Thursday, June 22, 2017

Aspect ratio sensitivity

For some reason I cannot really even begin to comprehend, it appears that most people are completely unable to see if the aspect ratio of a live video (such as a TV show or movie) is incorrect. And I mean even if it's way, way, way incorrect. Like when a 4:3 video is stretched horizontally to fill a 16:9 screen (which means that the video is compressed vertically to 75% of what it ought to be). I don't know if they indeed have a brain malfunction that makes them completely incapable of seeing the problem, or if they just refuse to admit they see it due to some strange psychological phenomenon. In either case they will claim to their graves that the glaringly obvious stretching of the image doesn't bother them at all (again, for a reason that I cannot even begin to comprehend).

I myself am what could perhaps be called hypersensitive to a wrong aspect ratio. If some video footage has even slightly the wrong aspect ratio, I very quickly notice it, and it bothers me.

For example I was recently watching a video and I very quickly noticed that it seemed to have a slightly wrong aspect ratio. I kept watching, and I became more and more convinced of that fact.

It turns out that the video was supposed to have a 16:9 aspect ratio, and while it had 1280 pixels horizontally, rather than being 720 pixels vertically, for some reason it had been squeezed to 668 pixels. That's less than an 8% difference. I still noticed it almost immediately. When I scaled the video vertically to 720 pixels, it immediately started looking correct.

I have yet to meet another person with this kind of "hypersensitivity". Or at least one that admits to seeing it. Much less one who is bothered by it. I don't really get it.


  1. Hey, you. I'm one of those people who are somewhat sensitive to this thing. Hate it when people stretch video or something. I usually notice that, I'm somewhat sensitive to having correct aspect ratio in everything. If there's a only few pixels wrong, I don't mind it, but 4:3 to 16:9 is urgh. I also get annoyed how some early games did 16:9, where the HUD looks stretched but else is squeezed so you see more. I don't like that.
    (I once heard a story where some people (in US) watched a 16:9 formatted DVD of 2.35:1 movie, on a 16:9 screen, with 4:3 setting so it looked like... You can imagine that, that's insanity. And yes, they didn't notice anything wrong. I don't get this either.)
    Actually I've had to watch 2 movies so far with wrong aspect ratio, as them discs failed to contain a 16:9 flag so the image was forced to be like a 16:9 setting on a 4:3 TV, it sucked. Seriously. Better than nothing, but it sucks.

    1. I had an acquaintance once who had some kind of technical problem with his TV and digi-tv box combo, where the box couldn't somehow recognize the aspect ratio of the TV, and thus it showed everything compressed 75% vertically (ie. it made a 4:3 to 16:9 stretching). This guy did see and admit that it was the wrong aspect ratio, but since he couldn't figure out how to fix it, he had been watching TV like that literally for years. When we were at his house with a group of friends, one of them started browsing the settings menus of the digi-tv box, and finally found the crucial setting that fixed the aspect ratio.

      What really baffled me is how this guy had been watching TV for years with the glaringly wrong aspect ratio, and just accepted it. Sometimes some people *do* see it's wrong, and even readily admit it, yet somehow they just accept it submissively if they can't figure out a way to fix it.

    2. Perhaps people won't want to admit that they suck or something. Would explain things.

      Your story reminded me, err I found a nice image to use as me desktop, I was forced to look at it stretched as me OS won't give me any fit options (I still run Windows XP, as it still does the job I need it to do, all I need is get called crazy yet again) and I watched that image whenever I saw it, stretched. Until one day I decided to fix it. Added stuff from the image to sides and now it stretches it by a few pixels. A lot better.
      Also, I find it very difficult to watch PS1 game videos nowadays, everyone stretches those 4:3 games to 16:9, looks horrid. Stupid peoples (sic). And I don't even like 16:9 that much.