With his quixotic adventure film Jauja, starring Viggo Mortensen, Lisandro Alonso is the latest filmmaker to ditch the conventional wide-screen format in order to resurrect the squarer ‘Academy’ ratio of earlier times. He’s in good company…
Martin Scorsese’s deft, tautological epithet, “cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out”, typically orbits discussions of subject matter or setting, camera placement or lighting. What’s perhaps considered less of a variable are the actual dimensions of the image: its aspect ratio, or ratio of the width of an image to its height.
Cinema’s early days were straightforward. A 35mm celluloid frame was four perforations high, creating an industry standard ratio of 4:3, or 1:1.33, often shortened to 1:33. When synchronised sound arrived in 1929, dimensions expanded slightly to allow for the optical soundtrack strip, creating a 1:37 aspect ratio. Both of these were folded into one official image size, known as the Academy ratio. Read more
10 Great Modern Films Shot in Academy Ratio / BFI September 8th, 2015Leigh Singer