Aspect ratio (image)

# Aspect ratio (image)

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 Five common aspect ratios

The aspect ratio of an image
Image
An image is an artifact, for example a two-dimensional picture, that has a similar appearance to some subject—usually a physical object or a person.-Characteristics:...

is the ratio of the width of the image to its height, expressed as two numbers separated by a colon. That is, for an x:y aspect ratio, no matter how big or small the image is, if the width is divided into x units of equal length and the height is measured using this same length unit, the height will be measured to be y units. For example, consider a group of images, all with an aspect ratio of 16:9. One image is 16 inches wide and 9 inches high. Another image is 16 centimeters wide and 9 centimeters high. A third is 8 yards wide and 4.5 yards high.

Aspect ratios are mathematically expressed as x:y and x×y , with the latter particularly used for pixel dimensions, such as 640×480. Cinematographic aspect ratios are usually denoted as a (rounded) decimal multiple of width vs unit height, while photographic and videographic aspect ratios are usually defined and denoted by whole number ratios of width to height. In digital image
Digital image
A digital image is a numeric representation of a two-dimensional image. Depending on whether or not the image resolution is fixed, it may be of vector or raster type...

s there is a subtle distinction between the Display Aspect Ratio (the image as displayed) and the Storage Aspect Ratio (the ratio of pixel dimensions); see distinctions, below.

The most common aspect ratios used today in the presentation of film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

s in movie theaters are 1.85:1 and 2.39:1. Two common videographic
Videography
Videography refers to the process of capturing moving images on electronic media even streaming media). The term includes methods of video production and post-production...

aspect ratios are 4:3 (1.:1), the universal video format of the 20th century and ; 16:9 (1.:1), universal for high-definition television
High-definition television
High-definition television is video that has resolution substantially higher than that of traditional television systems . HDTV has one or two million pixels per frame, roughly five times that of SD...

and European digital television
Digital television
Digital television is the transmission of audio and video by digital signals, in contrast to the analog signals used by analog TV...

. Other cinema and video aspect ratios exist, but are used infrequently. , nominally 21:9 (2.) aspect TVs have been introduced by Philips
Philips
Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. , more commonly known as Philips, is a multinational Dutch electronics company....

and Vizio
Vizio
Vizio is a privately held producer of consumer electronics, based in Irvine, California, USA. It was founded in October 2002 as V Inc. Vizio's major partner in the consumer electronics arena is AmTran Technology, a Taiwan-based OEM/ODM that manufactures more than half of the televisions sold...

(the latter using an LCD from AU Optronics
AU Optronics
AU Optronics was formed in December 2001 by the merger of Acer Display Technology, Inc., and Unipac Optoelectronics Corporation. In October 2006, AUO merged with Quanta Display Inc. to create a leading TFT-LCD manufacturer. Additionally, the amassed production of the company's G6 reached worldwide...

) as "cinema" displays, though the resolution is more precisely 2560 / 1080 = 2.37 (2.) exactly), and the aspect ratio is not standardized in HDTV.

In still camera
Still camera
A still camera is a type of camera used to take photographs. Traditional cameras capture light onto photographic film. Digital cameras use electronics, usually a charge coupled device to store digital images in computer memory inside the camera...

photography, the most common aspect ratios are 4:3, 3:2, and more recently being found in consumer cameras 16:9. Other aspect ratios, such as 5:4, 6:7, and 1:1 (square format), are used in photography as well, particularly in medium format
Medium format
Medium format has traditionally referred to a film format in still photography and the related cameras and equipment that use that film. Generally, the term applies to film and digital cameras that record images on media larger than 24 by 36 mm , but smaller than 4 by 5 inches .In digital...

and large format
Large format
Large format refers to any imaging format of 4×5 inches or larger. Large format is larger than "medium format", the 6×6 cm or 6×9 cm size of Hasselblad, Rollei, Kowa, Pentax etc cameras , and much larger than the 24×36 mm frame of 35 mm format.The main advantage...

.

With television, DVD
DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

and Blu-ray, converting formats of unequal ratios is achieved by either: enlarging the original image (by the same factor in both directions) to fill the receiving format's display area and cutting off any excess picture information (zooming
Digital zoom
Digital zoom is a method of decreasing the apparent angle of view of a digital photographic or video image. Digital zoom is accomplished by cropping an image down to a centered area with the same aspect ratio as the original, and usually also interpolating the result back up to the pixel...

and cropping), by adding horizontal mattes (letterbox
Letterbox
Letterboxing is the practice of transferring film shot in a widescreen aspect ratio to standard-width video formats while preserving the film's original aspect ratio. The resulting videographic image has mattes above and below it; these mattes are part of the image...

ing) or vertical mattes (pillarboxing) to retain the original format's aspect ratio, or (for TV and DVD) by stretching (hence distorting) the image to fill the receiving format's ratio, by scaling by different factors in both directions, possibly scaling by a different factor in the center and at the edges (as in Wide Zoom mode).

## Practical limitations

In motion picture formats, the physical size of the film area between the sprocket
Sprocket
A sprocket or sprocket-wheel is a profiled wheel with teeth, cogs, or even sprockets that mesh with a chain, track or other perforated or indented material. The name 'sprocket' applies generally to any wheel upon which are radial projections that engage a chain passing over it...

perforations determines the image's size. The universal standard (established by William Dickson and Thomas Edison
Thomas Edison
Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. In addition, he created the world’s first industrial...

in 1892) is a frame that is four perforations high. The film itself is 35 mm wide (1.38 in), but the area between the perforations is 24.89 mm×18.67 mm (0.980 in×0.735 in), leaving the de facto ratio of 4:3, or 1.:1.

