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49 minutes ago, Dom Jaeger said:

That's actually a really good possibility, it was simply the mean of the two most extreme aspect ratios commonly in use. 

That would make a certain amount of sense.

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2 hours ago, Dom Jaeger said:

Sure, it's easier to picture the shape of an aspect ratio using decimal ratios relative to one.  I was just pointing out the mathematical derivation of most aspect ratios, not promoting a different terminology.  

Though personally I don't have a problem with integer ratios. It just describes the relationship in a different way, and illuminates a different aspect of it. Your position is basically saying that fractions are too confusing and should be replaced with their decimal conversions, but there are good reasons to keep using fractions. Arguing for clarity in communication is a valid stance, but we need to be careful not to end up just dumbing things down.

No worries, I’m just taking the piss. Back to my pint now... 

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9 hours ago, Jon O'Brien said:

"'..The aspect ratio was probably decided just by eye. 2:1 was too cropped, and 16:9 wasn't wide enough. So someone just said, "okay, 1.85:1 looks about right .... we'll make it that."

I guess it was the other way around isn't it? 1.85 existed before 2.00:1, 1.85 wasnt wide and 2.39 was too wide, so Vittoria came up with 2:1

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21 hours ago, Brian Drysdale said:

Cinemas are set up for 1.85:1 projection, as is the workflow and the cameras designed for cinema productions. 16:9 can have slight pillars on either side if you're going through the full 2k DCP workflow,.

 

 

So we can say that 1.85 is shot to fit the extreme size of most of the cinema screens without pillar boxing and letter boxing? Aint cinema screens mostly in 2.39 aspect ratio?

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2.00:1 was used by one process in the 1950s, but it never took off.

Traditionally, cinemas  have curtains (or tabs) that opened to the 1.85:1 aspect ration, and than opened out wider to the 2.39::aspect ratio. some could also do 1.33:1 and 1.66:1. 

These days many multiplexes just have a large screen and the scope films are projected with not much difference in width compared to 1.85:1 films.

The way to think about is that !,85:1 is the cinema standard and 16:9 is the broadcast and video standard. I seem to recall the manufacturing the CRT TVs was also  a factor in deciding the latter aspect ratio.

In the end, it's the same as the US Navy and the USAF having different ways of doing things. Cinema continued using !.85:1 because they were shooting on film and the digital projection system had to follow that standard as do 2k and 4k digital files. 

 

 

 

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Perhaps one of the reasons for 1.85 was the two shot.  4x3 ratio is terrible for this (although perfect for shots accentuating the height of things... think Imax).  With 1.85:1, you get perfect compositions of actors talking and reacting, without having to cut from one to the other, that's assuming they are doing it well.  The same with wider ratios like 2.2:1 and 2.39:1, although then there is more of a potential problem with the background which may or may not work.

For me, 1.85 is aesthetically just right, also giving a sense of widescreen, and covering lots of framing possibilties.  2:1 though would look too symetrical 😑 and draw attention away from the story.  16:9 on the other hand is not one thing or the other, and just doesn't seem to work well in a lot of cases.

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1 hour ago, Doug Palmer said:

For me, 1.85 is aesthetically just right, also giving a sense of widescreen, and covering lots of framing possibilties.  2:1 though would look too symetrical 😑 and draw attention away from the story.  16:9 on the other hand is not one thing or the other, and just doesn't seem to work well in a lot of cases.

I agree.

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The outer box is 1.78 and the black borders show 1.85 inside that. The difference is so minimal that to suggest one works most of the time and the other rarely works is a bizarre claim. If I put up a series of 1.85 images and 1.78 images on Instagram, well over 90% of viewers would not catch that there was a difference.

35CA6D4D-A1CB-4C35-962C-37CC95AB415A.jpeg

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On 2/20/2021 at 6:57 PM, Nicolas POISSON said:

When shooting with the full sensor width, 16:9 uses a greater surface than "17:9" or "DCI"  (other ways to say 1.85:1). 

This is not always true. Sony cameras like the the F55, f5, and FS7 have native 17:9 sensors.

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12 hours ago, Fiza Chughtai said:

I guess it was the other way around isn't it? 1.85 existed before 2.00:1, 1.85 wasnt wide and 2.39 was too wide, so Vittoria came up with 2:1

 

9 hours ago, Brian Drysdale said:

2.00:1 was used by one process in the 1950s, but it never took off.

