Aspect Ratios

31 Jan 2014 //

Tags: Musings

What I liked about this explanation of aspect ratios was how the fundamentals were tackled from where we get the initial ratios and why they were written in the decimal and colon forms.

Interesting to see it stems from the very beginnings of Thomas Edison and his perforated film, making it 4 sprockets high and the birth of 4:3 aspect ratio.


What catches my eye in this discussion are the examples they show, its amazing to see how lens distortion comes into play in the early days of widescreen cinerama. The focal length issues also seem unbearably complicated relying on the actors and subjects at different distances to each other to remain in focus and eye lines work. Amazing stuff. Check out the shots from “How The West Was Won” crazy wide. You can see as the camera pans up the distortion and pushing an pulling of the focal regions moves subjects around the screen.

PattonPatton. (1970 ) Dir. Franklin J. Schaffner
Aspect ratio: 2.20:1

How The West Was Won. (1962) Dir. John Ford, Henry Hathaway, George Marshall & Richard Thorpe
Aspect ratio:Cinerama 2.59:1

BenhurBen Hur (1959) Dir. William Wyler
Aspect Ratio: 2.76:1

When I first started in the industry 4:3 was the standard a mere 720x576 (non-square) pixels moving up to widescreen 16:9 1024x576 were now working in HD 1080p as standard and sometimes required to produce content at 2k and even 4k. 

This discussion is 18 minutes of pure gold. So go get your geek on.

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