Saturday, 6 July 2013

About the 'Aspect Ratio'

I can still visualize myself sitting with an irritated face inside the theater while watching the movie 'Source Code' because the aspect ratio of the movie was worse (black box appeared on both sides of the screen that made me feel like I was watching an advertisement not a movie). Similar thing happened while I was watching Madagascar 3, Life of Pi, Avengers and many other 3D movies. Then one fine day I sat and analyzed why those 'black box' appears on screen which degrades the full screen visual experience, and at that time the website IMDB came to rescue in sorting out this issue. I'm going to share the method to find out whether the movie is being screened in full screen or half (black box at the sides) at your nearby theater. 

What is 'Aspect Ratio'?
According to Wikipedia, the aspect ratio is the ratio of the width of a shape to its height. The aspect ratio is expressed as two numbers separated by a colon (x:y) where x and y denotes the relation between the width and height. You remember 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios? 4:3 is the aspect ratio for the standard television (the old color tv) and 16:9 is the aspect ratio for the widescreen LED or LCD (for example). The same applies to the theater screening where there are different types of aspect ratios that varies with the films.

How to find out whether the movie is screened in full or not?
For that, you need to get into the IMDB website and search for the movie. The screen will look like this (here I considered the movie 'Despicable Me 2' to demonstrate the method):

Now, when you scroll down the page you'll find something called 'Technical Specs'. You could see that in the below screenshot:

After clicking the full technical specs, it will take you to the next page which looks like the below screenshot:

Here, you can see the aspect ratio to be 1.85:1 which is the reason the black box appears to the sides of the screen when the movie is being played. This isn't a full screen movie (it has a different aspect ratio, say 2.35:1). The below screenshot is one example for a full screen aspect ratio.

Better not be confused and take a chance by stepping into a movie, and later get disappointed if the movie is shown in half screen. I do not know about others but personally I hate watching movies in 1.85:1 aspect ratio which totally degrades the full screen viewing experience. 

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