Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

A Sense of Proportion: Aspect Ratio and the Framing of Television Space

Cardwell, Sarah E. F. (2015) A Sense of Proportion: Aspect Ratio and the Framing of Television Space. Critical Studies in Television, 10 (3). pp. 83-100. ISSN 1749-6020. (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:54623)

PDF Publisher pdf
Language: English

Restricted to Repository staff only
[thumbnail of Critical Studies in Television-2015-Cardwell-83-100.pdf]


‘Aspect ratio’ is frequently overlooked or naively characterised. Yet it plays a fundamental, determining role in forming and framing television’s spaces. A balanced reappraisal of television’s varied aspect ratios and their unique dramatic and aesthetic possibilities can enhance our close analyses and our understanding of television’s ‘art history’. This paper challenges myths, misunderstandings and preconceptions about TV’s aspect ratios and their spatial properties. Countering prevailing pro-widescreen rhetoric, it then traces some of the dramatic and aesthetic qualities of 4:3 that have been lost in the movement to 16:9. Finally, it celebrates those works which radically defamiliarise aspect ratio.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: television aesthetics; television; aspect ratio; aesthetics; space; frame; widescreen;
Subjects: N Visual Arts > N Visual arts (General). For photography, see TR
N Visual Arts > NX Arts in general
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1990 Broadcasting
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
Depositing User: Sarah Cardwell
Date Deposited: 24 Mar 2016 15:58 UTC
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 11:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Cardwell, Sarah E. F..

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.