When it comes to editing, I have no shortage of “pet peeves,” and perhaps one of my biggest is seeing footage with “Incorrect Aspect Ratio.” Far too often I see television shows, news packages, promos, even graphics in a video with the wrong aspect ratio, causing the images to appear squished. I’m not talking about TV networks that incorrectly display entire programs (I’ve got a future blog lined up to complain about that); no, I’m talking about a shot or two incorrectly formatted in an otherwise perfectly fine video.
This issue shows up when an SD shot is inserted into an HD package.
Here are two real world examples.
This first selection is part of a Today Show package about Prince Harry visiting Haiti. Notice that we have a sequence of shots going from 16:9 to stretched 4:3 to 16:9 to stretched and back to 16:9.
And here’s a promo for one of the biggest shows on TV, Survivor. This promo contains footage from seasons when Survivor was still SD. But who ever created the promo did not reformat the shots for the 16:9 HD frame.
Reformatting these shots to maintain the correct aspect takes very little time. And I think the burden of fixing a simple issue like this falls squarely on the shoulders of the editor. So, I beg all you fellow editors out there to remember: YOU are the last line of defense when it comes to issues like this. If you don’t take the time to fix these issues, who will?