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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old January 15th, 2007, 07:15 AM   #1
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Still confused over 16:9 vs 4:3

I have been researching past posts regarding shooting 16:9 vs 4:3 in my XL2 and am even more confused.

I am mostly shooting for a government access channel and decided to start shooting in the 16:9 setting. I understand that most people who shoot in 16:9 anomorphic (?) do so for dvd or internet. So am I barking up the wrong tree by limiting my viewing audience? Those who don't have wide screen? Or is it possible to render the project in PP 2.0 for dvd then let the government channel air it through that format. My biggest fear is that those who don't have wide screen will not see the broadcast as it was meant to be seen.

Am I reading in to this all wrong?

Thanks....
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Old January 15th, 2007, 07:20 AM   #2
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If you shoot, render, and deliver it out as 16:9, then when played on a 4:3 TV it should just have a black strip on the top and bottom. Most should see the full screen, just in a letterbox mode.

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Old January 15th, 2007, 08:08 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Teutsch
If you shoot, render, and deliver it out as 16:9, then when played on a 4:3 TV it should just have a black strip on the top and bottom. Most should see the full screen, just in a letterbox mode.

Mike
I'm not sure that's true.

My 4:3 TVs are wholly ignorant of 16:9. If they are presented with true, anamorphic 16:9 material, it will appear squeezed and occupy the full screen.

I shoot in true 16:9 and, for viewing on my 4:3 CRT TVs, I have to do a true conversion from 16:9 to letterboxed 4:3.
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Old January 15th, 2007, 10:03 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Gonsalves
16:9 amophorbic (?)
That would be anamorphic which comes from Greek words that mean "changed shape." When you shoot in 16:9 mode it squeezes a widescreen image into the standard 4:3 proportion. Then on playback, your monitor needs to understand how to stretch it back into the correct 16:9 proportions.

If you burn a DVD correctly, the DVD player will handle this. If connected to a 4:3 TV it will letterbox the video with black bars like Mike says. But the letterbox comes from the DVD player itself, and not the TV, as John points out.

So I think the only way to really answer your question is by speaking to the tech people at the public access channel. If your material is 16:9 they may want you to render a 4:3 version which has the black bars on it already. Or they may just prefer 4:3 full screen material.
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Old January 15th, 2007, 10:04 AM   #5
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There are many applications out there where you can change the aspect.

For example, I shot a 16:9 feature, changed the aspect before encoding into MPEG2 to achieve a 720x480 file with a 16:9 video within it. You may want to try MainConcept.
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Old January 15th, 2007, 10:42 AM   #6
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Thank you for the replies.

There are several shows that I have watched on cable or network that appear to be wide screen. I will note that I am viewing them on my wide screen at home. Though these shows have the black bar on the top and bottom am I being tricked into thinking that it is widescreen when in fact it is only 4:3 with the black bands?
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Old January 15th, 2007, 10:49 AM   #7
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Most likely, yes. There are a lot of transmissions now of letterboxed video.
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Old January 15th, 2007, 11:38 AM   #8
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I'm not the brightest on this, I'm just learning. But, the first thing I think I see is the use of the word anamorphic, which is generally understood to be the use of a lens to change the aspect ratio. The XL2 shoots true 16:9, not anamorphic or modified out of the camera, I'm pretty sure. When you shoot 16:9 you are using more pixels or sensor area then when you use 4:3.

If you shoot 16:9 and keep the action more central, and use your title safe areas for titles, your footage should be fine on those few systems that can't show it in letterbox.

If you have a widescreen 16:9 TV and you are seeing black bars at the top and bottom, you are seeing a widescreen theatrical version, or whatever the hell they call the damn thing. Personally, I hate that!

Check with you station. Being in Port St. Lucie myself, and knowing someone at the Martin Co. TV station, I'm curious as to what station you are working with?

Best of luck----Mike
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Old January 15th, 2007, 12:13 PM   #9
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Depends on your editing DVD program. If you place a "FLAG" during authoring, it will communicate to a DVD player. The DVD player will then convert an anamorphic widescreen picture to a letterbox format depending on how the DVD menu was set up prior.



Quote:
Originally Posted by John F Miller
I'm not sure that's true.

My 4:3 TVs are wholly ignorant of 16:9. If they are presented with true, anamorphic 16:9 material, it will appear squeezed and occupy the full screen.

I shoot in true 16:9 and, for viewing on my 4:3 CRT TVs, I have to do a true conversion from 16:9 to letterboxed 4:3.
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Old January 15th, 2007, 12:31 PM   #10
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I just got off the phone with the director of our local government access channel. He said there shouldn't be any problem since he has aired other projects that were shot 16:9 wide screen. Of course, the videos displayed the black bars on top and bottom.

