If you’ve ever watched a movie that was shot in widescreen, you’ve seen black bars on the top and bottom of the screen.

Those are called “letterbox” or “cinematic” bars, and they are used to preserve the film’s aspect ratio (the ratio of its width to its height).

The theatrical aspect ratio for most movies is 2.35:1, which is much wider than a standard television screen.

But how do you have cinematic black bars to your video?

cinematic bars

What Are cinematic bars?

Cinematic bars are a type of post-film processing that’s meant to enhance the perceived quality of the film.

It’s typically done by applying a black overlay to the top and bottom of the frame, in order to focus your attention on the middle part of the image.

Black bars used in this way are usually called “letterboxing.” If a video has black bars at the top and bottom of the screen, then the video is said to be “letterboxed.”

You may also hear these terms used when talking about movies that are displayed on screens with different aspect ratios than they were made for.

Cinematic bars (or letterboxing) is done for aesthetic reasons. Filmmakers use them to avoid cropping or stretching images so they’ll fit different screens.



How Do I Add Cinematic Black Bars To My Videos?

Many people ask how to add black bars to their videos, and it’s a pretty simple process. Just follow these steps: 

  • Step 1: Open your video project in Premiere Pro or video editing software.
  • Step 2: Find the spot where you want the black bars to be. In this case, I would go to the left and place my play there.
  • Step 3: Go to the “Timeline”, and then click on the “Create” button near the top-right corner, as shown below: 
  • Step 4: Click on “Edit Color” as shown below: 
  • Step 5: Here’s where you can change the color of your bars. I chose grey because it’s neutral and doesn’t distract from the footage.

Feel free to experiment with different colors until you find one that works for you! Hit Done once you’ve selected your color. 

  • Step 6: Once again, go back to the “Timeline” and click on “Create.”

This time, choose “Alpha Channel” as shown below: 

  • Step 7: You should see a few sliders when this menu pops up. Drag them down so they cover up everything but your clip (as shown in the screenshot below).

If you want to make your video more cinematic, black bars are a good solution. 

They look nice and focus attention on the video content rather than distracting from it.


  • Open your video in QuickTime Player.
  • Highlight the video section that you want to turn into black bars (you may have to scroll around a bit to find it).
  • Click ‘Tools’ and then click ‘Add Black Bars.’
  • A white box will appear, which you can drag with your mouse over the area you want to fill with black bars.
  • When you’ve selected the right place, click ‘OK.’

You can resize or reposition the black bars using the same method as above. 

Just press the arrow keys while dragging them around the screen. It is beneficial if your video has been filmed at an angle!


How Do You Put A Black Border Around A Video?

How do you put a black border around a video? It is a question that comes up every once, so I figured I’d share my process. 

I’m using Adobe Premiere Pro to walk through this process, but the same steps apply to Final Cut Pro or any other NLE on the market today.

Open up the video you want to add the border to get started. In my case, I’m going to use this video of myself: Next, go to Effect>Matte>Matte.

This will pop up the Matte interface and automatically select an Alpha Channel for you: The matte will also appear in your Program Monitor (the big monitor at the bottom of your screen if you’re not working with a full-screen view). 

To make it easier to see what’s happening as we move forward, let’s turn on some additional settings in the Program Monitor by selecting all four corners of your video in the Program Monitor and selecting View>Full Screen>View All Modes.

It will allow us to view both our video and matte at the same time:

Next, let’s take a look at our matte. 

It should be selected by default, but if not, like it using your selection tool: First, you need to figure out how big you want your border to be.

How about 5 pixels on each side? Here’s a quick formula for calculating the total number of pixels needed for a border: Border pixels = (Video width x 2) + (Video height x 2) + 5. 

So, if we want to put a black border around a video that is 640 pixels wide and 480 pixels high, the formula would look like this : Border pixels = (640 x 2) + (480 x 2) + 5Border pixels = 1360 + 960 + 5 Border pixels = 2345 

Therefore if you wanted your video to have a black border that was 25 pixels wide, you would need a picture of 2345 x 25 pixels. On your computer, that’s easy enough.

Of course, you’re going to upload it somewhere so people can see it. 

If you’re putting it on YouTube, it’s recommended that your picture be at least 1280 x 720 pixels.

If you’re using another service, just make sure that the picture is big enough. Also, note that YouTube will crop the image if it doesn’t fit within their specifications.

So make sure that the part of the picture you want to show is in the center or near.

