Filming and Editing for Different Aspect Ratios: What to Keep in Mind

A Rhode Island videographer using an iphone15 to film different aspect ratios Video marketing and a social media presence are crucial for any brand. However, every social media platform displays videos differently, so you can’t always film your content in a one-size-fits-all manner.

Luckily, most apps use the same aspect ratios for vertical and horizontal content. So, there are a few tricks you can use to make filming and editing your videos for different platforms easier. Learn more about the various aspect ratios for popular social media platforms below and get tips for streamlining your editing process.

What Is Aspect Ratio?

A video aspect ratio is the relationship between the video’s height and width. It determines how your video appears on screen and whether it displays horizontally or vertically.

You’ll typically see an aspect ratio represented by two numbers with a colon in the middle. The first number represents the width, while the second represents the height. For instance, horizontal YouTube videos have a 16:9 ratio, while vertical TikToks have a 9:16 aspect ratio.

Video Aspect Ratio Vs Resolution and Size

A video’s aspect ratio is different from the resolution. A video’s resolution measures how many pixels are in a video. For example, a video with 4K resolution has approximately four thousand pixels.

The aspect ratio doesn’t represent the actual number of pixels in the video. Videos of different resolutions can also share the same aspect ratio. For instance, a 1920 x 1080 video and a 960 x 540 video both have a 16:9 aspect ratio. But the 1920 x 1080 video will be much higher quality, due to the increased pixel count.

What aspect ratio should I use? A Social Media Video Aspect Ratio Guide

Social media uses different aspect ratios for video than movies and TV. You can see the current video aspect ratios for popular social media platforms below.

Instagram video aspect ratio

Instagram uses a 9:16 aspect ratio for all its video content, including reels, stories, and carousels. However, you can upload a reel with an aspect ratio that ranges between 1.91:1 and 9:16.

(X) Twitter video aspect ratio

X recommends 16:9 and 9:16 aspect ratios, but anything within 1:3 and 3:1 is also acceptable.

Facebook video size ratio

Facebook accepts aspect ratios of 16:9, 9:16, and 1:1 aspect ratios for feed, marketplace, stories, and streaming content. However, Facebook recommends only using 1:1 for videos meant to appear in search results.

TikTok video aspect ratios

TikTok primarily uses 9:16 for vertical videos in the feed, but it also uses 1:1 for square videos and 16:9 for horizontal videos

YouTube video aspect ratios

YouTube’s standard aspect ratio is 16:9. The optimal aspect ratio for YouTube shorts is 9:16.

Snapchat aspect ratio

Snapchat uses a 9:16 aspect ratio for ads.

Social media aspect ratio chart

Want a cheat sheet? Check out the social media video aspect ratios chart below for a quick reference guide.

PlatformVideo TypePreferred Aspect Ratio
InstagramReel, Story, Carousel9:16
TikTokShort content9:16
YouTubeMain Video Listings16:9
YouTube ShortsShort contend9:16
X(Twitter)Posts and ads9:16, 16:9, 1:3, 3:1
FacebookFeed, Marketplace, and Stories16:9, 9:16, and 1:1

How to edit video for different aspect ratios

As you can see, most social media platforms use a 16:9 aspect ratio for horizontal videos and a 9:16 aspect ratio for vertical ones. But what should you do if you want to use the same video content on different platforms? After all, you probably don’t want your videos to display with cut-off edges or a black border.

One method is to film your videos with a larger horizontal aspect ratio that you can crop later. Try filming your videos with a nine-rectangle grid, then keep your most important elements toward the center of the grid. This should ensure that all the important elements stay intact when you edit the video for a vertical aspect ratio.

Of course, cropping the video will impact its quality. So, it’s important to film in a high resolution on professional equipment, like an iPhone 15 with ProRes enabled. Alternatively, you could always outsource your video content to a professional RI videographer with experience filming for all different aspect ratios and platforms.

A Rhode Island videographer for your marketing projects

If you need a helping hand with your online video content, McVeigh Media is here for you.

We can help you film marketing content that’s optimized for all your social media channels. You won’t need to struggle with the right camera setup or spend hours editing your videos to suit every platform’s requirements. You can leave all the hard work to us and focus on running your business. Additionally, we can even go a step further and help you build your YouTube marketing strategy! Contact us today to learn more about filming your video content with RI's best videographer.
Posted by Sean McVeigh
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Sean McVeigh is an award-winning filmmaker and producer with over 25 years of experience. Sean’s work as a cinematographer and editor has been viewed on many of the major TV networks including NBC, ESPN, and the BBC. He has also worked with iconic brands like Apple, GE, Jaguar, Amtrak, US National Parks Services, and AAA.