Youa€™ve heard it all from me many times before, so Ia€™ll spare you the lengthy tutorials (and just link to them at the end of this page).
I know, I know, Ia€™m a freak, in that this is one of my pet issues and I have a really sharp eye for it. There are tutorials (which I will link to) which will explain how to tell a widescreen DVD vs. I think thata€™s what throws off some people when it comes to noticing incorrect aspect ratioa€”the images we see in photos and videos are full of details and things set at different angles, and sometimes it is easy to miss that the overall shape of something (whether it be the shape of a persona€™s head, or the roundness of a clock face, or the shape of a box) is not quite right. When faced with something unusual going on with your video clips, please remember to think and also to ask yourself, a€?Does this make sense?a€? and a€?Whata€™s going on here?a€? before forging ahead and editing your video anyway. You should be thinking, and questioning, and asking, rather than importing any old clip into your editor and editing away. Are Some People Just Visually Dull?: And yet another blog discussion expressing puzzlement over this issue.
Aspect Ratio Fail: Another blog discussion, another group of people wondering what is going on and how to stop it. Keywords: Fan video, vidding, vidders, frame dimensions, AR, tutorials, fanvid tutorial, squished, proportions, aspect ratio. I just wanted to share a few thoughts about this, maybe in an attempt to make things clearer (or maybe just to ramblea€”this is my vanity site, after all).

Some of you probably roll your eyes and wonder what the big deal is, while many others secretly are glad that someone is insane and obnoxious enough to finally bring this whole thing out into the open. So, another way to help yourself see aspect ratio is to stop and look harder, and try to see the simple shapes, and not all the complexities. Thata€™s right, that middle image (representing a video clip) is much taller and boxier in shape than the other two. This is often the case (but not always, which is why you need to do a little investigating to confirm it one way or another). Do not tell yourself, a€?Thata€™s just the way the clips came to me, so they must be right.a€? You need to confirm that your software settings are correct, and that youa€™re processing your clips from the DVD properly. Other than to repeat (to those of you who are hard cases, LOL) that it can be really annoying to see something (like your favorite actora€™s face) all distorted. But because they are more elaborate, with lots of textures and goodies to look at, you sometimes lose sight of the fact that . So you import your clips into your video editor, and you get this (images represent the clips in your video timeline). So, when you try to edit this clip in with the others, you know youa€™re going to either have to crop off the top and bottom of that one clip, or youa€™re going to end up with a video with black letterbox bars at the top and bottom of some clips, but no black bars on other clips.
Even if you cana€™t tell when an image is distorted (a€?squisheda€?) or not, you can tell when there are borders in some clips but not others, and that should be raising a red flag for you.

And just so you know, no, masking off pesky black bars or cropping them off is NOT a solution for fixing bad aspect ratio. Ita€™s not my fault, and Ia€™m not alonea€”a lot of other people have no sense of direction as well. BOD (the guy in this YouTube video) is notoriously cranky and somewhat contemptuous at times, but he brings up a lot of good points about why getting the aspect ratio wrong is annoying.
You match your fan videoa€™s settings to that DVDa€™s aspect ratio, and there you goa€”perfect aspect ratio every time. I have no idea what people are talking about when they claim they can a€?feela€? what direction they are facing.
Besides, a lot of times those who dona€™t notice distorted aspect ratio at first can start to become more sensitive to it in time. But, I still manage to get around, mostly by analyzing what time of day it is, and what direction the sun is coming from. But I have to really think about ita€”stop and think about ita€”and use other tricks or guidelines to get around.

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