How to change aspect ratio 4:3->16:9?

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by JoJo88, Nov 23, 2013.

  1. JoJo88 macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2011
    I have a 480x360 video clip from broadcast TV that was originally 16:9 aspect ratio but is now obviously squeezed to 4:3. I want to convert this such that it is 16:9 (480x320).

    In a couple of apps I've tried this (iMovie, Handbrake), black bars were added to the sides. The image remained 4:3 but the total (with bars) was now 16:9. Pretty lame solution in my limited experience.

    I want the video to be converted, reformatted such that the video content fills the entire screen in the proper (16:9) format.

    How can I do this?

    I've got several tools: iMovie '11, Handbrake, QuickTime Player Pro 7 and I have indirect access (via friends) to some Adobe CS5 products.

  2. nateo200 macrumors 68030


    Feb 4, 2009
    Northern District NY
    Handbrake should be able to do this fine if you choose the right settings and know how to do it, I do it all the time its sort of hard to explain, you should be able to crop those bars in handbrake prior to encoding big is the file? One other method I do is for MKV's I open the MKV up in MKVtoolnix and select the video track in the container, go over to the next option tab for the video track and just set the aspect ratio to whatever its supposed to be.
  3. Dave Braine macrumors 68040

    Dave Braine

    Mar 19, 2008
    Warrington, UK
    In iMovie11, choose Export Using Quicktime from the Share menu. When the Save dialogue box opens, choose Options next to the Quicktime bar, then choose Size in the Video Settings pane. You should be able to choose 16:9 from there.
  4. pinholestars macrumors member


    Oct 20, 2011
    I'm pretty sure you can in Quicktime Pro 7. If you open the properties for the video you should be able to set aspect ratio. I don't have it installed any more, but I'm pretty sure it was cmd+J.

    Here's a link I found on Apple's forum:


    Heh, just noticed the post date. Hope this still helps!
  5. ubercool macrumors 6502a


    Jan 31, 2008
    Las Vegas
    There is a lot of partially complete information on this topic, so I thought I would make it step-by-step:

    I had a video sent to me by bonehead conference producers who were so inept they couldn't output the video in the correct aspect ratio, after several requests. I won't mention their name but, ahem, it rhymes with UBM Tech. :p

    1. Download your legacy copy of QuickTime 7.6.6 here:

    2. Enter your Pro code in the QuickTime Player 7/Registration dialog box. You must either purchase it from Apple for $30, or like me, still had it saved.

    3. Quit QuickTime so it actually registers the code, and restart as QuickTime Pro.

    4. Open your movie and drag the right-hand side of the video window with the double-headed arrow to approximately where you think the aspect ratio looks right. Note that the window won't actually resize but it will snap to wherever you drag the double-headed arrow and click the shift key. I used xScope to drag it out to a 1600-pixel width on my Retina screen.

    5. Click the Shift key when the aspect ratio looks about right. The window will snap to that size. In my case I ended up with a final movie size of 802x480, still not entirely correct but a helluva lot better than the squished movie before.

    6. While QuickTime Pro will now open and play the movie at your chosen new size, it still will not display correctly in either iMovie or QuickTime 10, so you need to export your corrected movie. This will take a long time, so go to sleep, like I did. :D

    The saved movie will now play correctly and you can import it into iMovie for further editing.
  6. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    This is a simple (possibly time consuming) fix. Most of those tools should work, though I'm not sure about iMovie. I would go with Handbrake or Quicktime Pro. Here is the quicktime method:

    (I had a couple of screen captures, but looks like MR doesn't host images)

    1. Open your video in Quicktime.

    2. Go to File > Export (or Ctrl+E)

    3. Under the Export dropdown, select what format you want. I usually go with H.264, so "Movie to Quick Time Movie" would be the way to go here. (obviously different should you need one of the other options listed)

    4. Click the Options button next to your Export setting. Since I chose the Quick Time option, I'm presented with the Quick Time Movie settings window. Click on the "Size" button.

    5. From there you'll get the Export Size Settings window. Under dimensions, select "Custom" and then enter your custom 480x320 in the windows to the right.

    6. Make sure option for "Preserve aspect ratio using:" box is turned OFF. You basically want the encode to stretch your original to fit the wider aspect ratio.

    You're good to go from here. However, as pointed out, this may take a while to process depending on how long your video is and quality settings you may choose.
  7. ColdCase macrumors 68030

    Feb 10, 2008
    I know you don't mention FCPX, but it is pretty simple to change just about anything, including distort, with the transpose tools. You basically set the project video to the aspect ratio or size you want and bring the video into the project and then drag the video handles to what you think looks best. Share the video (it may take awhile to complete)

    There are also some built in automated tools, like stretch and fill. Its a routine thing for me as I get all kinds of "crap" to try to make look good.
  8. handsome pete macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2008
    Of course any NLE worth its salt can do this easily. However I doubt he wants to shell out $300 to do something he already has the tools to easily do. Unless he wants to get more into editing of course.

    Also, I'm sure FCPX provides a more precise measure other than eying it up.

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7 November 23, 2013