15 Replies Latest reply on Aug 30, 2009 11:52 PM by Harm Millaard

    HD output for idiots

    Planetarium Guy

      Greetings Premierits,


      I hope this is a simple question - we recently have upgraded our projectors here at the Planetarium to accept 1920x1080 HD, so I am heading into the world of HD from the humble land of NTSC.  My question is one of output, but the answer may very well lay in how I am setting up my workspace to begin with.


      When I AME my file, it shows correctly that my Source is 1920x1080 and my Output is 1920x1080, but when switching between the two I end up getting extra black bars on my Output.  Why the discrepancy between the two?  How can I export without these added bits of black?   I need to output the image so that it fills the entire screen (so when viewed on an HD screen it will not have an artificial extra set of black bars added.


      Now I know that the format is this way for a reason - widescreen; but a little back ground on our set up.  We render a circular image in the centre of our project which our projector projects a 360 degree image on the inside of an inflatable dome.  We want the circular video to be as large as possible - this leaves us with a lot of unused black on either side, which is fine, but I am guessing I have to come up with custom export setting to end up maximizing the central image and cutting off the sides (and keeping the aspect ratio intact).


      Any help on this would be great as the end product will help to shape the imaginations of grade three students everywhere!


      Planetarium Guy

        • 1. Re: HD output for idiots
          Colin Brougham Level 6

          What is the nature of your source material (ie. where did it come from?) and what export settings are you using? If possible, post a screenshot or two of the source and output tabs in AME, and list how you've got the settings, um, set.


          To post a picture, use the little camera icon above in the toolbar.

          • 2. Re: HD output for idiots
            Planetarium Guy Level 1

            We are using image sequences (1920x1080) which have been constructed and

            stitched together with video and special effects already added.  I get 1600

            JPEGS at about 450kb a piece.


            I have been playing around with export settings - we need it in QT to run in

            our Star Lab system.  I usually use h.264 - wait a minute!  Should I be

            using a Blue Ray setting?




            • 3. Re: HD output for idiots
              Planetarium Guy Level 1

              I may have figured it out - the 'scaled to fit' setting on the top of the

              Export Box seems to have removed the bars and left me with a proper ratio

              full image.  I will continue with the export and see what I end up with.


              Sorry I haven't gotten you any screen shots yet - I will if this dog

              continues to bite...


              Thank you!



              • 4. Re: HD output for idiots
                Colin Brougham Level 6

                BluRay export might work, but it'll depend on what container formats your playback system requires--I think that generates .M2TS files. You say Quicktime, but you also mention that you usually use H.264--does this mean you use the "H.264" as a format, or do you use "Quicktime" as the format, and then select H.264 as the codec? The QuickTime MOV container is actually an MPEG-4 container, but QT's implementation of H.264 is a little meh. You might have good/better results using H.264 as the format, and then specifying the profile and level to allow for a 1920x1080 encode.

                • 5. Re: HD output for idiots
                  Colin Brougham Level 6

                  The "Scaled to Fit" option only becomes active when you've used cropping in the Source tab. That might be the problem. I'm assuming you're working in a custom-designed sequence that's 1920x1080 with square pixels (given your source media), and you're trying to go to the same dimensions and PAR with your output. As such, you shouldn't need any cropping. See if that makes a difference...

                  • 6. Re: HD output for idiots
                    Planetarium Guy Level 1

                    I was using Quicktime, with h.264 as my codec.  I was thinking of using h.264 BR but the Star Lab system only states that it needs MOV files to work correctly.  I don't need to burn them (and not having a BR burning) so I can transfer the end product onto the computer directly.


                    I will try using the h.264 directly, setting to 1920x1080, and making sure my output settings are 'scaled to fit' - that might just do the trick.





                    • 7. Re: HD output for idiots
                      Planetarium Guy Level 1

                      hold on...

                      • 8. Re: HD output for idiots
                        Planetarium Guy Level 1

                        screen shots

                        • 9. Re: HD output for idiots
                          Colin Brougham Level 6

                          Your pixel aspect ratio is wrong. Set it to "Square Pixels". You've got it set to "D1/DV NTSC Widescreen" which is an anamorphic setting.


                          EDIT: Yeah, it looks like you set the PAR as 1.212 for the sequence as well. Unless you have a good reason for this, this is not what you want. Create a custom sequence with width 1920, height 1080, and PAR set to Square Pixels. Your encode should match that then; you shouldn't see any funky black bars at that point.

                          • 10. Re: HD output for idiots
                            Planetarium Guy Level 1

                            Excellent - thank you!

                            • 11. Re: HD output for idiots
                              Colin Brougham Level 6

                              You're most welcome. Do post back and let us know if that solves the problem.


                              Best of luck!

                              1 person found this helpful
                              • 12. Re: HD output for idiots
                                Planetarium Guy Level 1

                                Worked like a charm!  Thanks so much for the help.  The rotating galaxy we did will really wow the kids.  Before I sign off, I wonder if you might know the answer to another question; now that I am working with HD, I fear my computer might not be up to the task.  I am unable to play the image sequences (1920x1080) for more than 2 seconds before the system lags on the video (jerky) and then 5 seconds later the audio gives out.  I can scrub back and forth and the audio is fine, but can't scrub the video.  I looked elsewhere and have unchecked my hard drive compress and indexing features, but to no avail.  My computer is currently set up with:



                                INTEL CORE 2 QUAD CPU


                                2.67GHz, 3.25GB RAM

                                NVIDIA GeFORCE 9600 GT

                                one! 250GB Drive


                                Our IT guy is ready to help me out with upgrades, but as we are a not for profit group, we wont be able to go beyond RAM, Hard drives and a possible upgrade to 64bit.  My question is what would be my best course of action to allow me to actually play the projects I am going to be working on?



                                Thanks again and let me know if this is still within your field or if I should start another Discussion.


                                Planetarium Guy

                                • 13. Re: HD output for idiots
                                  Harm Millaard Level 7

                                  3 physical disks is about minimum requirements.

                                  • 14. Re: HD output for idiots
                                    Planetarium Guy Level 1

                                    Check!  Three disks!  Will be on order on Monday.


                                    What say you about my RAM situation?  Would I benefit from a bump or should I do what everyone else is doing and wait for WIN 7 before I venture into 64 bit?  Or the VISTA 64?  My tech tells me that XP tops out at 3gb ram.


                                    Planetarium Guy

                                    • 15. Re: HD output for idiots
                                      Harm Millaard Level 7

                                      For the time being, I would leave your RAM and XP as it is. To really benefit from 64 bit OS, you may have to wait for CS5 and Win7, but then you need to get a new motherboard, new RAM and a new CPU as well.