Why are old movies and videos are in a square frame and nowadays they are in a rectangle frame?


Why are old movies and videos are in a square frame and nowadays they are in a rectangle frame?

In: Technology

It’s all relatively arbitrary. The old 4:3 square-ish look was chosen because 4:3 was the most common type of film on the market when movies started being a thing. TV came along later and the key players in early TV had the chance to choose a different format since they weren’t reliant on film. They settled on a wider aspect ratio because they thought having more horizontal space would be useful for capturing a bunch of people on screen at once. That change was later emulated by movies and frames have generally continued to trend wider over time, but it has always been in the interest of aesthetics more than anything else.

Many older movies were filmed in different Aspect Ratios (the rectangular width of the frame, first number is width, second number is length). 4:3 was a common ratio for older movies, where as 16:9 is the current cinema standard. Think Here’s a good link to understand the concept a little better:

[Aspect Ratios Guide](https://www.empireonline.com/movies/features/film-studies-101-aspect-ratios/)

The oldest and earliest movies were done with at the time new equipment and often shot square or 4:3 (thats 4 wide by 3 high). This was due to the film they used and the screens they were shown on. Those classic silent films were generally 4:3, like almost all of them are 4:3. It was the nature of the equipment they used primarily.

Gradually more aspect ratios were introduced, and movies, for both practical (the film and screen they used) and artistic reason, started to move to much more wide than tall. Some common aspect ratios in movies became 2.39:1 and 2.35:1, 2:1, 1.85:1 (1.85:1 and 2.39:1 are most common) and others as techniques and film and screens evolved to be able to support more diverse ways to make and show a movie. Artistically, a wider screen is viewed as being more “cinematic” while a less wide screen is more “trapped”. Depending on the movie, you may want one or the other feeling. Many “epics” movies are shot very wide screen to feel more cinematic! Some crazy ones ae even stuff like 4:1

TV has a similar story, but the TV standard went from 4:3 to 16:9, which is significantly less than the movie ratios used which are now usually 2:39:1 or 1.85:1

* Cinema was 4:3
* TV came along at 4:3
* Cinema went wide-screen as a way to differentiate itself from TV. (2.35:1 became common).
* TV developed a mid-way windscreen 16:9 format

Cinema started before tv and used a squarish 4:3 aspect ratio.

TV came along, also using 4:3. Cinema developed various wide-screen formats as a way to attract more people away from TV and back to the cinema.

TV made standards and decided to go for wide-screen 16:9 as a half way between squarish TV and the much wider common cinema format.

Around this time, TV went through a technological shift from CRT to LCD as well as from analog to digital broadcast and it meant people upgrading were only choosing wide-screen TVs