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Old September 21st, 2004, 03:22 PM   #1
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unusual cropping of a video for internet

Hi everyone,
I have an unusual assignment. I have been asked if it is possible to crop an existing video to make it higher than it is wide. This video will be played in on the internet.

What we want to do is make the image more of an up and down or vertical rather than horizontal. Ideally, the dimensions should be 240 x 320

This footage was shot using my GL1 and I intend to edit it on FCP4, but I have premier on a PC that I could use if my beloved FCP can't do it. I dislkie Premier.

The video will most likely be displayed in WMV, so there's even the quesion of can WMV handle it in that format.

Thanks
-Kyle
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Old September 21st, 2004, 05:06 PM   #2
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It sounds like you're trying to crop out a section of your footage and create a file that displays the cropped image at 1:1 ratio and without black bars on the sides.

An easy way to accomplish this within FCP (no additional programs), or any editor for that matter, would be to crop the edited sequence to your desired dimensions. This will produce a 1:1 ratio image with black "empty" spaces on each side.

Next, stretch the image to fill the screen. With your dimensions, everything will appear short and wide.

Export this as a DV file for conversion to .WMV (or whatever other process you prefer) or go straight to a .MOV. Just remember to export your final file format (.WMV, .MOV, etc.) as a 240 pixel wide by 320 pixel high movie. This will squeeze the image back to the original proportions, but result in a taller/thinner layout.
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Old September 21st, 2004, 05:19 PM   #3
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Thanks,
I'll give it a try. Right now I'm not at my mac, so I can't invision it. I'll let you know if I have problems.
I love this forum!
-Kyle
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Old September 22nd, 2004, 03:05 PM   #4
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Maybe it's too late for this, but for future use... I think you can shoot your video with the camera on its side and within QuickTIme Pro there's a simple option to rotate it 90 degrees.
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Old September 30th, 2004, 02:20 PM   #5
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Ok, I think I understand... I've tried a few things, but wth limited success...

Is there anyway I can pre-determine the dimensions of the frame I'd like and make sure the crop sticks to those or do I need to do the whole thing by eyeball? I am unclear on how to achieve a 1:1 ratio.

Thanks again for your help. Trying something new with a deadline isn't my thing...

-Kyle
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Old September 30th, 2004, 11:52 PM   #6
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Well Kyle, I think it may be a bit more difficult than I made it out to be. I've accomplished this on another non-linear editor years ago, and figured it would translate to FCP no problem. Up to this point, its a little more challenging. I think you have a good understanding of what's supposed to happen. We just have to figure out how to make it happen.

My plan was to crop the image to the desired frame size, then scale the X-axis to fill the viewing window using a calculation of window percentages and pixel dimensions. On paper, it all works perfectly. However, FCP doesn't want to cooperate. It only wants to scale both X and Y axis at the same time, not individually as needed.

For the past 2 hours, I've been trying to trick the stretch transition into cooperating - got it to do some fancy stuff, but not quite what's needed. Although it will "hold" a stretch at the same dimension throughout the entire clip, it refuses to do anything past 100%. So that doesn't work either. I did figure out one way to accomplish what you'd need, but it was a long and inaccurate process. If you're interested, I can explain it to you.

I haven't given up yet. Maybe someone else will ring in with an idea or two. Either way, challenges are good.

Something else you may consider is getting a compression program like Sorenson Squeeze. That program has the ability to crop a video while compressing to a file. Depending on the value of this project, you may or may not be willing to spend the money on Sorenson, but its certainly something to consider.

When is your deadline?
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Old October 1st, 2004, 12:42 AM   #7
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I just got done typing that last message, hopped back on the Mac, and figured out a pretty accurate way of accomplishing this. Here goes...
  • Open a clip in the Viewer.
  • Click the Motion tab in the Viewer window.
  • Click the grey triangle next to the Crop field. This will twirl the arrow down, revealing the individual left, right, top, and bottom limits of the clip's frame.
  • Each option has both a slider bar and numerical representation of how much area is being cropped off the frame. The number represents a percentage of the original (480 pixels tall, 720 pixels wide) frame. The higher the number/percentage, the more area is being removed from that edge (left, right, etc.) of the frame.
  • Using the slider bar or typing numbers, adjust the image to your desired dimensions. Make note of the final percentages.
  • Since this number represents the amount REMOVED from each side of the frame, and you want to calculate the amount REMAINING in the frame, add the parallel sides' percentages (left+right, or top+bottom depending on how the image has been cropped)
  • Subtract that number from 100. This will give you the percentage of the original frame that remains after cropping.
  • Calculate the number of pixels that are contained in the remaining percentage by taking that percent of the original frame height or width.
    This is your final dimension for that plane. For the most accurate final ratio, you'll want this to be a whole number.
  • Twirl the Crop field back up and the Distort field down. This will reveal the upper right, upper left, lower right, and lower left corner coordinates. You'll also see an Aspect Ratio slider bar.
  • Pull the Aspect Ratio slider down so the video image becomes substantially shorter than it is wide.
  • Start experimenting with the corner coordinate values. You only need to play with the X-axis (first column) values.
  • Arrange the corners so that the sides are located at the edge of the viewer window. Your left values should be the same number, only one positive and one negative. The same goes with the right values.
  • Once you're satisfied with the horizontal size, slide the Aspect Ratio bar back up until the top and bottom fill the window.
  • Export the final, goofy proportioned image using Quicktime Conversion. Specify the format and custom settings including your tall/narrow window size and save. You should be all set.

