Monday, September 21, 2009

YouTube does CinemaScope

This video is presented as an example of an odd, and possibly unsupported YouTube feature. Recently, in the past few days, an ultrawide player appeared on YouTube, at least for some types of videos. The aspect ratio was around 2.35:1, instead of the 16:9 aspect ratio introduced back in December 2008.

Hopefully this embedded video illustrates this new format, but what's really interesting is if you follow this video back to YouTube, and use the new large screen switcher. It's a button with arrows pointing left and right. The "mouseover" text reads "Change Player Size." The odd thing at the moment though is that this player is only available if you avoid rendering in a way that triggers HD encoding.  For example, an otherwise identical clip was rendered at 1440x608 and displays on YouTube in the now familiar 16:9 ratio player.  Perhaps that will be fixed in a future update?  (Don't bet actual money on that hopeful statement, though).

Please note: to get the 2.35:1 aspect ratio embedded player below, you will need to (at present) manually change the values (both at the beginning and end) of the embedded player code. In this case the height value was 262, width 560.  If you're not familiar with the method (clicking the YouTube watermark) to open a video on its own YouTube page, you can click this link to get to the video behind the embedded player below.

Here are the detailed specs for the file uploaded above:

Name : Patriots90920cVryShortSM2.mp4
Format : MPEG-4
Format profile : Base Media / Version 2
Codec ID : mp42
File size : 15.0 MiB
Duration : 30s 30ms
Overall bit rate : 4 195 Kbps
Encoded date : UTC 2009-09-21 04:12:06
Tagged date : UTC 2009-09-21 04:12:06

ID : 2
Format : AVC
Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
Format profile : Baseline@L3.0
Format settings, CABAC : No
Format settings, ReFrames : 2 frames
Muxing mode : Container profile=Unknown@0.0
Codec ID : avc1
Codec ID/Info : Advanced Video Coding
Duration : 30s 30ms
Bit rate mode : Variable
Bit rate : 3 999 Kbps
Width : 720 pixels
Height : 304 pixels
Display aspect ratio : 2.35
Frame rate mode : Constant
Frame rate : 29.970 fps
Resolution : 24 bits
Colorimetry : 4:2:0
Scan type : Progressive
Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.610
Stream size : 14.3 MiB (95%)
Language : English
Encoded date : UTC 2009-09-21 04:12:06
Tagged date : UTC 2009-09-21 04:12:06

ID : 1
Format : AAC
Format/Info : Advanced Audio Codec
Format version : Version 4
Format profile : LC
Format settings, SBR : No
Codec ID : 40
Duration : 30s 16ms
Bit rate mode : Constant
Bit rate : 192 Kbps
Channel(s) : 2 channels
Channel positions : L R
Sampling rate : 48.0 KHz
Resolution : 16 bits
Stream size : 704 KiB (5%)
Language : English
Encoded date : UTC 2009-09-21 04:12:06
Tagged date : UTC 2009-09-21 04:12:06

One further point of interest, though. Even though video appears rather ugly on YouTube itself, the same trick used above, should work to conform embedded players to any non-standard aspect ratios you might want to use. See the example below:

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