Common aspect ratios are 4:3 and 16:9. If we look at a 4:3 aspect ratio as an example, it could be referred to as 4 inches by 3 inches. For every four inches wide the screen (or image) is, the screen (or image) is 3 inches wide.
It is important to keep in mind that it isn't the measurement that is as important, it's the ratio.
Aspect Ratios and Their Uses
4:3 – is a standard for TVs as well as images with VGA, SVGA, XGA, or UXGA resolution. If the image is widescreen, it will appear cropped in this ratio.
5:4 – images with SXGA resolution. Widescreen images appear cropped.
16:9 – best for widescreen, 1/3 wider than standard displays. This is the format for HDTV video and some SDTV video.
Make sure that you select a project or that matches the aspect ratio of the primary source you are using. There are times when you may need to display an image of different aspect ratio, e.g. if you are projecting a presentation from a SVGA laptop using a widescreen projector, the projected image will not always fill the screen. See the examples below…
If the screen aspect is 4:3 and your image is 16:9, the image width will fill the screen, but there will be black bars along the top and bottom.
If you are projecting a standard image with a widescreen projector:
Screen is 16:9
Image is 4:3
The image height will fill the screen, however, black bars will be along the left and the right.
Discuss your needs with your audiovisual provider in order to ensure that your image is displayed correctly.
Contact GavCom Media Productions for more information about aspect ratios and how you can display widescreen images at your next event. We can be reached at 416.746.5050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.