What is aspect ratio

4 to 3

The aspect ratio indicates the width of a rectangle to its height and is usually shown as a fraction. For the 4: 3 format this means that it is slightly wider than it is high. The terms aspect ratio and picture format are used synonymously. In the film sector, the term “aspect ratio” is also used, the English word for aspect ratio.

The history of the 4: 3 aspect ratio

The 4 to 3 aspect ratio is the classic aspect ratio of 35 mm film. The format was developed by William Dickson as early as 1893. The film strip is 35 mm wide and should be used to record moving images. The format was originally developed for the production of cinema films and is therefore the original format of the film. Later it was also used in still photography as "35mm film". In both areas, it is the most widely used image format that has established itself as the standard over the years. Amateur filmmakers also made frequent use of the format. Up until the 1990s, every CRT television had this aspect ratio. The first computer monitors were also available in 4: 3 format.

The transition from 4: 3 to 16: 9

In the history of cinema, new image formats have been invented time and again. With the technological development of HDTV, the aspect ratio for domestic screens and computer monitors also changed. Today most televisions and screens are 16: 9. It is the current standard format on the market. Nevertheless, even wider image formats are being developed. The widescreen format is better suited to human viewing habits and corresponds more closely to our field of vision than the compact 4: 3 aspect ratio. The cinema also switched to widescreen formats at an early stage. As a result, viewers found film screenings in the cinema to be extremely spectacular, in contrast to films on the compact tube screen at home.

Since most series and films today are shot in widescreen formats, it makes little sense to stick to the old 4: 3 format. Either the black bars are completely removed and part of the image is cut off or half the screen is black. In addition, TV models with this aspect ratio are rarely produced any more. However, the classic aspect ratio is currently celebrating a small comeback with smartphones and tablets. Because texts are more pleasant to read in this page format. Since the multifunctional devices want to cover a wide range of possible uses, the manufacturers have made a compromise here and use the 4: 3 format.