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Old April 26th, 2006, 06:01 PM   #1
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Plausible theory of converting 4:3 to 16:9?

I'm not sure how plausible, but it seems to be possible...I took a frame from a 4:3 video (720X576) I wasn't sure of what the 16:9 equivalent of that would be, so in Photoshop I just changed the image size to 1600X900, it seemed to give a pretty decent widescreen effect...

Is there a way to maybe export you video as an 720X576(or 480) image sequence and convert each frame to the 16:9 equivalent of 720X576? If you aren't enlarging the pixels, I can't see the image getting blurry..In fact, in my test they look quite equal.
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Old April 27th, 2006, 08:16 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviv Hallale
I'm not sure how plausible, but it seems to be possible...I took a frame from a 4:3 video (720X576) I wasn't sure of what the 16:9 equivalent of that would be, so in Photoshop I just changed the image size to 1600X900, it seemed to give a pretty decent widescreen effect...

Is there a way to maybe export you video as an 720X576(or 480) image sequence and convert each frame to the 16:9 equivalent of 720X576? If you aren't enlarging the pixels, I can't see the image getting blurry..In fact, in my test they look quite equal.
Geometric distortion is more of the issue than is loss of sharpness. Stretching it like that can run into problems with geometry, with circles becoming ovals. That's why 4:3 is usually "letterboxed" by masking off the appropriate areas at the top and bottom of the frame to get the 16:9 proportions.
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Old April 28th, 2006, 02:27 PM   #3
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I actually think it's quite remarkable how simply adding black bars at the top and bottom of a video and watching it on a 4:3 TV gives the that widescreen/cinematic impression.

Although something isn't filmed in widescreen, for instance, if you watch it in full screen on your monitor and then shrink the picture of the monitor lengthwise, the picture seems to be widescreen.

Is there a way you can do this in post? simply shrink your picture lengthwise, so the actual frame isn't cropped? This obviously wouldn't do any good watching on a widescreen TV, but for getting that cinematic look on a 4:3 set wouldn't it be a viable way of superificial 16:9? Ie, some kind of (freeware) letterboxing tool for Premeire that doesn't cut out the top and bottom of your frame, but still letterboxes it?

It's actually quite funny how much of a psychological thing it is. You equate the letterbox with film and that automatically gives it a more professional appearence, even though most people will be watching your stuff on a 4:3 set that they do all TV...For a videographer, that can really give him the edge for his aesthetics, but is it possible to letterbox something without actually having anything cut off, so you don't have to worry about framing your shot in 16:9 style when you're filming in 4:3?

Last edited by Aviv Hallale; April 28th, 2006 at 03:54 PM.
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Old April 28th, 2006, 11:41 PM   #4
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Obviously the best way to get that "cinematic" effect is to shoot 16:9 in the first place. And I totally agree, even watching the cropped image on a 4:3 set gives it that cinematic feel.
There is a way though, in post, to make an image that was shot in 4:3 look like its 16:9. Just crop the image with black bars, top and bottom. I use After Effects and Premiere, and have done this treatment in both programs. Once you've cropped the image though, see if you can move the image down, so that you're not cropping head room too much. Often you will find that while the framing is tight on the top of the image, there is room to cut off at the bottom. So you can position the image so that the cropping doesn't chop peoples heads off. Some wide screen sets will actually interpret the black bars as "nothing" and therefore will display the full "16x9" image. This can be a bit of a life saver if you have to edit in 4:3 footage with 16:9.
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Old April 29th, 2006, 03:10 AM   #5
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I've heard that with the VX2100, the 16:9 really isn't that usable and seeing as I'd be watching (and most other people too) on a 4:3 set, the letterbox method might be crazy enough to work.

Is it simply compositing a black solid with transperancy in the right place over your video and then moving your clip about to get the right frame?

Obviously watching that on a 16:9 TV would leave those bars there as they're part of the picture?
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Old April 29th, 2006, 03:35 AM   #6
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Example of 4:3 to 16:9 uprez with photozoom pro:

http://www.pinelakefilms.com/snoqualmie.html

Procedure is:

http://www.dvxuser.com/V6/showthread.php?t=6843
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Old April 29th, 2006, 04:24 AM   #7
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Wow, now that's pretty cool! But does it basically do what I asked about in the first post? Thereby, as Steve pointed out, geometrically distort the image? This method doesn't require any additional post-framing to avoid cutting out part of the frame, as it simulates a squeeze and not a crop that the compositing black bars method would do, the method Cal mentioned?


