Analogy for teaching about pixel aspect ratios?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by robx2, Sep 2, 2008.

  1. robx2 macrumors member

    May 27, 2005
    Hey all, I teach digital video to undergraduates and to photojournalists. I've always had difficulty getting students to understand the concept of pixel aspect ratio and how stuff that uses square and rectangular pixels can come out looking the same.

    Has anyone heard or can anyone come up with a good real-world analogy that can get the concept across?
  2. whooleytoo macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    Perhaps if you had a giant screen, composed of thousands of 4:3 TV screens, and another wall the same size, but composed of widescreen TV screens; and you are standing hundreds of metres away, such that the screens form a picture, with each TV being analogous to a pixel?
  3. -DH macrumors 65816

    Nov 28, 2006
    Nashville Tennessee
    Since most students have had the need for diversity pounded into their heads, just tell them that there's diversity in pixels too ... and it too is a good thing.

  4. greg555 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2005
    How about those wooden building blocks most of us had as a kid? Create a problem roughly based on them:

    Suggest that they have a bucket of 1x1x1" blocks that are colored on one face and want to "draw" a 12x12" square. (These are square pixels so you would use 144 of them in a 12x12 array.)

    Now suggest that they have a bucket of blocks that are 1"x3/4" on the colored face. Now how would they draw the 12x12" square? (These are rectangular pixels and you would use an array of 16x12 of them.)

    The thickness issue may throw them off so maybe talk about flat tiles (like Scrabble) instead.


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