Sunday, December 28, 2014

Buffy Fights a Demon She Can't Defeat: HD Reformatting

Do you want to watch the acclaimed TV series Buffy The Vampire Slayer in High Definition?  It is 2014, after all, well into the 21st century, so why not?

Well, according to this article, titled "What's Wrong With Buffy's HD?" you might want to stick with your old standard definition DVDs.

Apparently the cable channel Pivot has been airing a much-maligned HD version of creator Joss Whedon's Buffy in 16:9 format, so it fills up the whole rectangular screen.  Trouble is, Buffy, which premiered in 1997, was shot in the TV standard-of-the-time 4:3 closer-to-a-square ratio. 

Just as wide-screen theatrical movies have long been bastardized when they aired on old square TVs in chopped up, panned and scanned versions, now the same thing is happening with TV shows being converted to HD screens.

Good grief.  Just slap some black bars on the sides and give me the WHOLE remastered HD picture.  Don't do this bad, often silly, re-framing and cropping; to illustrate what the issue is, just have a little five second intro showing WHY reformatting 4:3 images to the full 16:9 screen is a bad idea (visually, aesthetically, artistically).  I would hope viewers today would be more informed of this kind of thing.  Maybe not.

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