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Letterboxing 16:9 footage to 4:3


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#1 Jason Debus

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 03:42 PM

I'm editing 16:9 footage from an XL2 using Premiere Pro 1.5 and I need to record the footage to miniDV tape in 4:3. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to letterbox the footage but have had little success so far, it always comes out squished.

Ultimately I'd like to make anamorphic DVD's as well but I need to deliver the first cut on miniDV with 4:3 aspect.
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#2 Michael Collier

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 04:19 PM

Start with a 4:3 project. Bring the video into the layer, then in the effects control window, fool around with the transformation. You may have to click the infinity logo to make it possible to resize only the verticle. There is math that can be done to give you the exact dimmensions if its time for release, but when I am lazy and need something done quick, usually I make a photoshop project that is 720x480 that has a centered 16x9 window in it, import into premiere, bring the guide lines down to match the frames upper and lower edges, then resize the video to fit that. black letterboxes in a jiffy.
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#3 Douglas Hunter

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 04:19 PM

I'm editing 16:9 footage from an XL2 using Premiere Pro 1.5 and I need to record the footage to miniDV tape in 4:3. I'm still trying to figure out the best way to letterbox the footage but have had little success so far, it always comes out squished.

Ultimately I'd like to make anamorphic DVD's as well but I need to deliver the first cut on miniDV with 4:3 aspect.


The way you have worded it you could be asking two different questions: In your last sentence it appears that you may be asking how to do a 4:3 center extract. Or are you asking about conflicts between how you shot your footage and your editing presets?

I'm gonna guess your question regards the latter.

The XL2 is a native 16:9 camera so if your footage is coming out vertically squished this means that Premiere is treating the footage as if its anamorphic (vertically stretched) and is compensating for a vertical stretch which is not actually there. Go back and check your settings, and that you imported the footage properly as well. this should be easy to fix.

Edited by Douglas Hunter, 30 October 2006 - 04:23 PM.

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#4 Jason Debus

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Posted 30 October 2006 - 04:42 PM

Start with a 4:3 project.


Thanks for the reply Michael I'll give it a try tonight when I get home.

The way you have worded it you could be asking two different questions: In your last sentence it appears that you may be asking how to do a 4:3 center extract. Or are you asking about conflicts between how you shot your footage and your editing presets?


I'd like to be able to export my 16:9 footage to miniDV letterboxed 4:3 but also retain the ability to create a DVD that is 16:9 anamorphic like my original footage. Based on Michael's reply it doesn't sound like it's possible, that I'll have to create two different project files for this.
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#5 Jason Debus

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 11:41 PM

I tried what you suggested Michael and couldn't figure out how to get 'transform' to work for me, I'm still learning Premiere. I ended up taking a real roundabout route to get both a 16:9 DVD and a letterboxed version on miniDV tape.

Posted Image
I edited in 16:9 (exporting to DVD no problem).

Posted Image
Then I exported it as an uncompressed avi with (I think) .9 pixel aspect ratio. It ended up wider than it should have been. After much trial and error I determined this is the 'source' file to use for the 4:3 project.

Posted Image
The final version came out the correct aspect ratio when written to miniDV tape.

I know this is probably the completely wrong way to do it, it sounds like it should be easy but I couldn't figure out how to letterbox using these effects under transform: Camera View, Clip, Crop, Edge Feather. The other transform effects are mostly 'flip' effects.
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#6 Keneu Luca

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 04:42 AM

I too am curious about this.

How does one "stretch" only the horizontal or the vertical with Premiere Pro?

Like if you wanted to correct an anamorphic image that has yet to be unsqueezed. I can't beleive I haven't found the way to do this. But then again, I am often quite computer illiterate.

And Im not talking about importing as 16x9.

Oh wait - post edited:

I just found it.

Video Effects > Distort > Transform > Scale Height or Scale Width

I'm gonna go pat myself on the back now.

Edited by Keneu, 12 January 2007 - 04:42 AM.

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#7 Keneu Luca

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Posted 12 January 2007 - 05:06 AM

Ok. This all works until I render. Then when I play back, the effect isn't there. The footage plays in its orignal aspect ratio.

What the hell, man?
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Wooden Camera

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