Premiere Pro :: 2:35:1 :: Cinemascope/Anamorphic Crop Settings & PSD File Tutorial

If you watch a movie in a theater, you are most likely seeing it in the 2:35:1 aspect ratio, also known as Cinemascope or Anamorphic.  I became enamored with the 2:35:1 aspect ratio this Summer and ever since have output most of my videos in this format.  It not only adds a “movie” look to whatever you’ve shot, it also allows you to more precisely edit your video to make sure the audience’s eyes focus on exactly what you want.

The following is a quick and simple tutorial on how you can use Cinemascope with Adobe Premiere Pro.  I use Premiere Pro CC but this should work for pretty much any other editing software such as Final Cut Pro, Final Cut X, Edius, Avid, Sony Vegas Pro, etc.  With that said, let us begin the photo and text tutorial:

*Please note that I created this tutorial to primarily work with 1920×1080 footage.

1.  First off you will need to download the “croplines” PSD file that I have created.

:: DOWNLOAD: Download PSD (Right Click, Save As)

If you are using a different editing software, you can use the transparent PNG version of the “croplines” file

:: DOWNLOAD PNG: Download Croplines (Right click, Save as)

Open this PSD directly in Premiere Pro and it will enable you to edit your video in the 2:35:1 cropped aspect ratio.

2.  Import the croplines PSD file and select the “merge all layers” dialogue box.

3.  Drag your PSD file into your sequence and make it the top track of your footage.  Make sure it stays above everything else.  This way you can make sure you always know how your footage will look when you export it.

4.  Lock your track so that you cannot edit it.  Locking the track will help when you are changing what portion of your videos are viewable behind the cropped bars of the PSD.

5.  Import and edit your footage.  As you edit your footage you may notice that your new cropped look is cutting off an important portion of the footage, the actor’s eyes in the photo example.

6.  Move your footage behind the cropped lines by selecting each individual clip and selecting the “motion” arrow and changing the “vertical” numbers of the “Position” (this number is by default 540 when you are editing 1080p HD video).   Increase the number if you would like to move the clip down and decrease the number if you would like it to go up.  Make sure you do not increase the number above 680 or decrease it below 400 because if you do it will no longer be hidden behind the croplines and your video will not look uniform.

7.  Once you have edited your video file and followed step 6 to move each of your clips to exactly where you want them vertically, you are ready to export.  Exporting is rather simple with slight differences depending on what you plan to do with the video.
Online:  When exporting for streaming or viewing on a computer such a YouTube, Vimeo, etc. you will want to click the “eye” on the “croplines” track and make it invisible.  Then you will go to File>Export Media and create a custom render setting using h.264 at 1920×817.  This will just result in a squished video if you do not set the export to crop the video file as well.

Under the “source” tab in the top, left click the crop button and change it to “Top: 132, Bottom: 131” – leave the Left and Right at 0.  This will crop your video in the same way as using the croplines did but will result in it being an exact fit.  For some reason if you leave the croplines on your videos on vimeo, it will have extremely small black bars visible on the top and bottom if you do not do this.  Theoretically you could just do this and not bother with using the “croplines” PSD file as a track in your editing but then you would miss out on it as a guideline to help you figure out what is visible in your shots.

 

DVD and Blu-Ray: For DVD and Blu-Ray, export as you would normally with the croplines visible.  Whatever resolution you export at, the croplines will be visible and work to create a 2:35:1 aspect ratio for your footage.  Note:  In some cases when burning DVDs, specifically with Adobe Encore, I have run into an issue where the footage would overflow the edges of the croplines, creating a weird effect where the viewer could tell that the croplines were just a layer in the footage.  To fix this, when I am editing and planning on rendering specifically to DVD, I select the “croplines” track in Premiere Pro after importing it into the sequence, and select “motion>scale” and change the scale from “100.0” to “101.0.”  This prevents this footage overflow effect where it is visible at the edges of the croplines.

 

That’s all!  After rendering, enjoy the video you’ve created in the 2:35:1 Cinemascope/Anamorphic format!  Please feel free to post a comment letting me know what you think of this tutorial and if you have any questions or suggestions.

If this tutorial helped you out, you might be interest in the other tutorials I have created for all aspects of video production.  Or maybe you’re looking for royalty free music you can use with your YouTube and Vimeo videos?