I'm sure you've got it by now, but just in case, here's an example:
  • Crop the left to 25 and the right to 15.
  • Add these together and get 40 (percentage removed).
  • Subtract from 100 and get 60 (percentage remaining).
  • Divide by 100 (to convert percentage into value for math) to get .60 (.60 and 60% are equal)
  • Multiply by the original width of 720 pixels.
    .60 x 720 pixels = 432 pixels
  • Distort the corners to
    upper left: -450,-240
    upper right: 425,-240
    lower right: 425,240
    lower left: -450,240
  • Set the Aspect Ratio to -38
  • File > Export > Using Quicktime Conversion > Options > Size > Custom
  • Your full height is still the original 480, while the new width is 432. Cut both numbers in half and you'll get 216 pixels wide by 240 tall. Or 2/3rds size will give you 288 pixels wide by 320 tall.

Geez, that's going through a lot just to get a custom window size. Normally, Sorenson would be the quick answer to this issue, but that's only if you own it. I have a pretty good feeling this will work even though it may take you a couple of tries. I have tested it and everything turned out great, so we're on the right track.

Once you have a good handle on exactly what's going on, you can actually skip the cropping steps and go straight to the distorting stage. But, for now, I think its pretty necessary to get a solid understanding of all the steps. I'm sure you'll figure it out quickly.

Let me know how everything turns out.
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Old December 10th, 2004, 07:34 PM   #8
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Ok Ok Ok,
I put this project on the back burner for a while and am back now. I was able to crop the image to the size I want, now I want to export it in that size.

Here's the situation. I want to create a video that is 195x240. Once I have it, I want to post it on the web to fit inside a custom window in a web page. So imagine this. My company is releasing a new PDA. I filmed a really cool "how to" video in a 4:3 format. Then the project manager says "hey, I've got an idea, let's post a picture of the pda on our site and set the video up to look as if the viewer is viewing this video on the PDA's screen. Now, I suggested, "let't turn the pda on its side". He said "no way, I want it straight up and down playing the video, so make it fit. No black bars on the bottom, a 195x240 frame ratio.

So, I worked to rebuild it in this format, but now when I export it, I tell quicktime to make it those dimensions... 195x240. Well, it takes the 720x480 and squashes it. My image is smaller than a postage stamp with a thick black frame around it. The image that is left (in the middle) is squashed sideways.

Is this an impossible stunt? I have Premier on a PC, can that do it?

btw, I'm changing jobs next month...

Thanks
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Old December 11th, 2004, 01:17 AM   #9
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Yeah, you have to change your aspect BEFORE you do the export, otherwise it does the squish thing. I would try changing the preferences of your sequence to something Custom like 390x480, edit it cropped like that, and then when you export it you can squeeze it down to the size you want. I think that will have the effect you are looking for.

I am assuming you did the whole thing in 720x480 and then just simply did an export and don't want to distort the video, just crop the edges... the export function doesn't know you want to clip the width I don't think... I suggested 390x480 because you would be working with the full DV size (kind of), but simply cropped on the edges... I've never tried it so please let me know if it works!

(The interesting question is can you just simply change Sequence dimensions at will and get the effect you want?)
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Old December 13th, 2004, 06:15 PM   #10
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Ok, I asked a guy I used to work with over at Intel Studios... He is a video guru and had the answer right away. I've cut and pasted it below in case any of you have are wondering.

"Create a new sequence. Hit CMD-0 (zero) which opens up the sequence settings. Call the sequence "squashed" or something equally silly. Change the aspect ratio to "custom", width 192, 240. Set pixel aspect ratio to square. Choose a compressor that will work for your website, such as Sorenson. click okay.

Drop the finished video onto this timeline. Double click it to load it into the viewer and click on the motion tab. Scale up the video to fill the frame and reposition if necessary. Render. (This is a good time to explain pixel aspect ratios to the project manager and why planning is so valued in media creation.) It may or may not play back properly in the canvas, but if you export it to a self-contained QuickTime movie from the timeline it should play back fine in QuickTime player. Voila!"

And yes, it played back perfect in the viewer.

Thank you all for your head scratching on my behalf. My video talents have grown leaps and bounds thanks to you all.
-Kyle
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