HD 1080p from 496x360 source - Question

Hi, I have been searching through the FAQ for a solution to my problem but feel like I don’t understand how to phrase it properly to even begin to find the right solution.

I am going to try my best at explaining it right here.

I am making a video using clips with following details:
Frame width 496
Frame height 360
Frame rate 29 fps

After I finished it and then exported it for YouTube (.mp4), it now currently has the following details:
Frame width 1920
Frame height 1080
Frame rate 30 fps

My guess for the reason is because the first file I added to my project was an Audio file, and the resolution and frame rate was automatically set to the HD 1080p 30 fps before I added my first video clip.

Aside from the black bars on the ends, it looks good

Here are my questions regarding this:

What has happened to my video, is this considered an ‘upscale’?

Also, is it possible to keep the 1080p upscale, but, at a 4:3 ratio (is this considered 1440x1080p)?

Sorry if these are extremely amateur questions. Any input is sincerely appreciated, thank you!

Hi @Joel
496 x 360 is not quite a 4:3 ratio, it’s more a 62:45 ratio
So if you put your clips in a 1440 x 1080, 4:3 project, you’ll get some small black borders.

In Shotcut, go to Settings > Video Mode > Custom > Add

Set the resolution at 1440 x 1080, the aspect ratio at 4:3 and the Frames/sec at 29,
then click OK and import your videos.

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Where is this funny footage from?
Very unusual settings imho - just curious :slight_smile:
Not only the resolution but also the framerate???

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Maybe from these videos of old films: Category:Video display resolution 496 x 360 - Wikimedia Commons


It’s footage from a figure skating competition in 1986. I’m not too familiar with settings from the mid 80’s, but, I’d take a guess this might explain the unusual settings. :laughing: The footage isn’t my own, but, I do remember being a kid and using a betamax to record my favorite shows during this period.

Was that the old TV format, used in America? I think in Germany we had always a framerate of 24 pics/s but in the states it was different, something odd in the 29.x

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The NTSC system used in the USA has a frame rate of 30⁄1001 (approximately 29.97)

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Funny that you mention Germany – the video I was taking clips from is of a German figure skater in the 1980’s. Though, the video was downloaded off of YouTube and arrived at the above mentioned 496x360 | 29 fps | and the broadcast was in English, so very likely recorded here in the United States.

Btw, if interested here is the video I’m referring to, which I used clips from: https://youtu.be/Sz4m_BLsTeA
And, here is the video I ended up making from it: https://youtu.be/FWlmBz2p4GY

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MusicalBox, I wanted to say thank you and that your instructions worked perfectly.

I was able to actually apply these changes to the existing project, instead of starting over, by using your exact instructions: Settings > Video Mode > Custom > Add | 1440x1080 | 4:3 |

The small black borders were a lot less intrusive than the large black borders on the original 1920x1080p video.

The only changes I had to make were the Size and Position Filter in order to even out the black borders horizontally.

If interested, I uploaded the project to YouTube: https://youtu.be/FWlmBz2p4GY

Thank you for your help!

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You’re welcome @Joel !

Ah, the well known Kati Witt, when she was young :slight_smile:

Honestly i wonder why you wanted to scale up this video? It doesn’t really get better if you just scale old stuff up to full HD. In the first seconds the quality is very bad, so is the orginal already. With nearly every viewer you can scale every video up to your liking (with the same bad quality) but with scaling it up in SC and exporting it in HD you just make the file size bigger without impoving the video quality.

To be honest, I’m really amateur at video editing to the point that I didn’t even know I had scaled up the original video to HD. Again, my original guess for how I ended up with HD was because I added an audio file to the project first and the project was automatically set to 1920x1080 30fps.

I really didn’t know if this was good or bad, only that it didn’t look any worse as far as my eye could tell, and the only thing I wanted to change was to achieve the 4:3 ratio, opposed to the 16:9.

I appreciate your comment and for taking the time to look at the original video and my Shotcut edit.

In your honest opinion, aside from the larger file size not contributing any positive thing to the video quality – do you think the 1080p HD upscale made it look maybe a little worse? I know this may sound ironic considering the original video is bad and saturated, but, just curious because I couldn’t tell and I definitely didn’t want to make it any worse with an upscale.

My understanding with YouTube was they assign resolution scales only going as high as your original video. If my video was 480p, YouTube would only allow 480p. With 720p, they would only allow 720 and 480p. With 1080p, they allow 1080, 720, and 480 scale options. Also, I read somewhere that with 1080p HD, YouTube doesn’t compress the audio as bad. Not sure if this is true but it stuck in my head as something to aim for.

No, o.k. - everything is fine with your upscaled video. The quality doesn’t get worse compared to the orginal small video - but it also doesn’t get any better just by upscaling :wink: You are right with YT only showing the max. resolution provided by the uploader but i think you can still scale it up on your screen. So there’s nothing wrong with what you did - but there’s also not really any advantage - you just create a bigger file. Not sure about the audio quality compared to video size but i really would wonder if this correlates somehow. Why should they compress audio quality down just because of small video size? Audio doesn’t contribute much to the file size - so it really doesn’t matter.

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The previous US system was true 30fps but the colour sub carrier interfered with the audio at 30 so they offset framerate by .1%.
The audio filters to fix it have been available since the 60s, but we’re stuck - even the UHD spec has 120/1.001 framerates.

An industry coalition, led by JayDee Vandenberg who is director of post production at Walt Disney Animation Studios, is calling on the TV electronics industry to phase out “fractional framerate” support. They have set up a website stating their aims:

“We are calling for the electronic display industry to begin to phase out support for fractional frame rates over time so that content can be displayed at its intended frame rate. This should include displays, recorders, play back devices, and cameras among others,” they said. “We invite all stakeholders, content creators, industry leaders, television and movie executives, editors and mastering artists to agree on a timeline upon which fractional frame rates will no longer be supported by newly released equipment.” - “We invite the manufacturers to use non-fractional frame rates (e.g. 24fps) and accurately indicate the correct frame rate for each device.”

Checkout the “History” tab.


Excellent! If they could phase out interlacing too, I would do a happy dance.

The framerates are standardised by the International Telecommunication Union not the CE displays industry.

That’s true. It looks more like wishful thinking on their part. But at least we should have the pleasure of seeing @Austin do his happy dance, since UHDTV is an end-to-end progressive scan television system, removing the interlaced scanning options used in current SD and some HDTV formats, so in production both UHD (3840 x 2160) and HD (1920 x 1080) resolutions need to be supported but in the progressive scanning format only.

For an excellent overview of the video system requirements for UHDTV and an advanced 1080p TV format see:

Unless you’re talking about 7680x4320p120 content which is i originated - An 8K full-resolution 60-Hz/120-Hz multi-format portable camera system | SMPTE Conference Publication | IEEE Xplore

…or broadcasters that still have interlaced submission requirements for program assets because they don’t want to stop and restart their stream throughout the day for each format, so they standardize on 1080i60.

No happy dance.