With a space designated for the standard optical soundtrack
Sound-on-film
Sound-on-film refers to a class of sound film processes where the sound accompanying picture is physically recorded onto photographic film, usually, but not always, the same strip of film carrying the picture. Sound-on-film processes can either record an analog sound track or digital sound track,...

, and the frame size reduced to maintain an image that is wider than tall (mimicking human eyesight), this resulted in the Academy
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a professional honorary organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures...

aperture of 22 mm × 16 mm (0.866 in × 0.630 in) or 1.37:1 aspect ratio.

## Cinema terminology

The motion picture industry convention assigns a value of 1.0 to the image’s height; thus, an anamorphic frame (actually 2.39:1) is described (rounded) as 2.40:1 or 2.40 ("two-four-oh"). In American cinemas, the common projection ratios are 1.85:1 and 2.40:1. Some European countries have 1.66:1 as the wide screen standard. The "Academy ratio" of 1.37:1 was used for all cinema films until 1953 (with the release of George Stevens
George Stevens
George Stevens was an American film director, producer, screenwriter and cinematographer.Among his most notable films were Diary of Anne Frank , nominated for Best Director, Giant , winner of Oscar for Best Director, Shane , Oscar nominated, and A Place in the Sun , winner of Oscar for Best...

's Shane in 1.66:1). During that time, television, which had a similar aspect ratio of 1.:1, became a threat to movie audiences, Hollywood gave birth to a large number of wide-screen formats: CinemaScope
CinemaScope
CinemaScope was an anamorphic lens series used for shooting wide screen movies from 1953 to 1967. Its creation in 1953, by the president of 20th Century-Fox, marked the beginning of the modern anamorphic format in both principal photography and movie projection.The anamorphic lenses theoretically...

(up to 2.:1), Todd-AO
Todd-AO
Todd-AO is a post-production company founded in 1953, providing sound-related services to the motion picture and television industries. The company operates three facilities in the Los Angeles area.-History:...

(2.20:1), and VistaVision
VistaVision
VistaVision is a higher resolution, widescreen variant of the 35mm motion picture film format which was created by engineers at Paramount Pictures in 1954....

(initially 1.50:1, now 1.66:1 to 2.00:1) to name just a few. The "flat" 1.85:1 aspect ratio was introduced in May, 1953, and became one of the most common cinema projection standards in the U.S. and elsewhere.

### Movie camera systems

Development of various film camera systems must ultimately cater to the placement of the frame in relation to the lateral constraints of the perforations and the optical soundtrack area. One clever wide screen alternative, VistaVision
VistaVision
VistaVision is a higher resolution, widescreen variant of the 35mm motion picture film format which was created by engineers at Paramount Pictures in 1954....

, used standard 35 mm film running sideways through the camera gate, so that the sprocket holes were above and below frame, allowing a larger horizontal negative size per frame as only the vertical size was now restricted by the perforations. However, the 1.50:1 ratio of the initial VistaVision image was optically converted to a vertical print (on standard 4-perforation 35 mm film
35 mm film
35 mm film is the film gauge most commonly used for chemical still photography and motion pictures. The name of the gauge refers to the width of the photographic film, which consists of strips 35 millimeters in width...

) to show in the projectors available at theaters, and was then masked in the projector to the US standard of 1.85:1. The format was briefly revived by Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm
Lucasfilm Limited is an American film production company founded by George Lucas in 1971, based in San Francisco, California. Lucas is the company's current chairman and CEO, and Micheline Chau is the president and COO....

in the 1970s for special effects work that required larger negative size (due to image degradation from the optical printing steps necessary to make multi-layer composites). It went into obsolescence largely due to better cameras, lenses, and film stocks available to standard 4-perforation formats, in addition to increased lab costs of making prints in comparison to more standard vertical processes. (The horizontal process was later adapted to 70 mm film by IMAX
IMAX
IMAX is a motion picture film format and a set of proprietary cinema projection standards created by the Canadian company IMAX Corporation. IMAX has the capacity to record and display images of far greater size and resolution than conventional film systems...

.)

Super 16 mm film
16 mm film
16 mm film refers to a popular, economical gauge of film used for motion pictures and non-theatrical film making. 16 mm refers to the width of the film...

is frequently used for television production due to its lower cost, lack of need for soundtrack space on the film itself (as it is not projected but rather transferred to video), and aspect ratio similar to 16:9 (the native ratio of Super 16 mm is 1.66:1 while 16:9 is 1.:1). It also can be blown up to 35 mm for theatrical release and therefore is also used for feature films.

### 4:3 standard

4:3 (1.:1) (generally named as "Four-Three", "Four-by-Three", and "Four-to-Three") for standard television has been in use since television's origins and many computer monitors employ the same aspect ratio. 4:3 is the aspect ratio used for 35 mm films in the silent era and used today for film production under the name Super 35. It is also very close to the 1.37:1 aspect ratio defined by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a professional honorary organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures...

as a standard after the advent of optical sound-on-film
Sound-on-film
Sound-on-film refers to a class of sound film processes where the sound accompanying picture is physically recorded onto photographic film, usually, but not always, the same strip of film carrying the picture. Sound-on-film processes can either record an analog sound track or digital sound track,...

