Video Aspect Ratio

The video aspect ratio indicates the orientation of a video by providing the ratio of width to height as measured in pixels.

What is Video Aspect Ratio?

The video aspect ratio indicates the orientation of a video by providing the ratio of width to height as measured in pixels.

The numbers in the ratio are not necessarily representative of the height and width in terms of pixels (px). It is just the ratio between width and height.

For example, a video with a 16:9 aspect ratio would not be 16 px wide and 9 px tall. You wouldn't be able to see a video that small. One resolution with an aspect ratio of 16:9 is 1920 px by 1080 px.

Common Video Aspect Ratios

Aspect ratios are typically decided depending on the platform where the video will be posted and its purpose—for instance, videos posted on social media sites or films launched in movie theaters. Televisions and smartphones have different aspect ratios that best suit their target audience and content. Here are the most commonly used video aspect ratios:

  • 16:9 — Also known as the 1.71:1 ratio represents a wide rectangle. 16:9 is the built-in default setting for video creation on most televisions and computer monitors. It is accepted as the industry standard for cinematic shooting, TV, and major OTT platforms. It is also highly cost-effective and is suitable for resolutions as high as 4k or 3840 x 2160 pixels.
  • 1:1 — 1:1 aspect ratio represented a square and was traditionally for square-shaped TV sets. It is not as widely used with computer screens and TV today but is used on Instagram or Facebook. Plenty of cameras still have 1:1 settings to capture videos.
  • 4:3 — 4:3 aspect ratio was considered an international standard for TVs and computer monitors even before 16:10 or 16:10. With the advent of HDTV, the 16:9 aspect ratio became more common since it supported higher resolutions. Apple iPads used 4:3 until 2018, when they launched the iPad Pro.
  • 3:2 — 3:2 was originally used for 35 mm still photography. Even though it is still prevalent in some laptops, handheld tablets, gaming consoles and medium-sized cameras today, 3:2 has mostly phased out.
  • 21:9 — The purpose of 21:9 is to shoot ultra-widescreen videos. It is also considered a cinematic widescreen aspect ratio for movies with an anamorphic format (i.e., optical illusion giving a 360-degree view). It provides an immersive experience to users and is most commonly found in theme parks, museums, 3D theaters, etc.
  • 9:16 — 9:16 is another common aspect ratio found on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. It allows you to shoot tall videos. Apps that offer "story" capabilities have a 9:16 aspect ratio.