Aspect Ratios Conundrum
  • W G
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    Aspect Ratios Conundrum

    by W G » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:17 am

    I am toying, yet again, with shooting a lot of my built environment stuff on roll film in the 6x12 format rather than the 'full frame' sheet of 4x5.

    I wonder what YOU think about this:


    Image

    Here is a shot of a ruin for sale that was shot on 6x12 using a roll film back. It was visualised, committed and presented with a 6x12 in mind from the kick-off.



    Image

    This time a full 4x5 of a Newcastle Hospital precinct ear-marked for demolition. The old building is set within its context with room and air to breathe.



    Image

    And now a crop of the above to approximate what a 6x12 would be. The context remains to a large extent but, to me, the weight and balance of the image is significantly altered.



    Over to you .....
    Walter Glover

    "Photography was not a bastard left by science on the doorstep of art, but a legitimate child of the Western pictorial tradition." —Robert Galassi
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    Re: Aspect Ratios Conundrum

    by Doug » Mon Mar 28, 2016 2:16 am

    You could dial your eye in for a time doing 6x12 work and follow up later where 4x5 was considered the better option.
    I agree that 6x12 is not going to suit everything. It is the best use of the film though when it does.

    I find 4x5 the more pleasing as a rule, it feels more spacious.

    Digital aspect ratios are more somewhere in between these two, so cropping in either direction does not feel as wasteful.
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    Re: Aspect Ratios Conundrum

    by LOZ » Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:56 am

    6 x 12 centers the subject and whats left helps tell the story its easy and pleasing on "my "eyes
    4 x 5 Is in my face good for porn when your not interested in what else is around "I" seem to have to lift my head to see the top ?
    Calm down its not real life its a internet forum:)
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    Re: Aspect Ratios Conundrum

    by W G » Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:12 am

    Well, Doug, the funny thing is that in motion pictures these wider aspect ratios are the norm and they never have a problem composing or finding material that fits.

    A part of my motivation is cost and convenience but a huge part is aesthetic. It is a consideration that really needs to be known at the time of seeking out a motif and the vision tuned accordingly.

    For me, the jury is out.
    Walter Glover

    "Photography was not a bastard left by science on the doorstep of art, but a legitimate child of the Western pictorial tradition." —Robert Galassi
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    Re: Aspect Ratios Conundrum

    by W G » Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:14 am

    Hi Loz,

    You are onto exactly where my head is at. The 6x12 is more about narrative to me which is probably, again, why the story-tellers of the movie world like wider and wider and wider.

    Cheers,
    Walter Glover

    "Photography was not a bastard left by science on the doorstep of art, but a legitimate child of the Western pictorial tradition." —Robert Galassi
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    Re: Aspect Ratios Conundrum

    by Doug » Mon Mar 28, 2016 1:40 pm

    W G wrote:Well, Doug, the funny thing is that in motion pictures these wider aspect ratios are the norm and they never have a problem composing or finding material that fits.

    A part of my motivation is cost and convenience but a huge part is aesthetic. It is a consideration that really needs to be known at the time of seeking out a motif and the vision tuned accordingly.

    For me, the jury is out.


    In cinema, wide is a great story telling device for sure. The screen is still high enough to maybe not fill our vision but it still contains our attention.
    Our vision works most commonly left to right, the ratio works great for left to right motion, for a two person left right dialog and out door panoramic scenes.
    Cinema also has set designers that dress the scene to best use an aspect ration.

    The letterbox format was built as much around technical and commercial constraints in cinema, than as an aesthetic and story telling device.
    What percentage of times it works best in 'as you found it' still photography, might be another matter.


    Imax with a clean sheet of paper approach went to 1.43:1 instead of the more common by then 1.85:1

    1.43:1 is pretty much the same as the 135 stills ratio of 3:2 or 1.5:1

    I like any ration that serves its subject, so its not really about preference.
    2:1 is just a pan/stitch or shift/stitch away in digital but I don't find myself doing that a lot in urban environment shots.
    Maybe I would with a change of thinking.
    Last edited by Doug on Mon Mar 28, 2016 1:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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    Re: Aspect Ratios Conundrum

    by Eden » Mon Mar 28, 2016 1:52 pm

    I like the 6x12 shot of the ruin and find it to have a cosy or warmer feel or maybe even a more personal feel than a 4x5 with it's larger area to scrutinise or take in.

    I'm not keen on the crop of the 4x5 hospital shot though. Is this crop how you would have framed the shot using the 6x12? (I would like to see what you would have ended up with if you were using the 6x12 on the day)

    Will be interesting to see what the jury comes back with?
    I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.
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    Re: Aspect Ratios Conundrum

    by W G » Mon Mar 28, 2016 3:00 pm

    Eden wrote:Is this crop how you would have framed the shot using the 6x12? (I would like to see what you would have ended up with if you were using the 6x12 on the day)


    Eden,

    Had i been framing for a 6x12 I suspect I might have shot a little looser. It was just a means of comparison in this example.

    Cheers,
    Walter Glover

    "Photography was not a bastard left by science on the doorstep of art, but a legitimate child of the Western pictorial tradition." —Robert Galassi
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    Re: Aspect Ratios Conundrum

    by Eden » Mon Mar 28, 2016 10:39 pm

    yeah I sorta got that you would frame hopefully looser but was not really happy with that crop as a comparison as it was a crop!

    and would have rather seen one that was awkward as a 6x12 when you had the 6x12 as your shot camera on the day as my belief is that your eye will frame well according to the frame you are shooting with on the day and unlike my newbie eye. and that you would work with what you have with you "on the day".


    I don't see many situations where the 6x12 wouldn't do the job even if you had to shoot so loose as to be able to crop back to 4x5 as a fallback.

    but I see things different to the norm so the opposite of my view is often the safest :)
    I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center.
    Kurt Vonnegut

    PPOK
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    Re: Aspect Ratios Conundrum

    by W G » Tue Mar 29, 2016 2:11 am

    Eden,

    Gteat to see that this conundrum has got you thinking. THAT was my primary purpose in raising the issue, with for myself and for others. Photography is a great enormous chess board of possibilities and the secret ingredient to any modicum of success is thought and consideration.

    In the recreational world people have fairly set-ins-stone attitudes towards cropping and using the 'full image'. Nowhere was this ever made more a feature of than in the case of those in the film days who would file out the mask of their negative holder in the enlarger so as to include the black line of the rebate of the negative in the end result - print.

    In the commercial world, however, nothing could be further from the truth. It was a matter of course that we would make acetate overlays of page layouts and place them over the viewing screen, not only to constrain composition to the aspect ratio but also to indicate where room in the image had to be left for such things as mastheads, headlines, caption, break-outs and all manner of visual detritus. The entire frame was only ever the delineation of the maximum real estate at one's disposal. Shooting square format for landscape or portrait orientations was a wonderful learning ground for all this.

    Cheers,
    Walter Glover

    "Photography was not a bastard left by science on the doorstep of art, but a legitimate child of the Western pictorial tradition." —Robert Galassi

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