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Old February 16th, 2014, 04:01 PM   #1
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Capturing Widescreen MiniDV Tapes


I'm running into some weird problems as I'm trying to help out a colleague. She asked me to digitize 10 miniDV tapes for her. I have them captured and they are letterboxed as widescreen in a 4:3 box. I captured using a SONY miniDV tape recorder GV-D1000 NTSC with a DV capture format (HDV wouldn't work). I haven't captured tapes in a long time nor did I capture a lot, so I don't remember if there is a way to capture the footage without the letterbox. I've been playing around trying to see if I could just crop out the letterbox. When I open the file in Premiere, the video is stretched horizontally. I've played around with the sequence settings, DV NTSC Widescreen, Standard, even made a new sequence based on the clip, and everything is still stretched. Nothing looks like the original file when I play it outside of premiere.

I exported some samples and inspected their ratio.

The format for the original footage I captured is this:
DV, 720 x 480 (640 x 480), Millions
16-bit Integer (Little Endian), 4.0 (L R _ _), 32.000 kHz

The format for the sample I took from Premiere with clip matched sequence settings is this:
DV, 720 x 480 (853 x 480), Millions
16-bit Integer (Little Endian), Stereo (L R), 48.000 kHz

I'm aware the audio doesn't match, but why are the actual sizes different from the format?

Is there anything I can do?

Thanks in advance.
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Old February 16th, 2014, 04:34 PM   #2
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Re: Capturing Widescreen MiniDV Tapes

Footage is probably interpreted as 4:3. Set it to 16;9 and drop it in a widescreen sequence.
See if that will work.
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Old February 17th, 2014, 05:40 PM   #3
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Re: Capturing Widescreen MiniDV Tapes

First of all you need to find out what camera the mini DV tapes were recorded on. Many miniDV cameras did not record a full widescreen image - rather they recorded a 4:3 image with black bars at the top and bottom, so you need to check that what you're trying to record is actually a full widescreen image with anamorphic pixel aspect.

If you know the footage was recorded as full-screen 16:9, the problem is obviously coming later in the pipeline. I know my old Sony HDV camcorders had the ability to down convert HDV to SD through firewire as either anamorphic widescreen or a letterboxed 4:3 image, so perhaps the gv-d1000 has a similar setting which you have missed?

The different sizes in the sample exports you did come down to interpreting the footage as widescreen in Premiere. Because SD widescreen has a non-square pixel aspect ratio, this needs to be corrected in your NLE. So for the original file, your browser reports 720x480, which is the exact number of pixels in the file. The version you exported from Premiere has now had the widescreen flag checked in the metadata to it now reports as 853x480 because that is the equivalent size of the image once it has been stretched out to correct for the non-square pixels. In your case though, because you are starting with a letterboxed image, you don't want Premiere to be stretching the image like this.

You either need to be sticking to a 4:3 workflow or cropping the letterboxes to fit a 16:9 workflow (if it turns out the original footage is 4:3 letterboxed SD), or re-capturing the tapes with the correct widescreen setting on your playback device (if you find out your footage is in fact full-screen SD 16:9), then bringing the footage into your NLE in a 16:9 sequence.
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Old February 24th, 2014, 09:13 AM   #4
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Re: Capturing Widescreen MiniDV Tapes

Right click the footage in the film bin. Select modify, interpert
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Old February 24th, 2014, 09:27 AM   #5
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Re: Capturing Widescreen MiniDV Tapes

Are they standard def minidv or HDV? The quality difference is huge.

SD is always 720x480. It intreprets as 1 to 0.9 pixel aspect ratio on standard 4:3 TV or interpret as 1 to 1.12 pixel aspect ratio on wide screen. Just think of, it stretches each pixel wider to fit the wide screen. It squeezes each pixel 10% narrower for standard 4:3 screen because 720x480 is not 4:3. 640x480 is.

For HDV, It is 1440x1080 with pixel aspect ratio 1 to 1.33
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Old February 24th, 2014, 11:13 AM   #6
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Re: Capturing Widescreen MiniDV Tapes

You're going to find that (using UK specs) you have a 720 x 576 pixel frame, and this could be displayed as 4:3 or 16:9, plus people like JVC offered a 16:9 format that letterboxed the 720x576 image. I'd just bring it into your editor and then sort it there.
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