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The Grand 4:3 Ratio Thread

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  • The Grand 4:3 Ratio Thread

    After some discussions around the 4:3 ratios and after seeing "The Grand Budapest Hotel" yesterday I thought it would be nice to have a thread for it where we can post frames and discuss around the square format.

    First off I can say that I avoided 4:3 like the plague in school and shooting my own projects. That was for TV news and other non-fiction like your parents' holiday videos. Shooting wide and even cropping in order to get black bars was cinematic for a young want to be filmmaker. But when looking back at many of my old short films I feel they are exactly that: cropped. And for no good reason. The composition isn't right. It didn't do justice of the location most of the times. Skip forward 10 years to today: Now I know about location scouting from a photographic point of view, looking at how to compose the images for great effect. And of course how to light and use natural light and mix the two.

    After having tested anamorphic adapters and lenses I'm even more in love with it. But adapters aren't very convenient and I can't afford the lenses most of the time (Have to drive across half the country in Sweden, that's how small the business is here). And when shooting scope without anamorphic it just doesn't feel right to me anymore. And 16:9 is little effing boring (the new 4:3). So my goto ratio has become 2:1 after watching "House of cards" and the bluray of "The Last Emperor". It's still wide, but it gives me enough height without feeling cropped.

    Enter "Fish Tank". The first (modern) movie I saw in the 4:3 ratio. And it looked great! And seeing "The Grand Budapest Hotel" on the big screen it was more amazing. I can only dream about IMAX (No, we don't have that in Sweden neither). The way close-ups of faces fill out the screen (take a look the one of Saoirse Ronan below) and how you can use height and compose vertically has really opened my mind as a cinematographer. It's really interesting, especially for close-ups, wides and masters. More of the performances are seen as well as the location.

    Feel free to post frames from other 4:3 movies (or your own projects) and have a fun time discussing this wonderful new (old) format!

    PS: I could post even more frames from this wonderful movie, but let's keep it at max 10 and keep the resolution down (I used 640x480 via TinyPic)

    Last edited by Hampus Lager; 03-23-2014, 12:48 PM.

  • #2
    I love sometimes 4x3 too
    I'd like to try anamorphic lens for doing 4x3 on pocket in that case.


    • #3
      Single grab from my thesis film. It's not all 4:3, just the noir portion.

      I enjoyed the aspect ratio. It's a refreshing break from the wider formats everyone seems to be shooting anymore.


      • #4
        Very nice Logan!


        • #5
          I've been thinking 4:3 as well for projects using 16mm glass, as a way to complete the look. A couple of my fav lenses don't quite cover the Pocket camera sensor, vignetting the corners so its either 2.4:1 or 4:3. I find myself naturally drawn to the full height and the centre of the frame, not really wanting crop for width. Strange, as I always gravitated to widescreen crops and letter box movies back when tv was 4:3. Now with projection in my home theatre and flat screens much bigger than any standard set I ever owned I don't really mind pillar box.


          • #6


            • #7
              Just FYI, Cosmonova on Skansen in Stockholm has an IMAX projector And back in the days Liseberg had one aswell, don't think they do anymore though.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Imaginara View Post
                Just FYI, Cosmonova on Skansen in Stockholm has an IMAX projector
                Yeah but it's more of a ride and not for features, unfortunately.


                • #9
                  Yepp. Because they mainly show Ride-films on it But it IS a IMAX projector =) Maybe someone could convince them to start showing feature films aswell (maybe Stockholm Film Festival, IMAX edition? =)

                  Btw. ive noticed Wes uses that aspect ratio (and sometimes even quadratic) fairly often. Interesting experience when viewing.


                  • #10
                    Next up: Fish Tank!


                    • #11
                      Terry Zwigoff's "Louie Bluie" - R16

                      and "Crumb"


                      • #12
                        The larger question for me is what do certain aspect ratios help the audience ---or deter the audience----from experiencing?

                        For instance, does 4:3 allow us to focus at the center, moving our focus away from the landscape? What does anamorphic do to our attention to the landscape or to characters?

                        Been wondering this lately....

                        Anyone know why Anderson chose this aspect ratio, other than to enhance the stylization?


                        • #13
                          He wanted to illustrate a delineation between the eras in which the film took place.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by kennysule View Post
                            He wanted to illustrate a delineation between the eras in which the film took place.
                            Gotcha. Interesting. I haven't seen it yet, so I bet this would be more clear once I do.


                            • #15
                              (See "Computer Chess" in the post below that was meant to be here)

                              Set in 1980 the film was shot on the type of Sony video camera that would have been used at the time. It actually looked great- better than in the trailer.
                              Last edited by Fluoro; 05-24-2014, 09:32 PM.