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Old 07-19-2018, 01:42 PM   #1
Raiders112390
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Aspect ratio changing in the VHS opening of Raiders?

I had the 1999 VHS versions of the films and I distinctly remember that at a certain point during the prologue sequence of Raiders (right around when it says South America, 1936) that the aspect ratio of the film changed - the screen got wider or something. Why is this missing from the DVD releases?
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Old 07-20-2018, 11:06 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiders112390
I had the 1999 VHS versions of the films and I distinctly remember that at a certain point during the prologue sequence of Raiders (right around when it says South America, 1936) that the aspect ratio of the film changed - the screen got wider or something. Why is this missing from the DVD releases?
Well, to answer your question, throughout all the times I've seen Raiders I've never seen this aspect change (granted, however, the last few times I've seen Raiders is mostly through my Amazon Prime account, which houses all four movies and the AOYIJ ). There are, I assume, multiple reasons for why this could've happened, but all of them are unsatisfactory in my opinion. The first is that it could've been an error with your tape, but that seems unlikely. The second is that is was an intentional effect included to give the video a more "movie theater-like feel" (aka when the screen expands), but since this seems to be a primarily Raiders issue, that also seems unlikely. I think it could've been something with your tape, however, because after scouring YouTube for a version of the opening scene from the 99 VHS, there was no aspect ratio change.
Do you still have the 1999 VHS versions, and if so, could you perhaps upload a short video so we could see what exactly happens when it hits the "South America, 1936" mark? That would be much appreciated.
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Old 07-20-2018, 01:05 PM   #3
Attila the Professor
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Do you think there's any chance that it's effectively the reverse, that this version showed the credits in the full, widescreen aspect ratio, but that it switched to pan-and-scan/fullscreen as they ended?
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Old 07-20-2018, 01:13 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Attila the Professor
Do you think there's any chance that it's effectively the reverse, that this version showed the credits in the full, widescreen aspect ratio, but that it switched to pan-and-scan/fullscreen as they ended?
I assume there's a possibility for both, but the VHS vids I've seen (which are from the 1999 cut) haven't done the whole widescreen-into-pan-and-scan approach. Either way, I'm interested to learn the full story.
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Old 07-20-2018, 02:20 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Attila the Professor
Do you think there's any chance that it's effectively the reverse, that this version showed the credits in the full, widescreen aspect ratio, but that it switched to pan-and-scan/fullscreen as they ended?

I distinctly remember the screen getting wider I believe just after the "South America, 1936" datestamp, and I remember always wondering if all movies did this. The VHS would've been watched on a 4:3 TV. It always stuck out to me because I don't remember it happening in the other films. Maybe it could be the reverse. But in my mind's eye I can see it now, like the screen getting wider at that moment
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Old 07-20-2018, 02:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiders112390
I distinctly remember the screen getting wider I believe just after the "South America, 1936" datestamp, and I remember always wondering if all movies did this. The VHS would've been watched on a 4:3 TV. It always stuck out to me because I don't remember it happening in the other films.
Odd. I've never heard of (or seen) this happen before on any version of Raiders that I've watched (even the 1999 version where the aspect ratio changed for you).
New theory: Perhaps it was your TV that contributed to the effect, as none of the VHS tapes I've seen have this particular feature.
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Old 07-20-2018, 02:27 PM   #7
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Here is exactly how I remember it:
The screen had black bars at the bottom until the "SA, 1936" bit and then after, the black bars receded a fair amount, making the screen area appear wider. It could be the reverse (I am dealing with memories that go back almost 20 years) but in either case, at that exact point, the black bars went away. It seemed like the screen adjusting itself. I had the Complete Adventures set (which numbered TOD to LC as Chapters 22-24) which came with the YIJC Treasure of the Peacock's Eye if that helps.
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Old 07-20-2018, 02:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiders112390
Here is exactly how I remember it:
The screen had black bars at the bottom until the "SA, 1936" bit and then after, the black bars receded a fair amount, making the screen area appear wider. It could be the reverse (I am dealing with memories that go back almost 20 years) but in either case, at that exact point, the black bars went away. It seemed like the screen adjusting itself. I had the Complete Adventures set (which numbered TOD to LC as Chapters 22-24) which came with the YIJC Treasure of the Peacock's Eye if that helps.
Thanks for the info. It does help a great deal, actually, and has helped me narrow down the aspect change to a couple of reasons:
1. Some of the "Complete Adventures" sets had short little ads playing before the film started. If these had the stereotypical "black bars" seen with widescreen, perhaps a technical screwup caused them to remain in the first few minutes of Raiders. This seems less likely then my second theory, which I think is most likely the correct one.
2. Your TV screen was adjusting itself to accommodate for the film. If the transition looked more mechanical (which is what I derived from your description), it's most likely that your TV and the tape might have been adjusting to allow the video to be played.
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Old 07-21-2018, 05:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raiders112390
I had the Complete Adventures set (which numbered TOD to LC as Chapters 22-24) which came with the YIJC Treasure of the Peacock's Eye if that helps.
The 1999 VHS releases offered the trilogy in FULLSCREEN (yellow boxes) or WIDESCREEN (burgundy boxes). The bundle that included "Peacock" was the FULLSCREEN SET so your VHS box for "Raiders" was yellow, right?

