Viewer Question: What’s Up With the Black Bars When Photos are Shown on Video?

iphone photo camera review crop pillar box 4x3 somegadgetguyGot a question on my iPhone Camera review from viewer Huber, who writes:

What’s up with the black bars when taking a picture with the iPhone?There are two black bars making the picture small, kind of like a square. All of the other phones the image takes up the whole screen.

That’s called “pillar boxing”. You know how some movies are SUPER wide screen and you see thin horizontal black strips on the top and bottom of your TV? That’s called “letter boxing”. Pillar boxing happens when the aspect ratio of a photo or video isn’t wide enough to completely fill the format it’s being displayed in.

In this case, the video window is 16×9, which is a pretty wide rectangle, but the iPhone shoots photos in 4×3, which is a really squarish rectangle. As that chunky pic can’t fill the whole video window, the software showing the photo adds the pillar boxing. If it didn’t do that, you would either have to crop and zoom in (which would defeat the purpose of me showing the pics in this video) or you would have to warp and stretch the photo to fill the widescreen view.

Cameras like those found on Samsung phones use natively 16×9 image sensors, so both photos and videos are automagically wide screen. Most other phones use an almost square sensor, so any widescreen photos or videos are the result of a crop.

Hope that answers your question Huber, and for more examples of pics and vids taken from all the phones we test here, make sure to follow on Youtube and Instagram!

Viewer Question: Why not compare multiple phones in our speaker tests?

I’ve gotten a lot of questions on why I do my speaker tests the way I do, like this query from Youtube viewer Faddli who on my Lumia 830 speaker test asked:

Great video. My suggestion is to compare it with other smartphones (3-4 other smartphones), then the viewer can at least guess whether it has awesome/good/decent/bad/$h!t speaker.

Hey Faddli, thanks for the suggestion. Couple things about how I do these speaker reviews.

First, if the speaker sounds good in the video, then it probably sounds good in real life. It’s why I don’t talk over or give a conclusion at the end of these videos. What makes a piece of audio gear “good” can be highly subjective. I want the speakers to speak for themselves. Continue reading “Viewer Question: Why not compare multiple phones in our speaker tests?”