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Cinemascope 2,35:1 aspect ratio does not make any sense today
  • When television started to make people to stay home instead of going to cinema theaters, the cinema industry developed a bigger screen called Cinemascope, after succeeded by Panavision, with aspect ratio 2,35:1

    When digital television was created somebody developed the 16:9 aspect ratio because it was the middle term between the old 4:3 TV aspect ratio and the 2,35:1 cinema aspect ratio. The math is 4:3 x 1,33 = 16:9 and 16:9 x 1,33 = 2,37. So the old tv 4:3 aspect ratio could be shown with pilar box and the cinema 2,35 ratio could be shown with letter box, similar black size for both in the new digital tv screen.

    If the Cinemascope and Panavision systems was created to attract people with a bigger screen, so it does not make sense to make films in 2,35 aspect ratio today because the television sets will show a smaller image instead of fill all the screen.

    Also cinema theaters today have screens prepared to show the 16:9 aspect ratio and when you see a 2,35:1 film in the cinema theaters today, there are black screen in top and bottom.

    So, for TV and Cinema 16:9 is the way to go. If you want the beautiful anamorphic flares and oval bokeh, you can use anamorphic lenses, but better decision is to edit the final movie in the 16:9 aspect ratio.

  • 46 Replies sorted by
  • So, for TV and Cinema 16:9 is the way to go. If you want the beautiful anamorphic flares and oval bokeh, you can use anamorphic lenses, but better decision is to edit the final movie in the 16:9 aspect ratio.

    You are fully right.

    Also, if you want anamorphic flares (no one of usual viewers really care for oval bokeh) just use good plugins made for it where required.

    But business does not like such approach, it means less stuff to be sold.

  • Flares and oval bokeh are the least interesting aspect of shooting Anamorphic for me. Getting the compression of a longer lens with the width of a wider lens is what makes the look so appealing to me.

    Of course all of the other attributes are interesting too depending on the situation, but the oval bokeh and flares are stylistic add-ons for me while the compression combined with more horizontal information is something that I would choose to have nearly always if given the choice.

  • Getting the compression of a longer lens with the width of a wider lens is what makes the look so appealing to me.

    Can you show samples where it is really useful and not harming image?

  • I'm not sure what Cinema you're going to, but they're doing it wrong.

  • 2.35:1 is all about composition. If you don't get that... time to go to school, or get out of the game.

  • @shian


    But why not 3:1? or let make it 1:1? It'll be also all about composition.

  • wedges, ratios, and the human brain

  • @shian

    You mean 2.35:1 was scientifically deducted as optimal?

  • There's even more reason to use 2.35:1 now than there ever was. Just learn and practice widescreen camera operation technique.

    Watch The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, as an example where Leone team of camera operator and focus pullers really know their stuff. The wider the screen, the less panning needed to follow the talent across the screen. Compose the shot, let the talent walk , gently follow-pan just enough to keep that wide scenery and stop.

    The only problem was the 24fps as Clint Eastwood walked and flickered his way across the screen. (Don't sit in the front seats). All that's fixed now with 60fps.

  • That flicker wasn't a 24fps issue it was a camera technology gate/shutter issue.

  • @shian Oh no, not that hoary old chestnut again!

    1. Framerate Human perception
      • 10-12 fps Absolute minimum for motion portrayal. Anything below is recognized as individual images.
      • < 16 fps Causes visible stutter, headaches for many.
      • 24 fps Minimum tolerable to perceive motion, cost efficient.
      • 30 fps Much better than 24 fps, but not lifelike. The standard for NTSC video, due to the AC signal frequency.
      • 48 fps Good, but not good enough to feel entirely real (even though Thomas Edison thought so ). Also see this article.
      • 60 fps The sweet spot; most people won’t perceive much smoother images above 60 fps.
      • ∞ fps To date, science hasn’t proven or observed our theoretical limit.


