Hey Josh - I agree with some of the points in your blog (in that I think Hess would have been wise to include some of the facts he left out), but if he had covered them all - even at 18 minutes - I think it would have been a classic case of TMI. I have been training large groups of people on this stuff for about 6 years now, and I find that even with a full hour to devote to the subject, live and in person, people get lost in trying to keep all of the different ratios and formats in their heads. And that is even after I basically distill things down to the three basic aspect ratios: 1.33:1, 1.85:1, and 2.35:1 / 2.40:1. The only extra format I talk about is Cinerama, since it is an interesting story in and of itself, and the story of the thinking behind the development of Cinerama helps "prime the pump" for talking about everything that comes after.
Remember too that the video is intended for filmmakers, not home theater enthusiasts.
I agree that he should have clarified the following from your blog post (this is based on the feedback I regularly get from audiences):
- The video states that the CinemaScope format had an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 right from its first production, 1953′s ‘The Robe‘. Actually, the first CinemaScope aspect ratio (used on ‘The Robe’ and several other movies) was 2.55:1.
- Hess implies that all 1.85:1 movies are shot in VistaVision, which isn’t even remotely true. Subsequent “flat” widescreen movies have been shot with standard 35mm cameras and film stock in 4-perf format (which yields a ratio of 1.37:1 on the camera negative) and are matted down to 1.85:1 by projection plates in theaters. Aside from the advent of digital photography and projection, this continues to be the standard for “flat” 35mm movies to this day.
- The video fails to explain that Panavision (which dominated the field of anamorphic photography after CinemaScope went under) adjusted the technical standard for anamorphic projection to 2.39:1 (often rounded to 2.40:1) in 1970, and it has remained there ever since.
- The video doesn’t mention the Super 35 format at all.
- The video doesn’t mention variable ratio movies such as ‘The Dark Knight‘ and ‘The Dark Knight Rises‘ at all.