Why the shape of your screen matters – Brian Gervase

Why the shape of your screen matters – Brian Gervase


You know, back in the ’40s and ’50s, the original standard television
had a 4 to 3 width to height ratio. That shape was chosen
to be a slight rectangle, but still mostly square, thus having
the maximal screen area for the given dimensions. And that’s still the ratio on many TVs
and computer monitors in today’s homes. The problem is, hardly anybody today
treats video content in a 4 to 3 ratio. See, this whole problem started when people wanted
to watch movies from the theater in the comfort of their own homes. Movie screens are considerably larger
than our home television. More important, the screen
is completely different rectangle and can’t mathematically fit
on our TV screens without manipulation. A typical TV is one and a third times
wider than it is tall Some movie screens could be up to
three times as wide as it is tall. So what’re we going to do to make it fit?
Well, we have all kinds of options. Well, we could squeeze and stretch
and mangle everything onto the screen, to make it all fill up, and everyone would look
ridiculously thin and compressed. The good news is
the sound would be just fine, although I don’t think people would be
too happy about that option, particularly the actors in the movie. We could just cut a chunk
of the original movie like a cookie cutter and just see that frame of the movie. The problem with that would be
people and objects would be speaking from off the screen,
or, even worse, they might be cut in half. Some movie editors use what’s called
the “pan and scan” technique to allow the full height
of the TV screen to be used, but pick and choose what section
of the original movie should be shown on your screen thus eliminating the annoying
cutting of people. Imagine that job: staring at a 4 to 3 hole watching movies all day,
deciding for everyone which piece of the screen is
the most important part for people to see. Now let’s do a little quick math. If we compare a major cinematic film
produced on a 2.35 to 1 aspect frame with my standard 4 to 3 TV screen, we find out that only 55% of the movie
can actually fit on the screen at any one time. Just over half! You’ve seen the disclaimer
at the beginning of the movie on TV or DVD that says,
“This film has been modified from its original format
to fit on your TV screen.” Well, what it should say is, “We are only displaying 55%
of the movie of our choosing.” Now for all the full-screen TV lovers, this is your dilemma: do you want to see all the movie,
or is 55% good enough? How about new TVs? Around the start of the century,
some widescreen TVs emerged in a 16 to 9, or 1.78 times
wider than it is tall. Well, this screen fits
the movie a little better, but still only shows 75%
of the original movie at one time. Suppose someone made
a TV for your living room that was actually 2.35 to 1
to show those full movies? Well, the TV with the same height
as the most current 50-inch TVs – that TV would be close to six feet long. And on top of that, you’d only use
the full screen when you watched movies. Most of the other content
would have to be stretched, or have empty space on
the sides of the screen. Of course, there is one more option. We can just shrink
the movie screen proportionally, to fit the width of your home television. We can mathematically scale the original
to fit exactly the width of the screen and this’ll preserve
the entire movie screen, but show the infamous black bars
along the top and bottom that so many television watchers abhor. Of course, now you can argue
that we’re only using 75% of that screen. And that is where the real question is: do you want your full screen,
or do you want to see the entire movie? Most likely, you just need a bigger TV.

100 comments

  • John Blake

    I couldn't give a fuck 🙂

    Reply
  • KevintheBooth

    I expected something more meaningful… no science…

    I kind of want to tell you off for putting this in TED-Ed…….

    Reply
  • Sm4o

    The purpose of this video is to sell big TVs. Fuck that!

    Reply
  • Barnesrino Kripperino

    Ultrawide ftw

    Reply
  • Zephyrus411

    What the frick is this?! What a waste of time and effort for Ted.

    Reply
  • Josh Sanguino

    Well, that was a small waste of time

    Reply
  • MrMetalHead1100

    wtf?

    Reply
  • Furosuto the ice loveing furry

    since i watch youtube in full so much im used to the black bars on the top and bottom so i rather have that happen

    Reply
  • Jennifer Hall

    #firstworldproblems

    Reply
  • Jean-Jacques de Balzac

    I watched this video fullscreen. I guess the interesting part of this video got cut off… :/

    Reply
  • rincewind93

    For me, the black bars are like the curtains on the side of the screen at the movie theater.

    Reply
  • Luna Moon

    Please, do your research. when a movie is made they add a action safe zone and a text safe zone, thanks to these zones we are able to cut the movie or show without losing any of the action in to movie. I know this video was released in 2012 but these things existed since making movies was a thing.

    Reply
  • Ishwar Karthik

    simple solution: go to the movies

    Reply
  • Charter Jacobson

    I just wish I had a 21:9 ultra-wide monitor…

    Reply
  • Michał K

    0 science here

    Reply
  • shieldgenerator7

    I think there's more to it than just having a bigger TV.

    Reply
  • TTDARK

    This i's the most useless TED video I've ever seen.