    To simulate sitting in cinema front seats, show the movie (just 350K download link below) on the biggest screen you have and get as close as you can until the screen covers your entire field of vision.

  • how about 2.66:1 with a 2.39:1 extraction ;) hahaha

  • Netflix is pushing 2:1. See Stranger Things or House of Cards.

  • Essentially what we're talking about is the Golden Circle/Rectangle (fibonacci) vs The Rule of 3rds. [which for you audiophiles is the same effect as tuning A to 432hz vs 440hz.]

    "A 432hz" is the frequency that nature vibrates at, so some think this tuning is more organic or (correct), however this tuning is SO in sync with our physiology and our minds that it has an overwhelming tendency to sooth and in some cases create a trance like state in the mind... it's rather boring. "A 440hz" clashes with our minds with just enough discord that it excites, and aggravates it without being overly irritating. It activates the mind and forces movement. One cannot remain in a static state of inaction on a physical, emotional, or mental level.

    Likewise, Fibonacci is found all over in nature. Comps created using "The Golden Rectangle" are less interesting than those made with 3rds. They are soothing, calm, ordinary... Beautiful, but in a way that can be processed by the mind and easily moved on from - they are inert. Conversely like A-440's slight variation from 432, Thirds are only slightly varied from "The Golden Rectangle" - Just enough so that 3rds activate the mind. The correct usage of compositional techniques within this "Rule of Thirds" structure are what has created all the cinematic images that have electrified us, left us in awe, and inspired us.

    2.35:1 allows for 3rds and even 4ths, 5ths and sometimes 6ths to have the same effect on us - it's electrifying. Whereas 1.77:1 and 1.78:1 only do so to a much much lesser degree as they are too close to Fibonacci which is a tiny bit over 1.6:1

    1.78:1 is bland and unexciting... inert.

  • Point Blank 1967 (2.35:1)

    Directed by John Boorman, ( Zardoz, Deliverance, Excalibur)

    Fall of the Roman Empire ( 2.20:1) / directed ny Anthony Mann ( El Cid, The Far Country)

    HBO Rome (16:9) TV series created by Bruno Heller, William J. MacDonald, John Milius

    Bad Day at Black Rock (2.55 : 1)

    Directed by John Sturges ( Ice Station Zebra, The Great Escape, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral )

    John Sturges shot two versions of the film one in widescreen and one in 4:3. The studio was concerned that a widescreen film without “ thousands of extras, thousands of togas, amphitheaters with Christians being mauled by lions.” would not work. They asked him what he was going to do with “all that space.” MGM dumped the 4:3 version.

    Interiors were shot at MGM in Culver City. The town was constructed at Lone Pine CA. around 200 miles north of Los Angeles.

  • Digital Cinema Projectors are: 2048x1080 or 4096 x 2160 = 1,9:1 aspect ratio.

    So the modern cinema screens are much more close to 16:9. (1,9:1 is more near 1,78:1 than 2,37:1)

    So the 2,37:1 will have letterbox empty black screen in top and bottom in modern cinema screens.

  • All aspect ratios are relevant today. There have been many ratios used in film and TV and other forms of media. We still have to deal with all the existing archives and old formats. Choose an aspect that works for the job and the viewer. There never was any magical ideal aspect. Everything was based on compromise. The same applies to still photography. This topic is divisive and useless.

  • Maybe this topic can be more than just wood on the fire...

  • Essentially what we're talking about is the Golden Circle/Rectangle (fibonacci) vs The Rule of 3rds

    No, we're not talking mumbo-jumbo.

    We're talking about plenty of space. Upwards, not so much. -unless we're interested in what's in the sky. Viewed on the right-sized screen from the right distances, widescreen approximates what we see anyway. It's the least artificial, least intrusive. Viewers turn their heads to see parts of the screen instead of having their head arbitrarily "turned" by camera pans and tracks. Characters, animals and objects move in space. image