If I want to communicate to someone editing a video, how can I tell in an unambiguous way how I want the video to be resized.

1) If I want the image to be cropped so that there are no black strips filling the area that has no image.

2) If I want the the video to be scaled down so that the image is not cropped, adding the two black strips filling the gaps where there is no image.

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3 Answers 3

  • Letter box if you have bars on the top and bottom.
  • Pillar box if you have them on the sides.
  • Stretch (or possibly anamorphic, depending on what the intended playback aspect ratio is) if you are full screening it by stretching it out to fill the space.
  • Cropped if you are making it full screen by cutting off the edges.
  • much simpler version than mine Dec 11, 2014 at 16:35
  • @AdamMannPro Yeah, I generally try to do whatever the other answers isn't. If someone bullet points, I'll go detailed. If someone is detailed, I'll be brief. It's nice to have a detailed explanation and a TL DR version. Never know what someone will most need. I voted yours up too though. Also, welcome to the site if I haven't said it already.
    – AJ Henderson
    Dec 11, 2014 at 16:43
  • I like your way of thinking there, I feel sometimes I dont make much sense so I try to give an example if I have one. Dec 11, 2014 at 16:45
  • And if you somehow end up with a letter box AND a pillar box, you get a window box. Dec 13, 2014 at 2:44
  • 1
    @KCMcLaughlin - that must be why so many video guys prefer Macs...
    – AJ Henderson
    Dec 13, 2014 at 5:39

1) - Fit Height, often called Pillarbox

2) - Fit Width, usually called Letterbox

Examples and explanation from Apple


its all about the aspect ratio

is you have a video that has black bars (pillar boxes) either on the sides or top and bottom, you can expand the video to fill the space but you will loose the sides or top/bottom depending on which ratio it is at.

when I was shooting in 4.3 ratio i would plan my shots to have enough room top and bottom so that I could resize the video to fit a 16.9 ratio, when Im filming in 16.9 (widescreen) I do the same so that if I wanted to add the bars top and bottom I wont loose any of my frame (ie: heads of people, action etc etc)

This was an interesting link on how they came about through film history http://filmmakeriq.com/lessons/the-changing-shape-of-cinema-the-history-of-aspect-ratio/

hope that helps

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