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A Capture from miniDV tape to PrE should be a byte for byte copy of the digital files on the tape, and should not introduce any change. If the camera was set to Widescreen PAL, then the Capture should come in with a PAR = 1.422. If that is not happening, and the camera's setting and the Project's setting are correct, I would look at using Interpret Footage to force PrE to see the files correctly as PAL DV-Widescreen, with that PAR = 1.422.
Please report if Interpret Footage solves the issue.
Thanks for the suggestion Bill. I didn't mention it in my original post but it is slightly more complicated in that, when I capture clips from a single tape, some of the clips will be OK but some will be distorted. There is no logic in that the distorted ones can be anywhere on the tape i.e. not all at the start or all at the end.
Anyway I have just captured a number of clips from a tape and 10 are distorted and 11 are OK - not all grouped. I tried your suggestion on the distorted ones which incidentally show the correct PAL Widescreen properties in the Info window after capture and by trial and error I found that by altering the PAR to square (1.0) the distortion is corrected. Opening the properties for the original undistorted ones shows a PAR = 1.4587. The distorted ones corrected by applying Interpret Footage to change to square pixels show PAR = 1.4587(1.0).
So it remains a mystery to me but thank you for your help. I now have the choice of capturing with iMovie and saving to a folder before importing to PrE or capturing with PrE and using Interpret Footage where necessary.
Regards, Dennis Lamb
Bill is right, Dennis. The capture software doesn't change the pixel aspect ratio of your video. It merely transfers the video data in.
The pixel aspect ratio is interpretted by your project specs or by the manual interpretation you've set in your project.
Open your captured video in Windows Media Player. Is it distorted? If that's the case, then you've got something set funny in your camcorder.
If not, then it's a setting in your project.
Thanks for your interest Steve. I know what you and Bill say is correct but the facts are that I have the correct setting on my camcorder and the correct setting in the PrE project and neither setting is changed when recording clips and then capturing them with PrE. Yet, as I said before, some clips are OK but others appear distorted. Following your suggestion I find that the clips which appear distorted in PrE are not distorted when played in Quicktime (I use Mac OS). But the distorted appearance in PrE hampers me with editing. It would suggest to me that it is the thumbnail that is being distorted in PrE not the video file. But why only some of the thumbnails and why does the thumbnail get cured when I use Interpret Footage and apply a square pixel setting? Curiouser and curiouser!
Again, none of this problem occurs if I use iMovie to capture the clips and then import the resultant video files into PrE.
There's still no reason this should be happening -- unless there's something you're not telling us, Dennis.
What happens if you right-click on a clip in your Project panel and select Interpret Footage? What does it show as the Pixel Aspect Ratio?
OK before I get into any more detail, let me give you some of my history so that you know where I'm coming from. I'm a retired electronics engineer now aged 76. I used PCs from about 1982 (MSDOS) right through all the iterations of Windows until I changed to Mac about 4 years ago. I have an iMac with 1TB HD and 4GB RAM running Snow Leopard OS. During my latter PC days my wife gave me a Sony DVD Camcorder and I started to use PrE from about version 4 up to version 7 to produce home movies. When I changed to a Mac I also changed my camcorder to a Panasonic NV-GS500 using mini DV tapes. There was no Mac version of PrE at that time so I got into iMovie and Final Cut Express. But when the v9 bundle came out I bought it because I had always liked PrE. I immediately ran into this "distortion" problem but I couldn't solve it so I uninstalled PrE and carried on with Final Cut. So I'm now having another go with PrE and I think with the help of you two guys I am making some progress.
As I said before I'm confident that I am setting the correct PAL DV widescreen setting on both my camcorder and on PrE. The tape which I have captured has 10 clips which appear distorted by being compressed vertically and 11 with normal widescreen appearance. All these clips were recorded within a few days of each other. The distortion appears both in the thumbnail in Organiser and when I drag the clip to the timeline or to sceneline. If I right click on a distorted thumbnail within the Project list and go to Interpret Footage it shows
Frame Rate = 25, PAR from file = D1/DV PAL (1.4587). If I do the same on an undistorted thumbnail I get exactly the same properties. Dragging an undistorted thumbnail to the timeline/sceneline shows the correct aspect ratio and can be used in editing.
If I double click a distorted thumbnail and go to File/Interpret Footage and then change the PAR to square, both the thumbnail and the clip in timeline/sceneline change to normal widescreen appearance.
I think I must play some more with PrE. It has just crashed twice on me for no apparent reason. I think I will re-install it (yet again). If problems persist then I might just give up!! I'll let you know anyway.
OK this is just to complete the story.
I uninstalled PrE and deleted all PrE folders and any associated clips that I had captured. I then installed PrE from scratch and updated. I turned off all other programmes, screen saver etc.
I then started a new project and used the setting PAL DV Widescreen, connected my camcorder and captured the clips from the tape I had been using as described previously. The result was similar to before in that some of the clips had the appearance of being compressed in the vertical. I say "similar" because the distorted clips were not all the same as the ones in the previous capture. This would indicate to me that the problem is not with the camcorder or tape but somewhere at the capture interface.
In Project I selected each clip in turn going to File/Get properties/Selection. Each clip (including the distorted ones) showed Image size = 720x576 and PAR = 1.4587. This is what would be expected for a PAL DV Widescreen.
I then right clicked each of the distorted clips in turn, went to Interpret Footage and changed the PAR to square (1.0) also making sure that fps remained at 25. The clips immediately lost the distortion. I left the undistorted clips as they were.
I re-examined the properties of the clips and found that the previously distorted ones now had an Image Size = 1049x576 and the PAR = 1.4587(1.0). Dragging these clips to the timeline gave a perfect widescreen picture - as did the undisorted clips.
If anyone can give an explanation it would be good to hear it but I shall just carry on using this technique and thank everyone for their interest.
Regards, Dennis Lamb