5. April 2017 15:50
From an original 35mm film Reel sent to cinemas in 1995, and scanned by our very own Q branch.
During the 1980s and 1990s, most people had relatively small, 4:3 Tube TVs that were almost square, rather than the large 16:9 widescreen displays preferred today. Back then a TV that was 27" diagonally, was considered a pretty big TV. Consequently, most prerecorded VHS tapes and Television broadcasts of widescreen movies had to be "Pan and Scanned", a process in which the camera zooms in on the film to fill the entire 4:3 screen, cutting off the sides of the film, as letterboxing would make the film rather tiny. If the action was happening on one side of the screen, the camera would have to pan left or right to follow it. Sometimes the director of the film would have some input into the pan and scan version, but often they would have moved on to their next project which would leave somebody at the studio or the TV network to handle the pan and scan version of their film.
Reframing shots could change the film - significant glances and other subtleties could be lost. Maurice Binder, creator of many of the fabulous opening title sequences in the James Bond series from Dr. No to Licence To Kill, became so mad at the way his titles were being hacked apart to fit the TV that he started making his own Pan and Scan versions of them, for the home video release:
"What they're showing on television is all wrong, " he says firmly. "They have squeezed the film. Some ass at the lab—who figures himself a designer " Binder stops, backtracking a moment, still emotional when he speaks. "It's OK to scan a picture, because you must if it's a scope picture. However, because the titles for Thunderball are on one side of the screen and then the other, this lab man stops the action for the TV version, cuts from one side to the other. And it has nothing to do with my design! They really hacked Thunderball to pieces!
So, now, I do a TV or Home Box Office version—whatever you want to call it—for each title. That means keeping the same design, but redesigning the proportions and the format so that it fits. When you see it on TV, it looks like the same title, but it isn't. I know what I'm cutting off, and, I know if I left it to some ass at the lab to do the damn TV thing—on For Your Eyes Only, for example —he would have cut out Sheena Easton on one side, or the behind of the girl dancing on the other side of the screen."
[Source: Starlog #74, September 1983, P.26]
Creating two versions of the whole film would be a bit extreme, so perhaps the better solution to this problem was to film the whole movie "open matte". Instead of using an anamorphic lens that squeezes a wide picture into the 4:3 35mm film frame (to be unsqueezed again to a nice wide 2.35:1 by the lens on the projector at the cinema), the film would be shot 4:3 with the idea that at the cinema the film will be matted to 1.85:1 to fit the wider screen - essentially opting to chop off the top and bottom at the cinema in favour of chopping off the sides for TV and video. The filmmaker would shoot the film in such a way that all the action happens in the center of the picture (the camera had visible "safe zone" lines showing what will be visible in Theaters) so that nobody gets their hair and feet chopped off in theaters, and in this way, no pan and scan version would be necessary - so long as they manage to keep things like boom mikes out of the shot.
Back to the Future, Top Gun and Schindler's List were all filmed this way, along with plenty of other titles, but Goldeneye was not one of them. So why is this trailer open Matte then? Well, for all the same reasons. This trailer could be shown on TV, VHS, laserdisc or in cinemas, and the filmmakers could be confident that everything they wanted people to see, would be seen, and that it won't get butchered in a lab somewhere.
The open Matte nature is really only evident by the aspect ratio and the fact that at the very beginning of the trailer, you can see much more of the set then normal:
The Green box shows what you see at the cinema - Watch the Scope Version of this same Trailer to see the difference.
James Bond in Widescreen vs Fullscreen
Goldeneye 35mm Teaser Trailer in 1080p HD