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bbarnholdt
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Aspect ratio question

Aug 8, 2012 6:11 AM

Tags: #aspect_ratio

I am a video production teacher and we just switched this year from FCP to Premiere Pro.

 

We have to change all of our video to 4:3 (for our community access ch).

 

I use Canon HF R32 cameras. They only record in 16:9.  In years past, we would use Clip Wrap and convert the video to 4:3, .mov.

 

Now, in Premiere Pro, I don't think I need to convert the video. Premiere reads AVCHD files.

 

But they are 16:9. How do I change or setup the sequence setting so the video is 4:3? 

 

What I have tried so far, only zooms in on the video and if I export it 4:3, there are black bars across the top and bottom.

 

What am I missing?

 

Thanks,

 

Ben

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 8, 2012 7:22 AM   in reply to bbarnholdt

    Is the footage you're shooting HD or SD?

     

    Well if you edit in 16x9 and then export to 4x3 you're going to end up with black bars on the top and bottom that's just the way it goes. The only way you can avoid letterboxing is by

    editing the 16x9 footage in a 4x3 sequence and then basically center cutting everything. By this I mean it will only keep what's in the center because since 16x9 is wider than 4x3 it will cut off the sides.You have to plan for this while shooting though.

    If your footage is SD then you can just make sequence like what I am showing in this picture. Then just don't scale the footage down at all unless you don't mind letterboxing.

     

    .EXAMPLE.PNG

     

     

     

    However if you're just wanting to make a 4x3 sequence then you can just simply make a new sequence and set the settings to 4x3 then put the 16x9 footage in the timeline. Then edit as I have suggested.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 8, 2012 8:09 AM   in reply to bbarnholdt

    Edit in a sequence that matches your source footage.

     

    When you go to export, choose the specifications you need.  Then you have one more choice to make.  In the Export Settings dialog you will choose either Scale to Fit, which will give you a letterboxed version, or Scale to Fill, which will crop off the sides and give you a Full Frame version.

     

    Scale Options.png

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 8, 2012 10:38 AM   in reply to Jim Simon

    Good solution I hadn't ever done it that way. I've always just edited the 16x9 footage inside a 4x3 to do that. Glad to learn something new too. It's good to know multiple ways. Thanks a lot Jim

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 9, 2012 9:08 AM   in reply to bbarnholdt

    Most cameras do indeed allow you use 4x3 markers even though you're shooting in 16x9 mode. So basically it will show you where everything will actually be cut at. That way nothing ends up being cut off. Although honestly

    I have always just prefered the letterboxed look. Although I realize not everyone feels this way. I just find though that your shots end up coming out better as far as framing and everything if you just letterbox instead of

    cutting off the sides.

     
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    Aug 9, 2012 10:45 AM   in reply to bbarnholdt

    I didn't realize that, I now see your dilemma. However if you watch several networks you see that stuff all the time. But I do agree it would most likely be better if everything matched.

    But like you said it's worth a shot.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 9, 2012 6:16 PM   in reply to ComputerNovice25

    I do agree it would most likely be better if everything matched.

     

    I disagree.  Keep everything the way it was originally shot.  Don't mess with it.

     

    But, if you want to keep everything matched, then making it ALL High Def is the better way to do that.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 9, 2012 6:35 PM   in reply to Jim Simon

    You totally missed what I meant. I meant it would be better IF everything matched, but everything doesn't match since it's shot 16x9 and has to be made 4x3 either by cropping or letterboxing. So I think you may have misunderstood what I meant.  However I do see how you took it that way now that I read how I wrote it again.

     

    So actually we do agree 100%.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 9, 2012 10:40 PM   in reply to bbarnholdt

    Personally, I find that editing HDV (16:9) in a SD frame (4:3) allows me to use the very best part of the HDV frame.Scale it down - or don't! Scale it down and place it in the center (which cuts off the sides) or use it at 100% and you can pan around in the frame.

     

    I used to do that all the time when the only way to distribute my HDV was cut down to SD.

     

    Now that Vimeo can be played on my Roku at a decent quality in a 1920X1080 frame, I have to be a lot more careful when I shoot! I want to use the entire HDV frame. Or HD from my SmartPhone. I have yet to write a BluRay disc. I suppose I should watch a few before I try to write one.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 12, 2012 7:28 AM   in reply to bbarnholdt

    Yes.