 

2:1 was used in 1930 on The Bat Whispers.  Which was also the first usage of 65mm film.

 

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I for one love ALL aspect ratios.
As long as you're composing for the frame, what's the problem ?

Movies like 'The Deer Hunter' ( 2.39:1 ) and 'Singin' in the Rain' ( 1.375:1 ) look beautiful and are perfection in composition.

John S 😉

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Thanks David, I agree your examples do work on both ratios, and arguably the 16:9 one is slightly better.  But what I meant about two-shots is more of the closeup kind.

Episode 2: The Godfather (1972) – Flahertys On Films

Somehow for me, I find the 1.85:1 ratio more interesting.

And the wider ratios such as 2.2:1 likewise, when there's other important details in frame!

50 years of 2001: A Space Odyssey – five films that influenced Kubrick's  giant leap for sci-fi | BFI

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6 hours ago, Doug Palmer said:

Thanks David, I agree your examples do work on both ratios, and arguably the 16:9 one is slightly better.  But what I meant about two-shots is more of the closeup kind.

Episode 2: The Godfather (1972) – Flahertys On Films

Somehow for me, I find the 1.85:1 ratio more interesting.

And the wider ratios such as 2.2:1 likewise, when there's other important details in frame!

50 years of 2001: A Space Odyssey – five films that influenced Kubrick's  giant leap for sci-fi | BFI

It would be better to compare same scenes/compositions in different ratios

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27 minutes ago, Fiza Chughtai said:

It would be better to compare same scenes/compositions in different ratios

The thing is, if you have an eye for composition, you would probably frame the same scene differently given a different aspect ratio.  Cropping a well-composed image into a different aspect ratio is not the same thing as an original composition.  Sometimes cinematographers have to compose images with two separate aspect ratios in mind, knowing that there will be different release formats, but usually one is the better composition.

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6 minutes ago, Dom Jaeger said:

The thing is, if you have an eye for composition, you would probably frame the same scene differently given a different aspect ratio.  Cropping a well-composed image into a different aspect ratio is not the same thing as an original composition.

Ya I agree.

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Till now I have found 2 technical reasons to opt for 1.85 if one has to;

1. To fit the max size of cinema screens (i.e. if this is the ground reality that screens are of mostly 1.85 ratio..are they?

2. To use the max film negative area to avoid degradation of quality as one of the contributor mentioned in the comments. (Though with such High Tech DI services available nowadays would resolution even matter when image resolutions are already too high to worry about any kind of degradation cause of not using full area of film negative?

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This has the feeling that it's going to go around in circles.

Cinemas are deigned for projecting the 1'85: aspect ratio, because that's the historical standard in the film industry. You can project your 16:9 film on the same screen, but it won't go to the full width, assuming that both formats are projected at the same height. Will the audience jump up and point at the edge of the screen? They haven't at any screenings of films I know that have been shot on video. 

If you screen a 1.85:1 film on a 16:9 TV or video monitor and maintain the full height,  the picture will be slightly cropped on either side. However, this may be no more than you'd get in some theatres that have tabs on the curtains, which give you a sharp edge to the screen, rather than seeing the projector's gate.

You get more grain on film, which may become a factor as you reduce the area being used on the negative. It depends on the nature of the story.

If you're looking for a definitive technical reason why feature films are shot in 18.5:1, you're probably unlikely to get one.

 

 

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12 hours ago, Dom Jaeger said:

The thing is, if you have an eye for composition, you would probably frame the same scene differently given a different aspect ratio.  Cropping a well-composed image into a different aspect ratio is not the same thing as an original composition.  Sometimes cinematographers have to compose images with two separate aspect ratios in mind, knowing that there will be different release formats, but usually one is the better composition.

Except that in the case of 1.85 vs. 1.78, being only a few pixels different in size, the compositional design would be nearly identical.

 

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On blu-ray, a 1.85 movie would be letterboxed inside 1.78 like below. On an HDTV broadcast, it would likely be full-frame 1.78, probably not cropped from 1.85 on the sides but opened up top & bottom, just depends on how the D.I. was done -- usually you would make multiple masters, a 1.85 DCI version, a letterboxed 1.85 inside 1.78 HDTV version, a full-frame HDTV version, etc. 

But to say that if the camera framelines were 1.78 instead of 1.85, a different artistic framing would have been chosen is pretty unlikely, they are so similar.

Screen Shot 2021-02-16 at 11.21.42 AM.jpg

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