The history of aspect ratios

"John Hess traces the evolution of the screen shape from the silent film days through the widescreen explosion of the 50s, to the aspect ratio of modern digital cameras."

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  1. I want to know what made Taylor Swift think that something like 3.54:1 was a valid option.

  2. I wrote a (nice, in my own humble opinion) history of various aspect ratios from the point of view of still photography over at the Photography Stack Exchange site, with quite a few links and references to further reading. If you find this video interesting you might like that too. (Also, easier to skim if you have a short attention span.)

  3. CLamb says:

    Very interesting and well done presentation but I'd like to add a few things to it. When the Academy changed the size of the film exposed area to allow for an optical track it changed only the film image aspect ratio from 1:33... to 1:37. This change in aspect ratio was done to account for theaters projecting the image from above the perpendicular center of the screen. Thus the image while 1:37 on the film would be distorted by the projection geometry to be 1:33... on the screen.

    Things got a little further confused when SMPTE issued its film camera aperture standard (now SMPTE 59-1998). It includes nominal dimensions in both inches and millimeters. The aspect ratio using the millimeter dimensions is 1.375 whereas that using the inch dimensions is 1.37460...
    As far as I can determine SMPTE considers the SI unit dimensions authoritative.

  4. Totally ignoring the new standard aspect ratio... Vertical iPhone

  5. There is a hilarious PSA style video about that. With puppets. Let me go see if I can find it . . .

    Ah, here we go!

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