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Old July 27th, 2005, 11:25 AM   #1
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converting 16:9 to 4:3 in FCP

I was really amazed at the TV station where I work when I had to convert some 16:9 to 4:3, the techie just zapped the file on the server and behold it came out perfect 4:3. I can't remember now if he actually sliced the sides off it, or did something with the actual pixels. But it came out perfect on the industrial strength set-up they were using. Now I've been trying to downconvert 16:9 to 4:3 on FCP without success, I can't even find it in the manual, maybe its there but its not described in normal English. I think it has been discussed here before, but my attempts to find the thread have also lead nowhere. My question is, is it possible to make 16:9 into decent 4:3 on FCP, I know it might sound obvious to some here, but I feel like I am trying to rediscover Eldorado at the moment.
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Old July 27th, 2005, 12:53 PM   #2
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Depends on what you call "decent." The resolution is going to suffer because you're starting with an image that has horizontally stretched pixels.

But it's quite easy. Make sure that the 16:9 clip is properly identified as anamorphic in the browser or check its item properties for starters. Now create a 4:3 sequence and drop the 16:9 clip in. It will be automatically letterboxed with black bars above and below - I assume this is NOT what you want.

Double click on the clip in the timeline so it opens in the viewer. In the viewer, choose Image+Wireframe. Now grab any of the "handles" in the corner of the viewer image and drag outwards until the clip fills the full height of the 4:3 window. You're all set, but you'll need to render the sequence.
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Old July 27th, 2005, 02:19 PM   #3
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Thanks for coming to the rescue again Boyd. An interesting trick which I tried, but the result is a stretched image with the corners sliced off, it's to much of a hit to the quality I think.
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Old July 27th, 2005, 03:03 PM   #4
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I don't see how there is any choice in this situation if you want to turn 16:9 into 4:3, unless you want to letterbox it (which is done by just dropping a 16:9 clip into a 4:3 sequence).

But I suppose it also depends on what the footage is. If doesn't have people in it, or anything else that would give a sense of the correct proportion, you could simply uncheck the anamorphic column in the browser for the clip. Then FCP would scale the entire frame as 4:3, making things taller and skinnier than they should be (if it were a picture of me, I wouldn't mind ;-)
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Old July 27th, 2005, 08:09 PM   #5
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I guess there is no real cure for this dilemma then, but I am sure I saw it being done on an industrial set-up.
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Old July 27th, 2005, 08:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Poore
the techie just zapped the file on the server and behold it came out perfect 4:3.
John,

Actually it didn't come out perfect 4:3. It came out either cropped on the ends or squished in horizontally (some people say stretched vertically but it's actually the other way around).

These are the only 2 options you have regardless of the NLE being used. Hopefully your footage was shot with a camera that shoots true 16:9 rather than cropping the top and bottom. If it's cropped to 16:9, you've lost lines of resolution so best to just let it letterbox in the 4:3 timeline.
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