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heart0less

What's your take on jumping between different aspect ratios in one video?

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I have recently noticed that more and more videos (usually ads) are following quite a new editing trend - using different aspect ratios, usually to stylise some parts of the footage to look like it was shot on film.

Here are some examples:

 

What do you think of it?

 

To me, it looks really distracting, chaotic almost.
I guess I'm not the target audience - most of the youngsters nowadays really like flashy, popping-out things.

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Love it! I don't think that it's distracting or flashy at all in the examples you posted, it's very tastefully done, with clear intent. Sure, the second video is very action-packed but it's not because of the aspect ratio changes, but rather the editing itself. Besides, like you said, it's targeting young people who wanna have fun.

(bonus points for it being a polish ad :) )

I'm just amazed when filmmakers decide to break the rules, do something different and it totally works. 

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Kraig Adams does it regularly in his videos.  His videos are travel films and often go from vlog style to cinematic style.  The vlog style is 16:9, hand-held or gorillapod, normal speed, with location sound and is often funny.  The cinematic style is 2.35, smooth / often gimbal and sometimes drone footage, often slow-motion (although he's moving away from that now), with music over the top and is beautiful.  He has experimented with how to transition between the two and often animates the black bars coming in and going out.

It's a very different style to the video @heart0less posted!

This is a good example, and he talks about it in the BTS.

 

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3 hours ago, heart0less said:

most of the youngsters nowadays really like flashy, popping-out things.

Ha!  You should have been around in the early 80's to get a glimpse of what that same sentiment meant to viewers back then.  First I recall hearing about how things were getting screwed up was when it came to "Hill Street Blues," I guess.  That was a popular TV show that embraced more chaotic camera movement.  But, man, talk about tame by today's standards.

Of course, a similar attitude was prevalent when French New Wave came about and it punched the industry in the mouth.  

I say no rules. Play with the thing. That's what creatives are supposed to do.  The tools of the craft allow for a heck of a lot of stretch, so pull and see what happens.

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Hollywood does it on occasion. The Dark Knight had a few IMAX shots sprinkled in where the aspect ratio went from ~2.39:1 to ~1.85:1. The Grand Budapest Hotel goes from 4:3 to 16:9 for stylistic reasons to show whether scene is current day or a story by the narrator. 

So long as it serves a purpose, I think this is completely fine.

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The 2014 Canadian film 'Mommy,' directed by Xavier Dolan, has some of the most interesting use of mixed aspect ratios I have ever seen; most of the film is in a very unorthodox 1:1 square aspect ratio, like Instagram. It is cramped, small, and very claustrophobic for framing, and it is only when the main character — a teenaged boy with severe behavioral issues —  finally feels some freedom and happiness in his life, that he very memorably and literally pushes the aspect ratio of the film into glorious, huge, cinematic wide-screen. 

It could have been very gimmicky, but in the context of the story it is a pretty marvelous, eye-opening moment. Another moment, later on the movie, does the same thing, to very heartbreaking effect. It's a very interesting film. 

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If it serves a purpose in the story, it can be a wonderful effect. In The Grand Budapest Hotel, it's used to show different time periods, and it fit with the overly-produced style of the movie--sort of like the obvious miniatures. In the 2nd Hunger Games, the aspect ratio slowly changes as Katniss moves into the arena. The screen literally opened up as she rode the elevator to the surface. Both of those worked for me.

In The Dark Knight, the changing ratio didn't help the movie, but I didn't mind it particularly, since it was generally grouped together. E.g. an entire scene would be shot in IMAX, and then another entire scene in 35mm. It didn't cut between them too much. In Dunkirk, however, there was one scene where it cut between the boat and the plane in different ratios, and I thought that was distracting. (The color between the two film stocks didn't match at all either, not that has anything to do with aspect ratios.)

I found the videos in the OP to be super distracting.

