What is the shape of the frame of your favorite film? It may seem like a funny question, but aspect ratios are perhaps one of cinema’s most important but least recognized or understood technologies. In this era of moviemaking, any aspect ratio from the more square “Academy Ratio” to the wider formats preferred since the 1950s is at a filmmaker’s fingertips, so the way they choose to organize space in their shooting really means something. This video examines the ways that frame size and changes have been used expressively, innovatively, traditionally, and even humorously to add extra context to their content. You’ll never look at the movies the same way again!

Enjoyed this edition of our SFX Secrets series? Check out the following:

The J & L Cut

The Graphic Match Cut

The Art of the Focus Pull