December 13th, 2011, 12:44 PM
I'm working in Final Cut with a clip that was not shot by me that has the letterbox bars on the top and bottom. In FC, the sequence window (when it's small) shows the clip correctly. However, if I preview it full size it shows bars to the left and right as well. Same thing when I Export it As Quicktime Movie. I've tried various settings for the sequence but have been unsuccessful. Why is Final Cut doing this??
What are the correct settings for the sequence? I'm including a screenshot below of the issue along with the current sequence settings and one of the clip's properties. Your help is greatly appreciated as usual.
December 13th, 2011, 01:02 PM
Where/how was the video shot?
NTSC DV is minimally 720x480 with a non-square pixel (0.9 ratio). Some camcorders actually shoot a 704x480 image size, with black vertical bars on the edges (in the overscan area not displayed on TVs). Widescreen NTSC DV is the same pixel size, but the pixel aspect ratio is changed (~1.2).
The letter box bars at the top/bottom are usually found with wide screen material mapped to a 4x3 aspect image.
(Sorry but I cannot speak to FCP specifics.)
December 13th, 2011, 01:43 PM
Thank you Don for your response.
Video was shot in standard definition 4:3 at 29.97 fps using miniDV tape. I'm not sure what you mean by where? You mean the location of the video?
I feel like this is related to my sequence settings. I've tried to make the frame size to be 720x480 and 4:3 aspect ratio but FC won't allow me to do that. Instead it defaults to NTSC DV (3:2). If I change the aspect ratio to 4:3 then the frame size changes to something other than 720x480.
Also, one thing that I've noticed is that the quality of the .mov file from Final Cut is rather poor. Is there a specific codec you guys recommend for sending to a DVD format?
December 13th, 2011, 08:59 PM
Your clip is set to anamorphic but your sequence is not. You need to fix that. However, just clicking Anamorphic in the Sequence settings won't change your clips. Then need to be re dropped into the timeline. Alternatively, you can use the Motion tab a clip and modify the Aspect slider until it fills the frame properly. After doing it to one clip, you can copy/paste attributes to promulgate it to the others.
R Geoff Baker
December 14th, 2011, 06:34 PM
I'm doing some guessing here ...
You have a 4:3 source clip. The correct setting for it is as FCP tells you -- 3:2 with a .9 PAR, or 720x480 with a .9 PAR.
Your 4:3 source clip is letterboxed to give the illusion of 16:9 -- that is, the 480 pixels of height include 160 pixels of black. So in effect, you only have 'picture' in a 720x320 area of the frame ... but FCP doesn't know that, it thinks the black is an important part of the picture.
You are exporting to 16:9 -- I'm not sure what frame dimension, or codec -- and so your source, which is 12:9 if normalized to square pixel, has to be padded out to 16:9.
The result is that the 3:2 original clip is letterboxed top and bottom at source (likely an awful choice made by the original shooter or worse, the camcorder designer) and then pillarboxed by FCP on export as it has to do something to fill the space either side it has no picture data to include ...
Your solution is to used FCP motion filter to crop out the black letterbox bars in your source and then stretch to fill. Note that as you only have picture detail in something like 720x360 of your source pixels, things are not going to look great when displayed at 1920x1080 -- but that is not the fault of FCP, or going to get any better if you use a different codec ... the reality is, that's all you've got.