. By having TV match this aspect ratio, films previously photographed on film could be satisfactorily viewed on TV in the early days of the medium (i.e. the 1940s and the 1950s). When cinema
Movie theater
A movie theater, cinema, movie house, picture theater, film theater is a venue, usually a building, for viewing motion pictures ....

attendance dropped, Hollywood created widescreen
Widescreen
Widescreen images are a variety of aspect ratios used in film, television and computer screens. In film, a widescreen film is any film image with a width-to-height aspect ratio greater than the standard 1.37:1 Academy aspect ratio provided by 35mm film....

aspect ratios (such as the 1.85:1 ratio mentioned earlier) in order to differentiate the film industry from TV.

### 16:9 standard

16:9 (1.:1) (generally named as "Sixteen-Nine", "Sixteen-by-Nine" and "Sixteen-to-Nine") is the international standard format of HDTV
High-definition television
High-definition television is video that has resolution substantially higher than that of traditional television systems . HDTV has one or two million pixels per frame, roughly five times that of SD...

, non-HD digital television
Television
Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

and analog widescreen television PALplus
PALplus
PALplus is an extension of the PAL analogue broadcasting system for transmitting 16:9 programs without sacrificing vertical resolution. It followed experiences with the HD-MAC and D2-MAC, standards that were incompatible with existing receivers but featured a 16:9 aspect ratio...

. Japan's Hi-Vision originally started with a 5:3 ratio but converted when the international standards group introduced a wider ratio of 5⅓ to 3 (=16:9). Many digital video
Digital video
Digital video is a type of digital recording system that works by using a digital rather than an analog video signal.The terms camera, video camera, and camcorder are used interchangeably in this article.- History :...

cameras have the capability to record in 16:9, and 16:9 is the only widescreen aspect ratio natively supported by the DVD. DVD producers can also choose to show even wider ratios such as 1.85:1 and 2.39:1 within the 16:9 DVD frame by hard matting or adding black bars within the image itself. Some films which were made in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, such as the U.S.-Italian co-production Man of La Mancha
Man of La Mancha (film)
Man of La Mancha is a 1972 film adaptation of the Broadway musical Man of La Mancha by Dale Wasserman, with music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion...

, fit quite comfortably onto a 1.:1 HDTV screen and have been issued anamorphically enhanced on DVD without the black bars.

## Obtaining height, width and area of the screen

Often, screen specifications are given by their diagonal length. The following formulae can be used to find the height (h), width (l for length) and area (A), where r stands for ratio and d for diagonal length.

## Distinctions

This article primarily addresses the aspect ratio of images as displayed, which is more formally referred to as the Display Aspect Ratio (DAR). In digital image
Digital image
A digital image is a numeric representation of a two-dimensional image. Depending on whether or not the image resolution is fixed, it may be of vector or raster type...

s, there is a distinction with the (SAR), which is the ratio of pixel dimensions. If an image is displayed with square pixels, then these ratios agree; if not, then non-square, "rectangular" pixels are used, and these ratios disagree. The aspect ratio of the pixels themselves is known as the Pixel Aspect Ratio
Pixel aspect ratio
Pixel aspect ratio is a mathematical ratio that describes how the width of a pixel in a digital image compares to the height of that pixel....

(PAR) – for square pixels this is 1:1 – and these are related by the identity:
SAR × PAR = DAR.

Rearranging (solving for PAR) yields:
PAR = DAR/SAR.

For example, a 640 × 480 VGA image has a SAR of 640/480 = 4:3, and if displayed on a 4:3 display (DAR = 4:3) has square pixels, hence a PAR of 1:1. By contrast, a 720 × 576 D-1 PAL image has a SAR of 720/576 = 5:4, but is displayed on a 4:3 display (DAR = 4:3), so by this formula it would have a PAR of (4:3)/(5:4) = 16:15.

However, because standard definition digital video was originally based on digitally sampling analog television, the 720 horizontal pixels actually capture a slightly wider image to avoid loss of the original analog picture. In actual images, these extra pixels are often partly or entirely black, as only the center 704 horizontal pixels carry actual 4:3 or 16:9 image. Hence, the actual pixel aspect ratio for PAL video is a little different from that given by the formula, specifically 12:11 for PAL and 10:11 for NTSC. For consistency, the same effective pixel aspect ratios are used even for standard definition digital video originated in digital form rather than converted from analog. For more details refer to the main article.

In analog images such as film there is no notion of pixel, nor notion of SAR or PAR, and "aspect ratio" refers unambiguously to DAR. Actual displays do not generally have non-square pixels, though digital sensors might; they are rather a mathematical abstraction used in resampling images to convert between resolutions.

Non-square pixels arise often in early digital TV standards, related to digitalization of analog TV signals – whose horizontal and vertical resolutions differ and are thus best described by non-square pixels – and also in some digital videocameras and computer display modes, such as Color Graphics Adapter
The Color Graphics Adapter , originally also called the Color/Graphics Adapter or IBM Color/Graphics Monitor Adapter, introduced in 1981, was IBM's first color graphics card, and the first color computer display standard for the IBM PC....

(CGA). Today they arise particularly in transcoding between resolutions with different SARs.

DAR is also known as Image Aspect Ratio and Picture Aspect Ratio, though the latter can be confused with Pixel Aspect Ratio.

## Visual comparisons

Comparing two different aspect ratios poses some subtleties – when comparing two aspect ratios, one may compare images with equal height, equal width, equal diagonal, or equal area. More amorphous questions include whether particular subject matter has a natural aspect ratio (panoramas being wide, full-length images of people being tall), or whether a particular ratio is more or less aesthetically pleasing – the golden ratio
Golden ratio
In mathematics and the arts, two quantities are in the golden ratio if the ratio of the sum of the quantities to the larger quantity is equal to the ratio of the larger quantity to the smaller one. The golden ratio is an irrational mathematical constant, approximately 1.61803398874989...

