Confused by aspect ratio settings

A TV advertising agency has told me that for an advertisement they want…

16:9 FHA (anamorphic) or 4:3 full screen (preferably NOT letterboxed).

How do I det Blender up to output video like this? (I’m scared of going the opposite way) When I hit the PAL 16:9 button under the output “format” tab, I get a strangely tall render.


I think that strangely tall render is correct. 16:9 anamorphic uses non-square pixels, so when you view the image on your monitor it appears distorted. Imagine stretching the picture out to fill a widescreen tv - the stretch should cancel out the distortion and leave you with a nice widescreen picture.

Okay, but that still confuses me. I have no idea how I can work with it.

I just want… to render in blender… so it looks normal to me… and then hand it in so that it is “correct” to them.

I need to start storyboarding this thing and have no idea on how big my titlesafes etc should be at the pen and pencil stage.

I’m assuming I’m about right with this image? Hoping it will do for storyboarding, though it’s really a guess…

isn’t full screen 4:3 the “Full” render out button? anyways, you might want to just ask for

clarification from whoever is wanting the video (make it easier both ways)
or just render out both and see what happens

:smiley: and there’s wikipedia

that’s about right :stuck_out_tongue: although the aspect ratio is usually for tvs with an ntsc / pal tube


Decide whether you want to render in full screen or wide screen, then either select PAL for full screen, or PAL 16:9 for widescreen (assuming you are in a region that uses PAL). Your camera will show the correct boundaries (including the title safe area).

Neither PAL nor NTSC use square pixels (the most drastic difference is anamorphic widescreen), so your renders will look strange if you try to view them on your monitor without taking this into account. You could view your animations using a player like VLC, which allows you to specify an aspect ratio. This should make your stretched widescreen animations look normal on your monitor.

Whatever you decide to do, it’s probably best if you render a test animation, burn it to a DVD and watch it on your TV just to make sure everything works the way you want it to.

dont forget to turn on fields for the 4:3!

Okay - I is really confused by Wikipedia now. I thought I was asking something really stright forward. Wikipedia does not seem to know Blender, nor the rules for New Zealand.

Unfortunately the line “16:9 FHA (anamorphic) or 4:3 full screen (preferably NOT letterboxed).is my clarification. That’s what TVNZ have specified. Apparently that makes everything “really clear and obvious”.

All I know is, yes… definitely PAL (New Zealand) at 25fps.

As for deciding whether I want to render in full screen or wide screen… it’s… a TV advertisement. It’s supposed to get everyone. I’m thinking that if I go for the 16:9 ratio it would be best, as long as I know where the cut off and “true” titlesafes are for 4:3 ratio. That should keep everyone happy. But is it right for the frames I last posted?

Burning to DVD is fine but then it’s basically going to be rubbished unless it works on the air for real.

More importantly, can’t I aim for a render in 16:9 but get Blender to show it undistorted while I at least preview? Sounds like not a lot to ask.

you should be able to just click the PAL button in the format panel, and the Fields in the Render panel. That will give you a video file that will play in the 4:3 full screen (NOT letterboxed) format. The PAL 16:9 button with Fields should give you a video file 16:9 FHA (anamorphic.

Note: With Fields on, MBlur is not really needed.

Yes… that kind of works, but then I notice that if I switch between PAL 4:3 and PAL 16:9, the top and bottom are clipped from the 4:3, instead of the sides being clipped from the 16:9… therefore I don’t think it’s a safe bet to animate to the 4:3 as the change is too much… if only they’d made it the other way around.

…am I right?

that is the issue, and it works both ways. the 16:9 is wider, and if you put something important there, it will be clipped off when in the 4:3 mode. For film 2.3:1 is even worse.

I may be wrong, but I don’t think you have to worry about title and action safe for 16:9. Any one viewing 16:9 is going to be running a non-CRT device or it is going to be letter boxed by their player anyway.


I use a CRT 16:9 TV, so it might be worth erring on the side of caution and keeping vital things within the safe areas.

Okay… we all understand that 16:9 and 4:3 are different sizes. But what is reasonable to assume…

…if I hand if a 16:9 advertisement, how will it look to viewers with 4:3 screens? Will it have the sides chopped off or will it show everything but have black bands on top & bottom?

I’m in New Zealand, though I know for a fact that in Australia, 20% of advertisements are rejected simply because the aspect ratio is wrong. Would hate to do a full render and have that happen.


It should appear with black bars at the top and bottom. Some newer TVs may have other options for displaying widescreen signals (e.g. pan-and-scan) but the black bars should be the default.