Fullscreen or Widescreen?

Do we know if Police Academy 5 (and 4) were at all even filmed in widescreen or were they originally shot in fullscreen? IMDB has them both down as 4:3 but I'm not sure if they're just referring to the DVDs or not.

Seems as Police Academy 4 and 5 had theatrical releases I'm presuming they were shot in widescreen unless they were shot in fullscreen and cropped for release?

I'm sure that Police Academy 1 has been cropped rather than being in genuine widescreen because on the commentary Maslansky refers to something we shouldn't see near Harris' leg but we don't see it because it's cropped.


4 and 5 were the only ones that are fullscreen.


They wouldn't have shown them in theaters that way would they?

So I hear Dads dead, hey is that eggnog?
-Dave Foley


Supposedly, Warner Brothers has been unable to find the master copies of PA 4 and 5 that were shot in 1.85 ratio. The 1.33 version were shot specifically for HBO and those seem to be the only masters to exist.

The 2nd coming is upon us. No one will ever be the same again.


Apparently Police Academy 4 and 5 have been shown in HD over here in the UK in widescreen format so I don't know what to think. It'll be interesting to see what the Blurays will be like.


How do you shoot both widescreen and full screen of the same movie? Surely your referring to copies of cropped masters that HBO used for broadcast.

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How do you shoot both widescreen and full screen of the same movie? Surely your referring to copies of cropped masters that HBO used for broadcast.

Some movies were originally shot in 1.33 (fullscreen) and have been cropped to appear widescreen.

The majority of movies though are shot in widescreen and were cropped to 4:3 (Pan and Scan) in the 70s/80s/90s etc for TV/home video release.


I'll give it to you straight.

Some films are shot in pure widescreen (e.g. on the film you see thick black bars between frames and the widescreen shape on the frame) while others are shot in OPEN MATTE.

What that means is that it is shot in a full 4:3 frame but INTENDED to be shown in widescreen in theaters. This is achieved by placing excessive headroom on the shot that becomes more intimate (but does not crop the actors) when shown in theatres (the backing plate on the projector would have cropped off these excessive parts to create the widescreen image).

When they were then released on video or shown on TV in the 4:3 days, the width would not be compromised but you would get more image top and bottom (and sometimes you would catch a boom mic either top or bottom that would have been cropped off in theaters).

Many filmmakers preferred this as it meant their films would not be pan and scanned when released on TV and video - it was a handy dual format back in those days.

Here are some famous films that were shot this way:









Kubrick and Spielberg in particular were fond of it, and if you compare any old video releases of the above films with their Blu Ray counterparts, you will see the width is the same on both - just different headroom.

Warner Bros for some reason used to leave a lot of their film in full frame - whether this was laziness or just that they didn't undertsand that it was intended to be seen in widescreen I do not know. The Shining and some of the Police Academy movies were amongst the ones not originally re-cropped for DVD for some reason.

The ratio I have described is not to be confused with 4:3 ACADEMY RATIO however, which cannot be cropped top and bottom as it would cut off actor's heads.


this makes sense watching this particular movie right now (the copy I have is 4:3)

for example, I'm at the part where Lassard knocks the guy down the escalator with his golf clubs, and if the shot was any wider it wouldn't make any sense, everything is lined up perfectly in the middle of the screen

so you can tell it was originally shot in 4:3



These 'OPEN MATTE' films were intended to be seen in W/S in cinemas, etc but were shot 4:3 so that you just revealed more frame top and bottom on TV and VHS rather than Pan and Scanning.

The excess image isn't meant to be seen ideally, but is the lesser of 2 evils VS Pan and Scan.

You just get the odd boom mic from time to time!

WB however chose to put a lot of these out 4:3 on DVD for some reason!


ITV have been showing what appear to be genuine 16:9 widescreen versions of 4 & 5, so they appear to be available somehow.