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my take is: im not a fan of switching aspect ratios, but NO ONE NOTICES BESIDES US

case in point: the dark knight nolan films, going from letterboxed 2.39 to 16x9 imax footage at will, with no apologies~! i ask my friends... "Did you notice that...?" They ALL say no. except for the DPs lolol

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8 hours ago, kye said:

The vlog style is 16:9, hand-held or gorillapod, normal speed, with location sound and is often funny.  The cinematic style is 2.35, smooth / often gimbal and sometimes drone footage, often slow-motion (although he's moving away from that now), with music over the top and is beautiful.

Now, that's justified and definitely helps set the tone and make the 'cinematic' part stand out. I like it.

Craig Adams seems like a really nice guy. Someone, with whom you could gladly have a chat and make some silly jokes.
 

6 hours ago, fuzzynormal said:

Ha!  You should have been around in the early 80's to get a glimpse of what that same sentiment meant to viewers back then.

I'll definitely check it. Just let me get some solar viewing glasses. 😂

 

2 hours ago, Parker said:

The 2014 Canadian film 'Mommy,' directed by Xavier Dolan, has some of the most interesting use of mixed aspect ratios I have ever seen; most of the film is in a very unorthodox 1:1 square aspect ratio, like Instagram. It is cramped, small, and very claustrophobic for framing, and it is only when the main character — a teenaged boy with severe behavioral issues —  finally feels some freedom and happiness in his life, that he very memorably and literally pushes the aspect ratio of the film into glorious, huge, cinematic wide-screen. 

It could have been very gimmicky, but in the context of the story it is a pretty marvelous, eye-opening moment. Another moment, later on the movie, does the same thing, to very heartbreaking effect. It's a very interesting film.

I've seen it!

And right then the whole aspect ratio thing felt just spot on.
One of the moments when I smiled and thought: 'that's a proper cinematography, wow'.

 

45 minutes ago, kaylee said:

case in point: the dark knight nolan films, going from letterboxed 2.39 to 16x9 imax footage at will, with no apologies~! i ask my friends... "Did you notice that...?" They ALL say no. except for the DPs lolol

Truth be told: neither did I notice. 🙄

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9 hours ago, heart0less said:

Now, that's justified and definitely helps set the tone and make the 'cinematic' part stand out. I like it.

Craig Adams seems like a really nice guy. Someone, with whom you could gladly have a chat and make some silly jokes.
 

I'll definitely check it. Just let me get some solar viewing glasses. 😂

 

I've seen it!

And right then the whole aspect ratio thing felt just spot on.
One of the moments when I smiled and thought: 'that's a proper cinematography, wow'.

 

Truth be told: neither did I notice. 🙄

me neither, but i would have watched it before i found this site. i have learned a few things since then.Having said that, i do notice the ad changing aspect ratios on youtubes  and to me its kinda jarring. one upside i can think of is that if ads are looking cinematic to sell stuff, i suspect a few people may catch on  and we may see  more stuff with cinematic aspect ratios produced which i think is a good thing

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1 hour ago, leslie said:

i suspect a few people may catch on  and we may see  more stuff with cinematic aspect ratios produced which i think is a good thing

I'm afraid they already did.. 

Screenshot_20190904-081747_YouTube.thumb.png.fe1e4eaf93876c46483347ab49884147.png

 

Jokes aside - if the video is recorded and framed while having 2.35:1 in mind (frame guides, external monitors, etc) - it's cool. Definitely helps to forget about the videoish aspects. 

But slapping black bars on everything without giving it a second thought (resulting in awkward compositions or some chopped heads) is a no-no for me. 

 

I think it's just a phase, though. Everyone has to go through it. 

I'm guilty of this myself. 

:relaxed:

 

Just like you said:

1 hour ago, leslie said:

me neither, but i would have watched it before i found this site. i have learned a few things since then.

We just keep on learning and noticing new new things.

And that's good

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4 hours ago, heart0less said:

I'm afraid they already did.. 

