Pan & Scan - West Side Story.


Otherwise known as 'Edited for TV screen'


Pan & Scan is a disease that was more frequent in the USA than in France. The networks were considering the spectators as idiots who wanted to avoid the black strip at any cost. On French TV, and on most of the cassettes, the initial format was often kept. An early version of 'The bridges of Madison county' on DVD was 'edited for tv', but many 'Wide Screen' versions of movies in zone 1 now exists.


One of the few sick cassettes that I got as a present was 'West Side Story'. In fact, I never was able to watch it to the end !


I recently bought a wonderful copy on DVD, and I got the example images bellow from it. The Pan & Scan effect is reconstituted from this images.




Here is a basic image from the movie, as it is shown in a theater. The original 2.35 format is here slightly reduced to 2.23, but this is without any visible effect.




The same image as killed by Pan & Scan. People are missing, and the scenery is truncated. This image is not a worst case, alas.








Just to set the background, here is the image as it is seen on a 4/3 TV Set, from the DVD.





The same wide screen DVD image, but now on a 16/9 TV Set. In fact, there is a small margin taken out on TV, so the black strips are smaller..

In my opinion, the ideal case.




A second original image. Here the figures are not too remote from each other.








Same image, but after the 'Scan' !





Here is the worst case. The two figures are separated by a large gap






Then a simple 'scan' is just catastrophic.






So the editor can add a 'Pan' to isolate one of the actresses







And a second one to complete a 'shot/Reverse shot' which is very bad here.





A last example. The two people are very well situated in the frame.





And there, we just have two half heads which seems to have been vertically expanded.


Here is another shocking example. In Alfred Hitchcock's "To catch a thief" the VHS 'Pan & Sanned' version simply

cuts out half of Alfred Hitchcock's head, in his usual cameo (See my page on Hitchcock)



Here is the complète image



And the VHS version



Page updated January 2, 2015.