Monday 9 June 2014

Aspect ratio-nality

Aspect ratio is the shape of the video picture you view. So we all used to watch this:

Then we moved to this new widescreen aspect ratio in our homes, which is much better:

Movie screens are generally like this:

So when we get a movie to watch at home - DVD, Blu-Ray, stream, download, etc. - it almost always ends up looking like this:

It's ridiculous, and I'd like it to stop. Hence the following:

Dear movie director,

Would you please stop wasting half the space on my TV?

Virtually all of the movies I buy are still in the original cinema aspect ratio, so they only use the middle of the screen, leaving the top and bottom blank.

This dramatically reduces the impact of your film.

I went to the trouble and expense of buying myself a good home cinema. I have digital surround sound, a high definition media player, and a quality TV screen in the industry-standard 16:9 shape.

Industry standard - your industry, your standard.

But you still won't cut your movies to fit it. You still refuse to maximise the experience for home viewing.

The only cogent argument I've heard for keeping the original format is that you made your movie for the cinema screen - everything was shot and framed around that shape, so reducing the width would somehow ruin the viewing experience.

But that's old fashioned bullshit.

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