YouTube aspect ratio is wrong?

Date: 25 May, 2009
Posted by: admin
In: hints & tips|internet, web design & development

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You’ve uploaded a video to YouTube and the aspect ratio is wrong. What do you do?

Fix aspect ratio of YouTube videos

You’re uploading or reviewing a video on YouTube and notice that the aspect ratio is wrong – the video image is squashed or their are black bars around the video. It’s really easy to fix!

Prior to upload

YouTube actually have good advice about this:

  1. Sign into your YouTube account, and click the yellow upload button.
  2. On the next page, click the “upload video” button. Then, select the file you’d like to upload from your computer.
  3. As the video file’s uploading, you’ll see categories below the upload progress bar, including the category “Tags“.
  4. Depending on how you’d like to format your video, type on of the following tags into the “Tags” section:
    • Tag: yt:crop=16:9
      (zooms in on the 16:9 area, removes windowboxing)
    • Tag: yt:stretch=16:9
      (fixes anamorphic content by scaling to 16:9)
    • Tag: yt:stretch=4:3
      (fixes 720×480 content that is the wrong aspect ratio by scaling to 4:3)
    • Tag: yt:quality=high
      (default to a high quality stream, depending on availability
  5. Once your video uploads to the site, it should be formatted according to the formatting-tag you added while the video was uploading.

Can I fix aspect ratio after upload?

Sure you can. Simply add one or more of tags above by editing your video information on the YouTube site. You can only do it for your own videos however.


It might look initially like it hasn’t worked. YouTube don’t update the preview image that shows on the page prior to the video starting, but provided you’ve added the right tag then the video itself should be the correct aspect ratio.

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13 Responses to "YouTube aspect ratio is wrong?"

1 | 1.06.2009 – 2.06.2009 at A Heartbreaking Blog of Staggering Genius

June 2nd, 2009 at 1:03 am

[…] Fix aspect ratio of YouTube videos – toimii sitten vain omille videoille […]

2 | S.

August 4th, 2009 at 9:38 am

This was so helpful! Thank alot! I never knew you could do that post uploading.

3 | SnapShow82

November 27th, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Thank you so much!!! This information totally saved me from chucking my video camera onto a busy highway! 🙂

But seriously, this was EXREMELY helpful!

4 | admin

November 30th, 2009 at 1:59 pm

@S, SnapShow82 – no bother, saved me endless reuploading too!

5 | Nigel

December 29th, 2009 at 6:34 pm

Marvelous! Thanks a lot.

6 | Matt

March 22nd, 2010 at 8:21 am

I’ve just tried this but it doesn’t seem to have done anything 🙁

7 | admin

May 13th, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Can you give a link to what video you tried it on?

8 | J

April 9th, 2010 at 7:40 am

Bloody brilliant. Very, very helpful thank you.

9 | Robin

April 9th, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Wow. This was so helpful. Thank you so much. ^_^

10 | Richard Cummings

June 10th, 2011 at 1:59 pm


Thanks for this info. I am investigating aspect ratios before uploading youtube videos and this helped.


11 | Katie

July 11th, 2011 at 1:33 am

THANK YOU! Very helpful, it fixed all my videos. 😀

12 | admin

July 22nd, 2011 at 7:33 pm

No worries glad to help.

13 | Todd Smitts

December 31st, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Thanks! This helped! I always hated the squished look on some of my uploaded vids. They look much better now.


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