YouTube Goes Widescreen

If you visit YouTube often you might have noticed something new recently, the most popular video sharing site on the planet has (finally) gone widescreen 16x9 aspect ratio.

As all HD cameras shoot 16x9 this only makes sense. Also, most of the newer sites Out There such as Hulu.com or TheWB.com, etc are widescreen too. And even some of the ones that have been around a while like Blip.TV and Vimeo are widescreen (and this made them more popular with filmmakers and film fans).

YouTube still accepts 4x3 video - it just letterboxes it with side bars. This is what it's doing with all the legacy video on the site as well, including the entire first season of "Pink". Although we shot "Pink" Season 1 the exact same way as Season 2, we uploaded to YouTube and other places in a 4x3 letterboxed file (per their instructions at that time). So all those earlier episodes play back fine, but not full widescreen like the new content.

Here's a link to the most recent episode of "Pink" in widescreen:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdlpeCKmRbk&feature=channel

And here's the embed:



Notice the embeded video is still 4x3 letterboxed. It doesn't appear they allow widescreen embeds yet - or maybe they're using it to drive traffic to their site? A good idea if so.

Another cool thing is you can select the "Watch in High Quality" link on the bottom right below the video box (on YouTube only, not embedded video). It takes a tad bit longer to download, but the resolution looks twice as good. BTW, it is NOT HD though. It is downconverted to an SD resolution, but it still looks very good.

(To see "Pink" in HD the only current way is on Vuze.com. And we are also putting some sample HD episodes on Vimeo as well.)

In a small, weird way this is similar to re-watching your favorite movies in Blu-Ray. I just re-watched "Pink" Season 2 in widescreen (and in High Quality mode) on YouTube and it was a much better viewing experience (one note too: you can also click the "full screen" button and watch that way and it looks pretty darn good).

Sooner than later most online video will be 720p HD, but for now at least YouTube and other sites are taking steps to make the current viewing experience the best it can be.

UPDATE: Since I posted this you can now actually embed the widescreen videos. Here's the same episode above, but in widescreen (although this blog layout is narrow and slightly crops the right side off):



UPDATE #2: It now appears (12/11/08) that you CAN WATCH HD VIDEO on YouTube. Very interesting... this could really be BIG.

-Blake


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Who Am I?

I'm a filmmaker who's produced & directed five feature films including the comedy SPILT MILK (available on iTunes), the new horror/thriller PHOBIA (on iTunes) and the action/thiller KILLING DOWN (which you can buy or rent at pretty much all the usual places).

I also created the Streamy and Webby award-winning web series PINK, which to date has been viewed online around 10 MILLION times at places like YouTube, Hulu, Koldcast and TheWB.com. And speaking of TheWB.com, I also produced and directed an online thriller for them called EXPOSED. It was released summer 2010. And most recently I created a new online sci-fi series called CONTINUUM, which is part of the online indie TV network JTS.tv - Just The Story and NOW available via VOD through indie platform Distrify.

Oh, and I don't shoot weddings. Thanks for asking though.

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