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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old June 18th, 2006, 06:38 AM   #1
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Canon XL2 problem with Final Cut Pro

I just upgraded from a Sony consumer HD camera to the Canon XL2. I have a problem with Final Cut Pro. When the images appear in the canvas, there is a large black box around the picture. The same happens when I export the file to Quick Time.

Anyone have any solution?

DC
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Old June 18th, 2006, 06:50 AM   #2
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My guess is that you are shooting in anamorphic 16:9 on the canon, and you have properly captured the clips in FCP, but your sequence settings are for 4:3. When you drop a 16:9 clip into a 4:3 sequence then FCP will automatically letterbox it to fit which gives you the black bars. The solution is simple: create a new sequence and then go to the settings dialog using the sequence menu. Make sure the anamorphic box is checked. Now drop your clips into this new sequence an all will be well.

To make things easier next time, close all existing projects so all that is showing is the FCP menu bar. Now choose easy setup from the FCP menu and click the "show all" box. Choose the "DV-NTSC Anamorphic" option. Now create a new project. This will ensure that all your capture, clip and sequence settings are in the correct matching format. Actually with the XL2 you may need to set some other options if you want to shoot in 24p mode, but I'll leave that discussion to someone else :-)

Finally, make sure that you really want to be shooting in 16:9. Are you using a widescreen TV to watch your video? If not then it will look squashed on a 4:3 TV when played. But if you burn it to a DVD which is properly created, the DVD player will provide a letterbox on playback (by adding the black bars).
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Old June 18th, 2006, 10:40 AM   #3
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Problem Solved

Thanks!!! This did solve the problem.

(And, yes, I do really want to shoot 16x9 for playback on my HDTV.)

I appreciate your throrough explanation.
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Old June 28th, 2006, 05:21 PM   #4
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4:3 vs 16:9

Hi,

I noticed the comment regarding making sure you really want to shooot 16:9 versus 4:3. I thought I had just read somewhere that you get better resolution if you shoot in 16:9 and crop to 4:3. Is this not so? I have been reading so much lately that I can't remember where the reference I saw was.. might have been this board.

Am I misremembering?

Thanks.

David
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Old June 28th, 2006, 08:35 PM   #5
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David--If you want a 4:3 image, shoot 4:3. The 16:9 images are downsampled and stretched in the camera to fit into a 720x480 frame (as required in the DV spec) using non-square pixels. If you shoot 16:9 and crop it down to 4:3, you're throwing away a lot of the image data. I'm too lazy to do the math, but your actual resolution would be something on the order of 500x480, and your NLE would have to resample those pixels to fit on a 720x480 raster. All this equals not good.

So shoot 4:3 if you want 4:3.
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Old June 29th, 2006, 02:05 AM   #6
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Hmm

That doesn't jive with what is said on the "Ultimate Guide" DVD. In there he fairly clearly states that when you shoot in 4:3 the camera is really shooting in 16:9 and cropping. He claims there is no manipulation of the image accept for the cropping which happens on camera.

Are there any Canon derived technical resources on this?

David
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Old June 29th, 2006, 08:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Calvin
That doesn't jibe with what is said on the "Ultimate Guide" DVD. In there he fairly clearly states that when you shoot in 4:3 the camera is really shooting in 16:9 and cropping.
There is a huge, huge difference between the camera cropping and your NLE cropping.

When you shoot 16:9 on the XL2, you are using 960x480 pixels (on the chips--the image gets downsampled and stretched into 720x480 on output to meet the DV spec). When you shoot 4:3, you are using 720x480. There's not really any "cropping" going on. You're just using less chip. When the camera outputs a signal, both 16:9 and 4:3 are 720x480 because that is the only size that DV can ever be.

960x480 is not compatible with the DV specification, so the camera has to downsample and stretch to come up with a compatible signal. Note that downsampling is not the same as cropping. All the info is there, more or less, it's just squished into less image area. If you crop an anamorphic 16x9 signal down to 4:3, you will have less than full dv resolution, period, because you are going to have less than 720 pixels on the horizontal axis.

If you don't believe me, do some tests yourself and see which looks better. Or read any of the other threads in this forum on this topic.

Granted, if you want to have both 16:9 and 4:3 versions of your project, you're better off cropping the 16:9 signal than you are letterboxing a 4:3. But the cropped 4:3 from a 16:9 will be lower in resolution than what you'd get if you shot 4:3.
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Old June 29th, 2006, 12:42 PM   #8
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Thanks

Thank you for the detailed response. I hope I didnt offend you with my query. I, unfortunately, understand less of the science that I should. I was just curious about the perceived inconsistency.

I appreciate the answer. I have been shooting everything in 16:9 thinking I could move seamlessly into a 4:3 environment if needed. I'll stop doing that and take more care about the intended destination of my footage.

Thanks,

David
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Old June 30th, 2006, 05:09 PM   #9
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No, you didn't offend me. :) I was just trying to explain.

If you really do need to have both aspect ratios available to you, then shooting 16:9 is, in fact, best. But because of the way the camera handles the differences between them, the ideal would be to decide on one or the other before you shoot. That's not always possible for every project, sure... but it's good to keep it in mind.
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