Watch: A Comprehensive History of Aspect Ratios Video Breakdown

June 27, 2013

The Changing Shape of Cinema

Finally! For many years I have been a quality perfectionist, adjusting and sometimes re-encoding trailers (in our early years) because the aspect ratio was off. Any time it's ever brought up, there's always a debate about what to use and what's perfect, but it's finally time to settle any and all arguments with this definitive guide to aspect ratios. The video is called The Changing Shape of Cinema, looking back at the entire history of aspect ratio and how it has evolved into the various sizes/formats in use today. If you're lost already, just dive in as the first thing this does is explain what aspect ratio is and why it's so important. Don't miss this.

Here's John Hess' video The Changing Shape of Cinema: The History of Aspect Ratio, via Vimeo:

Thanks to our friends at SlashFilm on the tip. From Vimeo: 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. The video is part of a guide on about aspect ratio, and includes a guide on composition techniques. This should be the definitive introduction to any filmmaker/technician/DP out there. I love that this even covers the Cinerama aspect ratio, which is where the Cinerama Dome comes from still in use at the Arclight Hollywood today. It's also refreshing to see so much clean footage being used to accent everything he's talking about. For more on John Hess' aspect ratio breakdown and history, click here.

Find more posts: Cool Stuff, To Watch



Great video. His video on the dolly zoom is pretty good too.

Grichmer on Jun 27, 2013


I always liked watching the curtains move in theaters. Seeing the aspect change right before you eyes can be trippy.

DAVIDPD on Jun 27, 2013


I'd watch the video but I'm too busy complaining about the black bars on my TV.

racquetman on Jun 27, 2013


A very good video - thanks for the tip!

HyperJ on Jun 27, 2013


Fun video. But what happened to the 2.39:1 ? Thats what we use all use today...

IkBenRick on Jun 29, 2013

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