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Old September 25th, 2005, 07:06 AM   #1
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Implications of Widescreen

Hi there

i have not been shooting anything in widescreen (16:9) so far but i am thinking if i should at least for certain things.

My question is what are the implications when shooting wide screen in either digital post processing using Sony Vegas and also analog post processing using simple VCR copies.

Are there any downsides to using 16:9 that i dont think about. 16:9 would give me a wider view but of course i couldnt cut back to 4:3 anymore at all except if i keep that in mind while shooting.

Any tips are welcome
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Old September 25th, 2005, 07:25 AM   #2
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There are several things to consider, and I think the primary one is whether your camera can capture high quality widescreen footage. What are you shooting with? Many cameras have a 16:9 mode that just chops off the top and bottom of the image and degrades the quality in the process. Better cameras use high resolution CCD's that can capture the full resolution in 16:9 mode. The bottom line is that you need to be able to capture the full 480 vertical lines for good quality.

I don't use Vegas so I can't help you there. But any modern NLE can work with native 16:9 (anamorphic) footage. Or is your camera can't do that then you could simply apply a letterbox mask for viewing on a 4:3 TV. This isn't really 16:9 though; you're just adding black bars.

I don't understand how you would do this in analog on a VCR. About your only option there is to output 4:3 with a letterbox. Again, any NLE program should be capable of that.

If you have native anamorphic 16:9 then your best bet is to burn it on an anamorphic DVD. Then on playback the user's DVD Player will provide a letterbox automatically if it's needed for a 4:3 TV, but users with widescreen TV's will see the full image.

16:9 doesn't give you a wider field of view; that's completely dependent on the focal length of your lens. You can have closeups and macro shots in 16:9 just like 4:3. But it does change the composition of your images. If you're worried about being able to go back to 4:3 then you could shoot 4:3 but compose the picture such that it will look good when cropped to 16:9. Then crop it in post if desired, or otherwise use the full 4:3 frame. In fact, this is how they shoot a lot of films on 35mm these days since it gives them a "full screen" version for TV as well.
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Old September 25th, 2005, 07:33 AM   #3
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Boyd

thank you for your reply

i guess i should have mentioned the camera would be an XL-2

Guess i can try this but what would happen if you copy 16:9 footage from a DV tape to a VHS tape. Does it get converted somehow to 4:3 or does it simply not work.

On the XL-2 16:9 does give you a wider field of view because the sensor size (relative used sensor size) changes which changes the equivalent focal length as well. This is one of the reasons i am interested in it as i ran into some problems with wide angle yesterday.

thanks again
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Old September 25th, 2005, 08:37 AM   #4
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Ah, I see, that makes all the difference in the world to know that you have an XL-2. It will give you excellent 16:9 quality. As I understand, if you output directly from your XL2 to a VHS deck there will be no way to provide a letterbox for 4:3 viewing. You'll end up with the raw anamorphic image in 4:3, so everyone will look tall and skinny (some of us wouldn't mind looking like that ;-) If the VHS player were hooked up to a widescreen it would work properly, but within the limits of VHS's low resolution (ugh).

I use a DVD recorder to make quick copies of my edited footage, but it would work with a direct camera connection as well. You can burn anamorphic DVD's with it, and if I need a VHS copy for someone then I make it from the DVD instead of the camera or directly from the computer. That way the DVD player can provide the letterbox; otherwise you will need to render a separate letterboxed 4:3 version. Well acutally now that I have a Z1 I could also set it to output letterboxed format evidently (haven't tried that feature, but I don't think the XL2 has anything like this).
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Old September 25th, 2005, 09:07 AM   #5
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thanks again. Thats exactly the information i was looking for. So if i wanted to stay outside of digital post i could go via DVD which would then provide either a wide screen or a letter boxed 4:3

And then i could go back to VHS if i had to

Mike
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Old September 25th, 2005, 09:37 AM   #6
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Yes - but be careful when shopping for a DVD recorder because evidently the less expensive ones can't create an anamorphic DVD. That sort of recorder would work fine for 4:3 material, and would also be fine for 16:9 to be viewed on a widescreen TV. However without flagging the DVD as anamorphic, it would not cause the user's DVD player to generate a letterbox.

Somewhere around here there's a long thread where someone went through a variety of cheap recorders and returned them all because they didn't offer any way of burning an anamorphic DVD.
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Old September 25th, 2005, 01:43 PM   #7
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Boyd

just picked one up. I generally dont like to buy cheap anyway so hopefully i get lucky.

Just picked up a sony that does both + and - and has DV input. Works nice together with the JVC DV/VHS deck doing automated dubbing. Will check and create some 16:9 footage as well to see how that works

Mike
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