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Is the 1:33, 1:66, 4x3 aspect ration going the way of the Dodo?


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#1 Greg Traw

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 03:17 AM

Just wondering what some of the opinions are on this as televisions go digital broadcast in '09. Kind of sad... a lot of great films were made in these aspect ratios. We're losing a whole different palette to consumerism -- What next b/w??? :(

Edited by Greg Traw, 29 August 2008 - 03:18 AM.

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#2 John Brawley

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 03:37 AM

Just wondering what some of the opinions are on this as televisions go digital broadcast in '09. Kind of sad... a lot of great films were made in these aspect ratios. We're losing a whole different palette to consumerism -- What next b/w??? :(



Just did a shoot last month for Disney.

4x3 all the way.....

thought I'd almost forgotten how to frame in 4x3....

jb
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#3 Chance Shirley

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 03:17 PM

Unfortunately, from a commercial standpoint, black and white and 1.33:1 have both been dead for a long time.

If you make non-commercial films, you are always free to shoot in any format(s) you like.
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#4 Chris Keth

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Posted 29 August 2008 - 04:33 PM

The show I just finished required 16x9 framing protecting for 4x3. The 4x3 was apparently for overseas because, as they put it, nothing overseas is shown 16x9. I don't know how true that is.
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#5 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 30 August 2008 - 02:39 PM

The show I just finished required 16x9 framing protecting for 4x3. The 4x3 was apparently for overseas because, as they put it, nothing overseas is shown 16x9. I don't know how true that is.


When i was in Amsterdam in 2000, watched some BBC news shows. They were 16X9.

saying nothing overseas is 16x9 is at the least hyperbole.
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#6 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 04:13 AM

I certainly hope 1:66 isn't dead. I always found it an interesting aspect ratio and wanted to play around with using it to shoot something down the road. I like the additional hight and think if you treated it like wide-screen in your framing or even scope, it might be useful for helping to convey an atmosphere or aesthetic quality that that's unusual. B)
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#7 David Auner aac

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 05:05 AM

The 4x3 was apparently for overseas because, as they put it, nothing overseas is shown 16x9. I don't know how true that is.


Well, that depends on what "overseas" is. If they mean Japan it's completly false as the Japanese have led the HDTV and wide screen crowd for many years. Europe is currently converting from mainly 4:3 to mainly 16:9. FYI Austrian TV switched last year, the BBC is gradually switching with 14:9 being the interim format (very necessary to introduce yet another aspect ratio, IMO).

But if they mean Africa or the Middle East and Central Asia, I suspect most of the content shown there will be 4:3 for a couple more years to come. I suspect same goes for South America too. These are the same markets that are still dominated by CRT TV sets too.

Cheers, Dave
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#8 Walter Graff

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 07:56 AM

There is interesting history behind it all too. Remember that most motion pictures were shot for many years in a square format. It wasn't until the fifties when movie folks thought that TV was becoming competition that new gimmicks to shooting like Cinerama and projecting promised folks a 'better' and more immersive way to look at films. And then fifty years later, TV caught up to the gimmick and created a wider screen format with teh same promise for folks at home. As most countries start to update tv methods of transmission, the 4:3 format will eventually be lost.
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#9 Mark Dunn

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 08:56 AM

Most of our TV is currently transmitted in 14:9 as a stopgap. However, no-one seems to know the correct settings on their 16:9 sets, so most broadcasts have rather fat people in them.
I understand that as long as the correct codes are transmitted, it's quite possible to view 1.37 films correctly. But since no-one will put up with pillarboxing, they'll probably fill the screen and ruin the composition, as the cinemas did in 1990 for the re-release of GWTW. Yuk.
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#10 Paul Bruening

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 11:23 AM

In wasn't looking. Which way did the Dodo go?
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#11 David Auner aac

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 11:51 AM

In wasn't looking. Which way did the Dodo go?


Down. Extinct. Finished! :D

Cheers, Dave
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#12 Greg Traw

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 12:20 PM

But here's the real question:

Is the old aspect ratio just as useless as the Dodo bird was? Or is it still part of a viable "ecosystem?" Everyone get out their biology textbooks... :( I know most of you were probably fair to middling in that subject.
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#13 David Auner aac

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 12:25 PM

Is the old aspect ratio just as useless as the Dodo bird was? Or is it still part of a viable "ecosystem?"


Aww, it wasn't useless. Supposedly it tasted realyl good!

Cheers, Dave
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#14 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 12:30 PM

But if they mean [...] Middle East[...], I suspect most of the content shown there will be 4:3 for a couple more years to come.


Unless you think Saudi Arabia, United Emirates and other diversifying economies of this region, which are very much digital 16:9 already - but obviously the rest of the regions mentioned by you are still very much 4:3. I agree, "overseas" can mean a bit too much :)


These are the same markets that are still dominated by CRT TV sets too.


As is my home! I love giant CRTs, and I have yet to find a flat screen of any technology that can produce the colour vividity and liveliness of a CRT screen. This is valid for monitors, television sets and computer screens. I am typing this post on a vintage iMac with CRT, and compared to even the glossy MacBook Air screens, the CRT outshines them alot.


