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Old May 21st, 2003, 02:27 PM   #1
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DVD resolution question

i've been all through the threads today and can't seem to find the answer i'm looking for though i'm sure it exists.

i'm in the process of putting together a DVD. My main question is what resolution should i be creating my files at. i want to have certain things on the DVD at widescreen format. for instance the one thing i'm putting on it will not have any video in it and will be created primarily in illustrator and put together in AFx. for this one i'd like it to be (look like) widescreen.

so what is the resolution i should set my files up at?

I know that DV widescreen is 720 x 480 and that the pixels are rectangular 1:1.094 (right?). so when someone looks at that on a normal TV is that stretched or anything. because it looks stretched when i work on it. if i set it to square pixels it looks normal but is then like 856x480. so is that then squished on a normal tv?

basically i want to have it widescreen looking with bars on a normal tv and then no bars if viewed on an actual widscreen set. but i also don't want to have it be stretched around and squished or anything like that.

how does a tv know to add black bars or not for a DVD? do i need to create one with bars and one without and have both on there for the user to choose what they want?

i basically want to know what the largest size is i should use. i'd rather scale down than up. or is that just wrong?

this is a very confusing subject. i'm in NTSC land if anyone needs to know.

thanks i appreciate any input.
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Old May 21st, 2003, 05:36 PM   #2
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The DVD resolution is 100% EXACTLY the same as your DV
resolution even when it is widescreen. This means that ALL
NTSC material is 720x480 and ALL PAL material is 720x576
for DVD. When creating the mpeg2/authoring your disc you
specify that your footage is 16:9 anamorphic. This way a
special bit gets set on the DVD that allows the DVD player
to see that it is widescreen.

So that is how the **DVD PLAYER** knows this. Your TV gets
a special analog signal that establishes whether it is a 16:9
signal or not, BUT your DVD player will ADD the black bars
if you have set it up for a 4:3 TV. If you have it set up for
a 16:9 widescreen TV it will NOT do this. Clever huh!

Now check your mpeg2 encoder (not sure from my mind if
these have the switch) and authoring software to see if they
have a 16:9 anamorphic switch. I do seem to remember that
not all authoring packages support 16:9 authoring (logically
the cheaper ones mostly).
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Old May 27th, 2003, 10:33 AM   #3
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thanks for the response rob. it is making some more sense. though this is for some reason to me a very confusing issue.

so if i set up a project in AFx. and lets say i'm not using any actual video only graphics (AI and p-shop). what size would i set that up to and what would the aspect ratio be if i wanted it to look like widescreen?

i would guess 720x480 is fine for size. but if i set it to square pix so that its not squished will it resize at all on a 4:3 tv?

perhaps its just that i'm not understanding how it stretches the final product.

like if i have a dv 720x480 file. PAR set for dv/anamorphic. so it looks squished as i work. then i view it as widescreen on a 4:3 tv. the dvd player adds the bars. good. but now has is stretched its width so it looks normal now as if i had it set up for square pix in the first place, and do i lose the 60 top and bottom pix because of the bars or does it squish it down to, what is it, 360 to look widescreen or does it become 480 + 120(top and bottom for bars).

or am i just not grasping this concept at all?

thanks for any input and sorry to be so confused.
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Old May 30th, 2003, 06:42 AM   #4
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Your output resolutions is ALWAYS 720x480. You have that correct.
Do not ever tinker with this. You should have your pixel aspect
to the correct settings (for normal or widescreen DV). Just use
the approriate aspects.

DVD has actually NOTHING to do with what aspect ratio your
input format it. The resulting DVD must have a flag set indicating
that the video on the disc is anamorphic widescreen.

When converting the video into MPEG2 you can (if you have
a good enough MPEG2 encoder) indicate that the format is
16:9 widescreen. This will set some of the needed bits into
the resulting file.

If I remember correctly you also need to indicatie in the authoring
application that that specific mpeg2 file is anamorphic widescreen.

Then when you play it back the DVD player will either letterbox
it or display the full anamorphic signal. You will never loose any
part of the picture (unless your TV is setup wrong).
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Old May 30th, 2003, 10:00 AM   #5
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ok. so you're saying just set it up at that size and square or DV pixels is fine either way.

allright. thanks.

i still dont quite understand the size thing. but if that's the way it is that's what i'm going to do.

since you're here, do you perhaps know of any good sites with explanations of DVD specs and things like that? like i've heard and seen that some dvds just won't work in certain players and all that.

also do you perhaps know of any places that do DVD duplicating, (in the states if possible)?

i'm going to be creating the interface and everything myself and will need someone to do the printing and duping.

also, (sorry) do you have any suggestions for software to use to create the master. i was planning on using DVD studio pro. but i've heard that only apple players recognize the dvds burned on their machines using that software. or do i not have to worry about that if i'm getting them professionaly duplicated?

sorry for all the questions again. but i thank you graciously for all your help.
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Old June 2nd, 2003, 10:44 AM   #6
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You should not use square pixels (Pixel Aspect Ratio - PA). Your
PA should match what you shoot your footage in. The PA is how
wide or tall each pixel is. This is how it is possible that widescreen
and normal 4:3 both have a resolution of 720x480 (NTSC). Their
Pixel Aspect is different (larger for widescreen creating rectangular
pixels).

The DVD FAQ can be found here: http://www.dvddemystified.com/dvdfaq.html

There are two recordable (I'm not mentioning re-writables here)
formats for DVD. DVD-R and DVD+R. -R is currently the most
accepted format with most people having one of the Pioneer
DVD-R burners (Axx series). +R is gaining popularaty and claims
to be readable in more DVD players.

I could not find a list on the internet where all the different
media was tested for best compatibility etc. If you want true
compatability have your discs pressed instead of burned.

Sorry but I do not know of any duplicating houses, but these
should be easy to find if you search the web a bit with google.

Most professionals only use Scenarist for authoring and that
is the only package I have briefly seen. I cannot recommend
packages to you because I have not played enough with them
myself.

If you do a search with google on things like: "dvd authoring
review" you will probably get enough hits to research the
matter yourself.
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Old June 2nd, 2003, 11:13 AM   #7
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thanks for the response again rob. i don't know why this is giving me so much trouble to understand. guess i've not worked with it enough for broadcast type projects to have to bother with it so much.

i've taken a look at that demystified page. very informative, and very long as well.

if this thing works out i plan on having them pressed just to make sure they work the best they can but i'm trying to actually build it myself.

i'm in your debt for all the information you've given me. can't think of anything else (for now anyway).

thanks again. J.
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Old June 2nd, 2003, 11:19 AM   #8
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No problem, Jeremy! If you can burn DVD(-)(+)RW use that for
testing on your PC with something like Win/PowerDVD. After that
works you can burn a -R/+R and test that on some standalone
players. If that all goes well it is ready to be pressed (most
houses accept a DVD-R for example as a master now-a-days).
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Old June 2nd, 2003, 11:27 AM   #9
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excellent thanks.

think that's about it for now as i'm still in the planning stages but i'm sure you'll be hearing from me again soon.

thanks again.
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