Why was my footage rejected for Resolution / Aspect Ratio?

If your footage was rejected with “Clip is a non-standard resolution or is pillarboxed, letterboxed or matted” it is most likely because of one of the following issues:

Non-Standard Resolution

  • The clip is captured or displayed in a resolution that we do not accept.

Aspect ratio and resolution are two relatively simple concepts. Aspect ratio refers to the ratio of a video’s width to its height. It can be expressed as two numbers – 16×9, as a decimal – 1.78, or as a ratio – 1.78:1. Resolution refers to the number of pixels present within that ratio.

Resolutions generally fall within three main types: Standard Definition (SD), High Definition (HD), and 4K or Ultra HD (UHD). Shutterstock accepts a number of variations of each type of codec, which you can find here.


  • The clip contains black bars on the right and left sides of the active video.
  • The content is not archival.

Pillarboxing is used to display full frame (4x3) content on a widescreen display. At Shutterstock, we do not accept pillarboxed footage unless it is archival (vintage) content.

We accept pillarboxed archival content if it was created and intended to be displayed in a smaller aspect ratio. Below is an archival clip, with acceptable pillarboxing intended to maintain its original aspect ratio.

User-added image

Clip by AV Geeks

Letterboxing/ Matting

  • The clip contains black bars on the top and bottom of the active video.
  • The clip has black bars all around the active video.

Letterboxing and matting can be used to create a more cinematic look. It can also be used to display content with an aspect ratio larger than 16×9. Matting is a decision that should be left to the customer, and therefore we cannot accept this kind of content.

We Recommend

  • Avoid letterboxing and pillarboxing modern footage in post-production.
  • Shoot your footage in a commonly used or industry standard aspect ratio.
  • Be aware of the resolution of the footage that you are working with and make sure that it adheres to the resolutions accepted by Shutterstock, or if necessary, crop to one of the approved standards.

Here are some additional resources you may find helpful:


What are the technical requirements for footage?

Aspect Ratios Explained: When To Use The Major Three

Aspect Ratio Fundamentals and Free Aspect Ratio Calculators

From 4K to VFX: The Shutterstock Footage Glossary

How to Choose the Right Camera for Your Video Production

Should I License 4K Video? – A Guide to the New Footage Format

ShutterTalk Live Presents: Codecs, Compression, and Video Quality


If you don’t understand the reason for the rejection of your submission or if you need additional clarification, you can always contact contributor support.

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