(1.618) is seen as especially pleasing, though only the 16:10 format is close to it.

Given the same diagonal, the 4:3 screen offers more area, because it is closer to square (which maximizes area given a diagonal). For CRT-based technology, an aspect ratio that is closer to square is cheaper to manufacture. The same is true for projectors, and other optical devices such as cameras, camcorders, etc. For LCD and Plasma displays, however, the cost is more related to the area, so producing wider and shorter screens yields the same advertised diagonal but lower area, and hence is more profitable.

The following compares crops of a given image at 4:3 and 16:9, with different parameters equal; note that in terms of subject, the squarer aspect ratio emphasizes the public square, while the wider aspect ratio emphasizes the wide building.
• Two aspect ratios compared with images using the same diagonal size:
• Two aspect ratios compared with images using the same area (number of pixels):
• Two aspect ratios compared with images using the same height (vertical size):
• Two aspect ratios compared with images using the same width (horizontal size):

## Previous and currently used aspect ratios

See list of common resolutions for a listing of computer resolutions and aspect ratios.
See list of film formats for a full listing of film formats, including their aspect ratios.

1.15: Sometimes referred to as the Movietone
Movietone sound system
The Movietone sound system is a sound-on-film method of recording sound for motion pictures that guarantees synchronization between sound and picture. It achieves this by recording the sound as a variable-density optical track on the same strip of film that records the pictures...

ratio, this ratio was used briefly during the transitional period when the film industry was converting to sound, from 1926-32 approx. It is produced by superimposing an optical soundtrack over a full-gate 1. aperture in printing, resulting in an almost square image. Films shot in this ratio are often projected or transferred to video incorrectly using a 1.37 mask. Examples of films shot in the Movietone ratio include Sunrise
Sunrise (film)
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, also known as Sunrise, is a 1927 American silent film directed by German film director F. W. Murnau. The story was adapted by Carl Mayer from the short story "Die Reise nach Tilsit" by Hermann Sudermann.Sunrise won an Academy Award for Unique and Artistic Production...

, M
M (1931 film)
M is a 1931 German drama-thriller directed by Fritz Lang and written by Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou. It was Lang's first sound film, although he had directed more than a dozen films previously....

and Hallelujah!
Hallelujah! (1929 film)
Hallelujah! is a 1929 MGM musical directed by King Vidor, starring Daniel L. Haynes and the then unknown Nina Mae McKinney.Filmed in Tennessee and Arkansas and chronicling the troubled quest of a sharecropper, Zeke Johnson , and his relationship with the seductive Chick , Hallelujah! was one of the...

.
1. (4:3): 35 mm original silent film ratio, today commonly known in TV and video
Video
Video is the technology of electronically capturing, recording, processing, storing, transmitting, and reconstructing a sequence of still images representing scenes in motion.- History :...

as 4:3. Also standard ratio for MPEG-2
MPEG-2
MPEG-2 is a standard for "the generic coding of moving pictures and associated audio information". It describes a combination of lossy video compression and lossy audio data compression methods which permit storage and transmission of movies using currently available storage media and transmission...

video compression. This format is still used in many personal video cameras today and has influenced the selection or design of other aspect ratios. It is the standard 16 mm and Super 35mm ratio.
1.37: 35 mm full-screen sound film image, nearly universal in movies between 1932 and 1953. Officially adopted as the Academy ratio
The Academy ratio of 1.375:1 is an aspect ratio of a frame of 35mm film when used with 4-perf pulldown. It was standardized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as the standard film aspect ratio in 1932, although similar-sized ratios were used as early as 1928.The Academy ratio is...

in 1932 by AMPAS. Rarely used in theatrical context nowadays, but occasionally used for other context.
1.43: IMAX
IMAX
IMAX is a motion picture film format and a set of proprietary cinema projection standards created by the Canadian company IMAX Corporation. IMAX has the capacity to record and display images of far greater size and resolution than conventional film systems...

format. Imax productions use 70 mm wide film (the same as used for 70 mm feature films), but the film runs through the camera and projector horizontally. This allows for a physically larger area for each image.
1.50 (3:2): The aspect ratio of 35 mm film used for still photography when 8 perforations are exposed. Also the native aspect ratio of VistaVision
VistaVision
VistaVision is a higher resolution, widescreen variant of the 35mm motion picture film format which was created by engineers at Paramount Pictures in 1954....

, for which the film runs horizontally.
1. (14:9): Widescreen aspect ratio sometimes used in shooting commercials etc. as a compromise format between 4:3 (12:9) and 16:9. When converted to a 16:9 frame, there is slight pillarboxing, while conversion to 4:3 creates slight letterbox
Letterbox
Letterboxing is the practice of transferring film shot in a widescreen aspect ratio to standard-width video formats while preserving the film's original aspect ratio. The resulting videographic image has mattes above and below it; these mattes are part of the image...

ing.
1.60 (16:10): Widescreen computer monitor ratio (for instance 1920x1200 resolution).
1. (15:9 = 5:3): 35 mm Originally a flat ratio invented by Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film production and distribution company, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Founded in 1912 and currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, it is America's oldest existing film studio; it is also the last major film studio still...

, now a standard among several European countries; native Super 16 mm frame ratio. Sometimes this ratio is rounded up to 1.67:1. From the late 1980's to the early 2000's, Walt Disney Feature Animation
Walt Disney Feature Animation
Walt Disney Animation Studios is an American animation studio headquartered in Burbank, California. The studio, founded in 1923 as the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio by brothers Walt and Roy Disney, is the oldest subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company...

