9 Replies Latest reply on Jan 13, 2010 12:14 PM by Frustrated Again

    Aspect Ratio? Video not displaying as original??

    Frustrated Again

      Hi, I've been trying to edit some video on Premiere Elements but when I 'get media' and drop it into the timeline the image appears different to the original, it's being squashed horizontally, I've tried nearly every setting on the 'Change Settings' tab on the new project box - I've just overwritten each file - but it makes no difference to the display, I either get black lines left and right or it fills the box. Original file is 720 x 480 Xvid mpeg4, plays/displays correctly in windows media player but not in Premiere, can't seem to find any settings that I can change as everything seems fixed with no options apart from when you set up the original file? Any tips or help appreciated, I'd like to keep the same aspect ratio as my original footage in the new edited footage?



        • 1. Re: Aspect Ratio? Video not displaying as original??
          Frustrated Again Level 1

          Here's a screen grab with the Premiere display and the same video as played by windows media player, I've minimized media player to virtually math the vertical size as displayed in Premiere and you can see that it has squashed it horizontally?? The settings for this file is NTSC DV Widescreen 48khz 720 x 480 (1.2), but it looked the same with any other settings - squashed??



          • 2. Re: Aspect Ratio? Video not displaying as original??
            Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

            Although you may be able to reproportion your video by right-clicking on it and selecting Interpret Footage, you're still likley to run into problems at some point using Xvid video. It's just not an easily editable format!


            The best solution is to use a program like Prism to convert it to DV-AVI before you bring it into your project, per the FAQs to the right of this forum.


            • 3. Re: Aspect Ratio? Video not displaying as original??
              the_wine_snob Level 9

              It is likely that the Xvid material is not displaying the proper flags, for PrE to determine what the video is supposed to look like.


              Xvid is a delivery-only format, and is not intended to be edited - only played. Few cameras, other than helmet cams, and Web-cams use it.


              First, it is very heavily compressed, so quality has been compromised greatly. Next, it's a GOP structure, so PrE will have to Render each and every Frame, to allow for editing. This ARTICLE will give you some background on GOP formats/CODEC's.


              If Steve's suggestion on using Interpret Footage to "force" PrE to display properly, regardless of the flags, then I would strongly suggest converting the footage, before trying to edit it. Even then, you will still have lost much of the quality to the Xvid compression. The best recommendation, if one wants to edit, is to stay as far away from Xvid and DivX, as one can. They are both delivery-only formats, and are good for that purpose, just NOT for editing.


              Good luck,



              • 4. Re: Aspect Ratio? Video not displaying as original??
                Frustrated Again Level 1

                Thanks for the replies, now you mention it I remember previously something about converting it to DV-AVI so I used Win Movie Maker but the output settings for that come up as DV-PAL 720 x 576 although the video size stayed the same with a black band top and bottom. I also tried the Prism Converter but strangly had the opposite effect and stretched it horizontally, I've converted it a few times double checking the Edit Output settings but it still comes out stretched??


                So, I put the Movie Maker converted file into Premiere using the DV-PAL 720x576 file settings and it's stayed the same aspect ratio with the black band top and bottom which doesn't bother me, I'm just glad to have it as the original video size.


                And yes, it's footage from a helmet cam which I guess would compress heavily to be able to get a lot of footage on an SD Card.


                So, got there in the end



                • 5. Re: Aspect Ratio? Video not displaying as original??
                  Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

                  Have you tried using Prism to convert, per my earlier post?

                  • 6. Re: Aspect Ratio? Video not displaying as original??
                    Frustrated Again Level 1

                    Hi Steve, yeah I downloaded it and tried it, but as mentioned in my last post it seemed to stretch it horizontally from the original, the settings I used were as follows ...


                    Output Format - .avi

                    Encoder Options - DV Encoder PAL (Direct Show)

                    Edit Output - Resize Video, Shrink or Enlarge the video to the selected size, 720 x 480 (the size of the original footage, as by default it was setting it as 720 x


                    Any other settings I left, such as frame rate. I also tried the Encoder option on DV Encoder NTSC (Direct Show) with the same settings and got the same result. Maybe I just need to try other settings?? Maybe not resize it to 720 x 480??


                    Also, the .avi conversions I made on Movie Maker won't work in Prism, if I click on them to play in Prism when they load into Prism it says 'Unknown codec or corrupted file.' ??


                    Makes my head spin all these different codecs, file extentions, etc., it was explained to me once or I read why on here but for someone who just wants to record something then edit it it's a nightmare when one format works with something but not something else, one thing will play it but another won't, one piece of software recognises it another doesn't.


                    But, thanks for the quick replies, it does help

                    • 7. Re: Aspect Ratio? Video not displaying as original??
                      the_wine_snob Level 9

                      I understand the issues with smaller video cameras, and the recording space allowed. Personally, I feel that the Xvid CODEC is a poor choice, if one ever wishes to edit the footage later on, as it is just not suited for that - only to play on a computer with the free Xvid CODEC installed. Still, due to spatial limitations, the mfgrs. have to make compromises someplace, so they choose heavy compression to allow for greater recording times. For the majority of users, this presents no problem. Both Xvid and DivX are good delivery formats, offering pretty good quality, and smaller file sizes, i.e. heavy compression. It's only the few, who do wish to edit, that will be affected.


