Video Series [#10] - Custom Sizing YouTube Embeds

Education & Training with Tech Training for You!

Today's video lesson is going to look at considerations you should use when creating an embedded video from YouTube. There is a little mathematics involved, but don't run away, I'll give you the answers you need!

We're going to use one of our VBloggers experts Debb Janes to illustrate some points (thanks Debb for volunteering hehe)!

The goal at the end of the day is to embed a YouTube video into an ActiveRain blog post. There are several things to consider to get this perfect and it is EASY to miss a few important points. Let me show you what I mean. First of all, let's break down a YouTube embed into its components. That will help as the discussion goes along.

You can see that the video frame is in widescreen 16:9 format which means that the width is 178% of its height. At the bottom of the video is a toolbar where you can pick playback options, set your volume level, and scrub through the video by dragging on the slider. That toolbar is 35 pixels tall. We'll come back to that number in a moment.

Our main AR blog pages give us 684 pixels of content space which means that we could choose one of the "standard size options" for embedded videos which is 640 pixels wide. Now that would be EASY, but alas, you need to know one more thing first.

When you create a blog post in AR, you have the option to post your content onto Hyper Local pages. You can pick a state-county-city-and even neighborhood level of drill down as is applicable. This allows AR to post your info on various local information pages so that more sets of consumer eyeballs have potential of seeing it. One of the places your information will land at is called Your content is syndicated there automatically for you. One of the things about localism pages, is that it was designed with a vary narrow content area specifically of 493 pixel width. You can see this in the illustration below:



AR syndication automatically takes any of our images/photos and auto-scales them down to fit for us. However with video, it doesn't have the ability to auto-adjust these objects. They are simply chopped off at the edge which means everything on the right side of the video just will not be seen. So my lesson in this respect is you should do custom size embeds for your blog posts when you know you are going to post to "hyper-local" pages.

Now we have to talk about a couple more things! YouTube allows you to type any custom size you want for your embedded videos. However the formula it uses to auto-calculate the height when you type in the width is WRONG! Their calculation does not factor in those 35 pixels correctly that I talked about up above. (You'll see the result below. You get vertical black pillar boxes on your video frame. If you want to learn about letter boxes and pillar boxes, read the rest of my video instruction series.) If you take a 493 wide video by the 178% aspect ratio and then add on 35 pixels for height, you get the total of 312 pixels high. So your custom embeds in this particular case should be 493 x 312. Good news is that embed code is simply in text format that it is easy to override AFTER you paste it into your blog posts!

You'll also notice that when it comes to embedding in AR, it is good to select "use old embed code" option. *(see above) That way when you toggle between normal WYSIWYG and HTML views of your blog post in the editor, you will not lose your video embed. If you don't do this, the video code that you get will not stay when you toggle between these two views!

Whew! Did you get all that? Well, I think I did the hard parts for you. Your takeaways are: (1) custom size embeds when hyper-local at 493 x 312 and (2) use "old embed code" - now that was EASY! ;)

Now here is Debb's video with the parameters we have been talking about:

this is part #10 of a video instruction series - be sure and check out
my other posts if video is something you are interested in video tips for your business

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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Knipe Realty 10/31/2011 05:37 AM
  2. D B 10/31/2011 10:27 AM
  3. Terri Stephens 11/09/2011 03:28 AM
Real Estate Technology & Tools
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Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986.
eXp Realty, Victoria BC - Victoria, BC
Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490

Hi Craig,

YOu are the master, and we have been saying that from day one, we just need to find a great little method to make sure that you get paid for all your amazing information, your timing was perfect today as we just finished a little walking tour in you tube, and had trouble with the sizing on my outside blog, thanks again.

Oct 31, 2011 02:24 PM #41
Justin Dibbs
Pearson Smith Realty - Ashburn, VA
REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale

Thanks for the tip.  I was just wondering about embedding video into some smaller width pages.  Thanks for the tutorial.

Oct 31, 2011 03:47 PM #42
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker


Excellent post and I have bookmarked it. I'll be back!


