Why You Should Try the 4:3 Ratio for Video

Our aspect ratios have been trending toward wider dimensions for some time and that makes perfect sense. But, should we cast out a previously staple aspect ratio for good? Does it have any uses?

Anyone who grew up in the 90s will know that the 4:3 aspect ratio was how you consumed television. All shows were made in it and your huge boxy TV was made to 4:3 as well. I didn't question that format at the time, but as we moved to HD which was usually 16:10, I realized that was logical given the shape of the human eye. Well, perhaps it isn't logical.

When I watched this video by Vuhlandes, I really enjoyed the way it looked but couldn't articulate why. Yes, he's an excellent videographer and every shot is superb in this, but I liked the 4:3 ratio even though my monitor is 16:10. I'm still not sure what is attractive about it — perhaps it's merely that it's now unusual to me — but it did prompt me to check my "logic" and find that the human eye is an estimated aspect ratio of 5:3.

In this video, Vuhlandes shows some of his 4:3 work and how he thinks it improves the results. Some commenters pointed out it looks excellent on tablets, which makes sense as the iPad is 4:3. Might we see more mobile devices trend toward 4:3 over the more extreme 16:9 of the iPhone, for instance?

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Rk K's picture

Please don't do this, it's very annoying. Most phones are even wider than 16:9 these days.

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

Yeah, nope. Almost as bad as vertical videos.

Though, back in the 4:3 days, it took me a while to get used to the wider formats. I remember buying Planet of the Apes 2001 DVD. I was so pissed it had the top and bottom black bars.