    Reply
  • sexy monkey

    I have a 70" and did notice the black bars more but i guess for video games it doesn't matter

    Reply
  • princ3chase

    No shit Sherlock!! What's the point of this BULLSHIT!!! That's 3 minutes and 32 seconds I'll never get back!!

    Reply
  • LifeOn2Wheels 96

    no one uses 4:3 anymore…

    Reply
  • Stephanie Kim

    I thought this would be about curved and regular tvs,but apparently this was made 4 years ago so . . . .

    Reply
  • covfefe

    Dear everyone who has to live with the black bars:
    Samsung (or LG, I don't remember) has made a prototype of a TV that changes aspect ratio depending on what you're watching.
    Ta-da.

    Reply
  • Zacchi4000

    Am I the only who doesn't mind the black bars?

    Reply
  • AnantaSesaDas

    I'm waiting for circular screens. We don't use analog videotape anymore. No good reason not to. Use "letterbox" for the rare classics in rectangular format.

    Reply
  • Lemcal Kerman

    I don't mind the black bars

    Reply
  • DiracDelta FX

    U can either watch the full video or just know that' You just need a bigger TV'. Good luck!

    Reply
  • IAmAgainst

    I don´t understand why the fuck most music videos are made in a ridiculously thin format when most people's screen are 16:9..

    Reply
  • iso10 Bur

    Ok. But it was a little bit confusing for me.

    Reply
  • JadeWarrior666

    If I'm only seeing 55% of the movie, shouldn't I get charged 55% of the money?

    Reply
  • GroovingPict

    well this was an utterly meaningless video

    Reply
  • Nemato

    This retarded video dropped my IQ

    Reply
  • panda4247

    the real question is – why were the different ratios invented?
    I mean, why have multiple widescreen formats? 16:9, 16:10, 2.35:1, … Which is more natural to look at? Elaborate please

    Reply
  • Spiffyriffic

    I learned a little, which is what I expected. I don't understand the butthurt. What I didn't learn is why movies are filmed so wide in the first place.

    Reply
  • Benjamin

    Who needs TVs when we can use projectors

    Reply
  • GDM

    I play csgo in 4:3

    Reply
  • Daniel Robles

    You do realize if I have a 9000 foot TV your question still applies

    Reply
  • Dan Calbrook

    21:9 1440p Screen with occasional black bars on square-er content?

    Reply
  • First Last

    What forgotten corner of the world do you live in that most screens are 4:3 in 2012? Zimbabwe? Uzbekistan?West Brazil?

    Reply
  • Saarah N

    This guy should sell TVs

    Reply
  • Carboncluster

    "lessons worth sharing"
    uhm….

    Reply
  • spadaacca

    This was so stupid.

    Reply
  • Adrian Colley

    I'm more irritated that my nose is slightly in my view whenever I look down.

    Reply
  • Alvin Cheung

    this is not the level of content that should make it onto this channel.

    Reply
  • Vc xxzekxx

    Hahaha loser I have a 100% because of my personal movie theater hahaha you are all poor

    Reply
  • Morse Code

    We watch these in class and I love it XD

    Reply
  • Hector Kayman

    you just spoke and spoke…but didn't really say anything.

    Reply
  • Ludvig Oftedal Vinje

    The normal aspect ratio should be 21:9 just bought an ultrawide monitor and it is fantastic. Tvs should be the same.

    Reply
  • Aicy

    This is probably the most boring content I've seen on youtube for months.

    Reply
  • onlyforytb

    Interesting video. Too bad the comment section is filled with a bunch of 13 year-olds.

    Reply
  • Danny Sullivan

    Much better than his brother, Ricky.

    Reply
  • Mathias Henriksen

    I love ted, and this just doesn't fit into the level of quality in the other videos

    Reply
  • Chris Hubley

    do people really "abhor" black bars? you don't even notice them after a bit

    Reply
  • Fin Warman

    The first point about 'maximal screen area for the given dimensions' makes no sense – the area will be the same for any ratio of given dimensions. The real reason is that it suitably fit the playback of 35mm film that predated home television, used in silent movies.

    Reply
  • Job Bouwman

    The narrator should visit a logopedist.

    Reply
  • Zxenmusic

    Inconclusive.

    Reply
  • Adam Halley-Prinable

    Or you can watch it in VR on a screen that automatically sets itself to whatever the ratio of what you're watching is

    Reply
  • gimn

    So wait… those black bars were never meant to make anything cinematic? It was all a problem in aspect ratio? I thought those black bars were to make a film more dramatic.

    Reply
  • CoasterKing

    people should make 2.35:1 screens, I'd much rather have black bars on the sides than the top and bottom.

