October 29, 2014 at 9:12AM

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16:9 vs 2:35?

I see a lot of people using a 2:35 aspect ratio for their short films, mini-docs, etc. What does this accomplish? Do you use it just to create a more cinematic feel, or is there more to it? How does it compare to the standard 16:9 aspect ratio, and when would you use/not use each one?

14 Comments

2:35 is the actual to 16/9 years ago. Always the cinema want a aspect that make the diference with videos and tv.

October 29, 2014 at 10:55AM

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Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director
7325

Cinematic feel mainly I suppose. It also just seems to suit certain projects. And one bonus is that you can reframe your shots vertically if needed.

October 29, 2014 at 3:28PM

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Brian Healy
Cinematographer/Editor
94

For me it always depends on what the story calls for. If I feel like we are going to need more wide angle then I might go with 2:35 because Scope adds the extra width. It also changes the way you look at closeups. Some things we do in 16x9 for a different feel.

October 29, 2014 at 9:24PM

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Scott Selman
Festival Producer, AFI DOCS | Filmmaker | Producer
1037

Your field of vision is extremely wide, much wider than 2.35:1. If your film is going to be shown on a humongous movie theater screen, then shooting 2.35:1 will more closely mimic your actual vision, and you'll have the physical space to get away with this. If you're looking at it on your phone, suddenly 2:35:1 is far too small because of the overall size limitation.

Same reason people wanted 4:3 movies when their TVs were small, but wanted 16:9 as they became larger. Same reason why Instagram using square photos works alright for a 4" screen in portrait mode, but would look completely absurd in a theatrical setting.

16:9 is the gold standard right now; 2:35:1 could allow for a better viewing experience on a huge screen. Consider the detail you want to convey in your shot, and the viewing format the film is intended for.

October 29, 2014 at 9:33PM

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Daniel Keywan Hollister
Video Game High School
382

Unless you have a lot to show use 2.35:1, for example big action scenes etc. When close to characters narrow down your width as you would achieve a better result, since the subject will take more space in your shot. Audience will be less distracted from what is happening around. 1.85:1 could be another solution to achieve a more cinematic feel than 16:9.

October 29, 2014 at 11:52PM

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Niels De Vries
Co-Founder & Producer at Radicle Animation
74

I prefer 2.35 but probably for the childish reason that 'it looks more filmy'. Having said that it just suits my compositions better and feels right. And as Brian said above, you gain the advantage of being able to reframe and do small digital tilts if you shoot 16:9 then crop in post.

October 30, 2014 at 8:40AM

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Jon Mills
Filmmaker
816

most of my jobs are done 16x9 and vertical crops for billboards.
me personally in general i like bigger and wider. i like to show and also see a lot of landscape, bg, scenery.
my lens choices in super 35 is usually 24, 28, 32 38.
i usually don't even go to 50.

October 30, 2014 at 9:55AM

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Kazu Okuda
Filmmaker
1292

2:35 is bigger and wider than 16:9 - 16:9 is slightly more square and vertical.

Lucas

February 4, 2017 at 10:08PM

2,35:1 (or 2,39:1) is the aspect ratio of lots of movies.
16:9 is the video aspect ratio.
Of course cropping a video to 2,35:1 doesn't make it more "cinematic", you need also to shoot with proper photography.

I normally use 16:9 for interviews, documentaries, commercials etc... and 2,35:1 for shotes, music videos and everything calls for a filmic look.

October 30, 2014 at 2:17PM

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Simone Salvatore
Filmmaker / Recording Engineer / Musician
150

the important thing is that you shoot 2:35 in the camera using markers, so that your compositions are already made with that aspect ratio in mind - otherwise it will look forced. properly masking your camera-monitor for 2:35 or even wilder aspect ratios challenges the DP to think in new and weird ways, as well.

Lucas

February 4, 2017 at 10:10PM

Hey Mike, something not mentioned yet is the use of anamorphic lenses. Sometimes you can benefit from more detail/information using an anamorphic lens or adapter. Depending on the camera you're shooting with (if it can shoot 4:3 aspect ratio, or if you're in 16:9), you can use a 2x or 1.33x anamorphic lens/adapter. What this will do is squeeze your image and maintain ALL of the detail. Why is this kind of cool? Because instead of cropping your image to 2.35:1 in post and losing detail, you actually stretch or squeeze the image in post to 2.39:1 (basically 2.35:1) without losing any pixels/data/information. These lenses also create horizontal lens flares and different shaped bokeh, which adds to a "cinematic look" as many directors shoot feature films using this process (anamorphic). Granted, they use VERY expenses lenses ;). But you get some fun adapters on eBay to create this effect. Just research it a lot...have to know the right one to buy.
That being said, if what you're shooting is mostly to be viewed on a TV or even online, for a client, etc., ain't nothing wrong with 16:9. Probably your best bet. Just personal preference and how you want people (and yourself) to view your work. Try both out, see what you like best. I think you'll find yourself switching between the two dependent on your work. Hope this helps!

October 30, 2014 at 3:47PM

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Ben Meredith
Cinematographer/Filmmaker
990

Thought I should note that it’s 2.35:1, not 2:35. So what you’re actually comparing is 1.78:1 vs 2.35:1 (1.78:1 is the same as 16:9).

Others have already made excellent comments for the reasons for using that aspect ratio, but I wanted to make sure that the comparison was clearly understood since it was written incorrectly.

October 30, 2014 at 5:53PM

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Ryan Toyota
Graphic Designer / Typographer / Video Editor
1248

Why use it, it's only good for filming snakes and funerals! :p

It depends on the footage and perhaps whim of the day but on the whole I prefer ultra wide (somewhere along 2.35:1 or 2.4 :1).

August 18, 2016 at 5:36PM

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Cary Knoop
Member
2555

i prefer 300:1. hahaha

Lucas

February 4, 2017 at 10:11PM

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