's CAPS program
Computer Animation Production System
The Computer Animation Production System is a proprietary collection of software programs, scanning camera systems, servers, networked computer workstations, and custom desks developed by The Walt Disney Company together with Pixar in the late-1980s...

animated their features in the 1.66:1 ratio (a compromise between the 1.85:1 theatrical ratio and the 1.33:1 ratio used for home video).
1.75: Early 35 mm widescreen ratio, primarily used by MGM and Warner Bros. between 1953 and 1955, and since abandoned, though Disney has cropped some of its post-50's Full Screen films to this ratio for DVD i.e. The Jungle Book
The Jungle Book (1967 film)
The Jungle Book is a 1967 American animated film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios. Released on October 18, 1967, it is the 19th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. It was inspired by the stories about the feral child Mowgli from the book of the same name by...

.
1. (16:9 = 42:32): Video widescreen standard, used in high-definition television
High-definition television
High-definition television is video that has resolution substantially higher than that of traditional television systems . HDTV has one or two million pixels per frame, roughly five times that of SD...

, one of three ratios specified for MPEG-2
MPEG-2
MPEG-2 is a standard for "the generic coding of moving pictures and associated audio information". It describes a combination of lossy video compression and lossy audio data compression methods which permit storage and transmission of movies using currently available storage media and transmission...

video compression. Also used increasingly in personal video cameras. Sometimes this ratio is rounded up to 1.78:1.
1.85: 35 mm US and UK widescreen standard for theatrical film. Introduced by Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures
-1920:* White Youth* The Flaming Disc* Am I Dreaming?* The Dragon's Net* The Adorable Savage* Putting It Over* The Line Runners-1921:* The Fire Eater* A Battle of Wits* Dream Girl* The Millionaire...

in May, 1953. Projects approximately 3 perforations
Film perforations
Film perforations, also known as perfs, are the holes placed in the film stock during manufacturing and used for transporting and steadying the film. Films may have different types of perforations depending on film gauge, film format, and the intended usage...

("perfs") of image space per 4 perf frame; films can be shot in 3-perf
Negative pulldown
Negative pulldown is the manner in which an image is exposed on a film stock, described in the number of film perforations spanned by an individual frame. It can also describe the orientation of the image on the negative, whether it is captured horizontally or vertically...

to save cost of film stock.
2.00: Original SuperScope
Superscope
Superscope may refer to:* Superscope, an anamorphic widescreen and full screen process Also, the name of the company that developed Superscope 235: Superscope Inc., founded in 1954 by the Tushinsky Brothers....

ratio, also used in Univisium
Univisium
Univisium is a proposed universal film format created by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC and his son, Fabrizio, to unify all future theatrical and television movies into one respective aspect ratio of 2.00:1...

. Used as a flat ratio for some American studios in the 1950s, abandoned in the 1960s, but recently popularized by the Red One camera system. In 2001 Studio Ghibli
Studio Ghibli
is a Japanese animation and film studio founded in June 1985. The company's logo features the character Totoro from Hayao Miyazaki's film My Neighbor Totoro...

used this framing for its animated film Spirited Away
Spirited Away
is a 2001 Japanese animated fantasy-adventure film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli. The film tells the story of Chihiro Ogino, a sullen ten-year-old girl who, while moving to a new neighborhood and after her parents are transformed into pigs by the witch Yubaba,...

.
2.10: Planned futuristic aspect ratio for television and theatrical films.
2.20: 70 mm standard. Originally developed for Todd-AO
Todd-AO
Todd-AO is a post-production company founded in 1953, providing sound-related services to the motion picture and television industries. The company operates three facilities in the Los Angeles area.-History:...

in the 1950s.
2.21: Specified in MPEG-2
MPEG-2
MPEG-2 is a standard for "the generic coding of moving pictures and associated audio information". It describes a combination of lossy video compression and lossy audio data compression methods which permit storage and transmission of movies using currently available storage media and transmission...

for 2.20:1 movies, but hardly used.
2.35: 35 mm anamorphic prior to 1970, used by CinemaScope
CinemaScope
CinemaScope was an anamorphic lens series used for shooting wide screen movies from 1953 to 1967. Its creation in 1953, by the president of 20th Century-Fox, marked the beginning of the modern anamorphic format in both principal photography and movie projection.The anamorphic lenses theoretically...

("'Scope") and early Panavision
Panavision
Panavision is an American motion picture equipment company specializing in cameras and lenses, based in Woodland Hills, California. Formed by Robert Gottschalk as a small partnership to create anamorphic projection lenses during the widescreen boom in the 1950s, Panavision expanded its product...

. The anamorphic standard has subtly changed so that modern anamorphic productions are actually 2.39, but often referred to as 2.35 anyway, due to old convention. (Note that anamorphic refers to the compression of the image on film to maximize an area slightly taller than standard 4-perf
Negative pulldown
Negative pulldown is the manner in which an image is exposed on a film stock, described in the number of film perforations spanned by an individual frame. It can also describe the orientation of the image on the negative, whether it is captured horizontally or vertically...