Cinema Crop Bar Function

The Cinema Crop Bar Function is a great feature in Adobe Photoshop, which allows you to get rid of the black bars at the top and bottom of your composition when cropping your photos. 

It is beneficial if you are creating a photo movie or if you want to crop your image to a more specific size.


To create a photo movie in Photoshop, go to File>Automate>Photomerge and select one of the options for making a photo movie. In this blog post, I will use the Quick Selection option, which will make an automatic selection to create my photo movie.

Once you have carried out this action, you will be asked to crop your image into a square shape. However, if you look at the top and bottom of your cropped image, you will notice that there are still black bars at the top and bottom of your new cropped image.

To ensure these black bars are removed, go to Image>Canvas Size. Under “Constraint,” change it to “Relative,” then change “Width” to 0% and “Height” to %100%.

Click OK and then close out of Photoshop. You have now successfully created an image with the black bars removed from it when you crop i.t. I am a fan of the  2.35:1 aspect ratio.

Some films are shot so that you can see the image fills the entire frame. I find that it looks more “cinematic” and pleasing.

However, most films are not shot to fill the frame

The rule of thumb is that the black bars on top and bottom of your screen should be 1/3 of the height of the picture or 1/2 of the width.

Depending on what kind of cinema screen you have, you may have the ability to adjust the picture horizontally so that it fills as much as possible within those boundaries. 

Crop Bar Function

This will help you determine whether your brand new television has this function built-in or if you need to buy an external device to do this for you.

What Are Cinematic Black Bars

Cinematic black bars are the most common way to edit a movie. The black bars are edited out in the final cut, and they are used to help make the frame look more cinematic.

The two types of cinematic black bars are: Letterbox – letterbox is a term that describes a specific type of framing that involves placing black bars at the top and bottom of an image. 

These black bars allow for aspect ratio correction, and some filmmakers prefer letterboxing because it will enable them to utilize the whole frame while filming.

Some filmmakers also prefer letterboxing because it can lead to better composition. 

When a filmmaker is composing their shot, they may want to avoid cutting off an actor’s head with a wide-angle lens.

With letterboxing, this isn’t as much of an issue.  By moving your actors closer to the edge of your shot, you can avoid this mistake from happening in the first place.

Open matte – An open matte refers to when a filmmaker has placed black bars on all sides of their image. 

It allows for aspect ratio correction, but it often doesn’t look perfect when it comes to editing—many amateur film-makers who don’t understand how aspect ratios work will use open matte instead of letterbox. 

The problem is that when you see the black bars on the side of your screen, it’s a good indication that you’re watching a movie or TV show.

The bars are called “cinematic” because they are featured in movies and television shows. However, not all movies and TV shows have them.

Tv shows also have a blue bar, which indicates that the show is being broadcast in high-definition. 

However, the blue bars are only visible for a few seconds after the program starts and don’t appear on every show.

Cinematic black bars originated from film strips. In the early days of film, movies were shot on film strips with black borders around them.

To ensure people didn’t think they were looking at a blank screen, moviemakers continued to put black bands at the top and bottom of their pictures. The cinematic bars were later used on television sets to denote a movie or TV show.

The first televised movie was broadcast in 1936 during an experimental television broadcast by RCA in New York City in, America. 

It wasn’t until June 1953 that the first regularly scheduled feature-length movie was shown on network TV—a live telecast of The Telephone Hour starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire.

How To Add Black Bars To Video

The popular video hosting website YouTube was founded in February 2005. It has since become the 3rd most popular website globally and one of the most powerful tools for business.

With the ability to view millions of videos at any given time, it’s no wonder why YouTube is such a popular choice for sharing videos with other people. 

But have you ever wanted to add black bars to a  video on YouTube?

Adding black bars to youtube videos can be frustrating as it seems like it isn’t possible. 

As it turns out, there is a way to do this without editing the video or using any third-party software! 

To add black bars to a video on YouTube, you must follow these simple steps: Find a video you want to edit.

Click on the Settings cogwheel in the bottom right corner of the video player. Select “Advanced controls” from the menu (see image below).

Select “Loop playback” from the drop-down menu that appears (see image below). Click “OK.”

We will be using iMovie for this, but the process is very similar to other editing software.

  • Step 1: Open up your video and bring it to the timeline. If you don’t know how to do this, I have a video tutorial on adding text and Video overlaying over a video. 
  • Step 2: After bringing your video over, click and hold with your mouse button down on the bottom of the video clip.

