Thursday, August 23, 2007

4:3 is Dead. 16:9 is Now. Discuss.

After about 45 videos posted to Google, this problem is the only one I've found. Now that I'm shooting in the world-wide standard 16:9 "Widescreen."

Google has changed their flash video encoding to letterbox 16:9 video so that it will fit into a 4:3 box:
which ends up being windowboxed on 16:9 screens.

Some have been preserved, many have not.

Monitors today are made in some variant of widescreen (16:9 or 16:10).

Why are the videos screwed up? I contacted the Google video team and it went like this:

From: Me
Subject: Importing 16:9 gets the 4:3 treatment
Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2007 15:47:08 -0700

I'm bringing in a 16:9 clip that Google Video is adding black bars to.
This hasn't happened in the past.

Google Video Team:


Thanks for your email. Google Video recompresses all videos into 320x240 resolution Adobe Flash files with a bitrate of 450 Kbps to ensure reliable streaming from our servers. The download resolution is 480x360 at 800 Kbps. If you upload your video in any other aspect ratio, we will apply a letterbox format to your content to fit within the 4:3 frame.

We suggest the specifications below for the best quality while keeping a reasonable file size:

- MPEG4 (mp3 or mp4 audio) at 2 mbps
- MPEG2 (mp3 or mp4 audio) at 5 mbps
- 30 frames per second
- 640x480 resolution
- 4:3 frame
- de-interlace

Want to discuss Google Video with other users or find tips on the best video encoding technology? Visit to search past posts and stay up to date on any new features or issues. Also, visit the Google Video Status Blog at for system alerts, outages, and status updates.


The Google Team

Pro and consumer camcorders, TVs, DVDs everything is 16:9.

What's the answer? Pillarbox the new 4:3 videos.

That's what all the cool kids are doing....

Google, we love you guys. Please bring the pure 16:9 joy...

All in favor?

P.S. If I lost you, check out this podcast.  Craig does a great job explaining, well, everything video.

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