Behind the Motion Picture Canvas: Film Formats through the 21st Century

“Cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out.” – Martin Scorsese

The motion picture aspect ratio isn’t just a frame for the picture; in the hands of an accomplished filmmaker, the aspect ratio can have a significant influence on the storytelling process. Join Science and Technology Council member Rob Hummel for an illustrated lecture that traces the history of motion picture formats from the silent era through the 21st century. “Behind the Motion Picture Canvas” will examine the role that emerging technology has played in the evolution of film formats, and how the technical choices made by Thomas Edison and William Dickson at the dawn of the film era continue to influence the way we look at movies today.

The program will include clips from such films as “The Great Train Robbery” (1903, full aperture 1.33:1), “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938, Academy aperture 1.37:1), “White Christmas” (1954, VistaVision 1.85:1), “Lady and the Tramp” (1955, CinemaScope 2.55:1), “Sleeping Beauty” (1959, Technirama 70 2.2:1, Composed for 2.55:1), “The Sound of Music” (1965, Todd-AO 65mm 2.2:1), “Ryan’s Daughter” (1970, Super Panavision 65mm 2.2:1), “Silverado” (1985, Super 35 2.40:1), and “The Accidental Tourist” (1988, Panavision 2.40:1).