Aspect ratios when shooting for television

The nature of the problem

There has been a problem in recent years as to how to ‘future-proof’ television programmes that might be transmitted in the old 4 × 3 aspect ratio but will, at some time, need to be repeated in the intermediate 14 × 9 aspect ratio or, eventually, in the 16 × 9 aspect ratio that has become the new international standard.

The whole argument should really be turned on its head, as both Super 16 mm film cameras and Digi Beta cameras happily shoot in an aspect ratio either exactly, or very close to, the 16 × 9 aspect ratio. Therefore, the true problem is ‘now-proofing’. Most television programmes are almost all now originated in the 16 × 9 aspect ratio; therefore, the difficult ...

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