Shoot the Aspect Ratio Target

Keep it All in Perspective

It is recommended that you shoot an aspect ratio target to communicate where your intended frame ends. Both 16mm and 35mm cameras display frame lines, but record an image beyond the frame, which can cause confusion in post. The aspect ratio target communicates exactly where the frame ends and helps preserve your composition.

Here's what's recorded:

Here's how the cinematographer composes the image (red for emphasis):



Aspect ratio target:

Filming aspect ratio target to match ground glass markings:



If the post facility does not receive an aspect ratio target, personnel will have to guess how you composed the image - and you may be disappointed by their guess.

When shooting 35mm, the aspect ratio target is used to frame the print as it will be projected. The projectionist inserts a hard mask with the correct aspect ratio and then uses the aspect ratio target to adjust the framing of the image. Shoot your target in a controlled environment. The target center should be the same height as the center of the lens. It should also be parallel (flat) to the film plane. If it is angled, it will be difficult to match the frame line with the ground glass markings.

Be sure the target is in sharp focus, and properly exposed. You could include additional information on the target, such as the production title, a contact name, and the camera body with serial number. If you're shooting with multiple cameras, it's best to shoot a target for each.

Downlad PDFs of Aspect Ratio Targets:

Note: It's best to print the targets on thick card stock, 90# or heavier.

Final Display: 1.66:1 aspect ratio image displayed on NTSC monitor (4:3 or 1.33:1) without letterboxing.