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_Smart Cropping for Web Video

A tool for displaying video at any aspect ratio. With ubiquitous availability of video in mobile and desktop browsers, letterbox may no longer be the best way to adapt a viewers experience to the content.

I sought to create a new solution that allows video to fill any screen or window, while preserving the video creator’s intended composition of the frame and the full view of the subject. The tool applies equally well to highly cinematic documentaries, cinéma vérité approaches, broadcast journalism and “talking-head” interviews.

Brian Chirls, Creative Developer

This tool pairs web video with a series of timeline-bound rectangles that define the minimum required area of a shot or sequence. As the video plays, the frame is cropped to fill the display area while guaranteeing that the selected subject remains in frame, as close to the original composition as possible. In extremely wide or tall displays, minimal letterboxing or pillarboxing may be used to preserve large subject areas.

The code is released with an open source license, so you can try the smart cropping tool for your own video. The HTML includes a video element that you can point to your MP4 or WebM files. There is a data file that specifies the scene parameters for each shot. Every shot has start and end times, with four pixel coordinates of the rectangle that contains the subject.

Visit GitHub for the source code and more detailed instructions.

Project at a Glance :

Company : POV
Year : 2014
Proprietary or Open-source : Open-source
Skill levels : JavaScript
Costs : MIT License
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