Video Series [#3] - Have You Checked Your Aspect Ratio Lately?

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Education & Training with Tech Training for You!
http://actvra.in/4Vg

In videography (and photography), there is a concept that you need to be familiar with and it is called aspect ratio. An aspect ratio is the the comparison or ratio of the width to the height. In digital camera photography, most shots are in a 4:3 (4 by 3) ratio. This means that the width is just slightly bigger than it's height (1.33, or 33%). Older televisions also used this ratio. Have you noticed that HD and widescreen are now 'the norm'. The aspect ratio for widescreen is 16:9 (16 by 9, 1.78 aspect). The width is now much wider than the height.

We'll come back to aspect ratios is a moment, but let me highlight first what I call the iPhone phenomenon. I see way too often people with iPhones shooting video and not turning the phone into "landscape" mode. That may be ok if you ONLY ever did playback on the iPhone... but what if you want to see it on your HD TV or post it on YouTube? Uh oh, Houston we have a problem! You are going to end up with a video that doesn't match the frame you are trying to fit it into and you are going to waste screen real estate and you get those ugly black boxes on either side (called pillarboxes). So in terms of our football weekend (super bowl), we'll call this a "15 yard penalty" mistake.


football game photo credit Flickr/Ryan Dingman 

Ok, got that off my chest. Now let's get back to aspect ratios. If you have any choice in the matter, you'll always want to shoot in HD/widescreen modes. Here's an example of what happens if you don't. In the image shown here, you'll see I grabbed whatever camera was nearby to capture a moment of my son playing a computer game while busily munching away on his apple (ain't he cute!). My digital camera shoots video, but only does 4:3 videos. When you post it online, it doesn't match the 16:9 aspect ratio of the video frame. There are those pesky pillarboxes again. Now you could choose to crop and zoom the video, but that's not always going to be an option because what are you cropping out? It is best always to plan ahead and shoot in 16:9 widescreen format. Most video cameras now do this by default... but something that you will want to consider if you shoot video with a digital camera which may or may not have widescreen option setting.

Here's a little video I found on YouTube this morning that talks about compensating for aspect ratio using special keyword tags when you post to YouTube. It gives you option to crop and/or zoom whenever you are working with aspect ratios that do not match the frame size. (Use my link above to see the written version of this video for your reference)

Appended to post Sept 2012 -- check out this very humorous look at "saying no to vertical videos"

If you are ready to get serious about using video in your marketing plan, consider coming to my premium online class called "Video Essentials for Business." That link will take you to the page to tell you more about the class. The class is a set of pre-recorded training videos to teach you what you will need to know to produce quality videos for your YouTube channel. I hope to see you in class! :)

To read more posts about video editing, check out my list of posts in this video series

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  is a Technology Manager residing in NYC who specializes in applied technologies in the fields of Architecture and Real Estate. Craig focuses on finding the best uses of tech as can be used to help a business be more successful. He is keen on always seeing the perspective and viewpoint of his audience and he tailors his teaching to be easily understood. Visit my "Recent Posts" page to see a listing of all that is new in case you missed anything!

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Topic:
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Craig Daniels
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant
Tech Training for You!

Cindy, yes when you are doing your youtube edit video properties page, you paste it into the tags box

February 05, 2011 11:57 AM
Local_partner
806,466
Ricky Khamis
NMLS 173141 | CADOC 173141 - 480-339-1565
Amerifirst Financial, Inc.

Craig excellent post I am always teaching agents about HD video and pics but haven't discussed Aspect Ratios.  Thanks for the post buddy.

February 05, 2011 12:59 PM
Rainer
18,676
Wade Mattingly
WEICHERT Realtors--Bluegrass Living

Man, this is the 5th blog I've read on video and photography.  It is gonna take forever for me to learn all this stuff.

February 05, 2011 01:04 PM
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Anna Banana Kruchten
Phoenix Real Estate Agent, CRB, CRS 602-380-4886
Phoenix Property Shoppe

I Love the guys video - he makes it so easy to understant yt:quality=high!

You are teaching all of us lots of good stuff - keep it coming! 

Featured in BananaTude - Tudes great weekend project for all us  - except for game time!

