Pan & Scan Vs. Letterboxed (Widescreen)

Pan and scan

Movie Bloopers uses two versions of movies when we capture images for the web page, Pan & Scan and Letterboxed.

Here I hope to give you some insight on the differences between the two versions.

Pan & Scan

Pan & scan movies on video will fill your TV screen from top to bottom. Giving you a “full” look when you watch a movie.

However, watching a Pan & Scan version of a movie, you actually miss about 30% of the “whole picture” so to speak. While Pan & Scan is the most popular version of movies on videos, many movie “buffs” would rather watch a Letterboxed version of the same movie.


The Letterboxed format for videos will NOT fill your TV screen. In fact, you will see a black bar at the top and bottom of the screen. While some people feel “cheated” that the movie does not fill the screen, they think they are missing some of the picture.

You are, in fact, getting 30% more picture than you would watching a Pan & Scan version of the same movie.

Movie Bloopers recommends the Letterboxed versions of movies. However, we do not recommend watching a Letterboxed version of a movie unless you have a 27″ or larger screen.
While Letterboxed will show you a movie the way the director intended the movie to be seen, you actually get more picture for your money. Letterboxed is also known as Widescreen.

I still don’t understand
If you still do not understand the difference between Pan & Scan and Letterboxed versions, I will try to explain the difference using visual references.

Pan & Scan
This is the Pan & Scan version
of the opening scene in Star Wars
Notice how much of the ship you
can see as it flies overhead.
Letterboxed (Widescreen)

This is the Letterboxed version of
the same scene. Notice the larger
view of the ship overhead.