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Old July 13th, 2009, 10:16 AM   #1
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Encode 14:9 video so it looks nice on all TVs?

Got a problem that I can't quite wrap my brain around.

I have some Super 8 film that was transferred to hi-def; full frame, including sprocket holes. If I crop this to every last pixel of usable frame, the aspect ratio is roughly 14:9.

I'd like to encode this in Compressor & DVD Studio Pro so that my relatives with both 4:3 & 16:9 TVs can enjoy it. Ideally, on a 16:9 TV, it would be full height with wings on the sides. On a 4:3 TV, it would be full width with slight letterboxing top and bottom.

I'd also be happy if I could get it to use Pan & Scan on 4:3 TVs, so that only those with 16:9 TVs see the whole width of the frame. But as I understand it, DSP requires "Pan and Scan Vectors," which none of my software can create.

What I want to avoid at all costs is "windowboxing" on either TV format. I may just give up and encode it in 4:3, which is what most people do with Super 8 footage. I just thought it was cool that there was some extra real estate that nobody's seen since the last VHS transfer.

Any ideas?
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Old July 13th, 2009, 11:06 AM   #2
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If you like the full 14:9 frame, then, yes, I think you're on the right track to output as 16:9 with small pillars on each side. An alternative worth looking at is to go 16:9 with no pillars - how does the footage look if slightly stretched horizontally?

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Originally Posted by Hal Snook View Post
...What I want to avoid at all costs is "windowboxing" on either TV format. I may just give up and encode it in 4:3...
If you do stay with 14:9 some windowboxing is unavoidable on 4:3 playback devices. However, it won't be very bad, IMO, if you are sure to output and burn as a true 16:9 project that takes advantage of *almost* the full frame (14:9 within 16:9), or, the full frame (stretch to full 16:9).

The third choice would be to go to 4:3, but, if so, I'd take advantage of some of the "extra" source material by doing some panning in post.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 07:52 PM   #3
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Interesting dilemma. My mantra is to cater to the highest common denominator because while some might lose out now, 4:3 screens will take up residence next to the dodo bird in the not too distant future.

I'd go full res showing all the available video area would be my choice, but that may not be the best solution for you.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 08:16 PM   #4
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In this instance window boxing and achieving the 14:9 look is unfortunately impossible. DVD is either 16:9 or 4:3, as such your choices that are not window boxing are:

4:3 Crop on the 14:9 - Author as 4:3: Displays 4:3 Pillarbox on 16:9 screens (or stretch if they don't set up their display properly, pretty common but ugly).

16:9 (anamorphic) master with in built Pillarboxing on the edge of the 14:9 - Author as 16:9 with 4:3 Pan and Scan on the DVD: Will display as 16:9 on 16:9 televisions when DVD Player is set to 16:9, will display as 4:3 according to the Pan and Scan settings when displayed on 4:3 Screens when DVD Player is set to 4:3.

I haven't authored a Pan and Scan DVD myself, but the functionality is in DVD Studio Pro (not sure what authoring system you are using?) I have read it's a bit troublesome compared to the 4:3 Letterbox (especially if you want the 'Pan' of 'Pan & Scan') but for a straight center cut I'd imagine it probably just works.
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Old July 13th, 2009, 10:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Parkes View Post
16:9 (anamorphic) master with in built Pillarboxing on the edge of the 14:9 - Author as 16:9 with 4:3 Pan and Scan on the DVD: Will display as 16:9 on 16:9 televisions when DVD Player is set to 16:9, will display as 4:3 according to the Pan and Scan settings when displayed on 4:3 Screens when DVD Player is set to 4:3.

I haven't authored a Pan and Scan DVD myself, but the functionality is in DVD Studio Pro (not sure what authoring system you are using?) I have read it's a bit troublesome compared to the 4:3 Letterbox (especially if you want the 'Pan' of 'Pan & Scan') but for a straight center cut I'd imagine it probably just works.
That's interesting; yes, I'll be using DVD Studio Pro. From what I'd read, pan and scan requires those elusive "vectors"*, but perhaps I'll just have to try it to know for sure.

The more I think about it, I think I'll definitely author in 16:9 with black on the sides (even my 97-year old grandfather has a flat panel now), but if I could get pan&scan to work on the old TVs, all the better.

*if anybody has any info on vectors I'd appreciate it; seems strange that DVDSP will read them but not create them. Kinda like chapter markers.
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