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a professional honorary organization dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures...

aperture, but presents the widest of aspect ratios.)
All Indian Bollywood
Bollywood
Bollywood is the informal term popularly used for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai , Maharashtra, India. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; it is only a part of the total Indian film industry, which includes other production centers producing...

films released after 1972 are shot in this standard for theatrical exhibition.
2.37 (64:27 = 43:33): As of 2010, TVs have been introduced with this aspect ratio and are marketed as "21:9 cinema displays". This aspect ratio is not recognized by storage and transmission standards.
2.40: 35 mm anamorphic from 1970 onwards. Aspect ratio of current anamorphic (wide-screen) theatrical viewings. 2.39:1 is sometimes rounded up to 2.40:1. Often commercially branded as Panavision
Panavision
Panavision is an American motion picture equipment company specializing in cameras and lenses, based in Woodland Hills, California. Formed by Robert Gottschalk as a small partnership to create anamorphic projection lenses during the widescreen boom in the 1950s, Panavision expanded its product...

format or 'Scope
CinemaScope
CinemaScope was an anamorphic lens series used for shooting wide screen movies from 1953 to 1967. Its creation in 1953, by the president of 20th Century-Fox, marked the beginning of the modern anamorphic format in both principal photography and movie projection.The anamorphic lenses theoretically...

.
2.55: Original aspect ratio of CinemaScope
CinemaScope
CinemaScope was an anamorphic lens series used for shooting wide screen movies from 1953 to 1967. Its creation in 1953, by the president of 20th Century-Fox, marked the beginning of the modern anamorphic format in both principal photography and movie projection.The anamorphic lenses theoretically...

before optical sound was added to the film in 1954. This was also the aspect ratio of CinemaScope 55
CinemaScope 55
CinemaScope 55 was a large-format version of CinemaScope introduced by Twentieth Century Fox in 1955, which used a film width of 55.625 mm ....

.
2.59: Cinerama
Cinerama
Cinerama is the trademarked name for a widescreen process which works by simultaneously projecting images from three synchronized 35 mm projectors onto a huge, deeply-curved screen, subtending 146° of arc. It is also the trademarked name for the corporation which was formed to market it...

at full height (three specially captured 35 mm images projected side-by-side into one composite widescreen image).
2.: Full frame output from Super 16 mm negative when an anamorphic lens system has been used. Effectively, an image that is of the ratio 2.:1 is squashed onto the native 15:9 aspect ratio of a Super 16 mm negative.
2.76: Ultra Panavision 70
Ultra Panavision 70
Ultra Panavision 70 and MGM Camera 65 were the photographic marketing brands — ca. 1957 to 1966 — that identified movies photographed with Panavision-brand anamorphic lenses using a 65mm negative and 70mm release print...

(65 mm with 1.25x anamorphic squeeze). Used only on a handful of films between 1962 and 1966, such as the Battle of the Bulge (1965)
Battle of the Bulge (film)
Battle of the Bulge is a widescreen war film produced in Spain that was released in 1965. It was directed by Ken Annakin. It starred Henry Fonda, Robert Shaw, Telly Savalas, Robert Ryan, Dana Andrews and Charles Bronson...

.
2.93: MGM Camera 65
Ultra Panavision 70
Ultra Panavision 70 and MGM Camera 65 were the photographic marketing brands — ca. 1957 to 1966 — that identified movies photographed with Panavision-brand anamorphic lenses using a 65mm negative and 70mm release print...

, an early version of Ultra Panavision used up until 1962 which used a 1.33x anamorphic squeeze instead to produce a wider aspect ratio. Used only on a few early Ultra Panavision films, most notably Ben-Hur (1959)
Ben-Hur (1959 film)
Ben-Hur is a 1959 American epic film directed by William Wyler and starring Charlton Heston in the title role, the third film adaptation of Lew Wallace's 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. The screenplay was written by Karl Tunberg, Gore Vidal, and Christopher Fry. The score was composed by...

and also for some sequences of How The West was Won
How the West Was Won (film)
How the West Was Won is a 1962 American epic Western film. The picture was one of the last "old-fashioned" epic films made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to enjoy great success. It follows four generations of a family as they move ever westward, from western New York state to the Pacific Ocean...

with a slight crop to 2.89:1 when converted to three strip Cinerama
Cinerama
Cinerama is the trademarked name for a widescreen process which works by simultaneously projecting images from three synchronized 35 mm projectors onto a huge, deeply-curved screen, subtending 146° of arc. It is also the trademarked name for the corporation which was formed to market it...

.
4.00 (4:1 = 4×1:1): Rare use of Polyvision
Polyvision
Polyvision was the name given to a specialized widescreen film format devised exclusively for the filming and projection of Abel Gance's 1927 film Napoleon. It involved the simultaneous projection of three reels of silent film arrayed in a horizontal row, making for a total aspect ratio of 4:1...

, three 35 mm 1. (1:1) images projected side by side. First used in 1927 on Abel Gance
Abel Gance
Abel Gance was a French film director and producer, writer and actor. He is best known for three major silent films: J'accuse , La Roue , and the monumental Napoléon .-Early life:...

's Napoléon.
12.0: Circle-Vision 360°
Circle-Vision 360°
Circle-Vision 360° is a film technique, refined by The Walt Disney Company, that uses nine cameras for nine huge screens arranged in a circle. The cameras are usually mounted on top of an automobile for scenes through cities and highways, while films such as The Timekeeper use a static camera and...

developed by the Walt Disney Company in 1955 for use in Disneyland. Uses (9)-4:3 35mm projectors to show an image that completely surrounds the viewer. Used in subsequent Disney theme parks to this day, and other past applications.

