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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
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Old July 11th, 2003, 11:02 AM   #1
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Shoot 16x9 how will it play on 4x3?

Hi all,

I'm considering a pdx10...but i have a question. Okay you shoot 16x9 (the only reason to buy this camera) you edit in an NLE like FCP, and then you export it to tape....if the monitor is 4:3 won't the footage look "letterboxed"? And if the monitor is 16:9 it will play full screen?

thanks!

Michael
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Old July 11th, 2003, 01:13 PM   #2
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On a normal 4:3 screen the footage will not be letterboxed, it will be squashed such that everyone looks really tall and skinny ;-) On a widescreen TV it will look correct and fill the screen.

If you want to letterbox, that's a separate step you'll need to take in FCP by creating a 4:3 sequence and using the "distort" property on the motion tab. But of course this totally defeats the purpose of using a camera like the PDX-10 since you're throwing away all the extra pixels it captures and only showing a 720x360 image.

Bottom line is that you would need to make two versions of your video if you want it to show correctly on both 4:3 and 16:9 TV's or monitors. Perhaps some of the very newest sets can detect the 16:9 flag imbedded in the video stream and automatically letterbox? I have not seen such a set however. My 27" Sony WEGA 4:3 has a menu item which adjusts the dot pitch to correctly show 16:9 video and it looks pretty good. It is not automatic however, and none of the smaller WEGA's have this feature.
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Old July 11th, 2003, 02:07 PM   #3
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In FCP it's not terribly hard to do pan and scan. You also have the option of messing with the final aspect ratio in Compressor if you're working in FCP 4.
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Old July 19th, 2003, 05:11 PM   #4
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16:9 question...

if you buy widescreen version of commercial DVD and play on regular 4:3 TV, you see letterboxed 16:9, not squashed.

does anyone know how to do that?
does it anything to do with DVD authoring program?

I have FCP4 and DVD Studio Pro 2
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Old July 19th, 2003, 05:25 PM   #5
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DVD SP 2 is not shipping yet.
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Old July 19th, 2003, 10:19 PM   #6
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its DVD SP 1.5 not 2
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Old July 21st, 2003, 12:22 PM   #7
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Erik,

it's down to setting the widescreen flags in the MPEG2 data when you encode it, and telling your DVD player that your TV is only 4:3.

The DVD authoring software is ignorant of whether your video is widescreen or not. But, in order to play your DVD successfully and as you want it to be, you need to make sure that (for example) as you author you make different camera angles have the same aspect ratio.

When the DVD player plays your disc, it reads the assorted MPEG2 stream flags, determines that yours is widescreen, checks if the connected TV is widescreen, and letterboxes if not.

Regards,

Julian
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Old July 25th, 2003, 06:39 AM   #8
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That is correct indeed. A DVD player will letterbox the footage
if needed, the only thing that is done during encoding and
authoring is setting the approriate flags so that the DVD player
knows it is anamorphic footage.
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Old August 21st, 2003, 01:44 AM   #9
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Wow, the thread for me, I can see that!!

Couldn't get this question out of my head yesterday, thanks for beeing there with this thread! :-D

Ok, so, creating the widescreen flag in the finished product for distributing to a tv broadcasting channel would also do the trick with 4:3 letterbox for a 4:3 tv set and actual widescreen for the widescreen tv set?

That is, if I shoot in 16:9 with the PDX-10, edit the product in an NLE software, create the end product with the DVD authoring software - setting widescreen flags that would produce the above effect - that would take care of the problem with adapting to the two tv set formats with 16:9 film?

Is mpeg2 a good format when distributing to tv broadcasting channels? (if they need dvcam tapes i guess this won't be possible, how would you go about doing this in that case? Or is the above coding something processed by the tv channels anyway and you won't have to worry?)

Best

Chris
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Old August 21st, 2003, 07:53 AM   #10
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I don't know much about broadcasting and definitely not about
broadcasting an anamorphic signal. I'm not sure how this would
work if a standard 4:3 TV is connected.

The trick with the DVD player is, is that you've set the thing up
telling it what kind of TV you have (anamorphic or regular 4:3).
So if the player knows this and it can also see if a DVD has an
anamorphic signal or not it can either send the signal straight
to the TV (in case of a widescreen TV) or de-squash it and add
black bars (in case of a regular 4:3 TV).

I hope this explains it a bit. So again, I'm not sure how this would
work with broadcast. My advice would be to contact the broadcast
company and have one of their tech people answer this for you.
Then your sure what they want/can handle etc.

If you send it in MPEG2 they usually re-encode it into another
form of MPEG2. So it might be better to deliver a DV tape to them
if they allow for it....

Then again, who knows! Contact them to be safe, otherwise
should 4:3.
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Old August 22nd, 2003, 10:56 AM   #11
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Is it standard for all TRV models to use the full CCD for recording in widescreen?

I was wondering. Does anyone know if all of the Sony TRV models use the full CCD to capture in widescreen mode (ie: in anamorphic) or is the CCD using only a fraction of the resolution relative to the 16x9 aspect ratio? I have the TRV30 and am wanting to make sure that it is using the full CCD to capture in "ws" mode. It seems like it is, because my footage is coming out anamorphic. Otherwise, If it's not, then I will just crop my footage in post.

Thanks for any replies,

-gianni
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Old August 22nd, 2003, 07:53 PM   #12
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The fact that your footage is anamorphic doesn't really tell you anything. The PD-150 and VX-2000 crop and stretch to create an anamorphic image, but it gets mangled pretty severely by the DV compression.

I don't know anything about the TRV series, but there's a lot of hype and confusion when it comes to this topic. I suggest you shoot some simple tests with the camera locked down on something. Shoot a few seconds in 4:3 mode, then switch to wide mode. The first tip as to what's happening will be if you see the field of view expand horizontally when you switch to wide. That would imply that it's using more pixels.

Capture a few seconds in your NLE of both 4:3 and 16:9, then export a frame of each and take a close look in Photoshop. The results should speak for themselves.

If you want to be scientific about it, download this test chart, print it up and use it for your test. Then look at the vertical resolution in the resulting frames - this is measured by the converging horizontal lines to the left and right of center. Note the position on the scale where the lines are no longer clearly distinct, this is your approximate vertical resolution. You can see some examples shot with the VX-2000 and PDX-10 here
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Old August 22nd, 2003, 08:36 PM   #13
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Thanks for taking the time to respond. That's pretty much what I was expecting to do, had I not gotten the easy yes/no answer that me (being a bit lazy) was hoping for. But, I do appreciate your long explanation and of course there's no way to really know without testing it first hand. Those test images will surely prove useful btw too.

Thanks,

-gianni
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Old September 8th, 2003, 02:36 PM   #14
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TV stations generally have only standard broadcast VTRs for playback, so I would expect that you would need to provide 4:3 letterboxed footage to them on a standard tape format such as Betacam SP. A select few outlets are 16:9 capable (e.g., the Los Angeles bureaus of Reuters and Network 7 Australia), but they're not the norm. And although some broadcast facilities are equipped with DVD players and DV VTRs, these are the exception, and these playback devices are usually used for transfer/dubbing, rather than as direct broadcast sources.
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Old September 8th, 2003, 03:17 PM   #15
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>My 27" Sony WEGA 4:3 has a menu item which adjusts the dot >pitch to correctly show 16:9 video and it looks pretty good. It is >not automatic however, and none of the smaller WEGA's have >this feature.

Boyd,

My Sony WEGA 40" CRT seems to do this automatically. I've popped in DVD-Rs authored for 4:3 and commercial DVD-ROMs with 16:9. They play in the expected format without my intervention.
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