I think that just like B&W cinematography is still existent and B&W film stocks are easy to buy, pillarboxing or shooting 4:3 will become an aesthetic decision for some art-minded filmmakers in the future, maybe a generation away. Just wait and see... I mean, everyone declared 65mm origination dead in the 1980s, thought 3D-experimentation is ludicrous to pursue further after "Jaws 3-D", let alone "going to the cinema" itself as a way of going out socially... and look at what is on screen this summer (mostly crap movies IMHO except Wall*e, but it's about the numbers and techniques used).
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#15 Sam Wells

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 12:34 PM

I certainly hope 1:66 isn't dead.


Unfortunately I think it's become the least viable. Too bad (wouldn't life have been simpler if 1.66 had been the primary standard from "day one" ?)

I guess we'll live with a lot of 1.33/1.37 pillarboxed. I dread the thought of 100 years of cinema history cropped.

As it stands I'm shooting my own work 1.78:1/16x9 --- and liking it - so much of my career both was in 1.33 - my own films, Indie films, whole buncha EFP --- I like playing with the balance / unbalance of a wider AR. Plus there's too much boring architecture around for 1.33 ;)

-Sam
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#16 K Borowski

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 03:03 PM

Unfortunately, from a commercial standpoint, black and white and 1.33:1 have both been dead for a long time.

If you make non-commercial films, you are always free to shoot in any format(s) you like.


Yeah, unfortunately this is quite true. When was the last movie shot in real B&W, mainstream? "The Good German" even was shot in color, and it never even made theatres here as a result. No one went to see it.

I'd say B&W has been pretty much dead since the early '70s late '60s. Hell, even in still photography, newspapers dumped B&W altogether and went color more than 15 years ago.

1.33 likewise is pretty much dead. That was solely a TV format, IIRC though. Cinema's always been a bit wider. 1.66 right?

Even with, you're lucky to find a couple of art houses that can even support the format. And whoever said that everyone uses that friggin' stretch, you are absolutely right. Here at home, first thing I do every day is go down and put the TV *back* in pillarbox or widescreen extracted. Everyone else puts it in full. Hell, look at how they butchered "When We Left the Earth" They cropped the whole thing, and didn't even "jilt and tilt" it so that the subject was always in frame. Terrible terrible terrible. Only thing it was better than was if they would've stretched it themselves. Here we have TV stations, A&E, TNT, and local 19 Action News among other offenders that routinely apply their own stretches, which really fu**ing pisses me off, more than anything else with HD TV except for maybe degraining.

It is sad, every time we loose a format we loose a creative choice.
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#17 David Auner aac

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 03:24 PM

1.33 likewise is pretty much dead. That was solely a TV format, IIRC though. Cinema's always been a bit wider. 1.66 right?


Nope, it wasn't always. The Lumieres' Cinematographe had a 4:3 gate and silent films before the advent of sound and the Academy 35mm gate were 4:3 as well. Academy is slightly wider at 1.37:1. IIRC it was who Edison first thought of 4:3.

Cheers, Dave
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#18 Walter Graff

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Posted 31 August 2008 - 03:48 PM

I remember in the mid 90s when Steve Posner and the ASC went to Washington to standards hearings and begged that HDTV have a 2:1 ratio since it would be more accurate for most of films shot. I told Steve that he'd never win as it was not about artistic accuracy but compromise and politics. The ASC lost and 1:66 a clear compromise of all formats as the ATSC thought it feel right in between everything was chosen.

http://www.soc.org/o..._asc_stmnt.html
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#19 Peter Fields

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 01:21 PM

But here's the real question:

Is the old aspect ratio just as useless as the Dodo bird was? Or is it still part of a viable "ecosystem?" Everyone get out their biology textbooks... :( I know most of you were probably fair to middling in that subject.


I really hope the old aspect ratio is still a viable part. It should remain as another artistic choice that filmmakers have. However, my concern are the people who don't know how to change the aspect ratio on their new HDTVs and leave them on the default "stretch" mode. So, if a filmmaker shot a film in 1:33, 1:66, 4X3, their film is destined to be viewed stretch/distorted on many, if not most, HD televisions. Whenever I go into a public place that has HDTVs installed (in the States), I've never seen 4X3 programs displayed properly.

This is one of the main reason I would choose not to shoot 4X3 as I would want to be certain my productions are viewed properly.
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#20 Mike Simpson

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 12:35 AM

I really hope the old aspect ratio is still a viable part. It should remain as another artistic choice that filmmakers have. However, my concern are the people who don't know how to change the aspect ratio on their new HDTVs and leave them on the default "stretch" mode. So, if a filmmaker shot a film in 1:33, 1:66, 4X3, their film is destined to be viewed stretch/distorted on many, if not most, HD televisions. Whenever I go into a public place that has HDTVs installed (in the States), I've never seen 4X3 programs displayed properly.

This is one of the main reason I would choose not to shoot 4X3 as I would want to be certain my productions are viewed properly.



Thats why you need to shoot 16x9 and crop the sides to 4x3 =D Letterbox...ish!
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