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From Reels to Center-Cut Safe: The Perfect Fit for Your Video

Title reads 'From Reels to Center-Cut Safe: the Perfect Fit for Your Video'; a digital drawing of mascot Chicken is seen represented on a handful of different screen styles

You’ve got an incredible new animation – congratulations!

As you’re planning the rollout of your video, take care to consider the complicated landscape of aspect ratio. From digital place to place, special care has to be taken to make sure that your video is the right fit… literally!

Not only can Next Day Animations provide you with a custom animation in a rush timeline, but we also pride ourselves on being experts in the ‘feeding and care’ of your video after its, uh… birth. (Sorry, a couple of our colleagues just had babies and it’s all we can think about. Except, of course, aspect ratios.)

We’re here to support you in ensuring that once your project is finalized, you have everything you need to make sure your animation looks sharp in the places you expect people to view it.

From 9:16 aspect ratios (things are getting reel – thanks TikTok!) to center-cut safe awareness (what up, Insta cut!), it’s not always easy to know your way around video sizes.

Read on to learn more about different aspect ratios you might run into online, and find out a little bit of the behind-the-scenes magic of our process and how we support formatting needs.

Finding the Perfect Fit: the Right Size for Your Video

An aspect ratio is a proportional relationship between an image’s width and height. Basically, it describes size and shape. Creating content to be viewed on screens has become increasingly complicated over the last few decades, since we were all watching TV on standard clunky old boxes.

Suddenly, people have the internet in their pocket. And suddenly, you have to account for screens of all shapes and sizes. Allow us to break down some of the most important things to know about aspect ratio when it comes to making a video:


Standard definition – now considered by some a hipster relic – has an aspect ratio of 4:3. Believe it or not, many people still use older-style TVs that broadcast pictures in standard definition.

• HDTV, or high-definition television, has an aspect ratio of 16:9. Since HDTV became available to consumers for home viewing, many networks have started broadcasting in HD.

a 9:16 image with stills from AARP's video; in the center of the graphic is the key information and subtitle.

We created this video – an explainer animation for mail-in ballot –  for AARP in a typical 16:9 aspect ratio. We also created the 9:16 sized ‘cover image’ you see; the cover image is used to refine how the video presents on a user’s Instagram or TikTok ‘grid.’

• Now, what about looking out for the folks up in that first bullet point? The ones who are using standard definition TVs but getting broadcasts in 16:9 aspect ratio? That’s where center-cut safe comes in.

“Center-cut safe” refers to a video created to fit standard definition 4:3 screen ratio, even if it was filmed or created in HD.

Here’s two versions of the same video we created for Smile Train in two different aspect ratios: one is suited for Instagram (1:1) and the other is more suited for standard video placement – it can be easily attached to emails, embedded on websites, or uploaded to Youtube.

• Finally, 9:16 brings us to the modern moment: if you are creating a video for viewing on a vertical phone screen size, the aspect ratio you’re looking for is 9:16.

• When it comes to Social Media, it’s not quite as simple as a bullet point. Each platform has their own specific size requirements.*


*Social media going to be a big part of your campaign? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with our Social Media Package. From Instagram cover reels to call to action graphics to seamlessly looping gifs, we’ll make sure your animation is social-savvy!

How Next Day Animations Supports Your Video Rollout

We refer to our animation studio as a one-stop shop: we pride ourselves on the expertise of our in-house team to bring your message from idea to final product, and from final product to as many eyeballs as you can reach.

Our process is designed to get to know you, your message, and your audience early on in the process so that by the time we get started on your animation, communication feels comfortable and fun. 

We spend all day every day formatting video files, toggling between different versions of editing software, and scrolling through adorable photos of our coworkers’ babies and pets (not in a creepy way we swear). But we know not everyone spends all their time on this stuff, and we’re here to be your trusted experts in all things digital video, image, and internet.

Since we’re all about explainers, why don’t we show you what we mean: check out this video to get a better idea of our process from start to finish.

When you work with Next Day Animations, you can feel confident that every base is covered. Ready to get started? Or just wanna ask some questions about aspect ratio? Get in touch today.