Jan 02, 2009

the dark knight and changing aspect ratios

Last night we watched The Dark Knight on Apple TV (it’s just as good the second time around), and noticed something new -- the aspect ratio occasionally switched from 2.4:1 (classic widescreen with the black bars) to 1.78:1 (which filled the entire display). Turns out that the 1.78:1 shots (mostly action sequences) were filmed with IMAX cameras, and for the home video release (at least on Blu-Ray and AppleTV) they kept the aspect ratio intact for those scenes. I guess we should have seen the movie in IMAX to begin with.

There’s a long and involved thread at AV Science Forum about the aspect ratio switch on the BluRay release, complete with a poll (“Should studios release movies with inconsistent aspect ratio switching?”). (My take? Yes. It totally worked.) And I’m sure this won’t be the last time we see this in action — Slashfilm had an item recently about Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan saying that he would love to shoot an entire feature with IMAX cameras.