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View Full Version : Widescreen on VHS?


ElementZ
07-09-04, 11:17 PM
How come more movies could not have been released in their proper format on VHS. This was a huge seller for myself when dvds arrived, I remember seeing the odd film on VHS that was in widescreen. So why is this?

NitroJMS
07-10-04, 12:02 AM
There were actually alot of widescreen VHS movies produced. I remember Best Buy and Suncoast each had special sections for them. I even had a few like Die Hard 3, X-Files, Independence Day, Scream, Fargo, Men in Black and a few others.

MasterCXtreme
07-10-04, 12:09 AM
It may be a stupid question but I'm curious.... were any of the widescreen VHS's anamorphic?

marty888
07-10-04, 12:11 AM
Up until the mid 90's, a widescreen VHS was the exception. In the 1980's <i>Color Purple</i> was one of the few major releases that was OAR, and there were several foreign language films that were OAR. Somewhere around 1993-94 many major titles were re-released in widescreen, and there were enough titles so that major video stores actually had "widescreen" sections.

rasalas
07-10-04, 12:34 AM
When DVDs fist came out, I had about 400-500 pristine widescreen VHS tapes. I would sell them on eBay as the movies were released on DVD and then use the money to buy the DVD of that film. At one point, sensing that the shelf life of widescreen VHS was quickly drawing to a close, I just unloaded them all, whether I had an immediate DVD counterpart or not.

The funny thing is, because DVDs were still young and places like Reel.com and other net retailers were having their crazy sales, I *always* came out ahead. I'd sell a VHS and have enough to buy the same movie on DVD with plenty left over. I was selling 3 VHS tapes and buying almost 5 DVDs.

Ah, those were the days. It was like riding a title wave. (Rimshot, please.)

were any of the widescreen VHS's anamorphic?

I'm pretty sure there weren't. This was before widescreen TV sets and 4:3 sets with a squeeze function.

TomOpus
07-10-04, 12:59 AM
I had many widescreen VHS tapes. Fox had some that came in a nice plastic clamshell. Suncoast used to have a special section just for widescreen VHS.

Elpresidentepez
07-10-04, 03:58 AM
The Fox widescreen series was great. I had the alien films(and various others) and i loved to show the AD before it that explained the benefits of widescreen. They were a great educational tool to the uninformed. Unfortunately i gave them all away after i repurchased them on DVD.

ElementZ
07-10-04, 02:45 PM
So how come studios did not release all movies in their proper aspect ratio on VHS. This would save those tiresome arguments of widescreen vs pan and scan on DVDs

Josh Z
07-10-04, 05:36 PM
Originally posted by MasterCXtreme
It may be a stupid question but I'm curious.... were any of the widescreen VHS's anamorphic?

No, VHS does not offer any sort of option for down-converting an anamorphic picture to non-anamorphic letterbox like DVD does, and thus would be useless to the 4:3 TV owners out there (still a large majority of households in the US).

digiboy
07-10-04, 06:03 PM
I don't know if it was the first, but I remember Woody Allen kicking up a fuss about Manhattan. He insisted on it being letterboxed for VHS release. It was one of the first I heard about anyway.

The resolution was so poor, especially on early VHS movies, that I think the smaller screen area used for letterboxing was generally not a good option. VHS picture quality did improve and the last time I saw a movie on VHS it was pretty good, still no match for DVD tho.

Most people I know who were serious film freaks latched on to to the Laserdisc format pretty early on. LD's are where letterboxing really began to take hold first. LD's had the image quality and the following of mostly hard core geeks who understood the concept of letterboxing, OAR's, etc.

As far as I know, letterboxed Laserdiscs where never anamorphic either. The technology just wasn't being used yet.

Yocke
07-11-04, 12:46 AM
There were anamorphic laserdiscs released in Japan. Not that many though.

DRG
07-11-04, 02:25 AM
I had a few, mainly horror stuff from Anchor Bay. The director's cut of Dawn of the Dead, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 (with deleted scenes that aren't on the MGM DVD, including one with Joe Bob Briggs), A Nightmare on Elm Street (also with additional footage that didn't make it to the New Line editions), Evil Dead 2, Halloween, and a few others. One of these days I might break the ones out with extra footage not on DVD and use the capture card to port it to a DVD+R.

cultshock
07-11-04, 03:12 AM
Originally posted by Yocke
There were anamorphic laserdiscs released in Japan. Not that many though.

That's true, they aren't easy to find, but there were a few. I think Terminator 2 is one example.


Widescreen VHS really started appearing for the most part, just before DVD (with a few earlier exceptions). The first few I remember buying were Dune, Pulp Fiction, and Rumble in the Bronx. I remember stores like Mediaplay actually having a widescreen VHS section. I was so happy to see them being made available.

Tarantino
07-11-04, 09:38 AM
I only had a few VHS tapes, but I did have Scarface, which was widescreen.

manicsounds
07-11-04, 11:58 AM
Japan also had some, but very few anamorphic VHS releases in addition to LD.
Samurai Fiction comes to mind, but obviously never really took off.

mikewendt
07-11-04, 01:59 PM
I had a lot of WS VHS tapes... Mostly from the Fox, Universal & Anchor Bay studios. Then later some Miramax/Dimension.

Josh Z
07-11-04, 06:21 PM
Originally posted by Yocke
There were anamorphic laserdiscs released in Japan. Not that many though.

Here is the complete list of anamorphic laserdiscs (known as "Squeeze LDs").

United States
-----------------
FREE WILLY
THE FUGITIVE
GRUMPY OLD MEN
UNFORGIVEN

Japan
-------
BASIC INSTINCT
CLIFFHANGER
CUTTHROAT ISLAND
SHOWGIRLS
STARGATE
TERMINATOR 2
TERMINATOR 2 (THX REMASTER)

These discs did not offer the ability to be downconverted to 4:3 letterbox, and were designed only for viewing on a widescreen television.

The American discs were promotional items given away for free with the purchase of a Toshiba widescreen TV. The Japanese discs were sold at retail.

Comfort Eagle
07-11-04, 06:48 PM
I think the only one i ever had was Jurassic park. I never did have too many vhs tapes.

rasalas
07-11-04, 07:47 PM
Originally posted by Comfort Eagle
I think the only one i ever had was Jurassic park.

That was the first widely promoted, major-blockbuster widescreen VHS sold as a sell-through title.

QuiGonJosh
07-11-04, 07:56 PM
before DVD...I had around 75-100 VHS in Widescreen...good times...