ASPECT RATIO EXPLAINED

Aspect ratio is nothing more than width divided by height. The higher the aspect ratio, the wider the image (or screen). For example, standard definition televisions and most pre 1932 movies had an aspect ratio of 1.33. That is because the screen is 1.33 times as wide as it is tall. This 1.33 aspect ratio can be written as 1.33:1 or 4:3.

Studio publicity photos aspect ratios can be 5:4/1.25:1, 4:3/1.33:1, 3:2/1.5:1, 5:3/1.67:1 and 1:1 from 35mm, medium, or large format film. Printing them out in 8x10 (1.25:1) or 8x12 (1.5:1) prints is fairly easy with minor cropping or window boxing.

window boxing example 1:1 image in 8x10 (1.25)

 

Most all studio films shot in 35mm from 1932 to 1952 were shot in the 1.37:1 ratio. In the 1950s wider screen formats started being used. All the major studios went to using wider ratios such as 1.5, 1.66, 1.75, and 1.85. 1953 20th Century Fox 'The Robe' cinemascope was 2.55:1. 1960s Cinerama movies were 2.6:1.

The point of all this is the BLU-RAY and DVD screenshots have an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 or 16:9 for today's HDTV sets. Depending on the aspect ratio of the movie it will be in some form of letterbox view. Here are 3 examples of screenshots make into prints. Aspect ratio of common print sizes used 8x10 1.25:1 - 8x12 1.5:1

Cropping for a print is always a trade off of aspect ratio and content. The Metropolis print below shows one crop made by cutting out part of the image to make an 8x12 print.

 

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1968 2001 a space odyssey screenshot 1.78:1 aspect ratio of movie is 2.23:1

 


8x12 crop

 

8x10 crop

 

1951 the thing from another world screenshot 1.78:1 aspect ratio of movie is 1.5:1

 

8x12 crop

 

8x10 crop

 

1927 metropolis screenshot 1.78:1 aspect ratio of movie is 1.33:1

 

8x12 crop

8x10 crop

8x12 crop by cutting some content

 

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