How can I get all video clips to conform to the project frame size?

I'm not sure of the exact terminology here, so please feel free to redirect me if this has been addressed before.

I have a project which is based around a video I took with a hand held camera, and the resolution is 720x480 pixels.

On top of this baseline video, I'm adding clips from a variety of other sources. All those other sources can be in a variety of other formats and sizes.

What seems to be happening when I render out tests is that Kdenlive seems to default to shrinking everything to fit inside the 720x480 size. So if I include a clip from a movie that is in a widescreen format, its size is shrunk so that the width fits within the project frame size, and I get a letterbox effect with black on top and bottom.

This is not desired. For this particular project, I'd rather that the default be that the clip not be rescaled in anyway, and that the clip simply be centered, with any part of the frame that is too large for the project being cropped off when rendering. If need be, I'll move the clip left, right, up, or down as needed to include the important graphical elements.

Is this something I can set globally so that it will apply to all clips that I add to the timeline?

Is it something I have to set on every clip as I add them?

In either or any case, how do I prevent Kdenlive from automatically resizing my clips?

Thank you for any advice.

I've had this same issue, for me too I'd prefer no auto scaling. But the intention is for kdenlive / MLT to be 'user friendly', but that's rather subjective in situations like this. :-)

From memory you'll need to apply a pan & zoom effect, then set it to not to zoom, it's a horrible tool though and I gave up with it for the crashing and back to front way of working. :-)

I used to play around with video that combined both 720x576 standard and widescreen clips, but I was letting the wide clips open up to full screen and the standard back to normal, which is quite easy.

You said you would prefer to keep all at 720x480 standard and I'm assuming your widescreen is not HD. This is where I'm a little confused, when you say "move up and down if necessary", as I thought they would be the same height anyway. If I'm wrong, just ignore me, I'm getting old :-)

What you can try is Crop, Scale and Position. Chop off the two ends and you can also adjust the position.

I guess you need to force 16x9 in the clip properties as well. Don't forget you can easily paste the affect from one clip to the next, once you've got it right.

I think I found it better to set up the project with 16x9, then any of my standard clips just sat nicely in the centre.

Thank you for the responses and suggestions.

Unfortunately, I can't even tell what on earth I am supposed to do with "Pan and Zoom". All I get when I apply it to a clip is in the project monitor, it goes all white except for a yellow box. It's either a bug, or the world's most unintuitive interface.

You'll need to tick the scale 100% box I think, don't have it in front of me and long time since I tried using it.

Also, not sure what version of kdenlive you're using, white screen could be a bug in an older version?

Thanks for pointing out about the versions. I thought I was running the latest, but after I checked to confirm, it turned out I wasn't. So I upgraded to version 0.9, and now the Pan and Zoom effect makes way more sense.

However, it should be noted, that when I first applied the Pan and Zoom effect, in the project monitor I still got the white screen with yellow outlined box thing going on. But I found out that if I press the button underneath the project monitor called "show/hide edit mode", then I got to actually see the clip and could make adjustments, which wasn't happening in the previous version.

Also, in version 0.9 there were some presets in the Pan and Zoom effect to automatically scale to height and to auto centre the clip, and those were helpful.

So Kdenlive is looking pretty good these days.

Thanks to everyone who responded with helpful suggestions.