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Panasonic DVX / DVC Assistant
The 4K DVX200 plus previous Panasonic Pro Line cams: DVX100A, DVC60, DVC30.


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Old August 1st, 2004, 12:44 PM   #1
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to squeeze or not to squeeze

Dear friends and mentors,

I am about to begin my first project with a DVX100A overseas where I intend to shoot 16:9 at 25p (PAL). I have decided against the anamorphic adapter due to the limitation in focal length and in order to facilitate the use of other lens adapters. This leaves squeeze mode as my next best choice. My questions are as follow:

1. I understand that 16:9 squeeze mode enables a superior image on this camera, and I am committed to this aspect ratio. However, I intend to broadcast the finished product in parts of the world where 16:9 broadcast standards and TVs do not yet exist. I always assumed that when output on 4:3 TVs a 16:9 image is automatically letterboxed. Is this true? If not, what are my options?

2. Certain products, such as the 16:9 viewfinder adapter, panasonic 7" portable monitor, and 16:9 playback adapter for monitors, seem to suggest that while in squeeze mode the viewfinders on the DVX100A are unable to display the uncompressed image. If this is true, what is the best course of action?

My goal is a finished product that will meet both US/European 16:9 broadcast standards and the traditional broadcast standards of the CIS and Middle East.

I greatly appreciate any of your thoughts on these matters.
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Old August 1st, 2004, 06:05 PM   #2
Barry Wan Kenobi
 
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Re: to squeeze or not to squeeze

Quote:
I always assumed that when output on 4:3 TVs a 16:9 image is automatically letterboxed. Is this true? If not, what are my options?
Not true. A 16:9 image will be vertically squished (as if someone had pushed the sides in and stretched the top and bottom out) on a 4:3 TV.

If you're playing your 16:9 image from a DVD, all DVD players can do automatic letterboxing. If not playing from a DVD, it'll look squished.

Your only option is to render a "letterbox" version from your NLE, for display on 4:3 TV's (i.e., un-squish the image in post).

Quote:
seem to suggest that while in squeeze mode the viewfinders on the DVX100A are unable to display the uncompressed image. If this is true, what is the best course of action?
True. Your course of action is to either use one of those devices, or just get used to composing the squeezed image. It's not a drastic squeeze -- unlike film anamorphics, which compress the horizontal space at a 2:1 ratio, the video squeeze is only 1.33:1, which isn't too dramatic. But if you must see the image in its full 16:9 shape, either you use one of the above-mentioned devices, or you can try this cost-free trick: just swap to "letterbox" mode to preview the image in its proper composition, then swap back to "squeeze" mode to record it.
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Old August 1st, 2004, 06:14 PM   #3
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Burning the finished video to DVD might make sense in your case. As Barry notes, the DVD players will perform automatic letterboxing during playback. From what I've also read, DVD players sold overseas are multi-format and can be used with either PAL or NTSC systems.

In the case of broadcast I'd assume that the TV station or network could convert your footage into the correct format from your DV master.
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Old August 1st, 2004, 08:59 PM   #4
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Thanks very much to you both.

Is FCP 3 able to render a letterboxed version, as Barry suggested for 4:3 sets? Also, is this possible on Premiere (the NLE of choice in Armenia)?

Generally, I am curious what NLE will allow us to work with 16:9 24p/25p material.
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Old August 2nd, 2004, 10:27 AM   #5
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Another question (I, too, own the advanced 25p model):

When shooting in the squeezed mode, are the focus numbers on the chart (the one that is circulating on the net) still valid? I'm very curious.

I guess Barry has the answer to this. And if he does, thanks a lot Barry for the 37 to 50 numbers - I've been away till yesterday so my thanks comes late.
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Old August 2nd, 2004, 11:58 AM   #6
Barry Wan Kenobi
 
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The focus numbers do not change when you go to squeeze mode.
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Old August 4th, 2004, 08:51 AM   #7
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Thanks again Barry.

When I will return to the US late August I will buy the anamorphic guide - I don't own the adapter yet but planning on renting one for a project.

By the way, are there similar charts that you know about (focus, f-stops etc) for the Century wide-angle and especially telephoto adapters? I guess they would be equally helpful - not so much for the wide one since you will tend to stay full wide when shooting with it, but mainly for the telephoto adapter - focus numbers change, and you have to stop down as well.
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Old August 4th, 2004, 01:13 PM   #8
Barry Wan Kenobi
 
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I know the numbers change for the .6 wide-angle, as I've got one and we always set focus at 24 or 25, which is basically sharp to infinity. Don't know about the telephoto adapter.
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Old August 5th, 2004, 04:31 PM   #9
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Thanks for the tip Barry!

Always helpful.

Bogdan
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