After the end of the studio system and the decline of cinema goers during the 60's & 70's a lot of wide-screen processes were abandoned because of cost reasons. One of the main formats that did survive was Panavision. Panavision is still widely used today for movie filming and production, the main formats that are still in use are the 2:35:1 and 1:85:1 Panavision formats. Panavision also have another format called Super Panavision 70, this is a process that uses 70mm film that is not animorphically stretched. This format is rarely used as it is very expensive.
During the intervening years though the home has been missing out, over the years cinema has evolved with wider and wider screens but the humble television has stayed at the same academy ratio (1:33:1) that was designed in the 30's. Over the years the television has missed out on most of the image as video companies, television stations and the like have only release bastardized Pan & Scan transfers on us. Pan and Scan is a format that scans around the original wide-screen image and only retains what is important to the story. While this is "just fine" for some most purists prefer the original wide-screen image. Take a look at the images below.

The image below is a Pan & Scan modified image from the original 2:35:1 ratio, as you can see you are missing out on quite a bit of information.

The image below is from Mission Impossible, filmed in the scope ratio of 2:35:1 with Panavision cameras, you could be missing up to 50% of the original image but the original frame is kept intact showing quite a bit more information.

For quite a few years now Laserdisc's have been the only real way of watching a movie as originally presented, but now with the advent of wide-screen TV's and the first major change in television dimensions since television's inception and DVD's, movies are thankfully going back to their original wide-screen formats. And judging by all the advances in the films today hopefully the best is yet to come.

Copyright 2000 by [Roger Ward].
Revised: 06 Oct 2000 20:36:23 +1100 .