Cinematic Rendering : HDTV resolution

I really should be writing my English assignment instead of this, but blender comes first!

I was digging around wikipedia, namely film aspect ratios
I was wondering why so many youtube tutorials recommend “adding the cinema ‘bars’ for cinema effect.” i.e adding two big blocks of black over the footage in post processing, and I thought to myself, What if I do want cinema’esq rendering in blender? what should I render at?

Taking that most films are (might) 2.35:1, I wanted to find my new rendering dimensions!

Well!! A little bit later I ran across this fantastic web page.
I put in the width 1920, to preserve the common HD format, regularly used in YouTube and TV videos, and chose the aspect ration 2.35:1, and calculated a vertical dimension of 817 pixels.

This means that, when rendering in blender at 1920x817, the resolution will be less than 1080p, HOWEVER, when composited or post processed say, in After Effects, because of the size and dimensions of the render, two cinema’esq black bars will be present in the top and bottom.

This technique would be superior to rendering at stock standard 1080p, then compositing post letterbox visuals in. By rendering at 1920x817, you render 504,960 LESS pixels, possibly reducing render time.

Hope this helps with all you budding short film producers!

regards tek-

Those bars are called ‘letter boxes’ and when they run up and down on the sides they’re called ‘Pillar boxes’. They simply fill in the area where your video is not present so that the image doesn’t get stretched when squeezed into a different aspect ratio.

16:9 is the most popular aspect for TV and online viewing, and also leaves enough room should you want to crop out the extra space to make it into a faux 2.35+. 2.35 is actually pre-70’s with the real size mostly currently used being 2.39, though I still hear many people refer to it as 2.35… old habit I suppose.

Anyhow, in short use 16:9 but put your safe windows at 2.39.


Hi chaz,

Yes, but a problem for rendering at 16:9 in blender is the camera composes itself for that rendering aspect ratio, therefore it can make it difficult to compose your animations to fit both 2.40 and 16:9. So if you know you are only rendering for 2.40:1, and don’t need 16:9, why not render in the way I suggested, as it cuts down time and gives you a real view of the render through the camera in blender.