Why widescreen? All aspect ratio questions answered in 18 minutes

The average media consumer is probably familiar with two aspect ratios, 4:3 and 16:9. Those are the dimensions commonly associated with standard-definition and high-definition TVs, respectively. Most media we consume has been formatted into one of these ratios for the sake of home viewing, but as you’d know if you’ve ever had to watch a letterboxed film, studios still choose to film in wider and narrower formats. Yet some filmmakers like Yasujiro Ozu say widescreen looks like “a roll of toilet paper.” Why?

FilmmakerIQ.com has put together a terrific 18-minute primer on the history of aspect ratios. Everyone has something to learn from this video, ranging from why 4:3 caught on as the first aspect ratio to how the experimental Cinerama format played a role in the development of widescreen. This was very much made for the most hardcore film buffs, but if you’ve ever gotten frustrated by the black bars on a movie you watched, this video might answer a few questions.

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