Ideas for Conforming Different Aspect Ratios

One thing you might come across when editing videos (particularly gamers, news channels or video essayists) is the need to feature 4:3 footage (such as 1024x768) in a 16:9 video.

This can present a small problem that needs resolving, especially if you want to retain a high level of quality in your videos.

Especially when you drag the 1280x960 footage into your 1920x1080 timeline and see this (demonstrated with my favourite old game, Claw):

In this tutorial, we'll give you some ideas for how to fix this problem, or at least produce something that looks production ready.

PLEASE NOTE: These are just ideas that look nice with some loose instructions on how to achieve them, this is not an in-depth tutorial on how to accomplish this within any piece of software.

What You Need:

  1.     Non-linear editing software that supports scaling, e.g Final Cut/Premiere Pro

  2.     Video encoding software than can change aspect ratio, e.g Handbrake

Cover, Contain or Stretch to Screen

Pretty simple, the idea is to modify the clip's aspect ratio/scale factor to cover, contain or stretch to the remaining space.




Blurred Background

This one is a tad more complicated, commonly seen on TV/Broadcast content and requires a non-linear editor to complete.

The idea is to take the clip you want to upscale and duplicate it within your timeline, having the same clip playing twice with one over the top of the other.

You then need to take the one behind on the z-axis (or lower down in the timeline) and scale this to be contained within the screen, add gaussian blur and set the opacity to around 50%.

The clip that is left 'on top' should then be scaled up to be contained within the remaining space.

This effect can be further enhanced by adding a shadow to the 'top' layer.

Branded or Image Border

This one is similar to 'Blurred Background' but is more commonly seen with podcasts or web content.

The idea is just to place an image behind the clip contained within the remaining space, be it a background themed to your brand or just a thematically relevant image.

If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help it spread by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook. What suggestions do you have for conforming aspect ratios? What are the exciting ideas informing your own marketing—and how are you implementing them? Tweet us @RealNewTubers!