Ever wonder why your TV is shaped the way it is, or why YouTube, Vimeo, and Dailymotion have different formats for different videos?
While most people aren’t aware of—or don’t think about—aspect ratios, they plays a major role in video production, helping to shape your commercial’s success. Literally. The aspect ratio is one of the building blocks in cinematography. Simply put, an aspect ratio is the relationship between the width and height of an image, and in our business, a screen.
Whether you like watching movies on your phone’s screen or TV, aspect ratios play an important role in the size of the video. Have you ever played a video and noticed the footage playing in a squared-shaped box? A square aspect ratio used to be the standard, now it’s widescreen, so sometimes you might see an older video with black space on either side of the screen because it was filmed in a square aspect ratio.
Types of Aspect Ratios
Every business has different marketing needs. This also includes ad campaigns for different mediums: Print, TV, web – these mediums for distribution might all have different aspect ration requirements. For us, the aspect ratio is almost always 16:9 and is written as width:height—width always coming first.
With that in mind, there are several types of aspect ratio formats/standards:
3:2 Ratio: This is an aspect ratio used by full frame mirror-less cameras, high-end compacts, SLRs and 35mm crop sensors. This type of aspect ratio has been available for almost a 100 years, with Leica making the first 35mm films.
A full frame sensor’s measurements are 36 x 24mm and if you can write this ratio as 36:24. The relationship between these two numbers can be simplified with a little bit of math. Divide the dimensions by 12, and you get 3:2.
4:3 Ratio: The 4:3 aspect ratio is used by compact cameras, medium standard/format cameras and micro four-thirds cameras.
7:6 Ratio: If you’re shooting landscape photography, you might want a shorter frame. Since this is the case, a 6x7cm frame is what you’re looking for. That’s a 7:6 aspect ratio.
16:9 Ratio: 16:9/1.77:1 is the ideal aspect ratio for television sets of the modern era. So, brands that are advertising their products on TVs, 16:9 is the ideal HD ratio. If the width is divided into 16 parts, the height of the TV or image should be in 9 parts.
Since TVs were in 4:3 before, they had a small, square shape image. This is why 16:9 is called the ‘widescreen’ ratio. It’s wider and to fit the modern TV’s requirements, it uses ‘pillarboxing’ or vertical black bars.
21:9 Ratio: 21:9 is wider than 16:9 and caters to most theatres. Since it’s much wider, parts the areas above and below the footage need to be filled with ‘black bars’.
Here is a chart of some of the most common aspect ratios used:
|Aspect Ratio||Used For||TVs|
|4:3||1.33:1||Standard Channels||Old TV sets|
|16:9||1.77:1||HD Channels||Majority of HDTVs|
|21:9||2.35:1||Most movies||Most theaters|
|14:10||1.4:1||IMAX Film||Few theaters|
|19:10||1.9:1||IMAX Digital||Most IMAX theaters|
The type of aspect ratio you choose for your brand’s ad campaigns depends on what you’re aiming for.
If you are a business owner in Orange County and need to find a B2B or sales video production company for training, corporate communications, promotion, or trade show video content, visit 336 Productions or call (888) 440-5830.