Which is better: the "widescreen" or "fullscreen" DVD edition of the Harry Potter movies?
Although seperate widescreen and "fullscreen" versions of the first movie were released in all major markets around the world (although, as I recall, Australians only had the fullscreen edition), I find it intriguing and interesting that North America (DVD Region 1) is the only market for which Warner Home Video have released full screen versions of the further movies. I assume that poor sales of the full screen version in other markets caused them not to bother, whilst Americans seemed to prefer the full screen version.
This site is not designed for film technology buffs (but a few might be interested in what's here), so I won't blind anyone with technical jargon. Suffice to say that when a film is made, the camera captures more on film than will be seen either on the cinema or TV screen.
The director and editor then select what area of which frame will actually be displayed. If want a technical explanation of the process, see the Letterbox and Widescreen Advocacy site. For this reason, "fullscreen" and "widescreen" editions can actually end up looking quite different, with different information being displayed on screen, or at the very least, emphasising different elements.
For a detailed analysis of why I think that the full screen versions are a waste of money, please make your selection:
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone For those too ignorant to realise it, that's what the first movie (and book) were called here in England - and indeed all over the world apart from the USA.
Chamber of Secrets.
Prisoner of Azkaban.
Goblet of Fire.
Note that the Philosopher's Stone page is just a series of comparison images, presented in the same order as they appear in the film, whilst the other pages are more discussion pieces explaining exactly why I made the selections I have.