Aspect Ratio

     
 
This exercise teaches:
 


● How to crop movie shots
● How to combine multiple shots as “pictures in pictures”
● How the size and aspect ratio of a shot influences what it “means”

 
  1. Download these files. They are a music file and 27 seconds (five shots) of the five and half hours, more or less, of Napoleon. As Gance joined them, the first three play like this:  
 

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  2. Create a new standard iMovie project. Call it "Aspect Ratio." Import into iMovie the movie files you downloaded.  
  3. Construct a triptych of imported shots.  
  Drag a black background into the project. Turn "napoleonShot1.mov" into the first of three pictures-in-a-picture by dragging it over the background. (Select Picture-in-Picture.) Drag it to the midpoint of the screen left border. Widen it to cover a third or less of the background.  
  Export your movie using Quicktime (640 x 480) and then reimport it into the project. Delete your original background and picture-in-picture. Replace them with the movie you reimported into the project.  
  Make "napoleonShot2.mov" the second of three pictures-in-a-picture by sizing it and dragging it over the reinserted shot. (Select Picture-in-Picture.) Abut the moving images.  
  Export your movie again using Quicktime (640 x 480) and reimport it again into the project. Replace the project picture-in-picture shot with your second reimported movie.  
  Repeat with "napoleonShot3.mov." Position it to the right of the two moving images.  
  4. You turned Academy ratio shots into a Gance-style widescreen triptych. Add some crowd noise (Apple's Stadium Crowd Chant.caf is fine) and export your movie. It looks and sounds (slowed down) something like this:  
 
 
  5. To simulate the image-within-an-image effect Gance often used, drag a red background into the work space following the triptych shot. Set Duration at 6.2 seconds. (Inspector>Duration>6.2 seconds).  
  Drag"napoleon4.mov" over the red background. Select Picture-in-Picture. Locate "napoleon4.mov" in the center of the frame.  
 
 
  6. To change the size of an image in the frame and lend it new meaning, drag "napoleon5.mov" into the workspace following "napoleon4.mov."  
  Moving left to right and long shot to close, pan across the shot using the Ken Burns effect. (Window>Cropping, Ken Burns, and Rotation>Ken Burns>Done.) The soldiers march off towards screen right.  
 
 
 
You're done! Want to experiment with size and aspect ratio just a little more?
 
  7. After the first one, duplicate your Ken Burns version of "napoleon5.mov." (Select>Copy>Paste). Flip the second version. (Inspector>Clip>Video Effect>Flipped). The soldiers now march towards screen left. The leftmost frame of the triptych, now larger than the others, draws the eye there.  
  8. Add "napoleonMusic.mp3" to the movie. Your movie now looks and sounds something like this.