Widescreen aspect ratio
A widescreen aspect ratio such as 2.33 : 1 or 2.35 : 1 is essential to the film look you’ve probably been looking for. I’ll show you my way to achieving this in Final Cut Pro X and and how to remove the black bars from the exported movie (f.e. for uploading on Vimeo) using free application called MPEG Streamclip.
We’ll begin by importing some footage into your Final Cut Pro X project’s timeline.
Now, it is possible to achieve that widescreen look by many different methods, including FCPX’s own Letterbox effect or Crop tool (by trimming, say, 132px from top and bottom).
These methods, however, have a limitation – you cannot change the image’s Y position. I find the ability to move the image vertically crucial so you’re not losing any important details in your widescreen video.
A great way to achieve this is to use free FCPX Alex4D Widescreen Matte plugin, which has quickly become my favorite method (thanks to Alex Gollner for the comment on how to change the clips’ vertical position) . Because this is a title generator effect, you’d simply drag it onto the timeline so that it is above all the content you’d like to matte, while you’re still able to move the Y position of your clips (in 2.35 case, up to 132 px in either direction) with the FCPX Transform tool.
Another way of doing this is to import a transparent PNG file with black bars on top and bottom into your Events window, drag it atop of your project’s timeline and change its length so that it runs over the entire video.
Below, you’re free to download some PNGs with frequently used ratios – 2.35, 2.33, 2.76.
[symple_button color=”gold” url=”https://urosbaric.com/files/2012/09/widescreen-png.zip” title=”Download” target=”blank” border_radius=””]Download PNGs[/symple_button]
If that’s not enough for you, you can download E. Hartford’s HD Letterbox Template Pack that includes PNGs with every imaginable aspect ratio.
Now you may easily move your footage vertically, up to 132 px in either direction.
Remove black bars from the exported movie
Finally, I’ll show you how to get rid of black bars when playing back your video in QuickTime or even more so, for uploading it to Vimeo in widescreen format.
To achieve this you’ll need to download free application MPEG Streamclip. Next, open the exported QuickTime movie in MPEG Streamclip and select File > Export to MPEG-4.
See the images below for the settings I’d normally use. Note how I used the cropping tool, chopping off 132 px from top and bottom (2.35 ratio). In the case of 2.33 aspect ratio, I’d have to enter 128 px.
On the last picture, see how an exported clip looks in QuickTime.