10 Replies Latest reply on May 31, 2011 8:30 PM by shooternz

    Capturing from Canon XL2 (Anamorphic 16:9)


      Hi All,


      New to Canon XL2 (I know, I'm late to the party).  One reason that I have it is because it is such common hardware, and has been for so long, that I figured that there would be no issues with it in pro environments like Premiere.


      I have tried for several days now, to find out how to *properly* capture footage from this very common camera.  I've seen a lot of people talk about how this camera has a unique approach to 16:9, and how it uses it's chips... cropping... pixel aspect ratio...


      I honestly don't care about any of that... at least not at this point, I should, but I don't.  I just want to edit footage.


      All I want to do, is find the correct capture mode to get this footage into Premiere Pro (CS5)...  now, I know there may be a few "correct" answers, and I apologize if i sound snarky, but that's just an artifact of pulling out my hair for days.


      I want 16:9.


      I want Premiere to SAY I am editing 16:9, and believe that it is 16:9. and in fact BE editing 16:9.  It believes my footage is 720x480... and in no way is that 16:9.  I know the XL2 squeezed it.  I want to unsqueeze it.  The right way.


      Canon says that it has 960x576 effective pixels in 16x9 mode.. which is very close to 16:9... but still isn't.  So I don't want 960x576.


      So it seems that I need to reinterpret/convert the footage shot on the XL2 in some manner, in order to get it into a true 16:9 format that every other system (like YouTube) will recognize is 16:9, and act accordingly.  I expect that MOST of my work will need to go to YouTube as a primary output.


      I need all of this DV format madness to disappear...


      I would be happy to convert it to 1280x720... or some such.  YouTube preferes 1280x720. 


      As I am new to BOTH the XL2 and Premiere, I am in over my head...  I am used to images being the resolution they are... and all of this other stuff is draining my will to live.


      I would like to find solutions regardless of how I shot in the XL2.... 24p, 30p, 60i...  all 16:9.


      What is a little suprising to me is that there doesn't seem to be any capture preset in Premiere for the XL2 specifically, since it is a unique yet common capture need.


      SO, to summarize... how do I get XL2 "16:9" footage moved in the most direct and uber-quality method to 1280x720, and have all of this DV resolution nonsense behind me.


      Do I load it into the timeline, then export it to a new format, then reload it into a new project?  Or can I simply bring it in, and at that time reintrepret it?


      I am SO lost.


      Thanks ever so much for your kind help.

        • 1. Re: Capturing from Canon XL2 (Anamorphic 16:9)
          Stanley Arthur Level 3

          See if this helps.



          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Capturing from Canon XL2 (Anamorphic 16:9)
            FutureUSAFPilot Level 1

            Wow, Stanley... thanks for that amazing video answer... honestly.  You really went the extra mile, and I feel like I owe you a beer.


            OK, so, I think I've been there... without satisfaction... Yes, it imports well... I can edit with it.  It looks right.


            I think the problem is the OUTPUT format.  When I send it out... the world is confused about it...  when I check the properties of the exported media, it still treats it as a 4:3...   I have been saving as Microsoft.avi... as a DV NTSC Widescreen... but stubbornly, it's still only 720x480.


            SO, what I have done since my last post is to leave Microsoft.avi... I tried H.264... and in there I found some presets for 16:9... which is great... and guess what, it works!  Sort of. 


            There are 1280x720 formats for Apple TV, Vimeo, and YouTube... maybe others.


            This actually produces a file with properties that are 16:9... but sadly, Premiere is still adding very small (8 pixel) black bars to the top and bottom of the video... so something is not going right in the output formatting process. (the bars are not visible in my editing windows)


            I think I am nearly there, but somehow I'm still missing something. I am only getting 704 pixels of vertical resolution, plus 8+8 black bars to make 720.  Since I am obviously bumping up in all directions to get 1280x720... why is it stopping at 704?  You can see the bars in this pic.  Maybe I need a more precisely calculated pixel aspect ratio?  I hate how much rocket science there is in all of this.


