Music Video: 16:9 or Letterbox? at DVinfo.net

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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 16th, 2004, 07:34 PM   #1
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Music Video: 16:9 or Letterbox?

Should you shoot a music video for DVD release or broadcast, in 16:9 or just letterbox it?
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Old August 16th, 2004, 07:58 PM   #2
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I'm confused by your question..

I thought you would always want to shoot the highest resolution possible for 16:9. That would be squeeze mode in progressive scan on the DVX100A.
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Old August 16th, 2004, 10:53 PM   #3
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<<<-- Originally posted by Tommy Haupfear : I'm confused by your question..

I thought you would always want to shoot the highest resolution possible for 16:9. That would be squeeze mode in progressive scan on the DVX100A. -->>>

This is not necessarily true. IF you shoot in squeeze mode, to be displayed on a 4:3 TV then you are actually diminishing picture quality because it is being upsampled in the camera and then brought back down to standard defenition. If your plan is only to be on 4:3 TV wheather DVD or broadcast shoot letterbox. However, if there is a possiblity that you will have people with HD TV's with or just people watching on 16:9 televisions, then shoot squeeze. There won't be much of a loss of resolution when watching squeezed footage on a letterbox TV, however it is there, so shoot accordingly. Then again you could bypass all this hassle and shoot with the animorphic adapter.
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Old August 16th, 2004, 11:20 PM   #4
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Are music videos on MTV, BET, etc. shot in letterbox or squeeze?
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Old August 17th, 2004, 03:38 AM   #5
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Well, videos on MTV and others are mostly shot on film, then converted for television. As it is being shown on television it will be letterboxed, however, for DVD releases, most likely they will be animorphic 16:9 footage that the DVD player will leterbox on 4:3 televisions. So if you are planning for soley an NTSC release, letterbox will be your best bet.
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Old August 21st, 2004, 12:11 AM   #6
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not considering image quality, below is an alternative..

with the DVX, i would shoot in 4:3 neat (no mask, no stretching, no squeeze), then in post, i would add a 4:3 mask it AND convert to 16:9

for one, 4:3 with a mask allows u to tilt and rotate and crop the image, it pretty much gives u 12% above and below the footage to play around with...then once uve got ur edit, render out to 4:3 with the mask..

now re-import that one rendered file.. then run it as widescreen 16:9.. your black bars should be vanish and your footage should be strected to fill the aspect..

Now u have 2 differnt formats.... reason i say this is coz u dont want to be limited to one format when demoing, so u can use either format when pitching for another job.

AND it offers people a choice of how they wish to view it..
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Old August 21st, 2004, 01:30 PM   #7
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>>TV then you are actually diminishing picture quality because it is being upsampled in the camera and then brought back down to standard defenition.<<

Why is this?
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Old August 21st, 2004, 09:36 PM   #8
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Well, if you think about it aaron, this is what is happening. When shooting letterbox all that is going on is that the frame is being cropped, nothing is resised, resampled or upsampled, just a simple crop. This goes the same for cropping in post and shooting 4:3. When you shoot squeezed mode, it upsamples the footage in the camera and then save it to the tape in a stretched version. This is great if your footage will be seen on a widescreen TV because it is 16:9 footage, that has been cropped and upsampled from 4:3 footage. The reason that this doesn't look as good when you watch the footage on a 4:3 TV (the Stretched footage) is becasue it has allready been upsampled for another format, and is now being downsampled again by the DVD player. The result is a slightly less sharp image, however, to the majority of people, no one will be able to tell the difference, however, side by side, it is obvious, with resolution charts, that the upsampling has softened the image slightly. Going from that softened upsampled image back down to a 4:3 image retains the slight softening effect. I hope this makes some sense.
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Old August 22nd, 2004, 07:59 AM   #9
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bout 25% loss in vertical resolution.. which is why some cams (like the gs400) still retail a nice images due to high pixel counts.. (althou not native widescreen)
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Old August 22nd, 2004, 01:46 PM   #10
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Thanks for the reply Stephan. Very helpful. What I still don't understand though is why the camera would bother upsampling the image? Doesn't it still have to conform to DV's frame size for recording onto tape?
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Old August 24th, 2004, 04:27 PM   #11
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That's exactly why it has to upsample.

In squeeze mode, you use only the central 720x360 pixels to form the image. But DV requires 720x480, so the camera has to digitally upsample the 720x360 to become 720x480.

In letterbox mode, they use the full 720x480 but just put black bars over the top and bottom. Squeeze mode actually changes the shape of the video to be widescreen, but it has to stretch the image across the full surface of the CCD to make it DV-compliant.
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Old August 24th, 2004, 05:25 PM   #12
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Thanks Barry :)
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Old September 4th, 2004, 01:18 PM   #13
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Letterbox; Widescreen; 16x9

Sorry guys. I'm ignorant. Can you tell me the difference between Letterbox, Widescreen and 16x9. What are the aspect ratios of each?
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Old September 4th, 2004, 01:31 PM   #14
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It looks like I may have found the answer on another website. I'm sure everyone knows this but it looks like film is widescreen and is a 1.85:1 ratio. HDTV is 16:9 or letterbox and is a 1.78:1 ratio.

Correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old September 4th, 2004, 04:00 PM   #15
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You're correct about widescreen TVs being 1.78:1 but film is not limited to just 1.85:1. Letterbox is 4:3.

Below is a link that goes over the many aspect ratios used over the years for film.

Click here

another link with examples:

Click here
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