What Is Aspect Ratio?

Check out these different aspect ratios and how they impact the look and feel of your videos.

February 11, 2019

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Trevor Holmes

Creative

What is aspect ratio?

An aspect ratio is a number that encompasses how wide your video is. It’s the proportional relationship between a video’s width and height. Here are some examples: 1:1, 16:9, and 4:3. When you break it down:

  • 1:1 = square
  • 16:9 = widescreen
  • 4:3 = standard

The aspect ratio is what your camera records in, with most DSLRs recording in a 16:9 aspect ratio.

What are common aspect ratios?

The most common aspect ratios are 16:9 or 9:16, 4:3, 1:1, and 2.4:1.

  • 16:9 is the standard widescreen aspect ratio that we see everywhere on the web.
  • 9:16 is all of the vertical video we view on our phones. It’s a perfect 90 degree flip of a 16:9 video.
  • 4:3 is what a lot of TV and film was produced in back in the '80s and '90s. Camcorders and video cameras from this time recorded in 4:3 — just a little wider than a square.
  • 1:1 is a perfect square, and it’s the aspect ratio for Instagram or Facebook video.
  • 2.4:1 is ultra widescreen or an anamorphic aspect ratio. It’s often used in film to create a super cinematic feel.

What aspect ratio is widescreen?

16:9 is the standard widescreen aspect ratio, and it’s the aspect ratio that smart phones and tablets record in, as well as DSLRs and most camcorders.

What aspect ratio is 1920x1080?

1920 x 1080 is a 16:9 aspect ratio. By default, smartphones, DSLRs, and most modern camcorders record video at 1920 x 1080.

What does anamorphic mean?

Anamorphic is a widescreen picture on standard 35 mm film with a non-widescreen native aspect ratio. Anamorphic is displayed by a 2.4:1 aspect ratio. It’s very close to a 16:9 aspect ratio, but the top and bottom are a little cropped, giving shots a wider, more cinematic feel.

What is the aspect ratio for movies?

Generally, if you’re seeing a movie in a movie theater, it’s probably 16:9. Most feature lengths are shot in 16:9 at resolutions of 4k (3840 x 2160) or higher. If not 16:9, it’s most likely an Anamorphic aspect ratio 2.4:1. Movies are shot in one of these two aspect ratios, but a lot of documentary films can have mixed aspect ratios. You could see a documentary that has a mix of 1:1, 16:9, 4:3, and 9:16.

How do I change the aspect ratio in Premiere?

With Adobe Premiere you can edit at any aspect ratio. Here’s how you do it:

  1. When you create a new sequence in Premiere, you first have to choose a preset. This can be a preset you use all the time like a 1080p preset.
  2. Then, click the settings tab next to the presets and navigate to the frame size. This will be set to 1920 x 1080 if you’re using a 1080p preset.
  3. From here, just change these dimensions to be whatever you want. If you want to edit in a 1:1 aspect ratio, change the dimensions to 1080 x 1080. Then click “ok,” and you will be editing in a 1:1 aspect ratio.
  4. You can also save any edited sequence as its own preset so you can easily start editing in any aspect ratio right away.

How do I change the aspect ratio in iMovie?

In the latest version of iMovie, changing the aspect ratio is not supported; iMovie is locked to a 16:9 aspect ratio.

February 11, 2019

Topic tags

Trevor Holmes

Creative

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