Visual Encyclopedia

Film format

A film format is a technical definition of a set of standard characteristics regarding image capture on photographic film, for either stills or filmmaking. It can also apply to projected film, either slides or movies. The primary characteristic of a film format is its size and shape.

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The 1954 Elia Kazan film "On The Waterfront" is well known for Marlon Brando's Oscar winning performance and the the beautiful urban images, but most do not know about how it was shot to accommodate for three separate aspect ratios. This video from the impeccable Criterion Collection explains how the film was shot with each ratio in mind, making sure every version would still tell a compelling story.

Contributed by Samuel Bruce Goodrich

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