A menu should pop up. Select “Show Video Inspector.

  • ”Step 3: The inspector will now appear on top of your video.

Now simply grab the right side of your video and drag it to the left until you see a white line appear on the left side of your screen.

 Then drop it on that white line so that there is space between the right side of your clip and that white line.

The other half of your video will be cut off by a bar. Click on that bar and set its opacity to 0% to get rid of this.

Step 4: Click anywhere outside of the Video Inspector window to close it, and now you have black bars on either side of your

Why Add Cinematic Bars To Your Video?

I’m going to show you how to add cinematic bars to your videos with Skillshare’s free Desktop app.

 Tutorial: Make sure you’ve downloaded and installed the Desktop app from your Skillshare Library.

Open the video you want to edit in the Desktop app and click on “Tools.”Click on “Add Crop” and drag the corners of the crop box until it looks like this, then click “Apply.

“[Here’s a screenshot if that’s too confusing(http://image.prntscr.com/image/8b4f64e4bd0d4e06b4f61c3d3100dcec.png). 

Then click on “Effects” and drag down until you find the Bars effect, then apply it by clicking on it and dragging it over your video like this.

[And here is a screenshot of that as well.](http://image.prntscr.com/image/9f93b8fa145849dfb10cbfe2e7346585.png)Once you’re happy with your bars, click on “Play” and make sure they look good, then you’ve probably already seen a lot of cinematic bar titles in your personal and professional life.

Titles in bars have become a popular way to grab viewers’ attention and keep them engaged with the video. However, a cinematic bar title can be used other than just grabbing attention.

What are they, and how can they benefit your videos? Zack Arias first introduced cinematic bar titles. They have three lines of text that fade in from the left, moving from top to bottom.

The idea is to have big, bold text that quickly grabs the viewer’s attention. 

It is an easy way for viewers to identify what the video is about even before it begins.

When using these bars, an essential thing to consider is color combinations and placement. 

If you want to grab attention but still keep things professional, you need to decide on a color scheme that fits your brand.

You’ll also want to ensure that your audience knows exactly what they’re looking at as quickly as possible through your text choices and placement. There are plenty of excellent examples out there, so feel free to search a little bit if you still aren’t sure how to use these kinds of titles properly.

How To Add Black Bars To a Video Without Cropping

I’m not sure about you, but I’ve tried every video editor. So when I discovered a way to add black bars to my videos without cropping or resizing, I was thrilled.

Text Editor: Sublime Text Open Sublime Text and create a new file by clicking File > New.Click Insert > Markdown > Table of Contents.

Click on the table of contents tab and type in the title you want for your video. Click File > Save As and select where you want to save your video.

Save it as a .txt file and ensure it ends with “.md.”

Select Applications > TextEdit and open the file you just created. Make sure it has the extension “.md” at the end of the filename.

Click Format > Make Plain Text and save it again. Open Quicktime Player and select New Screen Recording  Type in a title for your screen recording, select your desktop as the destination folder and click Create.

Hold down the Command key while pressing the mouse buttons if you need to use the mouse. To stop recording, press Command + Q.

Now open up iMovie and import your .mov file by going to File > Import Movies.

Click on your movie file in Native video on Facebook opens up a whole new advertising world. 

Recent reports from the Facebook blog show that engagement on Facebook videos is 16x higher than on regular posts.

You can see why this is so huge for businesses! The trouble is that most of the videos used by small businesses are not correctly formatted for native videos on Facebook.

 Videos uploaded to youtube and embedded into a website will often have a white bar at the bottom of the video.

It is known as letterboxing, and it’s not allowed by Facebook. 

The solution to remove the letterboxing on your video is to add black bars to cover the white space at the bottom of your video.

Why Are Cinematic Bars Useful?

Why Are Cinematic Bars Useful? In web design, some designers prefer to use bars in their designs. 

These bars contain various information that can be used to convey much information about a website.

A cinematic bar is used in most films and TV shows to show the mood or setting. 

This simple technique allows the viewer to immediately identify what the scene is about without reading any words.

Cinematic bars can be used on websites to give an immediate idea about the tone or atmosphere of your site. 

Cinematic bars are also called “scene indicators,” They are nothing more than a series of horizontal lines used on websites to help users navigate content.

However, there are two main ways in which cinematic bars are used on websites: Scene Indicators: Cinematic bars often indicate the mood or setting of a website’s content. 

It helps users understand what kind of content they will read before reading it.