Screenshot_20190904-081747_YouTube.thumb.png.fe1e4eaf93876c46483347ab49884147.png

 

Jokes aside - if the video is recorded and framed while having 2.35:1 in mind (frame guides, external monitors, etc) - it's cool. Definitely helps to forget about the videoish aspects. 

But slapping black bars on everything without giving it a second thought (resulting in awkward compositions or some chopped heads) is a no-no for me. 

 

I think it's just a phase, though. Everyone has to go through it. 

I'm guilty of this myself. 

:relaxed:

 

 

i read your post, and at the start, i thought i hope this guy is joking🙄

the web is responsible for some good things out there but adding black bars top and bottom just cheapens it for me. Just goes to prove you still need to filter lol. Admittedly you probably could throw some bars top and bottom on some footage and maybe i would be none the wiser. However that may depend on the content  if i went back and watched the batman movie again now that someone has pointed it out i would probably notice it this time because i'd be watching out for it, but those youtubes that switch to different aspect ratios no attempt seems to be made to smooth the difference,  and it just seems pretty jarring to me.

Digressing momentarily Youtube is actually starting to tick me off. i have noticed lately they now seem to be playing two ads at the start of a video one you can click on to dismiss but one will play the whole way through. Its rapidly becoming like tv. Kaylee had a thread about monetizing a channel,  and there was some talk about the monies been make have dropped off. Now with two ads at the start and ads inserted into the video it does seem like like youtube are glutinous in their appreciation of filthy lucre, for me its getting to the point id rather pay a fee to not watch advertising and get content that interests me. Heck some of that fee can even go back to content creators, it would be a win win. 

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I don't mind it, but sometimes I think it looks a bit choppy, obviously it's a personal choice. 

I decided to do it in this video where I cut true anamorphic with Fisheye angles and the reception was mixed, some people didn't like it, but it got people talking. I'm un-decided really, but I think if you can make it flow it's cool. I like to see 8mm 4:3 chopped with crispy 16:9 35mm, but I think chopping from 2.35 to 4:3 is hard to make look fluid.
 

 

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Generally I dislike changes in aspect ratio. It makes me think of youtubers who go from vlog-style to some "cinematic montage", even if the Kraig Addams example posted by @kye is pretty cool.

Talking about narrative function - I watched the latest season of 13 Reasons Why (season 3) last week, and they frequently swap between two aspect ratios along with color changes (some scenes are even black and white). It is seemingly used to distinguish between timelines. Present day is represented by cool color and 2.22:1 aspect ratio while flashbacks are 1.77:1 and warm tones. 

The aspect ratio change bothered me to no end in the first couple of episodes, but I barely noticed it at the end of the series.

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2 hours ago, meudig said:

Generally I dislike changes in aspect ratio. It makes me think of youtubers who go from vlog-style to some "cinematic montage", even if the Kraig Addams example posted by @kye is pretty cool.

Talking about narrative function - I watched the latest season of 13 Reasons Why (season 3) last week, and they frequently swap between two aspect ratios along with color changes (some scenes are even black and white). It is seemingly used to distinguish between timelines. Present day is represented by cool color and 2.22:1 aspect ratio while flashbacks are 1.77:1 and warm tones. 

The aspect ratio change bothered me to no end in the first couple of episodes, but I barely noticed it at the end of the series.

I think cinematic 'language' is something that is always evolving and things people do will always fall into three camps: things we've established (eg 180 rule, J and L cuts, etc), things that don't work and will never become a standard part of cinematic language, and things that are unfamiliar but will eventually become part of the standard language.

The issue is that 'standard cinematic language' isn't as standard as we'd like, and it will be different between languages, cultures, and sub-groups.  For example the technique of deliberately over processing and downgrading the image and audio (making the audio so loud that it's clipped almost beyond recognition) is a completely standard thing that started in meme culture and has worked its way into almost all types of social media video.  I can't tell you what it means, but I'm familiar enough with its use that I get the joke when people use it.

This is the problem with art - they take what is normal, then create impressionism, cubism, surrealism, post-modernism, post-post-modernism, etc etc etc....

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