Fun with Aspect Ratios

When the DVD of Cloak & Dagger came out, it was released as a widescreen movie. But the movie hadn't merely been pan-and-scanned for the earlier VHS release. The movie had been re-framed for both versions from a larger master print. This is actually a common practice in movies. Here is a comparison of the two versions.

Here's a widescreen shot of the main bad guy from the DVD:

And now the VHS version. The VHS version looks brighter, but a better description would be "blown out". A lot of the subtle values in the image have been lost. Note the difference in framing, too. The widescreen version shows more of the background, but crops off the top of his head and tie:

Here's another shot, from the widescreen version. Note that the top of his head is completely cropped off. Since he's falling during this scene, it really doesn't matter. If it was a static shot, they'd have needed to frame it differently:

Here's the same frame, from the VHS version. You see most of his head, and more of the lower part of his body:

This is a good example of the difference between DVD and VHS. The DVD is very crisp with good color:

Even though the VHS version looks pretty good, DVDs have more than double the vertical resolution of VHS tapes (480 lines vs. 230), much of the color is washed out, and black areas aren't as dark:

Finally, here's Davey topping off his favorite gun:

But in the VHS version, you get to see the whole gun:

Go get 'em, kid!