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Find The Right Aspect Ratio For Your Video

Liza Brown
Liza Brown Originally published Aug 25, 22, updated Nov 29, 22

Video aspect ratios are changing depending on which platform you are using. Knowing the characteristics about aspect ratios is crucial to accomplish the ideal visual appeal across any platform.

If you want to learn more about video aspect ratios, how to apply them to different social media platforms, then you are in the right place! This article will explain what a video aspect ratio is, it includes common video aspect ratios you see nowadays, and includes recommended aspect ratios for video on various social media platforms.

With that said, let's dive right into it!

In this article
  1. 1. What is a video aspect ratio?
  2. 2. Commonly used aspect ratios
    1. 16:9 Widescreen
    2. 4:3 Standard
    3. 9:16 Vertical
    4. 21:9 Cinematic Widescreen
  3. 3. Which aspect ratio should I choose?
    1. Facebook
    2. YouTube
    3. Instagram
    4. TikTok
  4. 4. How to adjust the aspect ratio of a video?
    1. Black bars
    2. Cropping

1. What is a video aspect ratio?

Aspect ratio is a digital image projection attribute describing the distance between the width and the height of an image. The dimensions are also defined as shapes such as a square which is 4:3. A rectangle represents the 16:9 standard high definition aspect ratio, and inverted what you see on phones, that will be 9:16. 9 refers to the width and 16 to the height.

2. Commonly used aspect ratios

There is no same aspect ratio that is used across all social media platforms. Depending on which social media platform you are planning to upload, you have to make sure you have the correct aspect ratio for your target audience. The optimal viewing experience is what matters.

16:9 Widescreen

This aspect ratio is recognized as the worldwide reference format for film, mobile devides, DSLR cameras, streaming platforms, social media platforms, and many more. It is known as landscape viewing which include 720p, 1080p HD and 4K resolution.

4:3 Standard

This resolution is originally used in older television screens, which transformed into mobile use as this aspect ratio works really well for Instagram and Facebook videos, referring to the 9:16 phone resolution making a square video more pleasant to watch and to be featured in in-feed videos.

9:16 Vertical

The 9:16 aspect ratio has become the mainstream resolution for smartphones for easier viewing of videos. This resolution allows for the vertical display of videos on tablets and phones, meaning that it allows videos to play while the device is being held in its upright position. This works ideally for Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube Shorts, and more.

21:9 Cinematic Widescreen

The 21:9 resolution is designed for filming ultra-wide screen movies that gives the viewer a theater-like feeling. It's mostly used to display films and movies in anamorphic formats. Just like on ultra-wide monitors, it allows the video to be shown across the entire screen, giving you a cinema-like experience. This resolution contributes to a broader viewing experience in any shape or form.

3. Which aspect ratio should I choose?

Depending on your project, broadcast location and filming options, here you can find an overview of which platforms are using which resolutions and how you can use that to improve your filming and viewer experience.

Facebook

Facebook is one of the most used website across the world on both computer and the mobile app. This is a great platform to let people discover your content. In order to please new viewers, let's look at the resolutions Facebook supports and which one would be your best option depending on your content.

4:3 or 1:1 for Facebook feed videos

16:9 for in-stream ads on Facebook

9:16 for Facebook live videos

9:16 for Facebook stories

YouTube

To this day, it's safe to say that YouTube is the leading platform in the video industry. Not only because of how long they have been around, but also about how much content is uploaded every minute and how many users it has each month. To give the viewers the best experience, here are the top aspect ratios we recommend when posting content onto your YouTube channel.

16:9 for YouTube live streams

9:16 for YouTube Shorts

16:9 for regular HD videos

21:9 for cinematic videos/shortfilms

Instagram

When talking about Instagram, which is very similar to Facebook, use these aspect ratios to ensure that your quality will be the best of the best.

9:16 for Instagram Reels

4:3 for Instagram feed advertisements

9:16 for Instagram Story advertisements

9:16 for Instagram Stories

4:3 or 1:1 for Instagram feed videos

9:16 for Instagram Live streams

9:16 for IGTV

TikTok

Before Musical.ly users were migrated to a new platform called TikTok in 2018, it has been the leader on the board for a long time, and here are the recommended resolutions we think give the best results. Tik Tok allows you to share short videos, and is used by young people as an outlet to show their talents whether it's dancing, singing, cooking, comedy or any other form of entertainment they can express and use on the platform. There's also a feature to work together and collaborate with other Tik Tok creators across the globe.

16:9 for organic Tik Tok feed videos

16:9 for Tik Tok live videos

1:1; 16:9 or 9:16 for TikTok advertisements

4. How to adjust the aspect ratio of a video?

A very important point we'd like to mention is that we don't recommend changing the aspect ratio after filming, because it could harm the video quality and we think it's best to choose the aspect ratio on your phone or camera before filming, besides that we have some great tips for optimizing your video for the watching experience below.

Black bars

When editing your video, adding black bars is not changing the aspect ratio as you are just adding black bars to the screen. What we do recommend is cropping the video until you get the desired result. Adding black bars won't automatically make the platform adjust the video and it will affect the viewer experience.

Cropping

Cropping your video will allow you to remove a section from your video, which works perfect for unwanted objects or people. While cropping the video, you are forced to pick the essential part of your video and disregard the rest of the video and to remove distraction from the frame.

Conclusion

Having your video tested on multiple devices will allow you to see a preview of what the viewer will see and make necessary changes if needed. When your video looks perfect, you can be sure that it will give a seamless experience across all platforms, without the fear of losing video quality.

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Liza Brown
Liza Brown Nov 29, 22
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