‘The Sandman’: Netflix Explains Skewed Aspect Ratio As Creative Choice

With Neil Gaiman’s highly anticipated “The Sandman” coming to Netflix this week, some viewers have been quick to comment that the show’s aspect ratio seems a bit off.

“Why did everything seem so stretched up? Is this supposed to be a dream and I’m just an uneducated pig or is there something wrong? Username I ask.

Viewers of “Sandman” first noticed the skewed visuals in the series’ trailers, causing some uneasiness among fans of the original comic book series. The distorted images were not isolated from the trailer, but remained a mainstay of the series itself.

Some questioned whether a technical problem was the cause of the distinctive images. However, a Netflix spokesperson confirmed that the image distortion is a deliberate creative choice in “The Sandman.”

“As you’ll notice, a lot of the environments are surreal in the series, and we often say it’s what a dream would feel like,” the streamer said.

The series is based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Tom Sturridge plays Dream, also known as Morpheus. He lurks in a realm called the Dreaming, and when he is captured, his absence triggers events that change both the dreaming and waking worlds.

Throughout “The Sandman,” distorted images show the cast with elongated faces and stretched-out visuals, giving the series a surreal feel.

Will Baldy, Sam Heasman, and George Steel are the show’s cinematographers. The group has yet to comment on the type of lenses they used to film the production. If, for example, old lenses were used and mixed with an 8K camera, the combination of old glass and a new camera could work to create a distorted image. Alternatively, using old school wide angle lenses with the distortion on the sides would create stretched images.

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So there is no need to fix your TV and adjust its aspect ratio. “The Sandman” looks exactly how its creators want it to look.

Check out some concerns from viewers of the series below.

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