the Grand Canyon in cinemascope format and the various image sections that can be achieved using Pan & Scan .

Pan & Scan [ pæn ənd skæn ] is a method by which an attempt is made a part of a wide screen - cinema image on a 4: 3 -: display 9-television or computer screen, or sixteenth

The process takes its name from the English technical term "pan" (for the swiveling of the film camera): With Pan & Scan , the viewer or video editor has the option of viewing that section of the (not completely displayable) widescreen image in real time, as with swiveling binoculars to be displayed on the screen, for example the actors currently speaking. In the case of widescreen films that have been processed for TV broadcast using pan & scan , the same picture as in the cinema can never be seen, but only a part of the original image that has been cropped to the left and / or right - depending on the original format of the film image and the aspect ratio of the television or computer screen, the losses are 33–50 percent.

With 16: 9 screens (1.78: 1), Pan & Scan only makes sense for the American widescreen format (1.85: 1) and films in the Cinemascope format (2.35: 1), since films in the European widescreen format ( 1.66: 1) fit completely on a 16: 9 screen. With traditional tube televisions with 4: 3 screens, on the other hand, Pan & Scan can be used for all three widescreen formats.

Another way of showing films that are too wide on a television or computer screen is lossless letterboxing , in which instead of cropping the image left and right, black bars are inserted above and below so that the original image is not cropped this time, now but appears much smaller than with Pan & Scan. Compromises between the two methods are also possible by cutting off a narrower image strip on the left and / or right and inserting a narrower black strip at the top and bottom at the same time.

Pan & Scan information can be stored on DVDs containing material in widescreen format , which enables the DVD player to display the image section selected by the video editor on a conventional 4: 3 television set. Normally, you can choose between the playback modes “16: 9” (for wide screens), “4: 3 Letterbox” and “4: 3 Pan & Scan” in the recorder's menu. However, DVDs released in Europe and other PAL areas rarely actually contain the necessary information track, so that the players usually display the widescreen material on 4: 3 television sets in letterbox mode, regardless of the menu setting. For DVDs for the market in North America and other NTSC areas, Pan & Scan information is more often available, as viewers there are more used to this process both from analog TV operation and from VHS cassettes, also due to the comparison significantly lower resolution of conventional NTSC televisions compared to conventional PAL devices. Since higher-resolution flat screens in widescreen format have prevailed almost everywhere against conventional tube televisions, NTSC DVDs often no longer offer any information about Pan & Scan .