    Reply
  • Neo

    just freaking read books and you will not only see the whole scene but you can also be on the scene ughh
    this is not quite "educational"

    Reply
  • Esoteric Grave

    if the black bars was to solve the aspect ratio. why not just make the screen smaller by the same amount? Why not make the screen fit the standard?

    Reply
  • Kinsey

    Both of my monitors (I have a dual monitor setup) are 16:9

    Reply
  • Ameer Muhammad

    Wait, I've been watching half movies for all this time??

    Reply
  • Viktor Gerely

    The interesting part of the video starts at 3:32

    Reply
  • p Hs

    why the heck do they make 2.35:1 movies? what's wrong with 16:9

    Reply
  • HAWXLEADER

    I thought it would be about screens that are not rectangular…

    Reply
  • JonatasAdoM

    Stretch movies in theaters and bring them back to normal size for TVs

    Reply
  • Alex Li

    Nah….today's ratio is 2:1

    Reply
  • Nicholas Williams

    For the whole video I was thinking exactly what he says at the end. " You just need a bigger TV." Don't live with a problem! FIX IT!

    Reply
  • busykitty

    I actually have a story that i feel like I should say:
    when I was young I had this movie called robots, still love it. there was a scene where fender was pointing and shouting at Rodney and Rodney was cut out cause of screen size. so I never really knew what fender was pointing at.

    Reply
  • Aaron West

    or there's wide-screen

    Reply
  • Favee Favila

    The only uninformative video from TED-Ed that I've seen so far. Thought there wasn't any.

    Reply
  • Lucas Layton

    Shape? You mean size? Because they all share the same shape: rectangular.

    Reply
  • Aimford

    black bar is for the cinematic experience

    Reply
  • Shiv Shah

    I would have dark space on my T.V. Then watch 54% of the content

    Reply
  • Futuristic Bot

    3:33 holy crap

    Reply
  • The Pencil Cunts

    A man talking about stretching and mingling screens while being watched with a mingled format being comedicly projected on a screen that mingles with the format.

    Reply
  • Jingle Bells

    And I’m in love with the shape of you

    Reply
  • its niallermikey

    I know sometimes people see this type of content is pointless

    But looking at the bright side, i just feel greatful that i can still think about the small matter in my life. Makes me lost in my reverie for a while.

    Reply
  • Павел Повх

    Nowadays, most open matte versions, with 16:9 aspect ratio, show more at top and bottom then blu rays 2.35:1 version.

    Reply
  • suraj tiwari

    This cannot be a lucid explanation!

    Reply
  • blissful fragrance

    Wow I never knew so much thought went into the size of the TV screens we use! I just assumed they made them into whatever size they wanted to sell lmao

    Reply
  • Life Gummies

    Cough

    Interesting……

    Reply
  • GsTSaien

    Why is everyone so negative in the comments this wasnt a bad video

    Reply
  • Adeline Renee Dayot Corpuz

    😑

    Reply
  • Parapindle

    Deciding which piece of the screen people need to see.
    What is an editor for 400

    Reply
  • Aaron E

    We don't [NEED] the size screens we have! I would rather see the entire picture even if it has been shrunk to fit our sets

    Reply
  • Honeybunnyハニーバニー

    The old Disney movies had a disclaimer on modern tapes that say in 2:07 and they're squeezed and stretched.

    Reply
  • Fine_Swine

    6 feet? Sorry, I use the metric system.

    METERS. CENTIMETERS. COLOUR. AEROPLANES. MILIMETERS. CELSIUS.
    COME AT ME AMERICA! I DARE YOU.

    Reply
  • D ManiaX

    Size does matter

    Reply
  • RPDBY

    This is rudimentary and is not worth a video, I expected something on the curved screens

    Reply
  • Fida Aifiya

    wait, is this a ted ed video?

    Reply
  • Edgard Pinheiro

    I wonder if there is a special reason why the ratio inst standardized. Lets say that we make it official the ratio at 2:1. So all TVs will be manufactured with this ratio, all movies filmed at this ratio, all news ans series produced with this ratio. Is there a technical reason why not do this?

    Reply
  • JamesTheFox

    This is maybe the worst TED-Ed video ever

    Reply
  • Vu Gia Bao Nguyen

    Yes, we do need a bigger TV but what about the money?

    Reply
  • Dastan Roy

    In my tv the disclamier says "The characters in the film are fictitous" 😂😂

    Reply
  • Telly Buhay

    I want my 3 minutes 32 seconds back!

    Reply
  • Jesús Emilio Barreto Cedeño

    Interesting.

    Reply
  • Jesús Emilio Barreto Cedeño

    Why does the left hemisphere control the right side of the body and vice versa?

    Reply
  • mr. apple

    no

    Reply
  • PoSeiDoN NaGa

    Is this an advertisement by a TV company disguised as a Ted Ed video? What did I just watch?

    Reply

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