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Thread: Help with filming ratio/screen sizes

  1. #1

    Default Help with filming ratio/screen sizes


    I am what I guess you could call an internet model. I have my own website where I upload pictures and videos weekly. I have had a Panasonic HDC-SD100 for just over a year and I love it. However, because all new camcorders are in widescreen I have real difficulty finding angles that I am able to fit myself into the screen on. With my older camcorder this wasn’t a problem as it wasn’t a widescreen and was the older…boxey shape.

    I have seen settings on the Panasonic to film in 4:3 which I found out was the older box version but switching to this mode changes nothing, to be honest I am having real difficulty understanding what changing to this mode is supposed to do.

    What I am really looking for is to be able to film in the old fashioned box shape, not widescreen. I have done some searching and found no new HD camcorders that will film in the old size. I’m finding it all a bit difficult to understand really and was just hoping that someone might be able to shed some light on the subject!

    Are there any companies making HD camcorders in the old shape? Or could I film this way in my new camcorder somehow!?

    Really hope you can help!

  2. #2


    You are correct 4:3 is the "boxy shape" and 16:9 is widescreen. If your camera has a 4:3 setting that should be the size/shape you get. Are you telling the capture software that it needs to capture in 4:3. Is the image stretch out sideways, looks a bit squashed.

    If you really can't get 4:3 from the camera but need to have it, you can always crop the image during editing and render it in 4:3 ratio.

    However, I can not think why you feel you need this. I would have thought 16:9 would give you a greater opportunity for finding angles or framing the shot. To me 16:9 is a much more pleasing image shape than 4:3.

  3. #3


    Hey, thanks for your swift reply

    When I switch to the 4:3 mode the screen stays exactly the same. I figured perhaps filming in that mode would have a different outcome so I did try it but it still came out widescreen.

    The problem is, as I am filming myself I am obviously taller than I am wider (well I hope lol). So when filming myself it is SO much easier with the 4:3 shape as I can fit much more of myself in. With the widescreen I have to be much further back and even then it is still difficult. That’s why cropping the image afterwards is out too…to be honest my house isn’t big enough to be able to do that as I’d have to be SO far away from the camera.

    So I’m a bit confused as to what the 4:3 option on my camera is supposed to do as it appears to make no difference. Do you know if anywhere makes 4:3 anymore?

  4. #4


    As far as I can tell your camera can not shoot in 4:3 aspect ratio. the option you have found is to do with connecting a narrow TV for playback by squashing the image to fit.

    I still don't understand why you would want 4:3, I take your point that you are higher than you are wide but being able to frame a shot with a 16:9 ratio should not be problem. With yours and most other cameras, you should be able to be close enough to it when filming so long as you are not zoomed in. Even a very small room should be big enough for this. Also your reasoning for not being able to crop the picture during editing makes no sense to me. If you want HD video you record in widescreen as that is part of the definition of what HD is. You can buy SD videos which shoot in 4:3 but you may see an over all image quality loss.

    BUT I guess you want what you want. I'm not familiar enough with all the cameras out there to know if there is an HD camera that has a 4:3 mode.

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by Moomirf View Post
    much easier with the 4:3 shape as I can fit much more of myself in.
    I suspect confusion may be occuring because the lenses use different focal length. Whether recording 4:3 or 9:16, if the lens has a wider angle, then it will see a greater area.

  6. #6


    I don’t know, maybe I’m confused but all I know is, its definitely much more difficult to frame myself with the widescreen camera compared to the old 4:3. Bare in mind that I move around a lot, I need angles that fit me in well overall and that usually I’m trying to stay in the same area of the room. Id put up a couple of screen shots but although I’m clothed I’m not sure that’d be appropriate lol.

    Incidentally I notice that all webcams arent widescreen, must be a reason for that?

    Thanks for your help anyway, if anyone knows if I can get hold of a 4:3 in HD I’d be veeeery grateful

  7. #7


    I think you may benefit from tutorial videos about framing a shot like this one.

    Framing and Composition on Vimeo

  8. #8


    I have done some experimenting with my new and old camera. It seems that I can frame the same height if I move the widescreen one back by about 15 inches (this obviously shows more at the sides with the widescreen). I think it is possibly just that it is more pleasing to the eye (for me and others it seems) when viewing videos online in 4:3.

    You previously mentioned software which I could use to crop the videos. Can you recommend any? Are they fairly straight forward to use?

  9. #9


    I use Sony Vegas but I think most video editing software will crop the picture so you can render it in 4:3 aspect ratio. What video editing software do you currently use?

    I presume your problem is not so much putting your self in the frame but also the background of the shot which is why you feel the need to crop the sides of the shot.

    Do you shoot a video and then upload to the web or just use the camera as a web cam for live feeds ? If it's the latter then the only way to reduce the width would be sticking black card each side of the lens, which would be a real shame.

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