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i need some 16x9 help


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#1 Robert L.

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 01:45 PM

Ok, so it seems to me that we are in a transition period in the video world. i have just begun work on a documentary, and i couldnt have chose a worse time. its a VERY low budget doc, something that im producing myself, and i have a few questions about some video things that have been giving me a headache.


1. 16x9. it drives me crazy thinking about it. i know there are camcorders out there with native 16x9 chips, but what does that mean for 4:3 viewing systems? is there a way to force the image to be wide (with the bars on top and bottom) for a 4:3 viewing system?

2. HDV. what a wonderful thing HDV is. i have been looking at the sony HVR-Z1U (i think thats the model number, off the top of my head...) and it is perfect for the buget of this doc, im just confused on a couple things... mostly about the mixup of SD and HD during this transition phase that we are in. i know that sony model has "down conversion" but what does that mean? is there a drastic loss in picture quality, thus rendering the entire HD thing meaningless for that camera? also, what about that pesky 16:9 anamorphic thing that i was asking about?
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#2 Tim J Durham

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 02:53 PM

1. 16x9. it drives me crazy thinking about it. i know there are camcorders out there with native 16x9 chips, but what does that mean for 4:3 viewing systems? is there a way to force the image to be wide (with the bars on top and bottom) for a 4:3 viewing system?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

In a perfect world, you'd already be in negotiations with a presenting station (if you intend it for the tube) and they would tell you whether or not they allow 16:9. PBS has (not so) recently loosened up and now regularly show 16:9 presentations with black bars at top and bottom. Up to then, they would require a pan-and-scan to fit the image into the 4:3 aspect.

Most local TV stations and networks STILL require a 4:3 aspect. So 16:9 will require pan-and-scan or side-cropping which really defeats the original intent, unless you are lucky enough to get more than one venue, one of which wants the 16:9.

If you after theatrical release, 16:9 is the norm.

So it's a toss-up. I just shot a documentary in 16:9. It wasn't really much of a choice for me. If it's good enough, they'll work with whatever you give them.
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#3 Gordon Highland

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 03:00 PM

With native 16:9 chips, all the ones I've used have a 4:3 mode as well that just uses the center of the chips.

If you've already shot 4:3 and you want to letterbox it in editing, put a black 16:9 mask on a layer above the footage in the timeline. If the resulting framing doesn't look correct to you, you can go through on a shot-by-shot basis and move each clip up or down a little bit behind the mask.

On my HDTV, when viewing non-HD 4:3 content, I have the TV set to "expand" mode where it blows up the picture, but keeps the proportions, cutting 12.5% off each the top and bottom (equivalent to 16:9). Looks fine most of the time. Wide shots are where the framing discrepancies are most obvious with heads being cut off sometimes. Most closeups still look ok.

The downconversion means that you can shoot something in HDV, then have it converted to regular DV in "real time" as you capture, if you want. It can also letterbox to 4:3 or crop off the sides off the picture for you automatically during this process.
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#4 Tim J Durham

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 03:08 PM

With native 16:9 chips, all the ones I've used have a 4:3 mode as well that just uses the center of the chips.

If you've already shot 4:3 and you want to letterbox it in editing, put a black 16:9 mask on a layer above the footage in the timeline.  If the resulting framing doesn't look correct to you, you can go through on a shot-by-shot basis and move each clip up or down a little bit behind the mask.

On my HDTV, when viewing non-HD 4:3 content, I have the TV set to "expand" mode where it blows up the picture, but keeps the proportions, cutting 12.5% off each the top and bottom (equivalent to 16:9).  Looks fine most of the time.  Wide shots are where the framing discrepancies are most obvious with heads being cut off sometimes.  Most closeups still look ok.

The downconversion means that you can shoot something in HDV, then have it converted to regular DV in "real time" as you capture, if you want.  It can also letterbox to 4:3 or crop off the sides off the picture for you automatically during this process.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hmm... Perhaps I mis-understood his question?
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#5 Robert L.

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 06:37 PM

thanks for the feedback guys.


i guess the main point of my concern is whether there is a way to force an anamorphic 16:9 captured image to be letterboxed on a 4:3 screen, rather than stretched out vertically.

as you guys can probably tell, its been several years since ive shot anything serious on DV, ive been shooting mostly on film for my most recent projects.
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#6 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 07:01 PM

Hi,

If you are forced to deliver 4:3 and you have a 16:9 image, usually you will simply deliver a 4:3 tape that happens to have black bars top and bottom - that is, give them an image that has your desired format burnt into it. Then nothing else down the chain needs to care.

Producing the letterboxed 4:3 image can be done competently using free software.

Phil
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#7 Gordon Highland

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 07:16 PM

Ah, I didn't realize it was shot anamorphic and framed thusly. Some sofware (Final Cut, specifically) will allow you to drop 16:9 footage into a 4:3 timeline and it will letterbox it automatically (you'll have to render the whole thing). As I said, it can also capture your HDV footage, downconvert if desired, and letterbox it at the same time.
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#8 Phil Connolly

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Posted 13 September 2005 - 09:32 PM

For television in the US either a 4:3 pan and scan master would be required or a letterboxed master

You could split the difference, shoot 16:9 anamorphic and then produce a 14:9 letterboxed linear TX master - on a traditional 4:3 service you would still get black bars top and bottom, but it would be less intrusive - upset the, anti-black bar brigade, less and hopefully not mess up your composition too much.

In the UK most programs are shot 16:9 anamorphic, but the analogue transmission network is still 4:3, so an aspect ratio converter is used in the TX chain to convert 16:9 anamorphic images to 16:9 or 14:9 linear letterbox on the fly. So even if the image on a TV looks letterboxed, theres a good chance the actual broadcast master tape/media file is full hight anamorphic - not sure if US broadcasters do this - most NTSC masters of 16:9 shows I've come across are letterboxed rather than anamorphic

Edited by Phil Connolly, 13 September 2005 - 09:33 PM.

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#9 Dimitrios Koukas

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 08:35 AM

Ok, so it seems to me that we are in a transition period in the video world. i have just begun work on a documentary, and i couldnt have chose a worse time. its a VERY low budget doc, something that im producing myself, and i have a few questions about some video things that have been giving me a headache.
1. 16x9. it drives me crazy thinking about it. i know there are camcorders out there with native 16x9 chips, but what does that mean for 4:3 viewing systems? is there a way to force the image to be wide (with the bars on top and bottom) for a 4:3 viewing system?

2. HDV. what a wonderful thing HDV is. i have been looking at the sony HVR-Z1U (i think thats the model number, off the top of my head...) and it is perfect for the buget of this doc, im just confused on a couple things... mostly about the mixup of SD and HD during this transition phase that we are in. i know that sony model has "down conversion" but what does that mean? is there a drastic loss in picture quality, thus rendering the entire HD thing meaningless for that camera? also, what about that pesky 16:9 anamorphic thing that i was asking about?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>



I can't understand why u want to shoot anamorfic?
Shoot directly on HD using your whole CCD anyway, it has nothing similar to the anamorfic squeezing that u de-squeeze in the final copy of film.
Just go with 16:9 all the way, and get two copies, one 16:9 and one 4:3 leter box.
After the post.
Dimitrios
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