Chapter 4

The Frame Is the Thing: All About Film Formats

In visual effects, an imaginative storyboard sketch becomes the starting point for what can be a Rube Goldberg collection of processes that lead to its photographic realization. The starting point is always keyed to the end goal. The first question I ask when a new job comes into the shop is “What’s the format? ” The answer to this question lays the foundation of everything needed in the photography phase. To explain more about formats and their evolution, I will trace a brief history of the movie frame.

The Basics of Movie Film

The Frame of the Picture

After 35 mm film had been established, the aspect ratio, or frame of the image on the film, had to be determined. Since humans live ...

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