aspect ratio

‘Aspect ratio’ refers to the relationship between the width of an image and its height. From the earliest days of cinema, the standard ratio was 4:3. This was later accepted as the industry standard by the Academy of Performing Arts in Hollywood (the body that awards the ‘Oscars’), so it is sometimes referred to as the ‘Academy’ ratio.

When television began in the 1930s, it also adopted the 4:3 ratio as standard. After the Second World War when cinema started to move towards more wide-screen formats, television continued with the 4:3 ration. Most documentary films, whether they were made for television or not, also continued to be shot in a 4:3 ratio.

Eventually, in the 1990s, television also began to move towards more widescreen formats, and today 16:9 has become the standard both for television and for documentary film-making generally.

Throughout the period covered by The Silent Time Machine project, the standard aspect ratio for ethnographic film-making was 4:3.

diegetic, extra-diegetic, intra-diegetic

‘Diegesis’ refers to the world created by a theatrical work or a film. ‘Extra-diegetic’ refers to something that comes from outside that world.

In non-fiction film-making, the most common use of the term ‘extra-diegetic’ is in relation to music. If the music on the soundtrack has not been recorded in synch with the action of a given film, but is, rather, a piece that comes from elsewhere, i.e. if it has been recorded in a studio, or for some other purpose than for the film that is being made, then it is said to ‘extra-‘ or ‘non-diegetic’.

If the music on the soundtrack has been recorded at some point during the filming of a given film  but is then used, out of synch, to cover a different sequence in that same film, it is sometimes referred to as ‘intra-diegetic’.



© 2018 Paul Henley