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'A Video That Magically Resizes Itself' Has Finally Been Debunked

Discord Jul 29, 2022

A strange link of a .webm video has started to get a lot more traction over the past few hours. It is the link of a video where, as seen on Discord, it shrinks vertically over the course of it's duration.

When you press play, the video starts and gets smaller and smaller, changing its resolution dynamically. The length of the video is about 15 seconds and let me warn you, you aren't able to pause it until it's over.

Demonstration of the dynamically resizing video | Netcord

You can try this out by yourself by using this this link:

https://cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/1002567386047721583/1002567437025284166/EXPAND.webm

Simply copy and paste it in your Discord server, click play and you are good to go.

Because of the way Discord spacing works, your entire chat will gradually come down as the video is being played. Which is very weird to see, in my opinion.


Explanation

In this section I will attempt to explain this weird phenomenon. Keep in mind that I did my personal research on this topic and I am not a professional in file formats, video encoding, or file format scripting.

It's the File Format : WebM

WebM is an open, royalty-free, media file format designed for the web.
WebM defines the file container structure, video and audio formats. WebM files consist of video streams compressed with the VP8 or VP9 video codecs and audio streams compressed with the Vorbis or Opus audio codecs.

In simple terms, it's a file format created by Google. Yes that is correct, Google. Many digital product creators actually hate this file format. Simply because, it is not supported even in the industry leading software, Premiere Pro. Not without a 3rd party extension at least.

However, there is a wide range of possibility with the .webm video file. Like as seen in the GIF above, it can dynamically change its actual resolution as it plays.

Well not really, of course. But it is possible with a little bit of scripting magic.

Under The Hood

I have found this video by LPN64 - Le Lapin Malin that gives a little idea on how it is possible.

Adding to this, I found this answer in a StackOverflow thread from over a year ago. That's right, this link has been around more for more than a year. These random spurts of traction . It tells us that the trick behind it is rather boring. They said:

"I stopped researching for this question, but recently (and entirely by accident) stumbled over the solution, and it's a bit more boring than one might think. It's not about trickery with file headers or anything, just plain old editing:

  • First the video is chopped into parts. Each of these parts is generated with a different aspect ratio. (This can be done with ffmpeg for example).
  • Then these parts are concatenated together again to form a single video file, with the first part having a aspect ratio of 1:1 to make the file look normal in previews. (Again, ffmpeg has a concat function)
  • Then the audio of the original file (which is lost during the process of chopping the video in parts and concatenating it again) is copied into this new file.

So it's "just" a bunch of videos with different aspect ratios, stitched together."

Also, thanks to the Reddit post on r/DiscordApp for bringing this to our attention.


Well, I hope you found a answer to your curiosity. Have fun with sharing the link around. Make sure to link this article if they ask for an explanation. It would really help us out a lot.

That's all for today, hope you enjoyed today's article. Make sure to join our official Discord server to discuss further on this topic or suggest new articles!

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Roonie

Hi - I'm Roonie. I am the lead-editor and manager at Netcord Publications. I make videos on YouTube, and I run a community server on Discord. I love music and graphic designing.