>"Red Violin" and "Saving Private Ryan" -- two contemporary examples >that were clearly shot with TV in mind. The main difference with the >"letter-box" of these two titles is that a black bar covers the top >and bottom of the screen, actually showing you LESS of the film --

This would be true of open-masked films and neither of these were done in that format.  Unless the published specs are wrong then in both these cases it is quite literally less of the image since the sides are trimmed.  Even for open-masked films it's a question of whether you want more of the top/bottom or sides.


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