In the earliest days of cinema, there was one choice: 4:3. Through the evolution of camera and screen technology, formats have changed dramatically over the years, ranging from the super widescreen to completely square. With mobile technology now demanding vertical format, it can be hard to choose your ratio, so why not compromise? Go diagonal.
In 1927, the closing scenes of Abel Gance’s movie Napoléon was screened as a triptych making for a stunning 4:1. With the width of the frame giving a sense of claustrophobia in its narrower forms (think Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida) or expansive landscapes in its wider forms (think Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, or Christopher Nolan’s Dunirk), choosing the right format for your video can be a tough choice. Snapchat and Instagram Stories make that decision even harder as suddenly the vertical format has come along to throw an extra spanner in the works. Do you shoot horizontal so that it gives you a sense of space, or do you shoot vertical in order to give yourself a greater chance of your content being viewed and shared on mobile devices?
Fortunately, Randall Monroe (a.k.a. XKCD) has come up with the perfect solution: shoot diagonally.
For more of Monroe's incredible cartoons, please visit his website at xkcd.com.