5 Replies Latest reply on May 12, 2014 2:40 PM by A.T. Romano

    Best way to turn 4:3 video into 16:9 widescreen DVD?

    CliffyB Level 1

      I have lots of miniDV tapes taken years ago on a Sony Handycam DCR-TRV27.  Although the camera had the ability to shoot in a 16:9 format (which I believe simply cropped off the top and bottom of the incoming image), at the time we had a standard tv and so shot everything in the 4:3 format. All of these tapes have sat for years, and just played through the camcorder to the tv when we wanted to watch them.


      I recently purchased the Premiere/Photoshop Elements bundle, so I'm just starting out here, but now I'd like to turn these tapes into DVDs (not Blu Ray), and of course, now our televisions are all 16:9 sets, so I'd like to end up with DVDs that fill those screens, and I'm not certain the best way to go about that.  I understand that I will probably induce some distortion, and likely some loss of quality in doing this, but I'd like to at least give it a try and compare the results.  I'm just not sure how best to go about it, due to all the different project settings, output settings, "Interpret Footage" settings, etc.  There seem to be so many possible combinations of various settings that it could take me months, lots of wasted DVDs, and lots of trial and error, to attempt all possible combinations, so I'm hoping someone knows the best path for me to get the best possible outcome the first time, and can help me avoid some of the mistakes!


      I assume that my original project settings should probably be either NTSC>DV>Standard, or NTSC>DV>Widescreen, and then when publishing I should be selecting Burn to Disc> NTSC_Widescreen_Dolby DVD, but I'm not at all sure.  And I don't know whether I should be tweaking any other settings.  What I've done so far is managed to capture footage from the camera using it's i.Link cable (which fortunately I had, as I found that it's USB connection doesn't work at all with Windows Vista).  No matter whether I select NTSC>DV>Standard or NTSC>DV>Widescreen for the project settings, the capture looks (in PE) 4:3, just like on the camera.  But I found that if I have the project settings of NTSC>DV>Widescreen, I can then select "Interpret Footage" and select the Widescreen option, and it stretches the captured image to fill a 16:9 frame.  But I'm not sure this is the only, or best, way to try and get the original footage into a widescreen format for final display on a 16:9 tv.  Any advice, info, or guidance appreciated!

        • 1. Re: Best way to turn 4:3 video into 16:9 widescreen DVD?
          A.T. Romano Level 7



          Please explore the TV settings further before moving forward on your Premiere Elements project with the DVD-VIDEO widescreen destination. I cannot generalize to say that all TVs are exclusively set to 16:9.


          I am assuming that you will have to do DV data capture firewire into the Premiere Elements 12 Capture Window for each of these old tapes. If they are all DV 4:3 data, then I would capture firewire into Premiere Elements 12 project manually set for NTSC DV standard before beginning the Add Media/DV Camcorder.

          But, set the capture up so that you are just saving your captures to a computer hard drive location. Do not include Add to Timeline.


          After you have captured and saved your DV AVI standard files....

          Open a new Premiere Elements 12 project and manually set the project preset to NTSC DV Widescreen.

          Then import the DV AVI standard into that project and scale* the video in the Edit area monitor...either

          a. to fill the complete space provided for the DV widescreen project


          b. to adjust the view, but leave black borders.


          When you get to burn to, use



          DVD, disc

          with preset = NTSC_Widescreen_Dolby DVD.



          *Scale...you can do this

          a. before importing the media, go to Edit Menu/Preferences/General and uncheck "Default Scale to Frame Size"


          b. before importing the media, leave Edit Menu/Preferences/General with a check mark next to "Default Scale to Frame Size"


          Please review that scheme and decide if it works for you with regard to lack of distortion and views wanted.





          • 2. Re: Best way to turn 4:3 video into 16:9 widescreen DVD?
            oldevhs Level 1

            Get ready for reality.  The material that you originally shot at 4:3 will forever remain 4:3.  There is no way to massage it so that it will become 16:9 --you cannot add material that is not there.  Any adjustments you may make to 'widen' the 4:3 images will result in:

            1. an exaggerated short and wide looking image --if the image 'display' is stretched horizontally to reach the left and right margins of the screen without adjusting the vertical size
            2. missing material at the top and/or bottom --when the image is stretched vertically until the image widens to reach the left and right margins of the screen


            In normal viewing retaining the proper height-to-width perspective will result in a image that fully fills the vertical size of the screen while leaving a narrow blank band on the left and right side fo the screen.


            I've been digitizing (DVD) VHS, Hi8, D8 tapes and 8mm home-movies for over 10 years -- it is what it is.  You can't magically create what is not there.  Based on the taped subject matter, you may think you have achieved so measure of success (long scenery shots, buildings, etc) by stretching the 4:3 image with unnoticeable distortion.  However, trying the stretching techniques with any people in the foreground will definitely result in unacceptable distortion --unless there is enough unneeded space above the heads (or below the feet) to allow you to zoom in while stretching.  Its a lot of work and not really worth it because is it rarely possible for this technique to be used during an entire movie --thus viewers will be subjected to a continual stretch-shrink sequence.  Take a look at any of the TV stations that routinely show old movies or TV shows --even thought the station broadcast in widescreen HD, those old shows all are broadcast with left and right blank bars.

            • 3. Re: Best way to turn 4:3 video into 16:9 widescreen DVD?
              A.T. Romano Level 7



              I still think that looking for a TV settings adjustments solution is preferred. But, if desparate times,.....


              True you are not going to convert the originally shot 4:3 to 16:9 on tape, but you can change the display of the edited video so that it presents with as 16:9 without distortion if width and height are scaled together in the Edit area monitor to the point where the black borders do not exist.. To do this there are tradeoffs. Prime, in zooming in some perpherial areas of the image  will be lost. But, it is not impossible to scale to focus on the essentials of the frame image. And, whether a continual stretch-strink sequence is a given is open to question.


              I am not recommending recording 4:3 video with 16:9 destination, but if I think

              Please review that scheme and decide if it works for you with regard to lack of distortion and views wanted.

              at which time reality and what can be done will meet head on. Of course, mini test run before any grand projects.



              • 4. Re: Best way to turn 4:3 video into 16:9 widescreen DVD?
                CliffyB Level 1

                Thanks to everyone who replied here....I've done some testing myself, and while I have found out how to force the original 4:3 footage to fit a 16:9 output, and wasn't too(!) upset with the amount of distortion that created, I've decided to just process and output all of the tapes at their original 4:3 format.  I personally dislike watching 4:3 content on the widescreen tvs common everywhere today, but it's still probably the best, and simplest, way to get the clearest output for these old tapes.  Thanks again for the help, I may be back as I get deeper into the process and come up with other questions

                • 5. Re: Best way to turn 4:3 video into 16:9 widescreen DVD?
                  A.T. Romano Level 7



                  Thanks for the follow up information. We are glad that you are moving forward in your project with a workflow with which you feel is giving you the best results.


                  Please do not hesitate to ask questions. We will be watching for further progress.


                  Best wishes.