13 July 2010

Misadventures in Sound and Vision I

What's Wrong with this Picture?

I cropped the image above to the aspect ratio 16:9, which is fine, I think, for a small still image. But what if the image was projected onto a wall and was 6 metres wide? And what about this crop (2.39:1)?

The image above is cropped to one of the more common aspect ratios now being used by the movie industry, and it's getting rather abstract, don't you think? Widecreen was invented by Hollywood when cinema audiences started to plummet due to the increasing popularity of televisions.

Televisions used to display at 4:3, movies were made to the same format, and stills cameras shot film to this very same aspect ratio. Why? Because 4:3 is the best approximation of how we actually see the world. It's the most natural, realistic aspect ratio you'll ever see.

I love movies made in this format. 8mm and 16mm films were shot at 4:3, Dogme 95 movie-makers continue to use 4:3, and I still shoot video in the same format.

Millions of recent Home Cinema System owners will disagree, but widescreen is a con. It's another step away from reality.

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