Aspect Ratio

Instructional Video Production 4(1+3)

Lesson 05: Camera Features and Effects

Aspect Ratio

The basic shape of the video frame is usu­ally described by the term aspect ratio. It is the ratio of the width of the frame to its height. The standard aspect ratio is 4:3 (four unit’s length by three units height). While earlier motion picture aspect ratio was 4:3, others were developed to present big screen opportunities. This resulted in the 16:9 format (like the 70 mm). Television widely uses the 4:3 format (Fig. 2.11).

The demand for 'film-like' experience on television has resulted in the HDTV (high definition television) in the 16:9 aspect ra­tio. A HDTV set with 16:9 aspect ratio pre­vents 'cutting out' of the edges of video in movies made in the 16:9 format. However, a 4:3 regular television monitor is more likely to cut out the edges of the movie. This results in loss of some parts of the image.

The most preferred format in video continues to be 4:3 since the 16:9 aspect ratio television' poses some problems. The camera will have to move back to show wide landscapes in one single frame or to shoot a tall object like the Qutub Minar. However, in the process of zooming out or moving back, other unwanted elements also get into the frame. Directors have a tough time choreographing their scenes for the 16:9 format since perform­ers need to fill screen space. A solution is to block out unwanted elements by strategically placing select elements.

To simulate the horizontally stretched aspect of the movie screen (cinemascope and 70 mm films), some high-end cameras offer a choice be­tween 4:3 and 16:9. All we need to do is switch is from one standard to the other.

Last modified: Saturday, 21 April 2012, 9:23 AM