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The One Ring Forums: Off Topic: Off Topic:
Filmmaking / aspect ratios / film formats


Dec 30 2012, 5:03pm

Post #1 of 7 (202 views)
Filmmaking / aspect ratios / film formats Can't Post

Filmmaking old and especially new is throwing up all types of different ways of viewing films. I want to discuss aspect ratios specifically becuase i think with the advent of digital and home cinemas/tvs its becoming very interesting in the choices being made.

Im talking about the ultra wide format tradionally used incinenas and if its becoming less relevant. I used to think the wider the better, i love epic cinematography and sweeping landscapes. but after seeing the dark knight rises and avengers at home on my 16:9 40" tele i think we are seeing a trend for the the less wide format of 1.85 ( which i think is closest too widescreen tv's 16:9 format)

it was really nice seeing avengers fill up my whole tv screen without losing any part of (or much of) the original filmed image, or have black bars across the top and bottom.

i noticed when i watched dark knight rises recently , that because the blu ray included the imax format sections, that i really missed having that extra piece of image when it went back to the black bars which accommodates the more familiar film widescreen format. i honestly felt like the filmed had been squeezed into a letterbox for no reason, and it felt like parts of the images were chopped off. it just felt right to have the 16:9 /1.85 format.

now if i saw a film in the cinema surely it wouldnt matter if i got the extra image height if it was filmed that way. but i would get less image if it was filmed in the widescreen format( 2.35 i think)

surely more image is better?

hope you can understand my probably ill informed film knowledge, but i think its interesting, especially now most filming is done digitally and film making is not restricted to a physical film frame anymore.

"You Tolkien to me?!" - Hobbit de Niro


Dec 30 2012, 8:17pm

Post #2 of 7 (124 views)
Widescreen is the best [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
surely more image is better?

No, no and no! :D Less is more, Keep It Simple Stupid, that's the mantra we farm at AV school.

I used to think like you, but i have been enlightened :p . The thing is, it's really hard to frame a widescreen shot, but when you do it correctly the composition becomes more dynamic and effective because you are given less to think about but told more of it. Also widescreen allows for much more impressive placement of stuff on the frame, a golden/thirds ratio layout on a widescreen looks way better than 16:9. And theres also lots of details that make the widescreen more effective, like close-ups of actor's heads, their emotions are passed to you way more effectively when you only see the most important part of him, his face and nothing else (besides the background, which must support the emotions in that scene). Just look at the framing after the Fellowship exits Moria and the camera focuses on Frodo's grieved face, that just wouldn't be as shocking in 16:9.

I guess if widescreen was all about anamorphic filming, it would have been ditched already, i think it has more to do with the way we naturally observe our surroundings.

Pessimists have no disappointments.

Grey Havens

Dec 30 2012, 8:26pm

Post #3 of 7 (117 views)
Beware [In reply to] Can't Post

Beware of dogma, especially when it smells like formula. Art does not conform to formula. I recommend a little more independent thinking while absorbing what they would have you believe in your indoctrination, er, education.


Dec 30 2012, 9:38pm

Post #4 of 7 (114 views)
The more image the better [In reply to] Can't Post

No doubt. That's when I hate aspect ratios getting forced to fit the screen like in some movies shown on TV, and some on Netflix I have noticed.

Equally worse is when amateurs/semi pro filmmakers add black bars to make it look "cinematic". What are they thinking?

Grey Havens

Dec 30 2012, 9:59pm

Post #5 of 7 (99 views)
Art [In reply to] Can't Post

I seem to be on an art theme of commentary today.

They are thinking it's cool and high style, like The Emperor's Clothes, when it is actually pretentious and transparent.

N.E. Brigand

Dec 31 2012, 6:57am

Post #6 of 7 (111 views)
1.37 : 1 -- the classic "Academy ratio" [In reply to] Can't Post

Of the fifteen films that placed on either the critics' or directors' all-top ten lists in the 2012 Sight & Sound poll, seven have that ratio (or nearly so).

So do two of my three favorite films (and six of my own top ten). If it worked for Satyajit Ray and Robert Bresson...

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Jan 2 2013, 3:10pm

Post #7 of 7 (88 views)
I am [In reply to] Can't Post

Well don't you think what i said is true? I sure do and did long before any schools, i am a photographer ye know... Distracting objects on foreground/background, unnecessary lines like ''That'll do'', not good. Also many things in art is a formula, like golden ratio and Fibonacci's curve. Humans have a primal desire for those formulas, they are everywhere from seashells, idea of perfectly beautiful man/woman to beautiful compositions.

Ps. not to say that those things are true in all cases... But what i tried to say in my previous message is that widescreen sort of forces the movie to look better in many cases.

Pessimists have no disappointments.

(This post was edited by Tigero on Jan 2 2013, 3:14pm)


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