I apologize for using the term anamorphic. I am shooting with my XL2 set to 16:9 and capturing into PP2.0. In PP2.0 I have captured using the 16:9 setting so that doesn't seem to be a problem. I guess you would call that flagging.

I have a JVC TM-H1700 broadcast monitor that is set to 16:9. The video is looks great in post and does display the black bars on top and on the bottom.

I would be happy if viewers with 4:3 sets view the video in that manner.

There is a lot of differences of opinions when it comes to this topic. I was up until 3:00 A.M. researching it and finally went to bed with more questions. My fear was that I didn't want the 16:9 image to be squeezed into a 4:3, making objects look tall and thin.

I appreciate each and every one of you for your opinions.

Thanks
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Old January 15th, 2007, 12:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Teutsch
But, the first thing I think I see is the use of the word anamorphic, which is generally understood to be the use of a lens to change the aspect ratio. The XL2 shoots true 16:9, not anamorphic or modified out of the camera, I'm pretty sure.
Sorry Mike, but you're dead wrong there. See my post above, "anamorphic" means that you have squeezed a 16:9 image into a 4:3 frame for the purpose of recording it. That is the only way to shoot 16:9 DV. All DV is 720x480 whether it's 4:3 or 16:9. It doesn't matter whether you use a special lens to create the anamorphic effect or if the camera is doing it digitally.

The XL2 has a 960x480 sensor so it can capture a 16:9 shaped image at full resolution. However that image is digitally processed by the camera and squeezed into a 720x480 frame.

But "anamorphic" just describes the format of the image, not the quality; it means that you need to stretch it back to the correct proportions when you view it. For example, the PD-150 can create a proper anamorphic image, but the resolution is lower because the CCD's don't have enough pixels.
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Old January 15th, 2007, 12:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Gonsalves
I apologize for using the term anamorphic.
Actually your use of anamorphic was correct, no need to apologize :-)
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Old January 15th, 2007, 12:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Yannetta
There are many applications out there where you can change the aspect.

For example, I shot a 16:9 feature, changed the aspect before encoding into MPEG2 to achieve a 720x480 file with a 16:9 video within it. You may want to try MainConcept.
the 'video within it' may not be the best way to think about it.

720x480 is a D1 or full D1 size video, which is standard definition (for NTSC .. leave off pal for these purposes). So, you have 720 pixels horizontally and 480 pixels vertically.

Each pixel will have an aspect ratio ... that is, the shape in which the pixel is.

So, you can shoot in 16:9 in SD, which will generate a SD file of 720x480, however each pixel will have an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, to make your picture look correct (e.g. so a circle would be a circle, not an oval).

Your authoring program would 'flag' the video the correct way to let your DVD player know how to correctly display the video on the TV monitor (since your DVD player would know what the video stream is and also be set to know what type of display you have..it's the device that could then to the math correctly).

So, your video is a certain definition (SD, HD, etc.) and the aspect ratio then helps that get displayed to match how it was shot. (that's why the dropdown in an authoring prog. can set the proj. as 720x480 or 720x480 widescreen, for example..they are both 720x480 in terms of resolution, just different dimensions to the pixels).

So when the above proj. was encoded, it wasn't really encoded to fit in a 4x3 SD format, otherwise you'd lose some of your detail, and when you showed it on a 16:9 monitor, it will be 'double lettterboxed', e.g. your player would think it was 4x3 and would letter box the sides and the top would have already been letterboxed. Know what I mean? I think I have this right.
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Old January 15th, 2007, 01:09 PM   #14
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I don't know the particulars, but if you are broadcasting video it's going to most likely crop your 16x9 image because it's broadcsting 4:3. Have you seen the broadcast? What's it doing to the image?

The XL2 doesn't do any anamorphising, the chip is a 16x9 chip, that's what is known as 16x9 native.

The video and TV world began as 4:3, so most of the televisions and computer monitors have that boxy rectangular shape. With the advent of HD and as we get loser to adoption of the HD standards, things are getting more 16x9, which is a long rectangle. More and more video is conforming to the 16x9 shape. When you are capturing, or playing back, the NLE, or monitor needs to know if the signal is 4:3, or 16x9.

You have the choice of shooting in 16x9, or 4:3 on the XL2. if you shoot 4:3 on the XL2, you are loosing a good chunk of your image.

Go here for the XL2 CCD block overview, it may help you understand. If you read all of the different articles on the Watchdog site, I think you will be up to speed on the basics of your camera. And keep shooting, playing and experimenting.
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Old January 15th, 2007, 01:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Sasahara
The XL2 doesn't do any anamorphising, the chip is a 16x9 chip, that's what is known as 16x9 native.
I think we're just into semantics here, but the XL2 has to "anamorphise". The only way to shoot 16:9 on DV is to make the image anamorphic - to squeeze it to fit the 4:3 standard DV frame size.
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