            It's frustrating to be so close...


            THANK YOU!!!


            Tiny bars.png

            • 3. Re: Capturing from Canon XL2 (Anamorphic 16:9)
              Stanley Arthur Level 3

              I'm glad you went with H.264. I use it almost exclusively now for exporting. One thing I would never do, though, is export an SD (DV) video to an HD format. For one thing, the DV source is interlaced. The 720p HDV format is progressive. It will not improve the quality of the final output, but could possible degrade it. I would simply do File > Export > Media, choose H.264, choose a file name and location and export it. Then upload the resulting file to YouTube. When you choose the H.264 scheme, it should default to a preset that matches your PPro sequence settings. In this case, it's "NTSC DV Widescreen High Quality".  That's the best way to go.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Capturing from Canon XL2 (Anamorphic 16:9)
                Ann Bens Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                If you upload to Youtube/vidmeo or the web the footage always needs to be deinterlaced or made progressive on export.

                If you leave it interlaced you often get the comb effect which is not very desirable.

                Premiere 5 and 5.5 do a far better job in deinterlacing then previous versions.

                I would go for H.264 Youtube SD widescreen preset and set the resolution 864x480 square pixels.

                • 5. Re: Capturing from Canon XL2 (Anamorphic 16:9)
                  FutureUSAFPilot Level 1

                  OK, well, what I have traced all of the problems down to is the Microsoft AVI format, at least how it interacts with youtube.  Even though saved in widescreen format, YouTube didn't detect it, and malformed it.


                  I have found that .wmv is also a very good choice... making files about half the size of H.264, with less combing though slightly less crisp in detail.


                  I'm still... concerned... may be the best way to put it... that I am working with anamorphic material... I plan to use AE with lots of this... and mocha, and I just have this sneaking suspicion that it's going to rear its ugly head again and bite hard.

                  • 6. Re: Capturing from Canon XL2 (Anamorphic 16:9)
                    FutureUSAFPilot Level 1

                    Thanks Ann,


                    I will give the 864x480 a try...


                    Also, for deinterlacing, is it better to shoot 2:3:3:2 when you plan to deinterlace?  I think I recall something about that.

                    • 7. Re: Capturing from Canon XL2 (Anamorphic 16:9)
                      FutureUSAFPilot Level 1

                      By the way, Ann, why did you choose 864x480? 

                      • 8. Re: Capturing from Canon XL2 (Anamorphic 16:9)
                        Ann Bens Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                        You have to change the resolution anyway in AME and 864x480 will give you square pixels.

                        You can leave it at 720x480 non-square pixels but you have to set the crop function in AME to 16:9 as you get small black line at top and bottom.

                        Just give it a spin and see what you like best. Experimenting is the best thing to find things out and see how they work.

                        • 9. Re: Capturing from Canon XL2 (Anamorphic 16:9)
                          FutureUSAFPilot Level 1

                          Hi Ann,


                          I'm sorry... AME?  Is this the render queue? You lost me there


                          I found that using 874x480 is giving me good results (I might try 876).  The reason for this is that it is getting rid of the black bars on top and bottom... no cropping needed.  I know it is introducing distortion slightly, but it's only 1% or so.

                          • 10. Re: Capturing from Canon XL2 (Anamorphic 16:9)
                            shooternz Level 6

                            Here is some 16:9 math


                            720 x 480 as 16:9


                            720 divide by 16 = 45

                            45 x 9 = 405


                            therefore 720 x 405



                            If you wanted  874 x XXX  (for whatever reason !)


                            874 / 16 = 55 rounded

                            55 x 9 = 492 rounded


                            therefore 874 x 492


                            Note: Its bad math on the second example because the result figures are not whole integers and the calculation could throw it all out.


                            Also , I am wondering why you would be encoding larger than the source file.?  !!!


                            Do not confuse 16:9  the way you have shot it with anything apart from SD (720 x 480).  Yes you have shot an aspect ratio of 16:9 but that does not mean you have extra pixels.  Unless your camera has some special way of managing the sensors and data.