Stage 32 Glossary
pan and scan
Pan and scan is a technique that avoids the "letterboxing" of a widescreen film for a full-framed 4x3 home video or TV picture, by focusing on the elements of the picture that are most important to the plot and by adjusting or cropping the image. When an important part of the image drops out of the visible screen, the picture is mechanically panned to the side (left or right in a ping-pong effect) to show the missing part. Hence, the term pan-and-scan; approximately 43% of the visuals are sacrificed or cropped out in the pan-and-scan version, affecting the director's original intent and aesthetic sense.