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Aspect Ratio – What is it & How to Choose the Right One

There are many wanna-be videographers out there but they don’t know what is 16:9 and 4:3 and 1:85:1 and 1:33:1. So, the first and foremost advice to all of you is that learn the basics before you set foot in this market. Many beginners do not have an idea why their videos look weirdly squished and they just start hitting their heads in the wall. And when they are asked about the difference between letterbox and pillar-box, the blank look on their face is so bad. But do you know that all those things can be worked out by simply using aspect ratio the right way? Well, yes we are speaking nothing but the truth.

In order to create a video that is not only professional but engaging as well, you need to work and pay attention to the aspect ratio as it can make or waste the whole video. So, we observed the demand for such information and we have decided to talk about the video aspect ratio and how to use them the right way, so, let’s just gets on with it!

What Is An Aspect Ratio?

Before we start off with anything, it is very important to know what exactly we are talking about. The aspect ratio can be defined as the width to the height measurement. For instance, if the video has a 1280 x 720-pixel range, the aspect ratio can be defined to be 16:9. Moreover, if you look at another way around, 1.77:1 defines that width is 1.77 more than the height.  Aspect ratio is basically the shape and size of the frame depending upon the technology.

Size Crushing

Many content creators especially beginners do not pay much attention to the aspect ratio and that result in weirdly squished videos. This thing is often misunderstood by the creators which harness the quality of the videos. A common mistake that beginners and sometimes professionals make is;

  • The source material had a 4:3 aspect ratio and they applied a 16:9 aspect ratio which resulted in an excessive stretch of the videos

This mistake can portray that the content creator is amateur and does not gold any expertise in the creation or editing of the videos. This can affect the video editing system’s performance as each system will have to process a single frame for each new size and that takes a long way to work out.

Mask The Mask

If you have made the video in a specific dimension, you cannot possibly change the dimensions or aspect ratio which can be a huge turn-off. However, there is a solution to every problem and this can be catered to as well by adding the black areas on the sides to make the optimum aspect ratio. This is called padding and there are two types of padding out there which are as follows;

  • Letterboxing – In this type of padding, black areas are added at the top and bottom of the video to make up for the wrong dimension and to make it 16:9. The black areas become a part of the frame to make sure that the optimum aspect ratio dimension is not harnessed in any case
  • Pillar-boxing – In this type of padding, the black bars are added wherever needed to make up for the difference in aspect ratio. The black bars are usually added on the sides to make sure that the original frame isn’t crushed

How To Choose The Best Aspect Ratio For Your Videos

Aspect ratios are way more than the shape around the frame as they can affect the visuals of your video at a huge scale and it will also affect the user watching experience.

Whenever you plan to create and shoot a video, the aspect ratio is the first thing you need to work on; if the dimensions are going to be full frame or if it is going to be widescreen or if it should be vertical or 4:3. There are many things you need to consider.

When you make the decision for the aspect ratio effectively, the style of the video will be improved and the dynamic contrast among the scenes and shots can be created easily. We have added some optimum aspect ratios for the different video types.

Full-Screen Aspect Ratio

The full-screen aspect ratio is 1920 x 1080 and this is the dimension used by the online videos, documentaries, and narrative films. With the full screen, users can easily capture each bit of the data and are also the easiest way for users to watch everything before even realizing it. This dimension offers complete details and the highest amount of potential and if these are the things you are looking for, this is the aspect ratio you need.

Wide Screen Aspect Ratio

The widescreen aspect ratio is 2.35:1 and it is a completely dynamic option which provides authority and control on the user experience for the videos. With this aspect ratio dimension, you can make viewers focus on the points you want and put attention on the narrative elements. In this dimension, there is nothing on the above and bottom horizontal axis so that viewers can focus on one thing. This is the perfect option for narrative projects.


Before the introduction of widescreen TVs, users used to watch video and media in this dimension. This dimension allows the limited vision which portrays that viewers can focus on one element at a time unlike the widescreen shots or full frames. You can use this dimension if you want to work on history-related projects or if you want the viewer to pay attention to particular subjects.

Vertical Video

If you are working on a filmmaking project, this is the dimension you need to choose as there will be no classic proportions. To put it into simpler words, this is the dimension viewers look at when they watch photos on the mobile phone.

After all this, one thing is for sure that there is no ideal aspect ratio and it will all depend upon the project you are going to work on. So, just choose the aspect ratio according to the project and if you use that right, you will hit a home run!