What is Letterboxing?
Letterboxing is a video formatting technique that is used to display widescreen content on a standard 4:3 aspect ratio screen. The technique involves adding black bars to the top and bottom of the video frame, which creates a wider aspect ratio and preserves the original dimensions of the content.
How does Letterboxing work?
When widescreen content is displayed on a standard 4:3 aspect ratio screen, the content is either cropped or distorted to fit the smaller screen. This can result in important elements of the image being cut off or the image looking stretched or squashed.
To avoid these issues, letterboxing is used to maintain the original dimensions of the content while displaying it on a smaller screen. This is achieved by adding black bars to the top and bottom of the video frame, which creates a wider aspect ratio that matches the original dimensions of the content.
The black bars are added by either encoding them into the video file itself or adjusting the playback device's display settings. When the video is played back on a 4:3 aspect ratio screen, the black bars appear, and the content is displayed within the wider aspect ratio, preserving the original dimensions of the content.
While letterboxing can result in a smaller image on the screen, it ensures that the content is displayed in its original format without being cropped or distorted. This is particularly important for films or other content where the aspect ratio is a key part of the viewing experience.