BY MEGAN VICK
Pivot has been airing “remastered” episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer since August 2014, but it was brought to the Internet’s attention on Dec. 12 that the show’s makeover has caused some pretty big discrepancies.
Without getting too technical here, Buffy was originally shot in in a 4:3 camera ratio—because in the late ’90s and early 2000s that was the shape of most TVs. In the rebroadcasting Pivot—who claims they are getting the new HD masters from FOX—has widened the camera shots to a 16:9 ratio, which is more fitting for the more popular flat-screen TVs nowadays. However, making that change affects what is seen in several of the shots or even distorts the image. (For an in depth breakdown check out this Facebook note that has made a comprehensive list of the errors.)
It’s more than just closeup shots that used to be wide. In some of the frames crew members can now be seen standing off to the side, or the filters have been removed that change scenes from night to day—which is extremely important with a show about vampires. At first glance it may seem like technical mumbo jumbo, but in more than one instance the changes affect the integrity of the show.
If there’s one person that isn’t stoked about that, it’s Buffy creator Joss Whedon.
Whedon has shared his dismay at changing the ratio of the show in a previous statement, saying: “Adding space to the sides simply for the sake of trying to look more cinematic would betray the very exact mise-en-scene I was trying to create. I am a purist, and this is the purest way to watch Buffy. I have resisted the effort to letterbox Buffy from the start and always will, because that is not the show we shot.”
When the new round of complaints hit the internet on Dec. 12, Whedon took to Twitter to register his dismay at what was happening. Buffy was shot in 4:3 so it should stay that way, and to change it is nonsense.
As with all things Buffy, if Joss Whedon disagrees with it then it shouldn’t be happening. Seriously, why would Angel and Buffy ever be hanging out during the day? That’s crazy.
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