In other words, Cal's method is basically letterboxing 4:3 footage for viewing on a 4:3 set to make it look as if it's widescreen while Photozoom actually converts 4:3 to 16:9?

The thread mentions exporting letterbox footage, so does that mean I have to first use Cal's method of letterboxing the 4:3 video before exporting it, or can I just export untouched 4:3? What would happen if I didn't use photozoom with letterboxed footage?


95% of people here have 4:3 sets and monitors, so the final video will obviously be for use on that type of TV, so which method would I want to use? Just a basic letterbox to give the illusion of watching widescreen on a 4:3 TV? Photozoom actually stretches the image to 16:9 therefore making it possible to watch on a widescreen TV, but I don't think all that render time is justifiable for something that people are going to be watching on a 4:3 set...Basically, what I'm trying to achieve is giving that cinematic illusion of 4:3 video that's being watched on a 4:3 set

Last edited by Aviv Hallale; April 29th, 2006 at 04:59 AM.
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Old April 29th, 2006, 07:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviv Hallale
I actually think it's quite remarkable how simply adding black bars at the top and bottom of a video and watching it on a 4:3 TV gives the that widescreen/cinematic impression.

Although something isn't filmed in widescreen, for instance, if you watch it in full screen on your monitor and then shrink the picture of the monitor lengthwise, the picture seems to be widescreen.

Is there a way you can do this in post? simply shrink your picture lengthwise, so the actual frame isn't cropped? This obviously wouldn't do any good watching on a widescreen TV, but for getting that cinematic look on a 4:3 set wouldn't it be a viable way of superificial 16:9? Ie, some kind of (freeware) letterboxing tool for Premeire that doesn't cut out the top and bottom of your frame, but still letterboxes it?

It's actually quite funny how much of a psychological thing it is. You equate the letterbox with film and that automatically gives it a more professional appearence, even though most people will be watching your stuff on a 4:3 set that they do all TV...For a videographer, that can really give him the edge for his aesthetics, but is it possible to letterbox something without actually having anything cut off, so you don't have to worry about framing your shot in 16:9 style when you're filming in 4:3?
Think about it for a minute - if you just shrink your image vertically without cropping or stretch it horizontally - same thing - it's just like you were squashing it under your hand. Take a balloon and try it - it squashes down from a sphere into an ovoid. That's going to happen to everything in your shot - circles become ovals, characters add 20 pounds around their middle, etc. That's why when you're shooting 4:3 and it's ultimately destined for release in 16:9 you have to compose within a 16:9 frame mentally (or marked off in the viewfinder) superimposed on the image. The letterboxing then masks off the portions of the image lying outside the 16:9 frame. Or the opposite way - shooting 16:9 for release in 4:3, you mentally super the 4:3 frame on the 16:9 image as you shoot knowing that the edges are going to get cropped off by the pan-and-scan process.
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Old April 29th, 2006, 07:30 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviv Hallale
I've heard that with the VX2100, the 16:9 really isn't that usable and seeing as I'd be watching (and most other people too) on a 4:3 set, the letterbox method might be crazy enough to work.

Is it simply compositing a black solid with transperancy in the right place over your video and then moving your clip about to get the right frame?

Obviously watching that on a 16:9 TV would leave those bars there as they're part of the picture?
That's exactly what "pan and scan" does although its usually done in the opposite direction, masking off portions at the side of a widescreen image to fit the 4:3 screen proportions. Virtually all feature films you see on broadcast TV are pan-and-scan.
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Old April 29th, 2006, 04:34 PM   #10
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See, for me it's aesthetically pleasing because that's what I've been drilled into my head looks good, for a client that doesn't really know anything about 4:3 or 16:9, I'm wondering if it's worth actually going to the trouble to give a widescreen illusion.
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Old April 30th, 2006, 05:59 AM   #11
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So there is an actual difference between simple letterbox, which gives that widescreen on a normal tv appearence, and true widescreen where the image is actually stretched and will look like the former in terms of black bars at the top and bottom, but will be perfect when viewed on a 16:9 set, while the letterbox method willl be pillar boxed on a 16:9 set and blacked off at the top and the bottom?

