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Old August 23rd, 2004, 12:08 AM   #1
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Help with Streamclip, transferring to letterboxed QT file

I'm using Streamclip to transfer my SD footage to a letterboxed QuickTime file, but it is just vertically-stretched 4:3. When I tell FCP to make the sequence letterboxed (anamorphic), it just made the vertically-stretched 4:3 image small with vertical black bars on the right at left, and the classic horizontal black bar on the top and bottom.

Can I fix this without having to re-process the video through Streamclip (something that takes about 10 - 12 hours to do with a 33 minute clip)?

If I HAVE to re-process it, what do I have to do to make it right? SD is 720x480p. Can I make this interlaced at all?

Thanks,

heath
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 10:50 AM   #2
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Heath,

I work in a little different world than you, so I'm not really familiar with the software you mention. Here are some observations that may be of help.

It is generally the MPG compression that takes a long time. I'm sure you have found very reasonable rendering times as long as you keep your editor output the same format as input.

The fact that some editors incorporate MPG compression can be confusing, and many times rescaling to SD then compressing is all done at one time. If you have a letterboxed SD MPG file, and you wish an anamorphic, you should go back to the original edited file.

Here's how I keep track of things:

1. I edit with KDDI software, insuring that final edit is no worse than original since it is same (un-played-around-with) format.

2. I use TMPGEnc MPG encoder to create DVD compliant MPG file(s). TMPGEnc uses Elecard decoder on my computer to decode m2t HD10 files. Input mapping allows me to choose letterbox, anamorphic, cropped, or something in between as it creates the DVD compliant MPG file. This is the sloooow process!

3. Finally, I author using TMPGEnc Author.

It becomes obvious that I need to go through the lengthy process twice if I want both an anamorphic and letterboxed DVD. I do NOT want to uncompress one DVD type MPG file to create another. I found out that a long time ago that the the Ligos MPG encoders included with Media Studio Pro were, well, crap. If you can't get two hours of GOOD video on a single layer DVD - look for a better encoder.

If video PLAYS on your old fashioned standard, analog TV, then it IS interlaced - thats all they know!

I know I get a lot of production help around these parts. Maybe my years around the tech part of TV can help someone once in awhile.
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 11:08 AM   #3
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Dave,

Thanks for your help, but maybe I should be more specific: I'm editing on a Mac.

BUT, maybe you can tell me one quick thing: how can I make a 4:3 clip that's vertically stretched out, into a normal, letter-boxed image?

THANKS!

heath
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Old August 23rd, 2004, 04:51 PM   #4
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Heath,

Yeah, I knew the Mac thing. I was just trying to clarify the PROCESS, regardless of platform. I know that TMPGEnc has a dialog, whereby, when you are changing resolutions, you can specify what you want to do as you "map" the video into the new resolutiom (and aspect ratio). You can do just about anything you want!

Not being a Mac guy, I'm just not familiar enough with Mac software. I know software solutions crop up from time to time that just don't appear for the Mac. Pc's are pretty cheap. Get one to fill in the gaps - or would you be a traitor? Good Luck!
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Old August 24th, 2004, 10:05 AM   #5
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Old August 24th, 2004, 10:29 AM   #6
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I'm confused with your first question . . . you want to take a 4:3 SD original and convert it to 4:3 letterboxed (i.e., 16:9 in a 4:3 frame with black bars on top and bottom)?

The only way to do this without distortion would be to crop the top and bottom off the image, unless I am missing something.

If you don't mind some distortion you could scale the entire 4:3 image down slightly (black bars all around), and then stretch the sides out (to remove the side black bars).

So you are either going to a) lose information or b) have distortion. Is this what you intended?

Ben
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Old August 25th, 2004, 12:50 AM   #7
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Either Streamclip stinks with the way it processed the video (hello, skipped video frames and freezes) or the QuickTime mpeg-2 that forced my audio out of sync as much as 15 seconds (!), but I highly recommend people DON'T use Streamclip.

For Mac users, Lumiere HD has proven itself in a number of intensive tests I've been running, to be the best solution out there. I'll have a full review up in a week or two at HDV Info Net.

I'm then going to test Aspect HD and write a review.

Both our wranglers here are waiting while holding their collective breath! ;-)

heath
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