portable aspect ratio converter for xl2?? at DVinfo.net

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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old August 2nd, 2004, 12:17 PM   #1
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portable aspect ratio converter for xl2??

I am definitely getting the Xl2 when it comes out. I have several projects that require 16x9 and see that as the future. My concern is while I do know how to author 16x9 anamorphic DVDs for the clients finished project, many want to see instant previews on their non 16x9 televisions and monitors.

what I am looking for is a device that would connect to the XL2 svideo or composite out and Squish the 16x9 video into letterbox for instant viewing on a non 16x9 monitor. This is for quick preview only....in situations where I cannot carry my field monitor to the meeting or event. Ideally the XL2 would have this feature built in where you specify that you want the output anamorphic or letterboxed. (just like most DVD players can do). I haven;t heard of this feature so I am on a quest. (I don;t want the letterbox encoded in the dv stream....just have it electronically added as you preview it so the aspect ratio is correct on 4x3 monitor)

I found a few devices on the internet...one made by a company called miranda, and they all cost $500-$600 dollars. And they are just a little in-line dongle that connects Svideo in to Svideo out. I am not willing to pay that much for a convenience. In addition $40 dollar DVD players have a similar circuit that converts anamorphic to letterbox so the technology can't be that expensive.

Does anyone know of a device that will do this for less money?

or do you think the SDK will allow for something like this? Maybe there is a way to tap off of the EVF that is already employing this feature anyway.

Thanks.
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Old August 2nd, 2004, 12:20 PM   #2
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I suppose it might be possible with the SDK, but we won't know until developers start working with the software.

Meanwhile, couldn't you just carry around one of those little portable DVD players with an A/V input? If there is such a thing.
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Old August 2nd, 2004, 12:50 PM   #3
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if there is such a thing that is what I will do. I was hoping that someone here knew of one. Unfortunately I don't.

thanks!
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Old August 2nd, 2004, 03:16 PM   #4
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There certainly are portable DVD players with video inputs. Should be under $300. Can't testify to the quality of the screen, but it's a less expensive option than an aspect ratio converter, and hey, it lets you play DVD's too!
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Old August 2nd, 2004, 03:37 PM   #5
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I realize that there are portable DVD players that have LCD screens that are 16x9. And some have video input on them. And that would indeed help. Most also have a video out on them too. But I am relatively sure it would not convert a 16x9 signal to 4x3 and add the letterbox for the analog inputs. It would only do this for the mpg stream that is coming off the DVD. It has a bit encoded in it that says "16x9". Analog video in would not have this ability.

thanks.....I'll keep looking.
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Old August 2nd, 2004, 04:57 PM   #6
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Well, no, of course it probably wouldn't do that... but the suggestion was to use the portable DVD player in replacement of the other monitor. View it on the DVD player and they'll see it in the proper aspect ratio.

Or are you saying that you have to take it to a client's installed facility and play it back on their existing monitors? If so, no, I don't know of any device other than the Miranda Aspect Ratio Converter that would do what you're asking.
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Old August 2nd, 2004, 05:10 PM   #7
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Re: portable aspect ratio converter for xl2??

<<<-- Originally posted by Marty Hudzik :I found a few devices on the internet...one made by a company called miranda, and they all cost $500-$600 dollars. -->>>

For about that price you can buy a DVD recorder with firewire input that will feed letterboxed video out, or else burn it to a DVD for your client. But maybe that is too big, expensive and not portable enough?...
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 09:52 AM   #8
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I do indeed need to play it on the clients 4x3 in house monitors and most of what they have won't do 16x9. So ideally I would like something portable to do the conversion on the fly. The little DVD player would be a cool little gadget but I really need to see it on an NTSC monitor/TV. So it probably isn't worth it. Knowing that the the EVF for the XL2 does this automatically tells me that it isn't that expensive of a circuit. I'm sure the XL2 isn't $500 more because of this little feature. We just have to pay an extreme premium price for it since it is a hard to find standalone feature.

Boyd......can you refer me to some info on that DVD recorder that you mentioned? I am cuious about it because if I have to pay that much for an aspect converter I'd rather get some extra bells and whistles too!