### Original aspect ratio (OAR)

Original Aspect Ratio (OAR) is a home cinema
Home cinema
Home cinema, also commonly called home theater, are home entertainment set-ups that seek to reproduce a movie theater experience and mood with the help of video and audio equipment in a private home....

term for the aspect ratio or dimensions in which a film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

or visual production was produced — as envisioned by the people involved in the creation of the work. As an example, the film Gladiator
Gladiator is a 2000 historical epic film directed by Ridley Scott, starring Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Ralf Möller, Oliver Reed, Djimon Hounsou, Derek Jacobi, John Shrapnel and Richard Harris. Crowe portrays the loyal Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius, who is betrayed...

was released to theaters in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio. It was filmed in Super 35 and, in addition to being presented in cinemas and television in the Original Aspect Ratio of 2.39:1, it was also broadcast without the matte
Matte (filmmaking)
Mattes are used in photography and special effects filmmaking to combine two or more image elements into a single, final image. Usually, mattes are used to combine a foreground image with a background image . In this case, the matte is the background painting...

altering the aspect ratio to the television standard of 1.:1. Because of the varied ways in which films are shot, IAR (Intended Aspect Ratio) is a more appropriate term, but is rarely used.

### Modified aspect ratio (MAR)

Modified Aspect Ratio is a home cinema term for the aspect ratio or dimensions in which a film was modified to fit a specific type of screen, as opposed to original aspect ratio. Modified aspect ratios are usually either 1.:1 (historically), or (with the advent of widescreen television sets) 1.:1 aspect ratio. 1.:1 is the modified aspect ratio used historically in VHS format. A modified aspect ratio transfer is achieved by means of pan and scan
Pan and scan
Pan and scan is a method of adjusting widescreen film images so that they can be shown within the proportions of a standard definition 4:3 aspect ratio television screen, often cropping off the sides of the original widescreen image to focus on the composition's most important aspects...

or open matte
Open matte
Open matte is a filming technique that involves matting out the top and bottom of the film frame in the movie projector for the widescreen theatrical release and then scanning the film without a matte for a full screen home video release.Usually, non-anamorphic 4-perf films are filmed directly on...

, the latter meaning removing the cinematic matte from a 1.85:1 film to open up the full 1.:1 frame. Another name for it is "prescaled" aspect ratio".

## Problems in film and television

Multiple aspect ratios create additional burdens on filmmakers and consumers, and confusion among TV broadcasters. It is common for a widescreen film to be presented in an altered format (cropped
Cropping (image)
Cropping refers to the removal of the outer parts of an image to improve framing, accentuate subject matter or change aspect ratio. Depending on the application, this may be performed on a physical photograph, artwork or film footage, or achieved digitally using image editing software...

, letterbox
Letterbox
Letterboxing is the practice of transferring film shot in a widescreen aspect ratio to standard-width video formats while preserving the film's original aspect ratio. The resulting videographic image has mattes above and below it; these mattes are part of the image...

ed or expanded beyond the Original Aspect Ratio). It is also not uncommon for windowboxing
Windowbox (film)
Windowboxing in the display of film or video occurs when the aspect ratio of the media is such that the letterbox effect and pillarbox effect occur simultaneously...

to occur (when letterbox and pillarbox happen simultaneously). For instance, a 16:9 broadcast could embed a 4:3 commercial within the 16:9 image area. A viewer watching on a standard 4:3 (non-widescreen) television would see a 4:3 image of the commercial with 2 sets of black stripes, vertical and horizontal (windowboxing
Windowbox (film)
Windowboxing in the display of film or video occurs when the aspect ratio of the media is such that the letterbox effect and pillarbox effect occur simultaneously...

or the postage stamp effect). A similar scenario may also occur for a widescreen set owner when viewing 16:9 material embedded in a 4:3 frame, and then watching that in 16:9. Active Format Description
Active Format Description
In television technology, Active Format Description is a standard set of codes that can be sent in the MPEG video stream or in the baseband SDI video signal that carries information about their aspect ratio and active picture characteristics...

is a mechanism used in digital broadcasting to avoid this problem. It is also common that a 4:3 image is stretched horizontally to fit a 16:9 screen to avoid pillar boxing
Letterbox
Letterboxing is the practice of transferring film shot in a widescreen aspect ratio to standard-width video formats while preserving the film's original aspect ratio. The resulting videographic image has mattes above and below it; these mattes are part of the image...

but distorts the image so subjects appear short and fat.

Both PAL and NTSC have provision for some data pulses contained within the video signal used to signal the aspect ratio (See ITU-R BT.1119-1 - Widescreen signaling
Widescreen signaling
In television technology, widescreen signaling is a digital stream embedded in the TV signal describing qualities of the broadcast, in particular the intended aspect ratio of the image...

for broadcasting). These pulses are detected by television sets that have widescreen displays and cause the television to automatically switch to 16:9 display mode. When 4:3 material is included (such as the aforementioned commercial), the television switches to a 4:3 display mode to correctly display the material. Where a video signal is transmitted via a European SCART
SCART
SCART is a French-originated standard and associated 21-pin connector for connecting audio-visual equipment together...

connection, one of the status lines is used to signal 16:9 material as well.

## Still photography

Common aspect ratios in still photography include 4:3 (1.) used by most digital point-and-shoot cameras, Four Thirds system
Four Thirds System
The Four Thirds system is a standard created by Olympus and Kodak for digital single-lens reflex camera design and development.The system provides a standard that, with digital cameras and lenses available from multiple manufacturers, allows for the interchange of lenses and bodies from different...

cameras and medium format
Medium format
Medium format has traditionally referred to a film format in still photography and the related cameras and equipment that use that film. Generally, the term applies to film and digital cameras that record images on media larger than 24 by 36 mm , but smaller than 4 by 5 inches .In digital...