February 05, 2011 01:35 PM
Rainmaker
473,266
Steve Scheer
Highlands Ranch Real Estate - Denver Real Estate
Realty Oasis - Metro Brokers

Aspect ratio is not something I had given much thought to, but will now.  Thanks!

February 05, 2011 01:47 PM
Rainmaker
391,817
Shar Sitter
Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M
Rooms With Style

Vaaarrooommm......did you hear that? That was your post zooming right over my head. Ha, I have so much to learn!! Thank you, even though I feel even more stupid now. lol

February 05, 2011 02:14 PM
Rainer
157,315
Nyssa Smith
REALTOR, State College Area Real Estate
Keller Williams Advantage Realty

This is a great tip Craig!  Thanks!  Glad you're part of this VBloggers group!  =)

February 05, 2011 06:02 PM
Rainer
157,315
Nyssa Smith
REALTOR, State College Area Real Estate
Keller Williams Advantage Realty

Oh yea, and I bookmarked this page, too!  Thought I might need to come back here from time to time!!!

February 05, 2011 06:02 PM
Rainmaker
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Debra Davis
Realtor - Atlanta, Decatur, Snellville, Loganville
Keller Williams Realty Atlanta Partners

Thanks Craig for another good tutoria. I read all of your helpful posts.

February 05, 2011 09:24 PM
Rainmaker
358,156
Robin Dampier REALTOR®
Hendersonville & Western NC Real Estate Source
Coldwell Banker King

Ahh, now the aspect thingy is much clearer.  I keep having the issue on my 3 or 4 year old wide screen TV.  I keep playing around with the aspect but it seems to either be cutting of banners or whatever at the top or bottom of the picture.  Oh well, now I at least have a better understanding of aspect and the black pillar and letter boxes.  Thanks.

Sue of Robin and Sue

February 06, 2011 12:14 AM
Rainmaker
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Phil Leng
Phil Leng Team - Residential Real Estate Experts &
Keller Williams Eastside Market Center

Hi Craig,

That was a very useful tutorial.

I use a flip for video, but when it broke, I used my camera video, my phone video and saw what you mentioned...

Phil

February 06, 2011 03:20 AM
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Andrea Swiedler
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties

Oh, great info, thanks! Who knew! Well, you knew, and now I knew...

February 06, 2011 07:36 AM
Rainmaker
311,284
Glenn Roberts
Retired

Outstanding, Craig. This should really help correct a problem I've run into.

February 06, 2011 09:02 AM
Rainer
81,029
Marilyn Tolhuizen
Real Estate Specialist - 219-616-7069 - NW Indiana
McColly Real Estate

Great lesson Craig-but oh dear I accidentally went to You Tube to watch the video so I could save it and now it's an hour later!!  You Tube is wonderful but is the black abyss of time waster.  I just upgraded from the iPhone 3 to the 4g and have just started making videos.  Thanks for the tips.

February 06, 2011 11:27 AM
Rainmaker
296,332
Dan and Amy Schuman
Luxury Home Specialists
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services

I really enjoy your helpful posts, Craig. We just had this happen recently and I thought there was a problem with YouTube. Now I know it is on my end.

February 06, 2011 02:10 PM
Rainmaker
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Georgie Hunter
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers

Great video and video tips!  And very simple to understand.  Thanks so much!

February 07, 2011 04:53 PM
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Peter Pfann @ 1 Percent Realty Victoria, and Pay-Less For Victoria Real Estate Results!
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Hi Craig,

awesome stuff again, although we do not have I phones, the great information about aspect ratio's is very helpfull for what our plans and ideas are for future vid., thanks again

February 07, 2011 09:24 PM
Rainmaker
187,205
Dave Gubler
Realtor | Orange County
Mission Viejo, Foothill Ranch, Lake Forest, Ladera Ranch

How do we get the iphone to shoot in widescreen?  Just flip it sideways before shooting?

February 09, 2011 03:59 PM
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Craig Daniels
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant
Tech Training for You!

Dave - that should do it! here's a maclife article with that point and a few more

February 09, 2011 05:59 PM
Rainer
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Joe Sosky
Commercial Real Estate Broker - (360) 816-9652
KW Commercial

Just got my Verizon IPhone.  Thanks for the pointers Craig. Very helpful.

March 27, 2011 09:34 PM
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