# Understanding Aspect Ratios. What is an aspect ratio? Have you ever wondered why some things you watch on television have black bars around the picture?

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Understanding Aspect Ratios

What is an aspect ratio? Have you ever wondered why some things you watch on television have black bars around the picture? Do you want to know why the image on your television looks stretched out? The answers to these questions include the term aspect ratio. What is an aspect ratio and how does it affect you? It is the ratio between the width and the height of a film image. Simply stated, it is the size of the picture.

The Most Typical TV Aspect Ratios 16:9 (also written 16x9 and said 16 by 9) –This indicates that the display dimensions are 16 units wide and 9 units high. –This is also known as widescreen. 4:3 (also written 4x3 and said 4 by 3) –This indicates that the display dimensions are 4 units wide and 3 units high. The only two you really need to know

16:9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 1 2 6 3 5 4 8 7 4:3 1 1423 3 2

Why are there different Aspect Ratios? Old Analog Formats are nearly all 4:3 since this was the standard television ratio from the beginning. Standard Definition (SD) television continues to be 4:3 although SD can be recorded to appear 16:9 or widescreen. High Definition (HD) television is always 16:9. 4:3 16:9

Why is this an issue? Material in 16:9 format needs to properly fit on a 4:3 television (or 4:3 material on a 16:9 television) without changing its aspect, meaning without stretching or squishing the material.

16:9 on a 16:9 display 16:9 on a 4:3 display without adjustments

4:3 on a 16:9 display without adjustments 4:3 on a 4:3 display

Converting Material In order to avoid a stretched or squished picture the material must be converted. There are several different ways to achieve this. –The techniques to fit 16:9 material on a 4:3 screen include: Letterbox Edge Crop Pan and Scan 16:9 Material on a 4:3 Screen

16:9 Letterbox 16:9 Material Converted to a 4:3 screen 16:9 Material If a program is letterboxed it will appear with a black bar above and below the picture.

16:9 Material Converted to a 4:3 Screen 4:3 Edge Crop 16:9 Material 16:9 Letterbox If a program is edge cropped the picture fills the screen and the right and left edges are lost to view.

Panned Right 16:9 Material Converted to a 4:3 Screen Using Pan & Scan 16:9 Material If the main focus of the picture is on the right a program can be panned right with the left edge being lost to view.

16:9 Material Converted to a 4:3 Screen Using Pan & Scan Panned Left 16:9 Material Panned Right If the main focus of the picture is on the left a program can be panned left with the right edge being lost to view.

Converting Material In order to avoid a stretched or squished picture the material must be converted. There are several different ways to achieve this. –The techniques to fit 4:3 material on a 16:9 screen include: Pillar Box Full Screen Zoom 4:3 Material on a 16:9 Screen

4:3 Material Converted to a 16:9 Screen 4:3 Material 16:9 Pillar Box If a program is pillar boxed it will appear with a black bar to the right and left of the picture.

4:3 Material 16:9 Pillar Box 4:3 Material Converted to a 16:9 Screen 16:9 Full Screen Zoomed If a program is zoomed in the picture fills the screen and the top and bottom edges are lost to view.

What happens when you want to watch something on television besides circles?

Awww! The children at Disneyland! 16:9 Source Material

How do we put them in 4:3 space? Squeeze?Edge Crop?Letterbox?

No!Probably Not. How do we put them in 4:3 space? Letterbox!

Oh, look! Now theyre at Mr. Toads Wild Ride. 4:3 Source Material

Stretch?Zoom? Pillar Box? How do we put them in 16:9 space?

No!Acceptable.

Why are we telling you this? Here at Eleven we currently broadcast in SD (with plans to switch to HD soon). Most of what we air is 4:3 format. However, if we receive material in a 16:9 format we convert it (usually by making it letterboxed) before it gets to your television set. If you are watching Eleven on a 4:3 television then the programs will appear just as we are broadcasting them without any adjustments on your set. If you are watching Eleven on a 16:9 (or high definition ) television then you may have options concerning how you see the picture. If you have not chosen the aspect on your set, your set will choose for you. This means that the best option may not be selected. (Keep reading.)

Eleven on a 16:9 Television Since we broadcast in 4:3, your television must convert the picture. Most high definition televisions give the viewer the option of choosing the aspect. It may be a button on the remote labeled aspect or in the menu under aspect. Consult your users manual for information on your specific television. Following is an example.

This is what we are broadcasting. Your television is set to stretch the picture. (This may be labeled wide or 16:9.) Why does everything on my television look stretched out and fat?

A Couple of Options You can choose to zoom in on the picture. (This may be labeled zoom.) Or, you can choose to have it pillar boxed. (This may be labeled normal or 4:3.) A matter of preference

In Conclusion If you are watching Eleven on a 4:3 television … –the programs will appear on your screen just as we are broadcasting them without any adjustments on your set. –you may see black bars above and below the picture if the program has been letterboxed. 4:3

In Conclusion If you are watching Eleven on a 16:9 or high definition television … –you have options for viewing the programs. –you can change the aspect usually with a button on your remote or in the menu. 16:9 StretchFull Screen ZoomPillar Box

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