Advertisement
We've partnered up with Nixers.com to offer a space where you can talk directly to Peter from Nixers.com and get an exclusive Boards.ie discount code for a free job listing. If you are recruiting or know anyone else who is please check out the forum here.
If you have a new account but can't post, please email Niamh on [email protected] for help to verify your email address. Thanks :)

Vertical formatted movies

  • 14-02-2020 4:49pm
    #1
    Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 27,102 Mod ✭✭✭✭ pixelburp


    Well. It was always bound to happen, maybe the only real surprise is that it took this long, while the first to try it has some pedigree:

    https://deadline.com/2020/02/searching-timur-bekmambetov-worlds-first-vertical-blockbuster-1202859091/

    Bekmambetov produced Searching and Hardcore Henry, both films that played with modern day sensibilities when it came to formatting and presentation.

    Non standard ratios aren't uncommon, as we've seen that 4:3 hasn't gone away; The Lighthouse or Wes Anderson both making great use of the off-square format. Vertical formatting though feels a step too far (not to mention potentially redundant on landscape cinema or home TV screens).

    Beyond the gimmick and curiousity, would anyone want vertical formatting? Or even make an argument for this more unnatural, (IMO) more aesthetically contradictory format?


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,493 ✭✭✭ Goodshape


    Interesting experiment.

    I assume the target is people watching on their mobile phones rather than cinema?

    I don't really have a problem with it out of hand. Like, I wouldn't want to imagine Lawrence of Arabia in a vertical format, but similarly I wouldn't like to see The Lighthouse in 2.20:1.

    A World War 2 film seems like an odd choice but otherwise I'm mostly just interested.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,205 ✭✭✭ p to the e


    My guess is they're going for that Quibi money.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 25,537 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Dades


    Sure why not make it 3D and HFR as well.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,589 ✭✭✭ Homelander


    That's grand if you can watch on a smart phone, but imagine trying to watch that on any conventional screen.

    Could be worth a watch if I rotate my monitor into portrait mode.

    Don't get the fascination with non-standard formats in general. I mean, The Lighthouse used 4:3 extremely effectively and it plays a crucial role in the context of the film itself, to the point that it would be a lesser movie in 16 or 21:9.

    Whereas something like The Nightingale? Stellar movie, but still don't understand why they employed 4:3, it added nothing for me.


  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 27,020 CMod ✭✭✭✭ johnny_ultimate


    I’m of the view that a director can make a film in whatever aspect ratio they want, as long as it’s motivated by the character, story or even just the visual identity of the film. Xavier Dolan may (ok, is) something of a OTT show-off, but he used 1:1 effectively for Mommy. Pawel Pawlikowski makes impossibly gorgeous compositions in 4:3. Even the recent Waves, while a frustrating film in many ways, has nearly a half dozen mid-film aspect ratio changes that underscore the emotions and narrative shifts quite effectively.

    A vertical aspect ratio in this case is probably something of a gimmick, especially given the folk behind it. And yes, there are many times I curse silently when I see someone share a video on social media in vertical mode because they clearly were just holding the camera the wrong way (often harder to make out detail on a hasty vertical video, and it looks ****e on anything other than a phone). Also hate how some studios shamefully crop trailers and the like to fit phone ratio. But really I’d never rule out someone doing it cleverly or impactfully. An aspect ratio can greatly enhance the mood and meaning of a film when done well: maybe, some day, someone will do it with vertical aspect ratio.


  • Advertisement
  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 25,537 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Dades


    maybe, some day, someone will do it with vertical aspect ratio.
    But not this day, I'm guessing.
    Consider the rule of thirds or fibonacci or whatever - it's going to be a struggle to accept. WHY would be the obvious question and I suspect the answer would be for arty reasons not for the actual enhancement of the viewer.

    I'll admit I'm old school and struggle to contain my rage at portrait video footage.


  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 27,102 Mod ✭✭✭✭ pixelburp


    Dades wrote: »
    But not this day, I'm guessing.
    Consider the rule of thirds or fibonacci or whatever - it's going to be a struggle to accept. WHY would be the obvious question and I suspect the answer would be for arty reasons not for the actual enhancement of the viewer.

    I'll admit I'm old school and struggle to contain my rage at portrait video footage.

    I think you got it though, landscape works because it comes with centuries of artistic expression built upon the Golden Ratio, rule of Thirds and other eternal concepts. Beyond gimmickry I don't see the point and if vertical orientation really was the new normal, it would have started with every amateur photographer or video essayist who grew up with vertical video. Yet that hasn't happened, certainly not if those I follow on Instagram are to go by. If anything, there's a resurgence of 4:3, polaroid or other near square formats.


  • Moderators, Arts Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators Posts: 10,550 Mod ✭✭✭✭ Fysh


    My initial reaction is "this sounds stupid", but then I thought that Bekmambetov was a producer on Unfriended, which was very effective in using a laptop screen as the focal point for a narrative story.

    The success or failure of it will be a combination of what new visual language (if any) the film invents to exploit its format, and whether it transcends the IMO gimmicky aspect of "it's like a film of someone interacting with their mobile device". I suspect it won't be for me as I don't watch video on my phone generally, but maybe it'll be a surprise.

    On a related note, it turns out Snapchat commissioned a vertical format series called Dead Of Night a while ago and the first episode is on Youtube:


  • Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 27,102 Mod ✭✭✭✭ pixelburp


    The shaking camera made that Dead Of Night unwatchable for me, which I guess is another aspect of "vertical" video, albeit not explicitly related to the aspect ratio.

    On the question of language, I suppose the question is ... are there already any rules or guidelines for composition with regards vertical formats? Obviously in traditional art you have guides around "portrait" but being statics pieces specific to a close up of a person, they don't translate into the cinematic medium. On the face of it, I can't see how you could realistically create visual semantics with such a narrow screen width, while preserving important visual information.


  • Registered Users Posts: 16,540 ✭✭✭✭ Tony EH


    pixelburp wrote: »
    Beyond the gimmick and curiousity, would anyone want vertical formatting?

    No.

    The current penchant for poncy directors using variations of 4:3 is annoying enough to be honest. :pac:


  • Advertisement
Advertisement