I'm having trouble understanding the settings I'm supposed to use to upload a video to Vimeo.

I'm a total newbie to Final Cut Pro, so I might've chosen the wrong settings to edit.. Currently, my footage that I imported into final cut pro is all in widescreen. But my settings are under DV NTSC 48kHz. (probably wrong?)

There are black bars at the top and bottom when I edit, and I'd like to keep it that way when I export to both Vimeo and Youtube.

I took a chance out of impatience and uploaded the video to Vimeo. I understand that Vimeo probably resized my video--because when I play it, the footage is centered in the frame, but now has black borders all around.

I'm wondering if you can help me/have any advice.

The video looks great on my iphone because it actually fits the whole frame, but for some reason when I go to vimeo.com and watch the video, the footage resizes into a smaller rectangle.

What settings should I have used from the beginning/can I use so that the video looks like it's in a standard widescreen format? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much. -Melissa

1 Answer 1


First, the bars you are referring to are known as letter boxing and they are not a desired feature. This is what happens when you force a widescreen video (16:9) video in to a 4:3 video. Then you are seeing the video played back as a 4:3 video on a 16:9 device, which adds bars on both sides. This full square of wasted space (along with the wasted data that has to be streamed, and thus reduces the quality of your video) is why you do not want to use letter boxing with your widescreen video.

The DV NTSC format is a 720 by 480 format with non-square pixels. Your video was likely shot at either 720P or 1080P both of which are substantially higher quality and use square pixels. You should use the same resolution in final cut as your source videos were to make sure you get the highest quality edit.

As for output to Vimeo, you will want to follow the standard recommendations for Vimeo. Vimeo has a document published here that outlines the formats they recommend. They do support 480p but prefer square pixels (640 by 480). They also support wide screen HD formats which would be better for your purposes. You should also export as h.264 video.

  • Thank you so much for all this info. Really helps. I realize all the video I imported are all different formats, so I will probably have to compress them into the same thing and then export according to the Vimeo standards.
    – Mchoi226
    Mar 14, 2014 at 17:24

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