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The Film Guide

Full screen

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Full screen is a term used to describe a video release of a widescreen film which has subsequently been altered in order to create a 4:3 (or 1.33:1) aspect ratio, rather than maintain the original theatrical aspect ratio through the use of letterboxing with black bars at the top and bottom of the video image. Full screen is usually created with one of three methods: pan and scan, in which the 4:3 image is extracted from within the original frame; open matte, in which the 4:3 image is extracted from parts of the original negative which were shot but not intended to be used for the theatrical release; or reframing, in which the elements within the image are repositioned. Reframing is almost exclusively a method used for entirely CG movies where the elements can be easily moved.

Any films created in the 4:3 (or 1.33:1) aspect ratio can also use the term.

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