Why widescreen?

Hello everyone,

I’m curious to get people’s feedback here on something that confuses me: why is it that widescreen formatting for shorts is so prevalent today? I would have to think that most people intend to view their work on tv screens. Is there an aesthetic reason I’m overlooking? One reason I ask is that ToonBoom lists recommended sizes for outputting movies, but they stick to the standard aspect ratio (4:3). What do you prefer and why?

Well, there really is no short answer…
It all depends on what you like to do and for whom you are doing it.
Open TBS and have a look under Format what possibilities you already have…

As far as I have heard, all new TV animation is commissioned in 16:9.
Broadcast HDTV comes only in widescreen anyway.

Have a look at the QuickTime HD guide and the BBC motion gallery:

Even many countries still broadcast in 4:3 - a good idea might be to create your
animation in 16:9, but keep your main action within the 4:3 area - that will keep
your action safe when your film goes through an “Aspect Ratio Converter”.


Thanks for responding, Nolan!

I’m not sure about Format in ToonBoom. Is that for the latest version only? I’m using v3.02. What are some of the resolutions for 16:9? I apologize for being so ignorant of the subject.

I think widescreen more closely approximates the human “viewscreen” out of our eyes… just a theory.

TBS 3.5 has a bunch of presets, including 1920x1080 and 1280x720

Please have a look at this article:

Otherwise check out “Tom Wolsky” he has extensively written about this subject,
of course more in relation to “Final Cut Express/Pro” but very informative:

On the other hand check out “Wikipedia”:

Hope that gives you an idea about the complexity of the subject.