I guess I am looking to use the former method, just for that appearence and no actual widescreen benefit, so I'd be compositing the mask in post...What's is the right size that each bar should be? Also, if I were using a strip of duct tape on my LCD, how big should each strip be?

If I was doing the fake mask method, the project would of course be a 4:3 one, right?

Maybe it's just me, and it's purely psychological, but when I watch something in 16:9 on my 4:3 monitor and see it letterboxed, it just looks so much better :P I don't think I'd get that same feeling if I were watching it on a widescreen monitor. Those bars just provide a sense of greatness. :/

Last edited by Aviv Hallale; April 30th, 2006 at 07:06 AM.
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Old April 30th, 2006, 07:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviv Hallale
So there is an actual difference between simple letterbox, which gives that widescreen on a normal tv appearence, and true widescreen where the image is actually stretched and will look like the former in terms of black bars at the top and bottom, but will be perfect when viewed on a 16:9 set, while the letterbox method willl be pillar boxed on a 16:9 set and blacked off at the top and the bottom?

I guess I am looking to use the former method, just for that appearence and no actual widescreen benefit, so I'd be compositing the mask in post...What's is the right size that each bar should be? Also, if I were using a strip of duct tape on my LCD, how big should each strip be?

If I was doing the fake mask method, the project would of course be a 4:3 one, right?
"True widescreen" isn't stretched - the image is actually shot with a camera that has more sensors along the horizontal dimension than does that of a 4:3 camera.

Why use "fake masking?" See if your editor is able to do letterboxing and pillarboxing - look for "pan and crop." What editor are you using?

DON'T PUT DUCT TAPE ON YOUR MONITOR! It'll leave a glue residue that is impossible to remove. First see if your editor can display a 16:9 frame in it's preview window. If not, get a piece of clear plastic film that you can fit over the screen and use a fine-line marker and a ruler to mark off the frame outline. Measure the horizontal dimension of your screen - let's say your screen is a typical 17" (430mm) LCD monitor so the screen's horizontal dimension will be about 345mm and its vertical dimension is about 258mm. If you were to superimpose a 16:9 frame on it while matching the horizontal dimensions, the 16:9 frame would only be 193.5mm tall 258 - 194 = 64mm. Divide that by 2 and you find you'll need to draw a dark horizontal line about 32mm, 1.25 inches, from the top and bottom edge of your plastic film to mark off the border of a 16:9 frame.
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Old April 30th, 2006, 08:45 AM   #13
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Well, really all I'm looking for is letterboxing 4:3 video that will be watched on a 4:3 set, but just has that cinematic style to it. Purely psychological/aesthetic and I think to please me more than my clients who might not even know the real differences between standard and widescreen. I edit my stuff, and in post would use the method of overlaying this image:

http://www.makeyourfilm.net/downloads/DSC00027.jpg

and keying out the blue.

I'd just need to be able to have guides during filming so I know what would be cut off by the overlay.

Seeing as I'm going to be shooting in low-lighting envronments (clubs, stage lighting etc) it was a tradeoff between the low-light performance of the VX2100 and the widescreen of the FX1, so I went with the VX.
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Old April 30th, 2006, 11:59 AM   #14
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Hypothetically, If I were making a movie on a microbudget and have it only printed to 500 DVDs lets say and distribute it myself without wanting to be to be blown up on film, what would I do when I know that 99% of those are going to be watched on a standard TV?

Film in 4:3 and edit in 4:3 and burn to a 4:3 DVD? If I wanted to have the 16:9/letterbox option on the DVD what would I do then? Film in 4:3, edit in 4:3 but letterbox it and put that version on DVD as well? That would cause parts to be cropped off though, of course. Is the only practical thing to have a sole 4:3 version of the movie, if that's how it was shot?

If I wanted a 16:9 version, would I have to film and edit in 16:9 originally and if I wanted a 4:3 version, I'd pan and scan it?
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Old April 30th, 2006, 12:37 PM   #15
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Film in anamorphic 16:9 with a camera that can deliver the full resolution (not the VX-2100 or PD-170, but the PDX-10, HVR-A1, HDR-HC1, HDR-FX1 or HVR-Z1). Create an anamorphic DVD and let the customer's DVD player take it from there. If they have a 4:3 TV then the default would be for the player itself to provide a letterbox. However this doesn't cripple the DVD for those who have a 16:9 TV.
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