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Old April 21st, 2009, 10:25 AM   #1
Inner Circle
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Location: Billericay, England UK
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I want a 4:3 film to appear in a 16:9 rectangle

Here's the thing. I'm transferring lots of old 4:3 Hi-8 footage to DVD, as is, no editing to speak of, just for the fun of us all seeing ourselves 15 years ago.

But all my family and friends now have 16:9 TVs and if I send them a 4:3 film I just know they'll stretch, expand, zoom, distort the film to fill their screens, so losing picture info and generally mucking things up.

I'm using Storm Edit (I've digitised the Hi-8 footage) as it's quick and easy to work with, but can't see how I can have a 4:3 picture within a black 16:9 frame (ie pillarboxed). In fact I can figure out how to do it in Premiere 6.5 either. Any clues out there?

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Old April 21st, 2009, 11:32 AM   #2
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I would start by making your project 16:9, then import the 4:3 footage. If you drop it on the timeline, it make automatically pillar box. If it doesn't most likely there is a "keep aspect ratio" button somewhere. Every software is a little different, but I would start by right clicking the video file and see if there is a the aspect ratio choice. Good luck.
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Old April 21st, 2009, 11:43 AM   #3
Inner Circle
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I assume you don't have Vegas. In Vegas you set the aspect ratio in the project at 16:9 and then drop the 4:3 on timeline, and it is automatically pillared. Its been a while since I used premiere, but I seem to recall a maintain aspect ratio check box somewhere.
Chris J. Barcellos
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Old April 21st, 2009, 12:43 PM   #4
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As David wrote.

As I am doing this same thing at the moment, you must in Premiere 6.5, when exporting it out, remember to export it out at the correct aspect ratio. In my case I use the advanced tab, and then custom, and click on the aspect I wish to use.

I would forget this step occasionally, after rendering my files to be used in Encore, and have to go back and re-export.

I have Vegas, but haven't tried it there, as I am comfortable with my work flow in Premeire 6.5.

I haven't played with Premiere Pro versions I have, but I think it would be similar to 6.5.

If I get a chance, I will document my steps for you, and post them.
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Old April 21st, 2009, 02:22 PM   #5
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I've had to use 4:3 footage in several 16:9 projects now and here is the approach I take:

Set project preferences to 16:9 (as others have said) if it is not already so. Then as I put 4:3 clips on the timeline I use PiP and zoom in just enough to eliminate the "pillarbox" on both sides. This also cuts off the top and bottom of the 4:3 frame but for most of what I have the composition is "loose" enough so that very rarely do I lose anything except for a bit of "headroom".

I do lose a bit of detail because all of my 4:3 is standard definition but I would rather have it a tad "soft" but fit the widescreen format than have folks wondering why it doesn't fill the screen.

Two projects where I had to use this approach are a handgun training (I teach a Defensive Handgun course I wrote) video that I have to keep updating and I still have some 4:3 stuff I will reshoot someday but still use now. This was started in 4:3 years ago but now is about 65% 16:9.

The other was a family documentary of my oldest grandson's flight training (starting at age 16) towards his private pilot license. Started in 4:3 and continued in 16:9 when I went up with him right after he got the license and then turned 18.

Both projects just look a whole lot better on the DVD with all of it looking like widescreen.

I use Pinnacle Studio and it was very simple to do this.
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Old April 25th, 2009, 12:37 PM   #6
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Thanks guys. Bruce's idea worked excellently. I used the Storm2 PIP feature to pillarbox the 4:3 footage and with no rendering needed. If I'd zoomed in it would've needed rendering. I made the 4:3 something like 4.5:3 as genuine 4:3 looked horribly square and dated withing the 16:9 border. I used a dark grey rather than all-black surround.

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