Therefore, it was a 'pan & scan' version. Let's repeat what Attila already pointed out:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Attila the Professor
Do you think there's any chance that it's effectively the reverse, that this version showed the credits in the full, widescreen aspect ratio, but that it switched to pan-and-scan/fullscreen as they ended?
Right. This was such a common trait of TV/VHS 'pan-and-scan' cuts of older widescreen films. They started with the full picture in "letterbox" (or, more often, horizontally "squished"), then the image stretched out to fill the entire 4:3 screen...while the rest of the film was cropped from that point onward (until the end credits). Usually, the ratio switched at the earliest, title-less shot. If an opening was too lengthy, the picture woud be zoomed in. (Hello, Cinerama.)

In '99, I bought the WIDESCREEN trilogy because I already had the original VHS releases (+ "Peacock" from TV) so this is just an educated guess.

Unlike this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFirebird1
Well, to answer your question, throughout all the times I've seen Raiders I've never seen this aspect change.
-------------
I think it could've been something with your tape, however, because after scouring YouTube for a version of the opening scene from the 99 VHS, there was no aspect ratio change.
-------------
Odd. I've never heard of (or seen) this happen before on any version of Raiders that I've watched (even the 1999 version where the aspect ratio changed for you).
New theory: Perhaps it was your TV that contributed to the effect, as none of the VHS tapes I've seen have this particular feature.
-------------
Thanks for the info. It does help a great deal, actually, and has helped me narrow down the aspect change to a couple of reasons:
1. Some of the "Complete Adventures" sets had short little ads playing before the film started. If these had the stereotypical "black bars" seen with widescreen, perhaps a technical screwup caused them to remain in the first few minutes of Raiders. This seems less likely then my second theory, which I think is most likely the correct one.
2. Your TV screen was adjusting itself to accommodate for the film. If the transition looked more mechanical (which is what I derived from your description), it's most likely that your TV and the tape might have been adjusting to allow the video to be played.


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Old 07-21-2018, 07:12 AM   #10
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A modern-day "smart" TV may contain technology that automatically adjusts the aspect ratio to do away with the black bars. But if we're talking about a TV set that is roughly as old as the tapes themselves (which can, to a degree, be assumed from the way the question is presented), I can assure you that none of those archaic things that were little more than CRTs in a box had that kind of feature.
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Old 07-21-2018, 05:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
In '99, I bought the WIDESCREEN trilogy because I already had the original VHS releases (+ "Peacock" from TV) so this is just an educated guess.

Unlike this:



Belloq: "Please, sit down before you fall down."

