I am new to video editing so if my terminology is wrong, I apologize. I am making a video with output settings : 720p and dimensions 640 x 480. I am inserting a series of video clips but their dimensions are smaller than 640 x 480. Instead of the video clip slide expanding up to 640 x 480, I want it to remain the same size but have a black cinema box or border box around the video clip. How can this be accomplished with a video editor?

Smaller video clip expands to fill container size

Cinema box around smaller video clip

  • There's a disconnect here between "720p" and "640x480". These refer to different formats. This doesn't affect the answer (which AJ provided) but it could impact what comes out at the end of your process.
    – Jim Mack
    Aug 8, 2013 at 23:11

1 Answer 1


Just import the video and don't scale it. Any decent NLE should support using clips at their original resolution and placing them within a larger format either scaled or unscaled. Without knowing your intended NLE, I can't really offer any more advice than that. Premiere Pro would certainly meet your needs.

  • Thanks AJ. I am using Windows Movie Maker (not an NLE?), but I will try Premiere. I solved my question by creating a 640 x 480 document in Photoshop with a black background, importing the video clip as a layer, then exported it as an mp4. This gave me what I needed. Aug 9, 2013 at 0:07
  • @Briggs - Windows movie maker is technically an NLE, but it is not a decent one. :) The problem you may run into is that a lot of consumer level stuff is going to auto-scale for you because they don't expect consumers to understand things like resolution. You might find one that doesn't, but it'll be more or less default behavior to not auto-scale on any professional level NLEs like Premiere or Final Cut (at least the older versions), though if you are on Windows, Final Cut isn't an option.
    – AJ Henderson
    Aug 9, 2013 at 0:09
  • +1 for identifying consumer vs. pro NLE issues.
    – filzilla
    Aug 9, 2013 at 22:01

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