It may not be the first thing you think about when you start preparing to shoot your film, but it's incredibly important—aspect ratio.
If you're like a lot of filmmakers, you probably started out shooting primarily in 16:9. Why? Maybe because it's the HD and YouTube standard, but most likely because you kind of defaulted into it—and there's no shame in that! Picking an aspect ratio seems a lot less sexy than picking locations or where to set your camera, but Sareesh Sudhakaran of wolfcrow is here to explain what they are, how they can affect your story, and how to choose the right one for your film.
Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KKVsOEiHuc
Sareesh gives a ton of great insight into how sensor sizes affect aspect ratios, which ones are used on popular platforms, like YouTube and Vimeo, and a whole lot more. However, I think the big lesson here is that you shouldn't just randomly choose an aspect ratio for your film; the choice should be intentional and motivated by the needs of your project. Sareesh makes a good point when he says, "Pick the aspect ratio that matches your delivery format." So, if you're releasing your film on YouTube or Vimeo, maybe 16:9 is the best option.
But keep in mind the aesthetic properties of aspect ratios, as well. I've shot the majority of my work in 16:9, but I absolutely adore the look of anamorphic. Different aspect ratios change how the visual information on-screen is delivered and communicated, so it's definitely a good thing to keep in mind.
Which aspect ratio do you like to shoot in? Why? Let us know down in the comments!