why are many tv-series in wider resolution than most common fullHD and 4k tvs.


I get that movie theater screens are wider and most movies are made for theaters, but why are many tv-series and movies in some ultra wide format, that leaves black bars on top and bottom of home televisions, even when they are released straight into some streaming service or tv channel?

In: 11

Short answer: stylistic choice.

Fun detail: widescreen tvs are 16:9. That aspect ratio actually isn’t a film format. It was a compromise between 4:3 and 2.66:1 (ultra wide negative. Usually printed in 2.39:1 – 2.35:1). A 16:9 screen would show bars for both aspect ratios.

Nowadays a lot of tv is shot in NEARLY 16:9. A lot of content still has tiny black bars. But most people don’t notice that.

There can be multiple reasons. The series could be made with equipment made for movies and thus use the wider ratio. It can also be an artistic choice; for example it can be used to give a “movie vibe” to the series, or to constrain the perspective (if you make a series with, say, dinosaurs, the wider format won’t be able to frame them entirely, making them appear bigger. On the other hand, you may want to use a more balanced ratio if your dinosaurs are supposed to be a mundane thing, so that you can see them more easily).

TL;Dr : can be purely technical, can be a deliberate artistic choice

The Director and Director of Photography mainly decided that frame size lent itself best to the story they were trying to tell. Different frame sizes can work better (subjectively) for different types of shots, i.e. if a film has lots of landscape shots, or car chases, or intimate conversations between two characters, the director may decide a certain frame size will enhance or complement what they are trying to do etc. It’s like going to an art gallery and seeing different frame shapes – often times the artist decided that shape was best for what they were trying to achieve.

Also, different frame sizes have different historical connotations (based on films in the past) so perhaps the creative team was trying to evoke nostalgia for a certain style of older movies. And it doesn’t always have to be widescreen varieites – see The Lighthouse or the new Macbeth or Mid-90s or Grand Budapest Hotel for more square (close to 4:3) frame sizes.