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Why are 90% of Netflix series framed at 2:1 aspect ratio?

Daniel Miler

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From the Camera and Image Capture section of Netflix's Production and Post-Production Requirements:



Aspect ratios greater than 2.00:1 must be evaluated and discussed with Netflix for approval.


As Stuart says, it's a compromise between Netflix not wanting overly-large black bars that annoy viewers, and the widespread belief that wide aspect ratios are a shortcut to giving television shows a cinematic look.

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Thanks all

I think I was a bit unclear before, of course the resolution and aspect are two separate matters, I just meant Netflix's strictness about the first might imply their approach for the other...

In any case as Daniel said I imagined it would be their regulation.

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Why do camera,s.. mine included have a 2.40-1 marker and a 2.35-1 marker.. isnt the correct aspect ratio 2.40-1 (3.9?).. when is the 2.35-1 used then.. or its it a "TV 2.4-1..".. less black..?


Wikipedia has a decent summary of the history behind the slight changes to the anamorphic projection aspect ratio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anamorphic_format#2.35,_2.39_or_2.40?

Edited by Daniel Klockenkemper
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Why do camera,s.. mine included have a 2.40-1 marker and a 2.35-1 marker.. isnt the correct aspect ratio 2.40-1 (3.9?).. when is the 2.35-1 used then.. or its it a "TV 2.4-1..".. less black..?


almost all "scope" shows are 2.39 just because that is the DCI "scope" native.

2.35 is talked about every now and then in preprod but all the people end up using the 2.39 anyway when the show goes to post, no one would like to leave black bars on the sides of the frame or export their show to 2k flat just because wanting that very small aspect ratio difference...


technically one could letterbox the 2.35 to the dci 2048x1080 frame but I have never seen anyone use that format in real life, it may be that the post people just want to make projectionist's life easier by not adding third dcp format to the list of choices to complicate things (how did they manage in the film era or were the projectionists just more experienced back then, having to change gates and anything... compared to the current lazy iPad remote controlled work :rolleyes: )

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So why have 2.35 -1 markers in just about every camera.. if no one uses this old aspect ratio.. thats my question.. ?.. is it a TV aspect ration with less black bars.. ? Ive only shot a cropped version of 16-9 ..with a" common head room".. andI I guess they just played around with the crop in post shot by shot.. but still I wonder.. why the prevalence of 2.35-1 markers in all modern camera,s EVF..?

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A new scope?


It is older then netflix!!!


It is invented by DP Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now and many others) in 1998. It was first used for the photography of the movie "Tango" by Carlos Saura.


It is called Univisium. Storaro invented the aspect ratio 1:2.00 (18:9) as a compromise. For him it was clear that the TV aspect ratio 16:9 will have sucess and that in the future many will film digital or 65mm film stock. And the aspect ratio for 65mm is 1:2,2. So he choosed as an average 1:2.00.

Mostly he shot himself in Super 35mm in 3perf. Technovision and Clairmont modified some Arriflex 435 and 535 for Univisium.


Also movies with a theatrical realease are shot in our days in this format like "Jurassic World".


So it is not a netflix thing or idea, but they thought that the idea of Storaro was good and decided to use this compromise aspect ratio. Not a bad idea...


...but I prefer other aspect ratios...


And what I really do not like is that Storaro also reframed his old work in this aspect ratio for new realeases. Why do not use the original aspect ratio? It is not only a decision of the cinematographer to choose a aspect ratio. And if it is choosen then also other departments are working for this aspect ratio! I do not like later reframing...

...but this is another discussion...

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Thank you, Davis Mullen for you correction.

I did not know this two formats. So I learn more...

...now I was more interested and looked up in my "old" book about some some formats. I did not found the two you mentioned. Maybe because it is a book from Germany and the system was never used in Europe.

There are so many formats and aspect ratios, especially also in the old 3D filming, which you cannot find in any publication and also not in the web.


But I found another format with the aspect ratio 2:1.

It is Colorama. It was shoot in 2perf and the print was with skip-frame and without an Anamorphot.

Unfortunatley I did not found more about this format.


Maybe, you David, know more about it...

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