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Widescreen Shot

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People Sit on Chairs... in CinemaScope!

Chris: What's wrong with the TV?
Brian: Nothing Chris, all the shows are in widescreen now, so you can see all the stuff on the sides you couldn't before.

Widescreen films relying on wide Aspect Ratio shots to show themselves off. At first, these were largely landscape shots, but as they didn't give people headaches, they were a lot more successful than 3-D films, and have become an integral part of Scenery Porn.

Later on directors such as David Lean and Akira Kurosawa used the format for more artistic shots, to the point where their widescreen films actually lose a lot in being cropped to 4:3 ratio.

Although landscapes are still some of the most common forms of widescreen showing shots, others include people far apart from each other (thus, a type of two-shot) or showing a huge crowd of people.

One definite gimmick form of this is showing a shot in normal screen ratio, and then having it spread out to widescreen.

Film studios also marketed their respective widescreen formats in the early days (since they each used tech that could be patented), even if most were essentially the same result (a wider camera and screen), except for Polyvision and Cinerama (both of which utilized three synchronized projectors, the latter also using a deeply curved screen).

Compare Letterbox, Open Matte, Visual Compression (all three are ways to try to fit widescreen into normal ratio), 3-D Movie, Shoot the Money. The audio equivalent of this is Gratuitous Panning.

Contrast Pan and Scan.

Notable shots in films:

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     Live-Action TV 
  • The Benny Hill Show did a sketch where a widescreen film was being shown on TV with the Pan and Scan being done as it was being broadcast, resulting in missing just about every action of note.
  • Some episodes of Cheers, when remastered for high definition and the 16:9 aspect ratio, reveal the curtain on the left side of the bar set, which was not visible when episodes originally aired in 4:3.
  • Joss Whedon deliberately put several of these in the Firefly pilot, to force the studio to broadcast the show in widescreen format. The network's response was that they would broadcast the pilot (at the end of the series) in widescreen, so long as he never pulled this stunt again so they could air the rest of the series in 4:3. (A good example of how short-sighted the executives who cancelled the show were: less than a decade later, the series thrives exclusively on widescreen DVD, and all broadcasting is done in widescreen.)

     Web Animation 

     Western Animation 
  • Lampshaded in the Classic Disney Short "Grand Canyonscope", where Ranger Woodlore encourages a crowd of visitors to the Grand Canyon to spread out because they're in Cinemascope.

  • The 1973 Belmont Stakes managed to pull one of these off by pulling the camera as far back as humanly possible when Secretariat — who would go on to demolish the competition with a 31-length win — rounded the far turn and began roaring down the backstretch. In fact, race caller Chic Anderson originally called the race as a 25-length victory, and it took careful analysis of that very widescreen shot to confirm the actual numbers.
  • In the Tom and Jerry short "Tom's Photo Finish", Tom is resting on the left side on the screen and does a Wild Take where his head pops off his body and goes to the right side.
  • On occasion, Disney movies will start in one aspect ratio, then switch to a wider one once the story takes off. Brother Bear and Enchanted begin in a 1.78:1 ratio, while Oz the Great and Powerful begins in the 1.33:1 Academy Ratio (as a homage to the classic MGM Film). The intended effect is lost somewhat on home video as these opening ratios are windowboxed into the 2.35:1 frames the movies eventually expand to.
  • The 2013 Mickey Mouse short Get a Horse! begins with a small 1.33:1 screen showing a black-and-white cartoon. Once Mickey bursts through the screen into color, the lights turn on to reveal that the theater's stage in 2.35:1 ratio. In addition, Mickey pulls back the stage curtains, turning the 1.33:1 theater screen (with rounded corners) into a 16:9 screen (with sharp edges).
  • The Gravity Falls episode "Not What He Seems" has several, from the whole newspaper headtitle to Stan's zero-gravity fight, but the best should be the scene in front of the portal with Stan in one side of the room and the kids and Soos on the other. If you have a 4:3 TV you would only see an empty rocky wall.


Video Example(s):


Widescreen Shot

The Griffins watch a widescreen version of The Brady Bunch, which includes six half-naked black men at the edges of the 1.77:1 aspect ratio, who apparently weren't visible in the show's original 1.33:1.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / WidescreenShot

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