Aspect Ratios: Formatting to Fit Your Screen

Most people are familiar with aspect ratio from watching movies - choosing to watch their favorite films in either full-screen or widescreen on their televisions. These options showcase different aspect ratios for the optimal viewing experience.

Simply put, aspect ratio is the comparison of width to height for digital signs and all kinds of visual media. Aspect ratio can be written either as a simple ratio (4:3) or as a number that represents the quotient (4 divided by 3, or 1.3). The important thing to consider when shopping for an LED sign to display video and animated content is the aspect ratio of the possible source footage. As examples, old-style SD television footage has a 4:3 (1.3) ratio, modern HD television footage expands to a 16:9 (1.7) ratio, and movies have a wide range of ratios, the most common of which is 2.39:1 (2.39).

Without considering a proper aspect ratio, you run the risk of content that is distorted or improperly cropped. If your sign doesn’t match the aspect ratio of the source footage, cropping may cause you to lose part of the image in order to fit the sign’s frame. Image distortion, caused by stretching the height or width to match a sign’s aspect ratio, is equally concerning.

Thinking about aspect ratio is an important consideration in planning for a new digital display. Knowing what messages or advertising you plan to put on your sign will inform decisions about what aspect ratio will work best. Does video content factor into your advertising plan? Will you use branded content that is produced by another source? If so, are there different aspect ratios of that content to choose from?

Watchfire XVS signs are designed to display video content with superior colors and vibrancy. The ideal aspect ratio for a Watchfire XVS sign is between 1.0 and 2.0. This means for every one or two units of width, you should have one unit of height. With an aspect ratio outside this range, portions of the video will either not be viewable, or will appear stretched or distorted. When selecting a Watchfire XVS sign, consider the video content to be displayed and which aspect ratio will fit best.

To learn more about the benefits and capabilities of digital outdoor advertising, contact your local Watchfire representative.

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