The Ultimate Aspect Ratio Guide For Filmmakers
The boundaries of the canvas that filmmakers use can take many forms. The Aspect Ratio of the frame size varies from The Kid’s 1.33 to Ben Hur’s 2.67 and everything between and beyond. There is the Academy Standard of 1.37, the HDTV standard of 1.78, Vistavision’s 1.85 and more. I would like to share a plethora of aspect ratios (with examples) so you, as a filmmaker, can decide which one will best serve your story. At the bottom of this post…I’m including a FREE template package that covers just about every aspect ratio ever used. Feel free to use them on your own project or share it with other filmmakers, so they too can harness the power of the frame.
I decided to compile all these assets after seeing the wonderful and educational video posted by FilmmakerIQ that does an amazing job explaining the aspect ratio and its historical context. After watching it, I was reminded of a widescreen template package I downloaded years ago and but now can no longer find on-line. I’m more than happy to keep it alive and inject it back into the interwebz so that any current or future filmmaker will have access to all the geometric framings used over the years.
1.33 – THOMAS EDISON STANDARD (1909)
1.37 – ACADEMY RATIO (1932)
The following Aspect Ratios listed include the first film ever used in that format.
4.00 – POLYVISION (1927)
2.77 – CINERAMA (1952)
1.75 – METROSCOPE (1955) MGM
2.55 – CINEMASCOPE (1953) 20th Century Fox
2.35 – REGALSCOPE (1956) 20th Century Fox
2.35 – PANAVISON (1966) Panavision
2.39 – SHAWSCOPE (CINEMASCOPE)
2.00 – PANASCOPE (1961)
2.00 – SUPERSCOPE (1954) RKO
2.35 – SUPERSCOPE 235 (1956) RKO
2.35 – WARNERSCOPE (1958) Warner Brothers
1.85 – VISTAVISION (1954) Paramount
2.20 – TODD AO (1955) Michael Todd
2.20 – DIMENSION 150 (1966)
2.55 – CINEMASCOPE 55 (1956)
2.76 – MGM CAMERA 65 (1959) MGM
2.20 – SUPER PANAVISION 70 (1959) Panavision
2.75 – ULTRA PANAVISION 70 (1962) Panavision
2.35 – TECHNIRAMA (1956)
2.20 – SUPER TECHNIRAMA (1959)
2.35 – NIKKATSU SCOPE (1959)
1.43 – IMAX (1970)
2.39 – THEATRICAL and BLU RAY (current)
Broadcast TV / Cable TV / Video cameras have their own Aspect Ratio…
1.78 – HDTV (1983) developed by Kerns Powers for SMPTE
and finally a throwback to Panascope and Superscope from David Fincher…
2.00 – RED CAMERA (2013) cropped from 1.78
2.00 – UNIVISIUM (1998) Proposed by DP Vittorio Storaro as the aspect ratio he considered the new standard.
*UPDATE – THE HATEFUL EIGHT is the first film in ULTRA PANAVISION 70 since 1966.
*UPDATE – COMPILATION OF 70 DOCUMENTED FORMATS
UPDATE – 7:1 BARCO ESCAPE
I’m proud to actually make film history and update this post with 6 BELOW
I just finished editing the first full-length feature film in the 7:1 aspect ratio.
We shot in 6K and are delivering in the 6K BARCO ESCAPE format.
To test out over 70 FREE Aspect Ratios presets in any video or stills editing software…please use this LINK to download Film Dog Pro’s HD Letterbox Template Pack. It contains both 1920×1080 and 1280×720 sized PNGs and the 2 master Photoshop files used to create all the files. They were offered at www.ehartfordstudios.com but the site has been dead for some time. These are an incredible set of tools that allow all filmmakers to match the Aspect Ratios of almost any film ever made. Thank you Film Dog Pro wherever you are…
Lastly, If you would like to morph your footage from 16×9 into Anamorphic…
I created VashiMorphic40 a FREE After Effects project for filmmakers.
Thank you for taking the time to explore my blog and for reading this special post. It’s nice to find a lost nugget of goodness and be able to share it with you all…
Until next time…