Oct 31, 2011 04:02 PM #43
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

Alan - nice try, very creative

Bob & Lisa - after your initial post and localism gets a copy, i'm not sure if edits reflect over dynamically - would be good to know if that is or isn't the case - glad to see you! :)

Andy - good points about video, all good stuff, thanks for the comment

Rene - the youtube toolbar acts a little funny - if you pick the presets it auto-hides and hovers on top of the video frame... if you do a manual size the toolbar gets stuck under the video frame and does not auto-hide. I guess that is why their formula breaks down and needs to be overruled

Pfanns - you guys are Pfanntastic, can't say that enough, talk to you soon

Justin - glad to have helped, thanks for visiting :)

Brian - thanks for the bookmark and a better reading time see you then! :)

Oct 31, 2011 04:45 PM #44
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

Hi Craig, great information in an easy to understand style. Another one to chew on!            

Oct 31, 2011 05:24 PM #45
Jayson Holland - Denver, CO
Jay Holland

Wow that was super technical but also easy to understand at the same time. Thank you!



Nov 01, 2011 03:30 AM #46
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Thanks for the timely tutorial, I'm doing a video this morning and will test the results on You Tube. 

Nov 01, 2011 04:00 AM #47
Sylvie Stuart
Realty One Group Mountain Desert 928-600-2765 - Flagstaff, AZ
Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagsta

Wow! Very thorough explanation--you are definitely the expert on this! Thank you for sharing, I'm going to try it!

Nov 01, 2011 04:01 AM #48
Ian Lazarus,CRB CRS
Shore Points Realty - Sea Isle City, NJ
Jersey Shore 2nd Home & Financial Specialist

awesome.I will come back and read your stuff another time. Really helpful ~ Ian

Nov 01, 2011 04:55 AM #49
Seana Yates
Thrive Homes and Estates - Encino, CA

Bookmarked for later use.  You the man!

Nov 01, 2011 05:01 AM #50
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Good point about the Localism issue.  I often forget about that site being smaller.

Nov 01, 2011 05:33 AM #51
Kate Akerly
Kaminsky Group - Manhattan Beach, CA
Manhattan Beach Residential Sales

Wow, I have posted video to my Localism page but didn't even realize this was a problem!  Thanks.

Nov 01, 2011 07:22 AM #52
Sean Williams
AcklesWilliams of Semonin Realtors - Louisville, KY
Your Louisville Realtor

I just started embedding videos on AR, thanks for the heads up!

Nov 01, 2011 08:00 AM #53
Eric Krebs
Surf and Country Realty - Newport Beach, CA

This is all too confusing to me.  Where do you begin?

Nov 01, 2011 08:28 AM #54
Brett Richman
Summers/East Coast Realty Group - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Louisiana Real Estate

Great post!! Everybody could use a little help on this issue.  I just read your post, and I think I need another lesson.


Nov 01, 2011 08:34 AM #55
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

I am not on YouTube or video yet.  It's on my list of oh so many other things, but I know it's something that would be useful.  I'm going to bookmark this and work on it....-Kasy

Nov 01, 2011 10:50 AM #56
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Vision Quest Realty - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

Craig, thanks for the information, now I need to go back and check some of my videos that I posted.

Nov 01, 2011 04:29 PM #57
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Craig,  What a great post!  I will refer back to this often!

Nov 01, 2011 11:07 PM #58
Steve, Joel & Steve A. Chain
Chain Real Estate Investments & Mortgage, Steve & Joel Chain - Cottonwood, CA


Great post; you simplify complicated topics. I think embedding YouTube video is expected from leading edge agents today.

Wishing you a great weekend,


Nov 04, 2011 04:19 AM #59
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

I know abou thte difference in the field for AR and Localism, and I do my share of localism posts, but with the time constraints, I just do not change anything for Localism. I like large sixe photos, and I make them 680 for AR, and just disregard the fact that they are not going to be showing properly in Localism.

But it looks like Localism is an orphan for AR anyway

Nov 23, 2011 03:38 PM #60
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Craig Daniels

Technology Instructor/Project Consultant
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