Posted by: WebHobbit | September 2, 2013

Panic! at the Disco: Miss Jackson – aspect ratio madness?

Below is a very strange and very wonderful music video from the group Panic! at the Disco for their song “Miss Jackson”:

My daughter showed it to me yesterday and I really loved it. The song was pretty good and the video itself I found very entertaining. It reminded me of the earlier days of MTV back when they played a lot of…you know -MUSIC. Back then the best videos were like mini movies and my favorites were kind of bizarre with dream like sequences that didn’t always make immediate sense. This certainly reminds me of the better ones and the darker slightly more subversive ones you could only watch on USA Network’s much mourned Night Flight. They would show a lot of videos that were just too violent, too sexy or just too weird for MTV! But enough of my “back in my day” reminiscing. The only thing I didn’t like about this video is a disturbing trend that afflicts this one and MANY others – they keep shooting these things in the WRONG ASPECT RATIO! Why oh why would a director choose to shoot a MUSIC VIDEO….something that is quite obviously intended for display on either:

A) computer/laptop screen

B) cell phone/tablet screen


C) TV screen

in an aspect ratio that is WIDER and SHORTER than 16×9????????

This forces horizontal black bars at the top and bottom of everyone’s screen. Whether we all agree to love it or hate it 16×9 has become the standard resolution of nearly every consumer display device today from most cell phones and computer screens to virtually ALL TV screens sold. I mean I prefer 16×10 myself and that’s what my PC’s 24 inch LCD is. But my point it the only folks that should even consider using an even SHORTER aspect ratio would be directors shooting a movie for the MOVIE SCREEN. And even that is debatable. I certainly respect the “artist’s vision” but when you KNOW that your film will be seen MANY MANY more times on a TV screen why not just bend a LITTLE and shoot it for the wide screen ratio that has become the HD standard after 50 years of suffering we all went through with 4×3 tube sets?

But here we aint even talking about something that will likely EVER be displayed on a 40 foot movie screen. Arguably music videos primary venue now is probably YouTube. And what does YouTube usually display on today? 16×9 tablets, cell phones laptops and LCDs. So why would a director CHOOSE to use an even wider/shorter aspect ratio? I can only think of one answer: pretentiousness.


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