95 Comments
  1. Hi Matt. This was a great tutorial and helped me achieve exactly the look I wanted. I'm now working on some SD footage in 16:9 (NTSC). Any advice on how to do the same with this sort of video?

    • What is your exact pixel count in the footage? 640×480? It should be a matter of just figuring the pixel count and doing the math to see where the bars should reach to.

    • 640 x 272 (2.35), 640 x 266 (2.4)

      In SD 16:19 720 x 306 (2.35) and 720 x 300 (2.4)

  2. The archive with the cropline that you uploaded is not 2:35. Is 2:40. But thank you for all the information.

      • 1920 / 2.4 = 800 and when you rest that from 1080, it is exactly 140 top and 140 bottom.

        I use to to work a lot with that aspect ratio, better for me than 2.35

  3. hi! for some reason I cant donwload the croplines, it tells me the site is not working anymore. do you know what can be the problem? thanks a lot

  4. Thank you SO much for this. It's amazing how hard it is to find a simple tutorial like this that explains it in well.

    • Hi Kate, to make your video smaller you would need to follow Step 7 above, specifically the "online" portion. You would want your video to be 1920×600 (or in the place of 600 whatever height you want the video to be – you'll have to play around with it to find the best for your video.)
      Then, you will have to crop your video to the same specifications as the height. In this case you would subtract your height number from 1080 (which is the full resolution size). So 1080 – 600 = 480. Then divide 480 by 2 = 240. In the export window at the top, Under the “source” tab, left click the crop button and change it to “Top: 240, Bottom: 240″ – leave the Left and Right at 0.
      This should result in a video that is smaller like the video you linked to. Hope this all helped!

  5. Premiere won't let me change the height of the video to 817? it changes to 816 every time.

    • Hmm that's very strange. Make sure the little "chain" icon isn't selected next to the height and width controls. Also make sure your profile is set to "Main" and "5.1".

      • still does it. i wonder why… that's probably what's causing my video to have thin black bars around it hey?

  6. trying to change the crop in the source tab didn't work…it wouldn't take the inputs.

  7. I downloaded the psd file and imported into PP. I put the video on the top layer but the crop marks do not show up. any tips?

  8. perhaps a silly question but why is the value less on the bottom than the top? 131&132? A result of 817 on the height? And does it matter which side has the greater value, top or bottom?

    • Not a silly question lol. If you subtract 817 from 1080 you end up with a total of 263. Because the 2.35:1 aspect ratio is 263 pixels thinner than 1080p. Now you probably want it to be thinner equally on the top and bottom. This can only happen if you take 131 pixels off the top and 132 off the bottom. Or you could do 132 off the bottom and 131 off the top, it really doesn't matter, because both ways add up to 263. You cannot divide 263 perfectly though, because Premiere can't handle fractions or decimals when cropping.

      I hope that explains it to you 🙂

  9. Thank you so much for this! Exactly the sight and information I was looking for… you rock brotha man!

  10. Hi Matt, Can you design for 2.39:1 crop lines psd and upload the same?
    Thanks
    Lokesh

  11. I've followed this to a T, and I keep getting the black letter boxing in my export? I don't understand why, when I look at the "info" section of the exported file it still says that it's 1920×817, and yet playing it in quicktime, quick preview, and Vimeo still has the letter boxes. Any thoughts?

  12. Great post, thanks for sharing although the vimeo format ratio doesn't work for PAL footage. it should be 1920×808

  13. Ehi, could somebody help me with this? My video comes with a strange line on the bottom.
    When I watch it on Quicktime, Movist or VLC there is no line, but when loaded on Youtube.. BAM! there it is. what can be the problem?

  14. Well I am late. But must tell you this is very very helpful. I wonder why most people omit the necessary details while explaining stuff on the internet. This is very well detailed. Thanks again.

  15. How do you frame your shots in the camera? Since the camera's LCD and the external monitors are 16:9, and the only grid lines available are the "thirds guide", how do you know if you're framing up correctly to accommodate the eventual 2.35:1 crop in post? Is there a way to mark the 2.35:1 area on your camera LCD or monitor while you're shooting?

    • Hey Tyrone! Unfortunately, I don\’t have Premiere Elements so I can\’t help you. I\’m not sure if Premiere Elements has that capability, but if I was to guess I would say probably not. Its capabilities are pretty crippled when it comes to editing video professionally.

  16. Does this technique just apply black bars to a 16;9 aspect ratio or does it edit the video file/remove the black bars for a 2;35;1 video file?

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