352 Free Letterbox Templates for Video Editing (8K, 4K, HD & More)
Easily give your videos the cinematic cropping they deserve with these free high-res letterbox templates for video editing.
Despite having the ability to export footage in virtually any resolution, filmmakers and video producers are still limited to showing their work on screens with a very specific aspect ratios. Because of this, exporting your footage with letterboxes is one way to help view your footage in an aspect ratio that’s different than 16:9.
What Are Letterbox Templates?
Simply put, letterboxes are small bars that you can apply to your footage to give them an irregular aspect ratio, while still retaining their 16:9 size. Letterboxes can crop footage shot in 16:9 to a more cinematic 2.35:1. They are also a great tool for pre-visualizing how your video will be cropped on an irregularly sized screen.
So, how are these bars/templates different than cropping your footage? For example, when you record at a certain resolution, whether it be 4096×2160, 3840×2160, 1920×1080, or 1280×720, it determines what your image will look like right from the camera. However, once you bring the clips into your editing program of choice, you have the option to set your timeline to whatever resolution you want. It then crops your footage to fit that resolution.
These letterbox templates simply act as an overlay, so the overall clip will still remain however big your original resolution is.
So, what are these cinematic bars exactly? They’re literally horizontal and vertical black bars that are placed on the top and bottom or sides of your image. Adding these cinematic bar .pngs and widescreen bar .pngs to your footage is as simple as dragging and dropping them onto your clip. These bars are a great way for you to not only re-contextualize your film, but they also allow you to demonstrate to others what the film will look like in the end.
What Are Aspect Ratios?
So before we get into the letterboxes, let’s talk a little bit about what aspect ratios are and what you can expect to work with when trying to create certain types of films or videos.
These numbers (like 16:9, 4:3, 2.35:1) describe the screen’s width in relation to its height. For example, the typical 16:9 describes a screen that, for every 16 units of measurement (inches, feet, pixels) the image is wide, will also be 9 units high.
So, the original academy ratio—meaning most films shot in 1.33:1 (4:3)—is a boxier aspect ratio. This has come back strong recently with smaller films.
16:9 is probably the most common aspect ratio today. While it’s considered a “widescreen” aspect (particularly when compared to older 4:3 TVs), it’s actually not quite as wide as most film aspect ratios. For example, Peter Jackson shot The Lord of the Rings on 2.35:1.
If you want to learn more, try our guide to understanding how and when to choose certain aspect ratios. We even go into detail with examples of your favorite movies and which aspect ratio they are.
What’s in the Free Letterbox Template Pack?
Our free pack of 352 letterbox templates includes templates for every popular video resolution in the world, including:
- HD 720
- HD 1080
- 3K HD
- 4K UHD
Use these templates (seen above) to convert footage into the following aspect ratios:
- 1:1 Square
- 4:3 Silent Film/NTSC
- 1.37:1 Academy Ratio
- 1.43:1 IMAX
- 3:2 Classic 35mm
- 7:4 Metroscope
- 1.85:1 Vistavision
- 2:1 Panascope & RED
- 2.2:1 Todd AI
- 2.35:1 Cinemascope
- 2.39:1 Theatrical & Blu-ray
- 2.55:1 Vintage Cinemascope
- 2.75:1 Ultra Panavision
- 2.76:1 MGM Camera 65
- 3:1 Extreme Scope
- 4:1 PolyVision
All of the templates are available in both black and white letterbox formats.
Using the Free Letterbox Templates
These free letterbox templates are incredibly easy to use and manipulate. All of the files are PNG images with alpha channels. To use the templates, simply drag and drop the appropriate resolution letterbox above your sequence in your video editing application of choice.
Interested in more FREE assets? In the list below, you’ll find roundups of every asset we’ve given out. There’s something perfect for literally any type of video project you could be working on. Enjoy!