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QuickTime has an awesome feature called "Panoramic Size". It basically scales the input video to the screen aspect ratio without cropping by leaving the center as-is and gradually increasing the scale factor towards the sides.

It’s a quite unique feature as far as I can tell, as I’ve only ever seen it in QuickTime.

It can be activated like this (Apple Guide here):

QuickTime Panoramic View

What I’m looking for is any way to permanently use the same or a similar algorithm to re-encode some 4:3 videos into 16:9, so that they show correctly on all my devices, not just the ones using QuickTime.

4:3 input example:

example 4:3 image

just for ease of comparison

Naïve 16:9 crop:

16:9 crop of a 4:3 video

as you can see, there’s quite a lot of content missing top and bottom

Naïve 16:9 scale:

naive scale of 16:9 video

as you can see, the circle barely looks like a circle anymore and a lot of content will look odd, especially faces

QuickTime 16:9 panoramic mode results:

16:9 scaled via QuickTime Panoramic Mode

pretty good, if you ask me — that’s why I want to re-encode like this. the sides are stretched much more than the center, which usually yields good results as the center is the most important part of the screen
this is actually why I chose a scene with a clearly visible circle — which stays nearly unchanged thanks to QuickTime magic


So, what can I do to accomplish this? Only way I can think of is making a screen recording, which would take hours and is very error-prone

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  • Do you have After Effects?
    – stib
    Jun 30 '21 at 2:02
  • @stib Not currently, but if you know how to do it then in the spirit of Stackoverflow it would still be a good answer, as it could help someone else trying to accomplish this. Also, depending on how good the results are, I may just buy or get a free trial for After Effects for this purpose. Right now, any solution is appreciated — currently considering to write my own program for this ;) Jul 7 '21 at 15:03

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