Mr. Tact wrote on Feb 25, 2021, 16:08:
It is possible they were being forward looking. Wanting to do widescreen, even though they knew it wouldn't broadcast that way. *shrug* Is there a reason your assumption on their intentions are more informed than anyone else's?
Because that's not how composing a photograph or shot of film/video works?
This is a 2d artform. The aspect ratio is your canvas. if your canvas is a different size, you don't put things in the same place. Imagine a 4:3 frame with two characters in profile, facing each other, with the edges of the frame roughly in line with their ears: the framing implies intense confrontation, that they're opposed to one another, and their opposition is so intense that there is no room for the rest of the world. Expand to 16:9 and the edges of the frame now exist in negative space beyond the back of the character's heads; suddenly, the characters have room to breathe, their confrontation isn't so intense, and is merely one part of the larger world. Change the aspect ratio and you've completely changed the emotion and story telling effect of the shot. You cannot shoot for both; you have to pick one and make your creative decisions accordingly.
Furthermore, there are technical and artistic reasons to shoot with, e.g., an anamorphic lens even if you have no desire for widescreen. A different lens creates a different image, separate from any concerns about aspect ratio. Same with film stock. An anamorphic lens will have softer focus in the background that bleeds into the foreground at the edges. Lens flare will take on a horizontal quality in anamorphic that is not the case in spherical lenses. Different film stocks will have different qualities in their grain that will look different on screen. Etc.
This isn't a case where "future proofing" applies. Widescreen isn't "better" from a story telling stand point, no more than a rectangular canvas is better than a square canvas in a painting. Instead, it's a tool that is an option for bringing about a desired artistic purpose. In the context of 90s television, your aspect ratio was chosen for you BUT THEN ALL OF YOUR CREATIVE DECISIONS ACCOUNT FOR IT. Technical decisions too like "is the boom mic operator in frame or not?" The creative and technical decisions will change with the aspect ratio often in contradictory ways. That's why I'm very confident that they weren't secretly planning for a day when yet to be invented widescreen TVs would let them show the cut off part of the footage where you can see the lighting rig.