4:3 to 16:9 information
The decision to convert the aspect ratio from the original 4 3 to 16 9 was taken after months of tests and reviews. The primary reason for this that for most viewers now own a widescreen TV so expect programmes to be in this format and also because with any HD material for broadcast the broadcasters expect widescreen material. As the aim of the project was to create restored masters (at great expense) for multiple use (ie Blu-ray, DVD and broadcast) there was no option other than going down the 16 9 route.
It was essential that this be done as sensitively as possible. The process of aspect ratio conversion from 4:3 to 16:9 was done by firstly going back to the original materials and then using Pan & Scan to ensure that all of the essential picture detail is retained. The panning and scanning process can be notorious if done badly where the screen is basically lazily cropped losing vital information. With this in mind in this instance each frame was panned and scanned according to strict guidelines following the tests done to ensure that the focus of the picture is always on the most important action so that we retained the quality of the original series.