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Film Studies 101: A Beginner's Guide To Aspect Ratios

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Film Studies 101: A Beginner's Guide To Aspect Ratios - 6/5/2014 4:37:33 PM   
Empire Admin


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Great piece Empire - 6/5/2014 4:37:33 PM   

Posts: 101
Joined: 30/9/2005
From: Malta
Great piece. I noticed that some blu-ray players seem to force the correct aspect ratio on viewers without having to fiddle with the remote. Some DVDs require a delicate balance between TV settings and DVD player settings to produce the correct aspect ratio...

and yes, I hate peeople who zoom in on the image because they think they are wasting the potential of their widescreen tv!

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If only cinemas were wider... - 7/5/2014 11:23:35 AM   


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Joined: 31/3/2009
I always loved that moment at the start of the main feature when the matts at the sides of the screen would retract for the full widescreen experience. You knew that you were moving on from the Kiaora ad to the main event.

In my nearest multiplex the full size screen is something like 16x9. So now you have the pathetic sight of matts reducing the screen size top and bottom to present 2.35:1 movies.

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Altered Images - 8/5/2014 10:56:18 AM   
phil billinge


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Joined: 10/4/2006
Interesting article. Readers of a certain age might remember the BBC's first disastrous televising of '2001: A Space Odyssey' in the early eighties. They panned and scanned most of the movie, but showed the special effects sequences in widescreen. But then some silly sod decided that the black bars at the top and bottom of the (4:3 TV) frame would upset granny and had makeshift 'stars' added, looking like paint splats. I have a Betamax recording of it somewhere.

On the subject of dead formats, I'd like to wave a flag for LaserDiscs, which was the first home cinema format to pioneer quality widescreen film transfers well before DVD or Blu-Ray were an itch in their inventors' pants. The death of pan-and-scan is largely thanks to LaserDisc.

I would take issue with your assertion that Polyvision (as used in Abel Gance's 1927 six-hour silent epic Napoleon) was "ridiculous" - unless you are referring to the practical challenges of filming and projecting movies in this way. Gance rarely used the system to show epic landscapes, where (yes!) you'd see the joins. Instead, he used the central screen for most of the movie, only expanding to three to convey momentous events in multi-image grandeur. These sequences are amongst the most breathtaking I've experienced in the cinema.

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Blue - 9/5/2014 6:52:35 PM   


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I remember when Derek Jarman's Blue was shown on Channel 4. In Widescreen.
What was the point of that? It's not like you see more blue - in fact you get less blue, because you had all the black bars. Kind of missed the point of the movie I think...

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In a different problem arising from Joss Whedon shootin... - 11/7/2014 12:17:59 PM   


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(presumably 4:3); in widescreen versions of the show things like camera equipment and actors waiting to walk onto the frame can be seen at the edges of the screen. A fuller explanation is available here:

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