And as for "educated":
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
If an opening was too lengthy, the picture woud be zoomed in.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
woud
Someone's had a bit too much to drink at the bar, my friend .
In all honesty, though, I think you're great, man. Fun fact: Your Raiders of the Lost Archives vid actually helped introduce me to the Raven a few years back (before I joined). That doesn't mean I won't have my fun, though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finn
A modern-day "smart" TV may contain technology that automatically adjusts the aspect ratio to do away with the black bars. But if we're talking about a TV set that is roughly as old as the tapes themselves (which can, to a degree, be assumed from the way the question is presented), I can assure you that none of those archaic things that were little more than CRTs in a box had that kind of feature.
Mea maxima culpa. I'll be the first to admit that I'm ignorant when dealing with some older tech, and I haven't used an old box-TV (or VHS, for that matter) in what seems like forever. If the TV is an old 4:3 (which Raiders stated), then it doesn't have that type of feature.
I always assumed that the old ones could adjust themselves, from what I remember, but at this point I'm probably starting to conflate a lot of things (even the boxset I had was relatively new).

Last edited by TheFirebird1 : 07-21-2018 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 07-23-2018, 09:45 PM   #12
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Stoo's answer is absolutely the correct one.

I don't have an exact recollection of Raiders doing this, but it was not uncommon. One of those unfortunate customs of the Pan & Scan era. If you're recalling the inverse then it is merely a fault of your memory.
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Old 07-30-2018, 02:40 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFirebird1
Someone's had a bit too much to drink at the bar, my friend .
Yes! Blame booze for an omission of the letter "l". Your posts in this thread indicate a high intake of hallucinogens (or just being bat-sh!t crazy). There's nothing wrong with tackling a topic fervently but...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheFirebird1
I'll be the first to admit that I'm ignorant when dealing with some older tech,
The first? Who else would there be?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ThrowMeTheWhip
I don't have an exact recollection of Raiders doing this, but it was not uncommon. One of those unfortunate customs of the Pan & Scan era.
Makes me want to dig out my original cassettes to see how the openings are. Have a feeling that "Raiders" and "Doom" were horizontally squeezed.
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Old 07-30-2018, 07:21 AM   #14
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Would not be a difficult thing to check up on, though. i’m sure one of us here still have a VCR. I own a bunch of different versions of the movies on VHS, but alas I haven’t had a VCR in many years.
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Old 07-30-2018, 09:16 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
Your posts in this thread indicate a high intake of hallucinogens (or just being bat-sh!t crazy). There's nothing wrong with tackling a topic fervently but...

*Throws hypodermic needle filled with acid at wall, cries.
Oh yeah! What makes you think it can't be both!
*continues crying.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoo
Yes! Blame booze for an omission of the letter "l".
Well, I hope so. Otherwise it's just ignorance of the English language.
P.S.: No, I'm not calling you a boozehead either, so hold your horses. The joke was that we're at a bar. People get drunk there.
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Originally Posted by Stoo
The first? Who else would there be?
ex·pres·sion: a word or phrase, especially an idiomatic one, used to convey an idea.
The Internet is a wonderful place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThrowMeTheWhip
Would not be a difficult thing to check up on, though. i’m sure one of us here still have a VCR. I own a bunch of different versions of the movies on VHS, but alas I haven’t had a VCR in many years.
A relative of mine who lives nearby owns a VCR with the '99 (I believe) versions of "Raiders" and "Crusade". Of course, as my previous posts quite clearly demonstrate here, I have pretty limited knowledge of the system (which borders on complete stupidity), but I could check up on it next time I visit them.

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Old 07-31-2018, 09:47 PM   #16
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For what it's worth, I remember this as well. Although not on the '99 VHS (which I also had), but... maybe when they showed it on TV? I'm not sure actually. But I do distinctly remember seeing Raiders (and Temple too, for that matter) starting off letterboxed at 2.35:1 and changing to 4:3 pan 'n scan as the opening credits ended. I remember Temple more clearly actually- the switch happened on Kate Capshaw's last big closeup as she finishes singing "Anything Goes".
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