10 Replies Latest reply on Jul 30, 2010 6:25 PM by the_wine_snob

    PE7 importing 16/9 files - does the "interpretation rules" file work?


      Hello folks,


      I'm having the seemingly common problem of importing 16/9 footage which PE assumes is 4:3. I know you can go through the interpret footage malarky but I'd like the process to be as simple as possible - this is for our students to use so any extra steps that can be cut out will be hugely useful.


      A big of googling suggested that the "interpretation rules.txt" file in the plug-ins directory could be edited to create new default behaviour. I've added the following line:

      720, 576, *, *, * = 64/45, *, *, *

      which as far as I can see should set the aspect to be 1.422 (PAL widescreen). But it's made no difference. Is this file just ignored and left over from the full version of Premiere or should PE take notice of what's in there?


      The camera is a Canon FS200. Gspot suggests that the file is flagged as being 4:3, which obviously doesn't help matters! It's definately anamorphic widescreen.


      Thanks for any advice,



        • 1. Re: PE7 importing 16/9 files - does the "interpretation rules" file work?
          Steve Grisetti Adobe Community Professional

          Have you tried using the hard drive camcorder widescreen project setting for your project?

          • 2. Re: PE7 importing 16/9 files - does the "interpretation rules" file work?
            Sheriton Level 1

            I have now. No difference there but I don't think the choice of project affects how files are imported. Unless they're trying to do something clever behind the scenes... Any files from the camera still come in at 4:3.

            • 3. Re: PE7 importing 16/9 files - does the "interpretation rules" file work?
              the_wine_snob Level 9

              What happens with "Widescreen" footage is that the camera attaches a "flag" to the file, with instructions on how it attained the Widescreen (there are several ways that a camera can do this), and often this flag is not set properly for the program to determine which method was used. That is where Interpret Footage comes in. It allows one to help the editing program determine what the camera meant, but just did not state properly. Some cameras are much better than others, at using proper flags in the footage. Also, as mentioned above, some cameras produce Widescreen in different manners. Do you know exactly how your camera does Widescreen? Sometimes the manual will tell you, but other times, one has to rely on some reviewer "looking under the hood," and taking the resultant file apart to find out how it sets Widescreen, and which flags are used, in the file's header info. Knowing exactly how this camera does Widescreen can be the secret.


              Now, I have not run across the mentioned text file, so cannot comment on why it might work, or not work. That is a new approach to me.


              Good luck, and for students, I'd definitely go the Interpret Footage route, as you get to teach them that all cameras' Widescreen will not be the same, and also how to handle these differences, when they are working with another camera make and model - two lessons into one, but that's just me.



              • 4. Re: PE7 importing 16/9 files - does the "interpretation rules" file work?
                chaosdsmFL Level 1

                Basicly, most 16:9 files that open in Windows Media Player as 4:3 will be seen as 4:3 in Premier Elements.   The problem is that most of the older camcorders that shoot 16:9 content, shoot and save it to the media as a compressed 4:3 file.   Most of these camera manufacturers want you to use the software they bundle with the camera to edit your clips, so they use a proprietary method of flagging the clips as 16:9 which only the software included can properly read     Of course now, with faster and larger capacity recording media available, many modern camcorders now write to the media as a 16:9 file with no flag needed.  So perhaps the easiest answer (but not cheapest) is to move up to modern camcorders which actually shoot HD content unlike the FS200


                Here's what I do since I can't afford a new camcorder... I've never fully used Premier Elements 7, I only gave it the 30 day trail period & gave up.  I don't know if the process is the same or not for 7 as it is for 8, but I did finally figure out how to get the proper 16:9 ratio in PrE8.   Import your clip, drag the clip into the timeline, right click on the clip (in the timeline) & select Properties, select the "motion" drop down & uncheck the box marked "Uniform Scale", and finally select a value for 'scale width' that gives you the proper wide screen aspect.  Again I don't know if the steps will be the same for version 7, but I think they should be similar, though they may be located some place else...


                [crosses fingers] Maybe at some point in the future, Adobe will add the ability to stretch 4:3 content to 16:9 upon import & make things a little easier...

                • 5. Re: PE7 importing 16/9 files - does the "interpretation rules" file work?
                  Sheriton Level 1

                  Hi Chaos,


                  There's no need to scale the clips as it's a pixel aspect ratio issue rather than a clip shape issue.


                  Media player will play the clips as 4:3 but VLC plays them at 16:9.

