How to Add Black Bars to the Top & Bottom of a Widescreen Video When Converting

By Larry Amon

Black bars usually indicate the video does not fit the screen.
i Blank TV image by Mario Ragsac Jr. from

Usually, black bars at the top and bottom of a video indicate that the screen is not the right-size format to fit the video. The display fills the screen width, and the black area is where there is no video signal. You can convert videos to fill in this space, but the process distorts the whole image. If you keep a wide-screen video format the same, the black bars will fit whenever it is shown on a standard-size screen. But if you want to add the bars so that they show even on wide screens, you can do so by converting the video format.

Open a video-editing program such as Adobe Premier, Pinnacle or Vegas Pro. These programs are capable of powerful editing but also serve the purpose of converting video.

Go to the "File" menu and locate your video file and import it into the program. Select the entire video in the video time line.

Click the "Save," "Save As" or "Export" option. Choose an output such as DV Widescreen. This saves your video in a format that has the bars at the bottom and top. Some programs like Premiere have a tab to click labeled "Output" so you can see what the saved video looks like. Click "Save" or "Export," and it either converts the file or opens another program that converts it.