Daily Archives: April 22, 2009

Red Riding: formats

There is some confusion over the broadcast formats of the the three Red Riding films, so I’ve taken a screen grab from each film and measured each image in terms of the pixel matrix to calculate the aspect ratio.

Andrew Garfield as the young reporter in Red Riding: 1974

Andrew Garfield as the young reporter in Red Riding: 1974


I calculated this image to be 1086 x 608 pixels on my computer screen (it’s scaled down here) and that equates to a screen ratio of 1.79:1. I may be one or two pixels out given the way I use the grabbing software, but no more than that, so I’m fairly confident that the Channel 4 image is 1.78:1 , i.e. the standard 16:9 of the modern widescreen TV set.

Paddy Considine as Peter Hunter in Red Riding: 1980

Paddy Considine as Peter Hunter in Red Riding: 1980


The interview of the 'Wrong Man', Michael Myshkin in Red Riding: 1983

The interview of the 'Wrong Man', Michael Myshkin in Red Riding: 1983

Using the same procedure on the grabs from 1980 and 1983, these came out as 1086 x 476, equating to a screen ratio of 2.28:1, which is slightly less than the cinema projection standard for CinemaScope of 2.35:1. I find this a bit strange. No doubt Channel 4 alienated a small proportion of viewers by showing the films in ‘Scope (especially given how murky 1980 becomes). But why compromise on 2.28? Why not 2:1 or the full 2.35? Is this in any way related to the use of Super 16 or the Red One digital camera? Or is this just Channel 4 ‘house style’? Of course, it could also be an issue to do with how the TV signal is broadcast or received. Mine came via cable, set to letterbox for my 4:3 TV set.