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Computer devices are framerate agnostic and so are iPods. This should not be any problem. As for the encoding - it's just MPEG4/H.264 with the DRM wrapped around it. One could possibly do all the conversions himself just like you would on your personal videos and the iTunes people only add the key. I would however assume, that since they request DigiBeta tapes, they are usually running this through realtime hardware encoders. At any rate, it should be perfectly possible to get acceptable quality... A colleague of mine is using one of those downconversion softwares that can handle MPEG-II based stuff (recorded TV broadcasts and DVDs) and it looks actually quite good. As far as I know, for SD the standard resolution is 480x320 pixels, but the program will re-transcode depending on the iPod model the stuff ultimately goes onto. I don't think you have the liberty of choosing arbitrary formats and ratios, as this would not be covered by the decoder chips (which for best efficiency certainly work on fixed matrices and resolutions), therefore you will have to fill/ pad any margins with black or something. I'm sure there's some deeper info on this on the Apple developer site, so maybe stop by there...
I've done a bunch of stuff for iTunes (music vids are my main thing lately!) and they have pretty standard guidelines. Most of my stuff is provided to them digitally via a distribution company, who encode H.264 SD files and FTP them to Apple directly.
All their standard def content is 640x480. I always provide widescreen content to Apple as letterboxed 4:3, because they always get aspect conversions wrong. Since your stuff is often non-standard aspects, I STRONGLY recommend you provide it as letterboxed 4:3. They simply don't get non-standard ratios.
If you are providing HD, stick to the standard Apple TV presets and you shouldn't go wrong (again, letterboxing where appropriate - don't give them anything that deviates from their own standards!) Specs here:
thanks so much, Andrew and Mylenium. I really appreciate your friendly help!
My label has told me that Apple will only take a digi-beta, which bums me out. Seems odd that a piece starts as pristine digital hd file and then has to make that extra step. Also, I don't trust anyone converting my work. I've had consistently bad experiences. I'm not sure if what you have experienced, Andrew, is due to it being iTunes USA, and the label is dealing with iTunes France... Puzzling, frustrating, annoying even! ha!
Anyway, I'm grateful for the knowledge you two passed on. Thanks again.