645 cameras; 3:2 (1.5) used by 35 mm film
135 film
The term 135 was introduced by Kodak in 1934 as a designation for cartridge film wide, specifically for still photography. It quickly grew in popularity, surpassing 120 film by the late 1960s to become the most popular photographic film format...

, APS
Advanced Photo System is a film format for still photography first produced in 1996. It was marketed by Eastman Kodak under the brand name Advantix, by FujiFilm under the name Nexia, by AgfaPhoto under the name Futura and by Konica as Centuria.- Design :The film is 24 mm wide, and has three...

-C ("classic" mode) and most DSLRs; 1.81:1 (close to 16:9) used by APS
Advanced Photo System is a film format for still photography first produced in 1996. It was marketed by Eastman Kodak under the brand name Advantix, by FujiFilm under the name Nexia, by AgfaPhoto under the name Futura and by Konica as Centuria.- Design :The film is 24 mm wide, and has three...

-H high definition mode and some Panasonic multi‐aspect Four Thirds and compact cameras; 3:1 used by APS‐P panoramic mode; and 1:1 (square) in a variety of cameras. Many digital cameras offer user options for selecting image aspect ratio, but all this function does is reject the storage of rectangular edge pixel blocks from the native sensor resolution.

The reason for DSLR image sensors being the flatter 3:2 versus the taller point-and-shoot 4:3 is that DSLRs were designed to match the legacy 35 mm SLR film, whereas the majority of digital cameras were designed to match the predominant computer displays of the time, with VGA, SVGA, XGA and UXGA all being 4:3. (Widescreen computer monitors did not become popular until the advent of HDTV.)

Common print sizes in the U.S.
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

(in inch
Inch
An inch is the name of a unit of length in a number of different systems, including Imperial units, and United States customary units. There are 36 inches in a yard and 12 inches in a foot...

es) include 4×6 (1.5), 5×7 (1.4), 4×5 and 8×10 (1.25), and 11×14 (1.27); large format
Large format
Large format refers to any imaging format of 4×5 inches or larger. Large format is larger than "medium format", the 6×6 cm or 6×9 cm size of Hasselblad, Rollei, Kowa, Pentax etc cameras , and much larger than the 24×36 mm frame of 35 mm format.The main advantage...

cameras typically use one of these aspect ratios. Medium-format cameras typically have format designated by nominal sizes in centimeters (6×6, 6×7, 6×9, 6×4.5), but these numbers should not be interpreted as exact in computing aspect ratios. Print sizes are usually defined by their portrait dimensions (tall) while equipment aspect ratios are defined by their landscape dimensions (wide, flipped sideways). A good example of this a 4×6 print (6 inch wide by 4 inch tall landscape) perfectly matches the 3:2 aspect ratio of a DSLR/35 mm, since 6/2=3 and 4/2=2.

For analog projection of photographic slides, projector and screen use a 1:1 aspect ratio, supporting horizontal and vertical orientation equally well. In contrast, digital projection technology typically supports vertically oriented images only at a fraction of the resolution of landscape-oriented images. For example, projecting a digital still image having a 3:2 aspect ratio on a 16:9 projector employs 84.3% of available resolution in horizontal orientation, but only 37.5% in vertical orientation.

• Active Format Description
Active Format Description
In television technology, Active Format Description is a standard set of codes that can be sent in the MPEG video stream or in the baseband SDI video signal that carries information about their aspect ratio and active picture characteristics...

(AFD)
• Anamorphic widescreen
Anamorphic widescreen
Anamorphic widescreen, when applied to DVD manufacture, is a video process that horizontally squeezes a widescreen image so that it can be stored in a standard 4:3 aspect ratio DVD image frame. Compatible playback equipment can then re-expand the horizontal dimension to show the original widescreen...

• Full frame
Full frame
In cinematography, full frame refers to the use of the full film gate at maximum width and height for 35 mm film cameras. It is sometimes also referred to as silent aperture, full gate, or a number of other similar word combinations. It is the original gate size pioneered by William Dickson and...

• Letterbox
Letterbox
Letterboxing is the practice of transferring film shot in a widescreen aspect ratio to standard-width video formats while preserving the film's original aspect ratio. The resulting videographic image has mattes above and below it; these mattes are part of the image...

• List of common resolutions
• List of film formats
• List of motion picture terminology
• Pan and scan
Pan and scan
Pan and scan is a method of adjusting widescreen film images so that they can be shown within the proportions of a standard definition 4:3 aspect ratio television screen, often cropping off the sides of the original widescreen image to focus on the composition's most important aspects...

• Paper size
Paper size
Many paper size standards conventions have existed at different times and in different countries. Today there is one widespread international ISO standard and a localised standard used in North America . The paper sizes affect writing paper, stationery, cards, and some printed documents...

• Shoot and protect
Shoot and protect
Shoot and protect is a technique used in video and film production, in which the material is shot in such a way that the areas of interest within a frame lie within a rectangular "protected area" within the frame, with margins at top and bottom and both sides. The action safe and caption safe areas...

• Widescreen
Widescreen
Widescreen images are a variety of aspect ratios used in film, television and computer screens. In film, a widescreen film is any film image with a width-to-height aspect ratio greater than the standard 1.37:1 Academy aspect ratio provided by 35mm film....

• Widescreen display modes
Widescreen display modes
Widescreen televisions provide several modes for displaying video from 4:3 sources. These modes may be selected manually from a remote control, or automatically if an Active Format Descriptor is available.- Normal mode :...