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Old November 4th, 2009, 05:55 AM   #1
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News video web delivery migrating back to 4:3 ratio?

I don't know if it's just me or whether I'm on to something. It's just that recently I seem to be seeing more 4:3 ratio video playback than 16:9 aspect ratio content.

Perhaps the 4:3 content is easier to work with for the design of a web page?

See here for an example, with the AP story located at the bottom.

Here is another one (MyFox).

Is it just me?

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Old November 4th, 2009, 06:26 AM   #2
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Hmmm.. dunno. Might be more of a US thing. I know they are still using a lot of 4:3 stuff.
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Old November 4th, 2009, 06:39 AM   #3
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I think it may be just what you are seeing. I don't think it reflects a trend back to 4:3. On the Fox NY Web site, it looks as if the 16:9 video was scrunched into a 4:3 window, but I could be wrong on that.

A few weeks ago Fox News Channel went 16:9 letterbox on their SD feed. It just makes sense as viewers more into HD. Going back to 4:3 is like expecting a resurgence of vacuum tubes.
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Old November 4th, 2009, 11:59 AM   #4
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Um, well, of course there are vacuum tube aficionados out there who wouldn't trade them for the world :-) Ok, I admit it, I have one tube preamp... amongst many, many solid-state preamps / mixer channels.

Just speculating here, some random observations...

Most people don't know HD when they see it, but they do know 16x9! They see 16x9, and the little "HD" light goes off in their head.

Most people do have a sense of when compression/transmission errors are happening with streaming video. Dropped frames, macroblocking, etc.

The common news head & shoulders shot is much closer to 4:3 than 16:9. A two shot can be a nice 16:9...

Giving stream real estate over to unused picture area works against stream optimization - what I'm trying to say here is that if you have a 4:3 subject, but put him/her in a 16:9 frame, you're dedicating bandwidth to areas of the shot that have no meaningful content.

And, most 16x9 is shot to "protect 4:3", meaning it should look OK cropped to 4:3, meaning no essential content out there on the edges.

So, I have some sympathy for a webcaster that decides 4:3 is right, at least for now. BTW, my online streams (corporate training) are now 16:9, unless they were acquired in 4:3.

FWIW.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 09:07 PM   #5
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It's transition time, and content providers still have to accomodate millions of viewers with older 4x3 sets. On the other hand, they can't produce two streams, they all went 16x9.

What I see a lot is that they shoot 4x3 and add vertical bars on the sides, with some additional graphics/info, like weather info by city, stock market info and such. So HD sets will display full 16x9 images while old sets will display just the actual video without the pillars/graphics. I am just guessing that the cropping takes place at the cable stations...
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Old January 22nd, 2010, 01:30 PM   #6
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I do a bit of freelance news shooting (including for AP which was your example shown)
and yes, they do still use 4x3. All of the people on here that run their own video production
companies, or work for a video company, may have decided 16x9 is the best thing
since sliced bread, but news networks are NOTORIOUSLY slow about
spending money to upgrade.....especially in todays economy. They have 'old' gear that
is paid for, and they figure, why not use it? Now if you are a freelancer, and they want
the video, they will let you shoot with whatever you have, and figure out a way to use
it. I know that a lot of news networks have both 4x3 and 16x9 (HD) cameras.
Many times I think the 4x3 is used for stuff that is going to end up online.
But just because you have heard constantly that 4x3 is dead from all of us
'techies' because 16x9 is better (which it is!), don't believe it. 4x3 will still
be used for many years to come. It's not going to be an instant phase out,.....
ESPECIALLY in the news business!
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Old January 22nd, 2010, 10:52 PM   #7
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Don't you just love accountants!?!

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Old January 23rd, 2010, 01:16 AM   #8
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I hear you, but hey, it means I am still able to use my old PD-150 to actually make money.....
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Old January 23rd, 2010, 03:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gabe Strong View Post
I do a bit of freelance news shooting (including for AP which was your example shown)
and yes, they do still use 4x3. All of the people on here that run their own video production
companies, or work for a video company, may have decided 16x9 is the best thing
since sliced bread, but news networks are NOTORIOUSLY slow about
spending money to upgrade.....especially in todays economy. They have 'old' gear that
is paid for, and they figure, why not use it? Now if you are a freelancer, and they want
the video, they will let you shoot with whatever you have, and figure out a way to use
it. I know that a lot of news networks have both 4x3 and 16x9 (HD) cameras.
Many times I think the 4x3 is used for stuff that is going to end up online.
But just because you have heard constantly that 4x3 is dead from all of us
'techies' because 16x9 is better (which it is!), don't believe it. 4x3 will still
be used for many years to come. It's not going to be an instant phase out,.....
ESPECIALLY in the news business!
In actuality, (most of) the old 4:3 cameras that the news organizations use are not digital at all - but analog! However, this is NOT the same analog format (with its low effective horizontal resolution) that we had been accustomed for so long, but instead this analog video is extremely close to true digital SD quality (or near-DVD quality).
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Old January 23rd, 2010, 09:32 PM   #10
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Ya, well, I guess it obviously depends on what news organization we are talking about.
I know a lot of places that are still using Beta SP cams, and even one place that is
using Beta SX. They will all upgrade.......e v e n t u a l l y.......
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