First, ensure that your Premiere Elements project is using the correct project settings for your camcorder. You don't say what camcorder you have, but if it is tape-based miniDV, you should be using the DV setting, tape-based HDV, you should be using the HDV settings and if it is AVCHD, you should be using the correct AVCHD settings. Other video formats are iffier.
That said, don't change for frame size when you output your video. Just go to Share/Personal Computer and select an H.264 codec for an MPEG. Don't worry if the frame size doesn't seem to match your specs. Letting the program do what it needs to will usually give you the best results without letterboxing.
I am using a Panasonic SDR-H18 camcorder. For the PE8 project settings, I am using the NTSC-Hard disk, Flash Memory Camcorders-Widescreen 48kHz option, which matches the output of my video camera (widescreen, TFF, etc.).
In the Share/Personal Computer option, the only h.264 settings are for outputting .ts files at 1080i, no .mp4. Also, why wouldn't I change the frame size? If my source is 720x480, why I should scale it up to 1080? My TV is only 720p, so it will just be scaled back down. If my source data is 720x480, doesn't it make sense to keep the output the same size to minimize scaling? In any case, the Apple TV can't play a 1080i file. The max size file the Apple TV can play is 1280x720p24, so I can't use the out of the box presets in the Share/Personal Computer option. However, even when I change the size to 720p or 480p, I don't have the option to output a .mp4 file, it will only let me output a .ts file, which the Apple TV cannot play.
To review, here is what I want to output:
Codec: h.264, main profile, level 3.1
Data rate: ~3-5Mbps
Frame rate: 29.97 or 30, progressive
I can make these settings in the Share/Mobile Phone and Players section, but the output is letter/side boxed when played on the Apple TV.
Just to be clear, the Apple TV is not a desktop computer. It is a media device that brings iTunes and other content to your TV.
Thanks for your help!
Okay, now that I know what I'm dealing with, as far as source files, I think I can help you. Though it's always a bit tricky when you start messing with Advanced settings.
Use Share/Mobile Phones and Players. Select Apple iPhone and iPod, then click the Advanced button.
In Basic Video Settings, set Width to 720. Then, at Pixel Aspect Ratio, select Widescreen 16:9. (When you close this Advanced option box, you'll even have the option of naming this as a permanent preset -- just in case it works.)
After looking over your earlier posts, this is apparently what you've already done.
I'll do some experiments myself, but for now I have no other suggestions. Sorry.
John, am I reading the Apple TV specs right? It sounds like it uses square pixels rather than non-square pixels.
If that's the case, it's easy. You just output it at the iPhone high quality default setting and it should come out widescreen.
Never mind. I just tried it for some reason that doesn't work with MOVs.
I obviously am out of my league here. Sorry. I'll let someone who knows what theyr'e doing take over.
Okay, I did manage to get a widescreen image using Share/Devices/iPhone.
I went to Advanced and I changed the Basic Video Setting Frame Height to 360 pixels. The 640x360 video makes a perfect widescreen! (I'd have preferred to keep the 480 height and go with an 855 width, but for some reason the program won't allow that.)
If that helps, glad I could help. Otherwise, you may want to go over to the forum at Muvipix.com and post your question. Usually, if there IS an answer at all, they'll get it for you!
640x360 worked. It looks a little soft on my 50" plasma, but it is full screen.
I'll post over in the other forum to see if someone can help me get 480 working.