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Join Brian Dobbs and Sam Posten as they talk about movie aspect ratios, from their history, why we need them, and optical physics that help define them.  Topics such as soft and hard matting, constant image height projection, and comparisons of television, computer and movie aspect ratios are explored.

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Sam Posten

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Wooohoo glad to see it up! I was originally worried we would go too deep on this subject but I think we kept it light. And we hit just the right amount of sound effects for you guys who said we might be over doing it! Thanks Brian!
 

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Looking forward to a listen, as always. I'll be certain to listen to it all within the next few days.

I know I haven't listened yet, but I have to toss something in, and this comes from a lifetime in photography, including two degrees from one of the top photography schools in the country. Focal length does not change the shape of the face. That is the result of changes in distance between the camera and subject. It actually has nothing to do with focal length. Yes, the two are inter-related in some senses, but all those examples you see "proving" this misconception, including the article linked above (read some of the comments that explain what's actually going on), are due to changing the distance between the camera and subject, not focal length. I'll spare you all an explanation that nobody here wants to wade through anyway. Sorry for the somewhat off-topic rant.

Interesting topic, though. It's probably something most viewers don't put much thought in to.
 
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Sam Posten

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Sam, I think you'd be surprised to learn what a large amount of TV productions that are now shot in 2:1. You seem to be under the impression that it is just a couple. Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu are shooting a large percentage of their shows in non-standard ratios. It might also surprise you that The Mandalorian and the second season of Star Trek Discovery have gone all the way to 2.35:1. Needless to say, the studios are definitely not moving toward the 1.78:1 standardization that Brian is wishing for.
 
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Josh Steinberg

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It’s not just Discovery; Short Treks is also 2.40:1 and it looks like Picard will be as well.

The new Apple show I sampled (Morning Show) is also 2:1.

HBO seems to be holding at 1.78:1 but that’s probably more of a legacy holdover from their days of “everything must be full screen” - expect that to change as other prestige productions continue to leave traditional TV ratios behind.
 
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Sam Posten

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I take all your points. Very few of those are any ammunition towards recommending a 2.35 screen tho. The are outliers not a movement so far.
 

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Maybe it's just me, but I don't really see the point of shooting television in 'scope. The whole purpose of the format was to provide a bigger, more immersive experience, and you get just the opposite on television - unless you're in the 0.01% who have a constant height front projector set up. Black bars are fine for preserving a wider theatrical ratio, but I don't love them for their own sake.

This is becoming a problem in theatrical exhibition, as well. It seems more and more cinemas have constant width screens and present wider ratios letterboxed with no proper masking.
 

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Haven't had a chance to listen to the show yet, but The CW's Batwoman is using 2:1 aspect ratio, too. Looks absolutely horrible in those markets like Reno where most cable and satellite providers only offer that channel in letterboxed 4:3 standard def.
 
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UGH 2:1...why? All they're doing is removing image.
Not as much as you think. 4K cameras have a native aspect ratio of 1.896:1 (4096 X 2160 pixels). You would be cropping the sides to make it 1.78 as well.
 
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Brian is a proponent of ‘new full screen’ aka taking full advantage of every 16x9 pixel on his tv.
Well, that creates a dilemma with about 85% of all content created through all of time, doesn't it? An image is more than just pixels and data.

As I already said, I need to listen to the podcast.

EDIT: Brian, Brian, Brian... (shaking my head) listening to the podcast.
 
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