May 7, 2017 at 11:46AM


16:9 to 4:3

I have HD video (1920x1080p) for a short film I've made that I'd like to frame in 4:3 (1440x1080) for compositional/stylistic purposes. Should I simply use a letterbox overlay or should I take my current sequence and transplant it into a new sequence with a 4:3 frame? What are the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of each method? Are there other ways of achieving this? How have you done this in the past?

Thank you!


The overlay is easy to do, and the workflow is nice, but upon export you're still going to have a 1920x1080 resolution video. Your best shot would be to remodify your sequence settings for a 1440x1080, which is fine because it will still look the same, except the black bars won't be in the preview screen. I personally just used the overlays in my previous projects so I didn't have to waste time until I exported my final project.

May 8, 2017 at 2:14AM

Chase Stine
Director, writer, cinematographer

I'm working on a 4x3 video right now, and I changed the sequence to 1440x1080; it gives me extra space on my screen for other monitors and areas, instead of taking up a bunch of extra space with black. Plus, it leaves less room for error, if the letterbox slips, or you forget to export with the right format, etc.

May 9, 2017 at 12:53PM, Edited May 9, 12:55PM

Craig Douglas
Writer/ Director/ Editor/ Videographer

Thank you both! This is tremendously helpful -- I think I'm going to work it in a 4:3 sequence rather than use overlays in this case.

May 9, 2017 at 1:34PM

Robert Picciano

Its always best to create a new sequence. I agree with the previous comments that a 1440x1080 container is better use of your bandwith. Unless you letterbox your 16x9 into your new 4x3 sequence you will probably have to Pan and Scan (adjust the horizontal position) of your orginal content for your new framing in your 4x3. ( Note: horizontal black bars are called "letterbox" vertical black bars are called "pillarbox")

May 9, 2017 at 5:23PM

Howard Lukk

I mostly change the sequence settings, but I find it pretty annoying that you can't use Warp Stabalizer in Premiere when the sequence settings don't match the original footage. When I want to stabalize, I pillarbox and later export to the required aspect ratio.

May 10, 2017 at 10:48AM

Auke-Jan Weening

Or, for clips you want stabilized, you can right click, and hit nest, and Adobe will do the rest for you, so you can warp stabilize. Not saying your option isn't viable, just wanted to throw that option out there for you too.

Craig Douglas

May 10, 2017 at 11:44AM, Edited May 10, 11:44AM

This I didn't know Craig. That makes my work-around redundant.

Auke-Jan Weening

May 10, 2017 at 5:15PM

You can but you have to nest the clip first and then apply warp stabiliser. If the 4/3 has to play on a TV i would export it as 1920/1080 the you don't risk that the TV will stretch it to a 16/9 (thinking it is anamorphic hd 16/9). (BTW a 4/3 in a 16/9 sequence is a pillar box not a letterbox.)

thomas goddeeris

May 12, 2017 at 9:27AM

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