What Are Aspect Ratios and How to Adjust Them?

Aspect ratio is an important parameter in analyzing the image quality of a digital image, films. Aspect ratios find enormous use in a wide variety of fields ranging from video resolution, TV screen,  digital image processing, remote sensing, projectors, cameras, etc. Find more about projectors and display technology.

aspect ratios

By definition, aspect ratio is the ratio of the width and the height of an image or a screen. It is represented by the ratio- width (x): height (y) or x:y. So, if the aspect ratio is 16:9, it means the ratio of width to height of the image or screen is 16 by 9. The width can be 16 inches and height can be 9 inches or the width can be 32 inches and height be 18 inches. Simply, the final ratio has to be 16:9.

Aspect ratio is indeed an integral part of image processing. you must have seen if this ratio is changed then the image quality or perception is changed completely and the image or a video looks distorted. As mentioned earlier, that an aspect ratio is used everywhere starting from a normal photograph to high end movie editing. In motion pictures or cinematography, the region of a film strip between two consecutive sprocket perforations is considered to be the image or film size. Universally accepted standard image size is four perforations high. for a 35 mm wide film, the area between perforations is 24.89 mm x 18.67 mm. The aspect ratio is thus 4:3.

aspect ratio

Let’s check out some of the commonly used or standard aspect ratios available in different display gadgets, images and films. These are:

  • 4:3

This is the most popular and oldest aspect ratio. Old standard televisions have been using aspect ratios of 4:3. ut is close to the aspect ratio 1.375:1 known as the Academy Ratio. this aspect ratio has been determined by the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Sciences.

  • 16:9

Used in standard computer monit0rs, cameras, analog screens, etc.

  • 7:3 

7:3 or better say 21:9 aspect ratio is used in displays of high end monitors, ultra wide monitors. 64:27 is an important cinematic movie ratio.

  1. 2:1

The popular aspect ratio is 18:9 which is same as 2:1. But the ratio of 18:9 has been introduced by cinematographer Vittorio Storaro and it is called Univisium.

  • 1:1

This aspect ratio is used in social media platforms. For example Instagram posts, Facebook profile pictures and WhatsApp profile pictures. Some of the social media apps only square photos. Square photos have height and width same. hence the aspect ratios od such photos are 1:1.

Some Simple Ways to Adjust Aspect Ratio

  • There are many third party applications like MS paint, Windows Photo Editor, Adobe Photoshop, Irfan view, etc. There are many other applications which can easily change the aspect ratio. You can also manually change the height or the width of a photo either by selecting a standard format of by giving custom inputs.
  • In normal televisions you can change the aspect ratio to some pre-installed formats only. For PCs and other high end smart TVs, there is a Settings option that provides you ample scope of changing aspect ratios.
  • There are some high end digital image processing softwares that can change various parameters of an image including aspect ratios. For example, MATLAB is a popular software with which you can change the AR. the same is applicable for different programming languages starting from C.
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