the gripe

The Gripe

Don't cut off actors' heads

March 16, 2007|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,Sun Movie Critic

Letterboxing has made it possible to see the entire frame of a film on television, regardless of its aspect ratio (width to height). Maybe they need to start letterboxing in theaters as well.

Too many times I've gone to screenings where the tops and bottoms of the frame are missing. Sometimes, the effect has been innocuous - for instance, the Web site being cut off the studio logo that appears before every film. But sometimes it's detrimental. It's hard to imagine that directors are making movies where they want their characters' heads out of the frame, but that has been the effect.

One assumes that projectors are placed the proper distance from the screen. One also assumes that projectionists are using the proper lenses. (That's not always the case, but when a wrong lens is used, the film looks so obviously out-of-proportion that even the most asleep-at-the-switch projectionists notice, and the necessary change is made.)

What is perplexing is why so many films seem to be just slightly off when they are shown onscreen. Hey, when you plunk down $8-$10, you expect to see the whole movie.

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