                  • 6. Re: PE7 importing 16/9 files - does the "interpretation rules" file work?
                    Sheriton Level 1

                    Hi Bill,


                    You've not met our students - getting them to create an image of the right size in photoshop is an uphill struggle! Until they print it (and sometimes even after that!) they don't even notice that their rectangular image isn't going to fit in a CD case... I can see a lot of squashed footage being submitted if I can't find a way of persuading PE to bring in the files with the right aspect.


                    I'm particularly interested in hearing from anyone who knows anything about the interpretation rules.txt file. It would appear that that file is present and works for the full version of Premiere and After Effects. Can anyone confirm that it does actually work for Elements?The point of the file is that it will let you override Premiere's default handling of imported files and asign the correct aspect ratio automatically.

                    • 7. Re: PE7 importing 16/9 files - does the "interpretation rules" file work?
                      nealeh Level 5

                      I can confirm that the file does exist for PRE7 in the folder E:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Adobe Premiere Elements 7.0\Plug-ins\en_US

                      This is it's content:

                      # Premiere pixel aspect ratio rules and names

                      # note: Premiere only uses the width, height, and pixel aspect ratio information
                      # adapted from:
                      # "Interpretation Rules.txt"
                      # After Effects 4.1 Automatic Footage Interpretation

                      # lines beginning with "#" are comments
                      # basic format of a rule: {match requirements} = {set interpretation}
                      # + for each rule that matches, the interpretation is set; wild-cards ("*") allowed
                      #   on both sides; wildcard match matches anything, wildcard set sets nothing
                      # + multiple rules are allowed to match, later matches override earlier matches
                      # + all rules are scanned in order, one rule per line
                      # + rules are applied after the automatic setting of D1 pixel aspect and automatic
                      #    field separation from field-labeled files
                      # width, height, frame-rate, file-type, codec =
                      #     pixel aspect ratio/name, field order, conform frame-rate, alpha interp
                      # width & height are integer numbers
                      # frame-rate is a decimal number
                      # file-type is four characters in quotes (4c's)
                      # codec (applicable for QT & AVI only) is also 4c's
                      # the pixel aspect ratio is a ratio of integers (e.g. 10/11)
                      #   optionally followed by a name for that ratio (e.g. 10/11/"My Aspect")
                      # the field order is a single character, (F=frame, U=upper field, or L=lower field)
                      # the conform frame-rate is a decimal number
                      # alpha interp: (I=ignore, S=straight, P=premul/black, W=premul/white)
                      #    alpha interp is ignored for footage without an alpha channel

                      # assume ATSC 704x480 in any format is D1 aspect
                      704, 480, *, *, * = 648/720, *, *, *

                      # assume NTSC DV is D1 aspect
                      720, 480, *, *, * = 648/720, *, *, *

                      # NTSC D1 is D1 aspect
                      720, 486, *, *, * = 648/720, *, *, *

                      # PAL D1/DV
                      720, 576, *, *, * = 768/720, *, *, *

                      # only adds a custom pixel aspect ratio to the UI
                      # uncomment the next line to try it out
                      # 0, 0, 0, "0000", * = 10/11/"Custom Aspect", *, *, *


                      Quite what you do with it I don't know!


                      Insanity is hereditary, you get it from your children

                      • 8. Re: PE7 importing 16/9 files - does the "interpretation rules" file work?
                        freethedata Level 1

                        I have been having the same problem.   Elements 8 imports SD widescreen video of 720x480 pixels at a pixel ratio of 0.9091, even though the project was was set to widescreen with a pixel ratio of 1.2121.  So I thought I has to change that Interpretation Rules.txt file.  Two problems:  The file is read only, so one can't save the changes.   Two, even if one could save it, it would make no difference whatsoever!  As proof, the ratio for 720x480 files evaluates to "0.9" in the above file, yet Elements uses a ratio of "0.9091" for these size files.  Therefore, logically, Elements cannot possibly be reading this file, since it would then use a ratio of "0.9".  This is just another case of someone writing the documentation for a program having no idea of what the program actually does; this problem is universal.

                        • 9. Re: PE7 importing 16/9 files - does the "interpretation rules" file work?
                          the_wine_snob Level 9

                          As far as Read Only, all one has to do is change the attributes in Windows Explorer. I would make a Copy of the file, and keep it in a safe location, in case the hacking does not go well. This is simple to accomplish.


                          Good luck,



                          • 10. Re: PE7 importing 16/9 files - does the "interpretation rules" file work?
                            the_wine_snob Level 9

                            Here is a look at changing the Read-Only Attribute for a file:


                            Hope that this helps,