Origin of letterbox; from letter box
- See mailbox.
- A format for presenting movies on television that maintains the rectangular theater image on a television screen by reducing the overall image until the full width can be seen, resulting in blank space above and below the image.
transitive verblet·ter·box·es, let·ter·box·ing, let·ter·boxed
- (film) Transferred to home video formats while preserving the original aspect ratio, having black bars above and below the picture area.
(third-person singular simple present letterboxes, present participle letterboxing, simple past and past participle letterboxed)
- (film) To transfer a widescreen motion picture to home video formats while preserving the original aspect ratio, with the placing of black bars above and below the picture area.
letterbox - Computer Definition
The effect of displaying a wide screen movie on a standard TV set the way it was originally shot in full panoramic format. On the TV, the image frame spans the full width of the screen, but because of the difference in aspect ratios of the two formats (wide screen movie vs. more square TV screen), the vertical height of the frame is reduced. The unused top and bottom areas of the screen appear as black bars. Major motion pictures are shot with aspect ratios that are even wider than today's 16:9 wide screen TVs. As a result, the letterbox bars may still show, although not as thick as when displayed on a standard 4:3 screen (see aspect ratio for comparison). The term "letterbox" was coined because the wide frame resembles a letter envelope. Contrast with pan & scan. See pillarbox and anamorphic DVD.