Tuesday, November 25, 2008

YouTube goes to a widescreen player on the site, leaving lots of "black space" for the classic 4|3 videos

YouTube announced yesterday that they would be moving to a 960 pixel width for their video player on the YouTube site:

Yesterday it was announced on their blog that they were increasing the width of the YouTube viewer to 960 pixels. This was great news to me as you can now upload even larger videos to the site.
Over the last year, YouTube's video specs have increased from 320x240 pixels and under 100 MB in comparison to the size of the more recent 640x480 pixels allowing for video files up to 1 GB, but no more than 10 minutes. These 640x480 files were ultimately displayed in the YouTube player on the site at a reduced 480x360 pixels. It was always such a shame to see your video letterboxed, cropped or squeezed to fit the viewer size. So, I am pleased with the latest news of the widescreen viewer on the page. The older 4/3 aspect ratio was a pain in the neck for anyone creating videos that were widescreen.

I was wondering what videos at the old aspect ratio of 320x240 (4|3) would look like on the now massive video player on the site:
Example No. 1: This is a 14 second machinima that is 320x240 pixels in size and was captured at 4|3 aspect ratio. This video was uploaded a couple of years ago, so a legacy YouTube example. Click on the YouTube icon to view it in the YouTube window, or follow this link:

Actually, not so bad, but I have always tried to upload videos at the top end of the spec.

The YouTube blog post was a brief paragraph or so (with no supporting details or
updated specs for anyone interested in knowing whether the specs for video have been upgraded to HD720 - 1280x720 pixels).
The blog read, "And don't worry, your 4:3 aspect ratio videos will play just fine in the new player."
Well... there were 873 comments hit the page in the last 24 hours from the unconvinced and the pleasantly pleased subscribers.
The comments are a great read! Now you know where I spend my time.
I do agree with many of the comments and choice of adjectives relating to any of the legacy videos, particularly the postage-stamp sized 320x240 pixel videos, and I'll not be looking forward to viewing cell phone videos in the massive new viewer.

Example No. 2: So here is a video that I have just uploaded. It's a 320x240 video that was originally captured in widescreen, but shows the black letterboxing at the top and bottom of the screen (added by me). It was originally a widescreen video, 201 MB quicktime file (saved at the best possible quality after down-converting from a 1280x720 quicktime file). The audio (banging doors, and people in background) is awful.. apologies in advance.
You will need to click on the YouTube icon in order to view the video in the site... or follow this link:

So because the file is so small (320x240) I am not being offered a 'high quality' view. That is to be expected.
None of the help pages for anyone uploading videos are easily findable.. and NONE is up to date.

You will get the best help from other users. No wonder we love to read and post comments!

Here's a search on the user help pages on 'widescreen' and nov 2008
It'a really great help community.

Just keep the video at the highest quality possible and be prepared for a lot of black space in the viewer on the YouTube site.
Users helping Users: This is pretty good but also not up to date YET.

YouTube Handbook: this has not been updated and still contains spec for the 640x480 videos!
Wow, introducing a new service with old documentation... oh, no!

YouTube on your Phone: (this is unrelated to the viewer):

More cool stuff (unrelated to YouTube though):

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