     

    However, figuring out the exact margins is kind of a hassle. I think the ones you are looking for look like these:

     

    screen shot safe margins.pngscreen shot safe margins settings.png

    I am not 100% sure that I got the exact percentages right. I think so, but ...

     

    I created a 720X480 (0.91) red image in Photoshop. I put a white matte on the sequence with the red image on top. At 25%, the margins are right on the edge of the red. So, an additional 10% and 20% greater than 25% seemed to be correct. Which means that 35% and 45% seem right to me.

     

    There might me some more technical folks with TV Broadcast experience that might have a better recommendation. Or you could just test it out on a number of televisions yourself, to see if it is apprpriate for your system.

     

    My only real skill is figuring out how to do stuff. The "why" and "where" kind of questions I try to leave to people with actual talent.

     

    By the way, I suggest that you create a title with black bars to put over the sequence before you export, just so you can watch the video in the Program Monitor and really see what is going to be exported. I know that is a hassle because it will need rendering, but I believe that it will be worth it.

     
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    Aug 12, 2012 2:32 PM   in reply to bbarnholdt

    This is actually why I always used to just edit 16x9 stuff in a 4x3 seqeunce because then you see exactly what it will look like before you export it without having to do anything. You actually see exactly what it will look like right there in your timeline.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 12, 2012 2:36 PM   in reply to ComputerNovice25

    That does then beg the question, if you're delivering in full frame 4:3 (rather than letterboxed), why on earth are you then shooting in 16:9 in the first place and creating this type of mismatch?

     

    Ideally there will be no cropping of original material.  If you shoot 16:9 and need to deliver 4:3, you letterbox it.  If you you need to deliver 4:3 full frame, just shoot in SD.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 12, 2012 2:48 PM   in reply to Jim Simon

    Once again you didn't understand. I USED too, when clients would bring me 16x9 stuff then say "it needs to be 4x3 but I don't like letterboxing".  I even said earlier I prefer the letterboxed look.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 12, 2012 2:49 PM   in reply to ComputerNovice25

    Ah, clients.

     

    I assumed you were also doing the shooting.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 12, 2012 3:00 PM   in reply to Jim Simon

    Clients tend to do strange things. Lol

     

    Currently where I work we are having to shoot everything in 1080i and then export to 720x480i 4x3 letterboxed since our server only plays 4x3. However I have two clients which bring us stuff that has already been shot and then I end up having to edit their 16x9 stuff but at the same time, cause no letterboxing since they don't like the black bars. But with everything we shoot and edit for the content that I have control over we currently letterbox. Because I prefer the look of that vs. center cutting everything.

     

    Luckily though in two weeks we are getting our HD playbox airbox server and I won't have to deal with such headaches any longer.

    Because finally at this point we will just be able to air our clients 16x9 content in it's original aspect ratio.

     
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    Aug 12, 2012 11:51 PM   in reply to bbarnholdt

    Try deactivating, rebooting and activating again. Often that helps retrieve the missing codecs.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 14, 2012 8:21 AM   in reply to Harm Millaard

    [Personal comments deleted]

     

    Unfortunately, every version of Adobe products I've seen don't support "repair" operations in Windows so you can't drop in an in-place reinstall of the program to attempt to fix missing parts like codecs that were never installed or registered.  So, you might have to try deactivating then uninstalling and reinstalling Premiere, BUT, I have to ask first, under which circumstances does the audio not play?  Is it within Premiere or while playing the encoded file in another program?  Because those are 2 vastly different problems.

     
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    Aug 14, 2012 1:01 PM   in reply to bbarnholdt

    Is this computer connected to the internet when going through first launch after install?  If you are doing an offline activation, this is important information to have.

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 14, 2012 1:14 PM   in reply to bbarnholdt

    That's good to hear -- that may help me resolve your issue.

     

    When reinstalling, on the first launch, follow the offline activation process. It's very important that you complete the offline activation process before anything else. If you continue to use Premiere before the activation has been completed, you may run into this problem again. 

     
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