pan & scan - Computer Definition
To reformat a wide screen movie for a standard TV screen (which is more square) by reviewing the entire movie. As the original movie is played, a technician decides which part of the scene is critical and moves a standard TV viewing window left or right across the wide image to capture it. Since almost half of the original scene is missing with pan & scan (all audio is retained of course), artistic elements may be degraded. For example, landscapes will always be clipped, and older movies might have two people conversing, each at opposite ends of the frame. Many feel that pan & scan destroys a movie's integrity and prefer the letterbox effect, which retains the full panoramic view. Others do not like letterbox because the image is vertically smaller on standard TVs. Shoot Both Formats In order to avoid the extra cost of doing a pan & scan, most wide screen movies today are shot with a standard TV (4:3) outline in the middle of the camera's viewfinder so that the director can keep critical objects in the center of the frame at all times. In this way, the sides can be uniformly truncated, and the movie can be automatically converted into a 4:3 version for standard TVs. See letterbox and anamorphic DVD.