Originally Posted by solipsism
It was also pointed out yesterday that IMAX is 22m x 16.1m for an aspect ratio of 1.37. An aspect ratio of 4:3 is 1.33. So according to iGenius IMAX is "antqiue" and an "1930s technology".
Well, if we want to go totally off-topic and talk about the aspect ratios of film, we have to go back to Edison. For reasons I've never been clear on, it was Edison who determined that motion-picture film stock should be 35 millimeters wide, and that one frame should equal four perforations. That gives an aspect ratio of about 1.3:1 *but that only lasted until the advent of the optical soundtrack. The soundtrack on a movie print occupies a little bit of the film on the left side, inside the perforations, so the picture had to be slightly narrower. It became about 1.4:1, which is called the "Academy sound aperture." (The other size is the "Academy silent aperture," because it was used on silent films, obviously.)
We still use 4-perf 35mm film almost exclusively today, but we use either an anamorphic process that yields a final aspect ratio of about 2.4:1, or we matte out the bottom and top of the frame to get to the 1.85:1 aperture.
IMAX doesn't use 35mm film at all; it uses 70mm film, but pulled sideways instead of vertically through the camera. (That part isn't unique; you can pull 35mm film sideways through a motion picture camera as well, in a format called Vistavision.) A frame of IMAX is 15 perfs wide, with a negative
aspect ratio of about 1.3:1. But due to a peculiarity of the IMAX format, the actual projected aperture is closer to 1.4:1.
Also according to Wikipedia, the 'Pad uses the same aspect ratio as 16mm film.
Very close to it. Sixteen millimeter film uses the same aperture aspect ratio as 4-perf 35mm (1.4:1, roughly) for the simple reason that you can easily blow up a 16mm negative to a 35mm release print.
Then there's Super 16, which uses only one row of perfs on the edge of the film and can take a slightly wider image with a 1.7:1 aspect ratio, making it close to but slightly taller than HDTV. Lots of movies are shot on Super 16 and then hard-matted to the 1.85 ratio for the 35mm release prints.
This is all trivia, unless you happen to work in film. The bottom line is that there's more to aspect ratios than what shape your television is. The aspect ratio of HDTV isn't magical; in fact, it's unique, being different from the various other common aspect ratios in our lives. So saying the iPad is poorly designed because it uses an aspect ratio that's different from a television screen (or a feature film, or whatever) is kind of dumb.