Thanks.
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 10:04 AM   #9
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Panasonic, Sony, Sharp... just about everyone makes these now. Just look for a model that has firewire (aka iLink, 1394, DV in, etc) input. None of the consumer models I've seen have firewire output, just input, but that won't be a problem for you. Pay a visit to your local Best Buy or Circuit City and you'll see a number of models, prices keep dropping.

I got one of the better ones that was available last year, the Sony RDR-GX7 which was maybe $700 at the time but is probably cheaper now. Someone told me that Gateway had a model for around $500. Another nice thing about these is that they will transcode firewire to component video, and that's one of the main reasons I got mine so I could hook up a good LCD 16:9 monitor. Again, a box just to do that would have cost as much as the recorder! But you know what they say, if you wanted to build a car by ordering all the parts separately it would cost several hundred thousand dollars... ;-)
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 11:06 AM   #10
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I think there are quite a few portable LCD monitors that will unsqueeze a 16:9 image via menu selection. These are the ones made for the automotive industry (headrest monitors). I don't have any model numbers on them but they are easy enough to find. Unfortunately you wouldn't be able to pass the unsqueezed video back out to another monitor.
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 11:16 AM   #11
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Let me make sure I understand this right. You hook the camera/dv tape player to the DVDrecorder via firewire. Then, in realtime, it transcodes the 16x9 raw dv footage to letterbox 16x9 on the analog outputs? So it essentially does the aspect ratio conversion for you? And then in addition it does realtime DVD recording too? So from camera to dvd direct?

Thanks...I'm just trying to clarify that we are talking about the same thing here.

Marty
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 03:45 PM   #12
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Hmm, you've got me on this one. I have my recorder connected to a 16:9 LCD so I was just "assuming". I did a little test and set the tv type to 4:3 letterbox in the recorder system menu, then set the monitor for 4:3 mode. To my surprise it did not letterbox the anamorphic video I was sending over firewire using either component or s-video output. Then I dug out a long s-video cable and ran it to my 4:3 TV in the next room. No letterbox there either. Wierd. I guess you actually have to burn to disk for that to work? Didn't try cause I don't have extra disks handy, nor do I have any I recorded on hand. But if I put in a commercial anamorphic DVD it properly letterboxes it on a 4:3 screen. So maybe that's something it can only do on playback?

Maybe someone else would like to try this experiment with a DVD recorder, or perhaps I'll give it a try next time I have to burn a disk myself. The letterboxing might only occur after you push the record button. But you can certainly record a DVD in realtime from the firewire input. I guess the only question is whether you can view it in a letterbox during the process.
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 06:18 PM   #13
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Thanks. That is what I was expecting from it. I have no problem authoring anamorphic DVDs but just need a quick preview of what is on the camera. And ideally the client is going to want to see it in the proper aspect ratio on their 4x3. And before anyone asks the target for this video is on 16x9 plasma monitors at trade shows. So their is a real necessity for 16x9.

I hate to fork out 500 bones for a little dongle like device. But if the job calls for it....it might be worth it in the long run. Just can't help thinking there is an easier way...or... a cheaper way!

I just read one of the articles that Chris posted about the FU1000 or whatever the B&W viewfinder is called. In it he states that the 16x9 will be letterboxed. This again gets me wondering that if the internal circuitry of the Xl2 can correct 16x9 to 4x3 letterbox for EVF displays then maybe we can tap off of that! OR somehow the SDK will give us this.

I recall many years ago (3-4) someone posted a tutorial on how to get the normal XL1 viewfinder to B&W by creating a home made adapter between the camera and the EVF. I wonder if we could rig something up that would allow us to "tap" the EVF feed and display it on an NTSC monitor. Or is that signal too "low res"?

Just wondering!

Thanks all!
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 08:05 PM   #14
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Marty

The XL1 EVF adapter article you're referring to was written by our own Don Palomaki, a DV Info Net moderator. You can read up on it at http://www.dvinfo.net/canon/articles/article29.php. Hope this helps,
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Old August 3rd, 2004, 09:12 PM   #15
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Marty, I found this device. Unfortunately they don't have prices on their site but who knows....


[edit] - OK I found a reseller and it's even more of a ridiculous price - about US$1400.


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