                      I also understand the mixed up world of formats and CODEC's. Though I have lived in that world for many years, my head spins with almost every quarter, as mfgrs. introduce new formats/CODEC's, or manipulate existing ones.


                      In very general terms, a CODEC does three things:


                      1.) allow for decoding for playback - pretty universal and usually flawless, or nearly so.


                      2.) allow for encoding to that CODEC for later playback - again, fairly universal, but can still present problems, depending on what one is using to encode.


                      3.) allow for editing of encoded material - this is the big bugboo in the chain. Because one can do #1, and often #2, there is zero guarantee that an editing program can use the CODEC for editing. This also differs program to program. The Adobe NLE's (PrE and PrPro) are not as lenient, as are some others. An example of this is the Xvid (and DivX) CODEC. CyberLink's PowerDirector does a much better job with these files, though is still far from perfect. All too often with the Adobe programs (designed around a miniDV tape/DV-AVI Type II format w/ the DV/DVC CODEC's), one gets maybe no Video, but Audio, no Audio, but Video, partial Import/decoding of either/both, and all too often major OOS (Out Of Sync) issues.


                      I get handed too much Xvid, and DivX material to incorporate into Projects. I stress the loss in quality, and beg the clients to get footage prior to the heavy compression that these two CODEC's include. If that is not possible, I use DigitalMedia Converter (shareware) to convert to DV-AVI Type II files, and Import those. This almost always yields editable files, with few issues, though does NOTHING to restore the lost quality - it just cannot, as the heavy compression has removed, permanently, much of the data. The only problem that I have encountered are incorrect Durations, when Importing into PrPro. For some reason, PrE always gets the Duration correct, so I use it to "correct" this issue, when it pops up. I just Import into PrE, and then Export as the same exact format/CODEC (DV-AVI Type II) w/ the exact same settings, and boom! the files now Import into PrPro with the proper Duration. I have never been able to track down why/how this works, and what is wrong with those converted files and PrPro. The resultant files match in every way that I can test - but they are somehow different, and in a good way, once that file has gone through PrE. I have also used CyberLink's PowerDirector to do the conversion, but do run into the same Duration issue there too. This one has stumped me for some years, with no answer in sight. At least I have a workflow that has been 100% - use PrE to "clean up" the files first.


                      This ARTICLE will offer a bit more background on CODEC's, but one has to remember that by next quarter, there will be new CODEC's, and new variations, and some will present unique challenges. One almost has to start over every couple of months, and learn a new bunch of CODEC's, how they work, or do not work, and how to handle them most effectively. At least this gives me the opportunity to learn something new all of the time...


                      Good luck,




                      PS - I have not used Prism, but many give it very high marks, and it is free. I just do not know what limitations might exist. Since I have already bought several licenses for DigitalMedia Converter, and own several other NLE's, I just rely on what I have and on the workflow, that works for me.


                      Message was edited by: Bill Hunt - Added PS

                      • 8. Re: Aspect Ratio? Video not displaying as original??
                        Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

                        I'm sorry, Frustrated. I'm not sure where to go at this point.


                        All I know for sure is that you can't edit Xvid video. Certainly not in Premiere Elements. So you're going to need to find a program to convert it to 16:9 DV-AVI.


                        There are dozens of free converters out there. Prism has worked for nearly all my needs, and MPEG Streamclip and Windows MovieMaker have worked for what Prism couldn't. Maybe someone on this forum can recommend a product that will work for you.

                        • 9. Re: Aspect Ratio? Video not displaying as original??
                          Frustrated Again Level 1

                          Hi Bill, thanks for all that ... make my head spin more the original footage is very good, it's suppose to be DVD quality, it records to a SDHC Card and an hour takes up about 1GB, the clip I'm working on at the moment is 00:10:50 and 206mb, when converted to dvavi it's 2.29gb.


                          Steve, I can edit the original in PrE, that's what I did with some other footage and then exported it as File > Export > Movie, settings File Type > Microsoft AVI, the original footage, although Xvid mpeg4, had a .avi file extension (this is where I start getting confused),  the problem was the original footage was looking different in Premiere and exporting the same, but if I click on Interpret Footage and change the Pixel Aspect Ratio to D1/DV PAL (1.067) it corrects it to the correct aspect ratio. The original footage plays very well in Media Player but won't play in Quicktime, but the exported videos will play in Quicktime, so I was opening up the original footage in Media Player and the exported in QT to compare footage, but surely both these would play the aspect ratio as rendered - I began to wonder if one player was playing it differently - is it possible to open 2 media players at the same time to compare footage? It's just frustrating that it (Premiere) doesn't play the footage as it was recorded, and export it as recorded? I haven't tried exporting it yet with the Interpret Footage setting of 1.067 yet so this might solve it, although I'm going to experiment more with Prism first for converting the original files. Seems to make something I thought would be simple, complicated and long winded ... I'm ending up with a lot of files all ending in .avi and forgetting which was what


                          I'll get there in the end, thanks for your help as it gives options I wouldn't have thought of or known about - didn't know about the Interpret Footage setting!