Take a look at some examples below: Social Media: Most social media sites use cinematic bars to help organize content shared by users or publishers. 

Here’s an example from Facebook: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): FAQ pages are often designed like cinematic.

 Cinematic bars are a great tool to add depth and detail to your images, but they are also instrumental in communicating information about the specific scene you are filming.

Cinematic bars can be found in many offline and online tutorials. 

Tutorials that provide information about the setting of the shot, for example, often use cinematic bars to show the time of day, year, and location of the actual scene.

When shooting a tutorial on creating a model or prop, you might want to mark specific measurements on your bars to provide information about how big or small something is or where it is located within the scene.

What Is Film Letterbox?

Another aspect of the film letterbox is the aspect ratio. This is the relation between the width and height of the frame on a piece of film.

In other words, it’s the shape of the movie screen in which your images will be viewed. 

There are two standard aspect ratios for movies: 1.33:1 and 2.35:1

The first number in a percentage represents the image’s width, and the second number represents the height.

In this case, one means that there is one unit for every 33 units across. Likewise, 2.35 means that there are 2.35 units across every team. 

Tv shows and video games use yet another aspect ratio: 16:9 or 1.78:1 (16 units to 9 units).

Theatres can also use this aspect ratio, although they often use 2.35 instead (the digital projection systems used in most theatres nowadays can accommodate either one).

Some video games support all three aspect ratios and custom ones (which we will get into later).

 For example, if you’re playing on an HD television that supports 1080p resolution (1920×1080), you’re playing on a screen with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (16 units to 9 units).

What is a film letterbox? Film letterboxing refers to transferring a widescreen movie to a standard TV format. This results in black bars on the top and bottom, picture loss at the sides, and image distortion (magnification).

A widescreen movie is filmed with an aspect ratio of 16:9 or 2.39:1. 

When it is transferred to television, it is usually shown in 4:3 format (1.33:1) with black bars at the top and bottom of the screen. 

The black bars represent the parts of the original picture that are missing due to the difference in aspect ratios between film and television.

The following example shows what happens when you transfer a widescreen movie with an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 to a TV with an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 -Image Source: http://www.screenrant.com/what-are-black-bars/.

The Importance Of Aspect Ratio In Film

The aspect ratio of your video should be the same as that of your artwork. Different standard aspect ratios exist, and you can decide which one is best for your project.

Description: The aspect ratio is simply the ratio of a video’s width to its height or vice versa. It’s usually expressed like this: 2:3 or 2×3, meaning the width is two and the size is 3, as in a photo taken with a camera phone.

Or 4:3, meaning the width is four and the height is 3. 

This is the standard for television screens. And 16:9 (1.77) is used for high-definition televisions, digital cameras, and computer monitors.

The most common aspect ratios used in the film are Standard TV (4:3), VHS (4:3), Widescreen (1.78), Cinemascope (2.35), and Cinemascope with Panavision/Ultra Panavision (2.76). 

Have we captured your curiosity? Here’s our video on the origins, history, and legacy of CinemaScope:

In the world of film, aspect ratio refers to the width-to-height ratio of a motion picture image. 

For instance, in the movie “Avatar,” director James Cameron used an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, which means that for every 2.35 inches vertically on the screen, there was 1 inch horizontally.

The “Avatar” aspect ratio was close to the traditional Academy Aspect Ratio (1.37:1) but slightly wider. 

The history of aspect ratios can be traced back to 1900, when motion pictures were first invented and filmed at a length of 10 feet per second.

It created an aspect ratio of 4:3. After a while, theatre owners realized they could increase their profits by changing the aspect ratio to 3:2 or 1.33:1 because it would allow them to display more ads before and after a film without raising ticket prices. 

This new standard became known as the “Academy Standard.”

Aspect ratio refers to the dimensions of an image, usually represented as a ratio of width to height, in other words, the image’s shape. 

In the film, it is generally expressed as a ratio of width to size with the square root units of two (1.41).

It is defined by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as “the shape formed by dividing a rectangle into two equal parts such that the long dimension is twice as long as the short dimension.” 

Since television screens are narrower than cinema screens, for most purposes, an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 or 2.40:1 (more precisely, 1.375) is used for United States television and computer monitors instead of 2.39:1. 

For 35 mm film projectors, an aperture plate called an “anamorphic adapter” can be inserted during projection that changes its aspect ratio from 1.37:1 to 2.39:1 or 2.66:1—aspect ratios common in Europe—without affecting picture quality.