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Old January 8th, 2010, 03:10 PM   #1
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4:3 and 16:9 shorts on same DVD

I'm using FCP and DVD Studio Pro to author a DVD, which includes a few shorts; some are shot in HD that are 16:9, and some older SD footage that's 4:3. This will be played on a large HD TV. I want to do whatever I can to make sure that nothing gets stretched or cropped.

I have display mode set for 4:3 for the older clips, and 16:9 letterbox for the HD clips. Assuming that's right so far, is there anything else I can/should do in DVD Studio Pro or elsewhere to keep the DVD player from squeezing/cropping? I do understand that the player will have aspect ratio controls that will need to be properly set.
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Old January 8th, 2010, 04:42 PM   #2
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I'm a total noob when it comes to this subject, so my advice may not be worth much, but... it makes sense in my mind that you would want to pillarbox the 4:3 footage so the file itself is 16:9, then leave the 16:9 footage as it is....

again, makes sense to me, but I could be wrong :)

looking forward to the other responses.

enjoy!
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Old January 8th, 2010, 04:56 PM   #3
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Would I pillarbox in FCP, or ? I didn't mention before that my DVDSP project will be set for SD DVD, which means 4:3, so it seems like there would be no need to convert the SD footage to 16:9...
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Old January 8th, 2010, 05:32 PM   #4
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Hey Jim,
DVDSP SD discs can be either 16x9 or 4:3 it is a choice. I don't think you can have a dual 4:3 16:9 disc so if you choose 4:3 then you will have to letterbox the 16x9 or pan and scan (yuck). If you choose 16x9 then the 4:3 will need to be dealt with. You can do it in FCP either way. Not sure if you can do it in DVDSP. Ie can you take a 16x9 SD movie and have DVSP treat it as letterbox? You should be able to but I can't remember what it actually will do to the movie. If you know DVDSP well you will be able to figure it out.
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Old January 8th, 2010, 06:05 PM   #5
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Yeah, I definitely don't want pan & scan. Ideally I'd have the HD footage fill the screen, and the 4:3 would have black edges. Nothing would be squeezed/distorted or cropped.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 09:11 AM   #6
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In FCP, why not add a stretched blurred version of the 4X3 behind the original footage?

This last summer, a friend of mine forgot to change his VX 2100 to 16X9 for the reception footage, (I sure was happy about that!) I tried to stretch it, that looked terrible, I tried leaving the black edges, that was ugly, so I used the above method. It wasn't perfect, but it was more pleasing to the eye.
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Old January 9th, 2010, 12:17 PM   #7
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Jim,

You definitely CAN have 4x3 and 16x9 on the same disc. Like you said in your post above, make sure you have done your part in encoding them as 4x3 and 16x9. Then you are just at the mercy of the playback system. You have to hope that it is set up properly. If it is, then your playback would happen as follows:

On a widescreen set:

The 16x9 will play back full screen widescreen.
The 4x3 will be "pillarboxed" by the set itself.

On a standard 4x3 screen:

The 16x9 will play back letterboxed
The 4x3 will fill the screen.

Have fun!

Rob
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Old January 11th, 2010, 01:29 PM   #8
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Thanks for the replies. This did work as Rob described, on at least one DVD player and TV I tried. In DVD Studio Pro I set the SD tracks to 4:3, and the HD tracks to 16:9. I burned the disc as SD. On the TV I tried, the 16:9 filled the screen and the 4:3 was pillarboxed--nothing got stretched or cropped. I think some TVs have settings that will automatically try to fill the screen though--even if it means stretching or cropping.
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Old January 12th, 2010, 07:03 AM   #9
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Hey Jim did/do the menus display properly?
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Old January 12th, 2010, 01:42 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Epstein View Post
Hey Jim did/do the menus display properly?
The disc I made has only one menu, and it looks fine.
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Old January 12th, 2010, 02:41 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Newberry View Post
I think some TVs have settings that will automatically try to fill the screen though--even if it means stretching or cropping.
That's quite right - anyone who hasn't been into the menu of their new widescreen set is probably still watching in the overscanned, 'smart' and 'dynamic' mode. The audio will be a delicious mix of 'cathedral reverb' in pseudo stereo.

Sad to say but that's most people on the planet. So all my DVDs are now made in the widescreen mode, and any included 4:3 content is pillarboxed so that the smart mode can't get smart and zoom in a bit and stretch a bit (Ug!)

I'm doing a lot of old ciné film transfers at the moment and they're all 4:3 placed centrally within a 16:9 rectangle. So no L & R overscan lost on a 16:9 TV and no overscan at all on a 4:3 set - because the image is effectively pillarboxed and letterboxed at the same time.

tom.
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Old January 13th, 2010, 01:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Neidig View Post
Jim,

You definitely CAN have 4x3 and 16x9 on the same disc. Like you said in your post above, make sure you have done your part in encoding them as 4x3 and 16x9. Then you are just at the mercy of the playback system. You have to hope that it is set up properly. If it is, then your playback would happen as follows:

On a widescreen set:

The 16x9 will play back full screen widescreen.
The 4x3 will be "pillarboxed" by the set itself.

On a standard 4x3 screen:

The 16x9 will play back letterboxed
The 4x3 will fill the screen.

Have fun!

Rob
That should have been the case. But in the real world, it rarely works out that way. Most standalone DVD players will always stretch 4:3 footage to match the 16:9 footage no matter what settings you use on those standalone players, if the players' output is set to display in 16:9. This is because very few standalone standard-definition DVD players properly recognize the aspect ratio flags that are encoded in DVDs. And most 16:9 television sets by default actually stretch 4:3 content to completely fill the screen instead of pillarboxing it. (Remember, standard-definition DVD was originally conceived when all TV displays in existence at the time had a 4:3 aspect ratio.) And if you force a 16:9 set to display in 4:3 mode, the 4:3 content will be displayed correctly but 16:9 footage will be squeezed to fit into the non-wide aspect ratio.

On the other hand, if you master the DVD with 4:3 content pillarboxed to 16:9 and the mastering aspect ratio set at 16:9, you will end up with another mess: When those DVDs get played back with the player's output aspect ratio set at 4:3, the 4:3 footage will show up as windowboxed (or gutterboxed) while 16:9 footage will be letterboxed. This is because by default the DVD player letterboxes all 16:9-mastered content when the player is set to display in 4:3. One could fix such a problem by using specialized mastering software which includes pan-and-scan support; however, if such a feature is used, the DVD player must also be set to display in pan-and-scan mode (default is letterboxed).

Fortunately, most standalone Blu-Ray players can be set to correctly recognize the aspect ratio flags that are set on standard-definition DVDs. This way, both 4:3 and 16:9 footage gets displayed correctly on a 16:9 television set with the Blu-Ray player's output set at 16:9 - while on the same token, if that same Blu-Ray player is set to output in 4:3 with the aspect ratio flag recognition enabled, 4:3 footage will be left untouched while 16:9 footage will be letterboxed by default.
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