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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
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Old August 26th, 2005, 09:49 PM   #1
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Shoot in 4x3 or 16x9?

I have a Sony PDX10p and prefer to shoot as & import into Vegas 6.0 as 16x9 (SD). Historically has yielded the most pleasing pictures when submitted on DVD.

The customer may (as yet unclear) require rendering this edited footage to DVD (PAL) in 16x9 anamorphic, 16x9 letterboxed and 4x3 (possibly all).

Questions:
1. Given that the 16x9 SD footage from the PDX10 is pretty good, say, compared with the PD150 and Iím loosing little horizontal resolution, what format should I use (either 16x9 or 4x3) to shoot the footage to optimize quality in all final output formats;
2. Once selected, how should I approach editing this footage eg (16x9) or (4x3) within Vegas 6 to allow rendering to any or all of these 3 DVD presentation formats?

Thanks in advance,

Graham
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Old August 27th, 2005, 08:52 AM   #2
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I'm on the Mac so I can't help with the editing questions. But from what you've said, you should clearly shoot, edit and burn your DVD in 16:9 and let the customer's DVD player take it from there.

If you make an anamorphic DVD all your bases will be covered. Every DVD player I've ever seen has 3 menu options for screen size:

1. 16:9 - passes the anamorphic image directly to a widescreen TV
2. 4:3 letterbox - the DVD player provides a letterbox for a 4:3 screen
3. 4:3 pan and scan - chops off the sides of the 16:9 image

Now of course this would require the customer to setup their DVD player properly for the desired format. Out of the box, all the player's I've seen are configured for 4:3 letterbox as default.

People who have widescreen TV's have (hopefully) already figured out that they need to configure their players for 16:9. People with 4:3 sets probably haven't messed with the setting at all and will get letterbox. But wanting a full screen 4:3 version might be the only issue which could require a different version of the DVD (like commercial DVD's). In that case you'd need to unstretch the footage and chop off the sides in Vegas. You're correct in that you'll lose horizontal resolution that way and degrade your image.

So it will be a little hard to have your cake and eat it too unfortunately...
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Old August 27th, 2005, 05:25 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
1. 16:9 - passes the anamorphic image directly to a widescreen TV
2. 4:3 letterbox - the DVD player provides a letterbox for a 4:3 screen
3. 4:3 pan and scan - chops off the sides of the 16:9 image
Modes 2 and 3 both letterbox on every DVD player I've ever tried. I understand the theory of the two 4:3 modes, but I've never seen anything other than letterbox in actual practice. Am I missing something?
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Old August 27th, 2005, 05:36 PM   #4
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Ha... I just tried on my Sony player which is connected to a 4:3 set.... you're right! Interesting, I've never tried that setting before since I prefer letterbox. So maybe the DVD has to be made some way that supports pan&scan (or should I say that doesn't disable pan&scan)?

But what's interesting is, in another thread someone was having a problem with video not letterboxing on his 4:3 TV and we tracked it down to this setting. Now this was a home-made anamorphic disk from a DVD recorder however. I just tried with a commercial DVD, so maybe they're treated differently?....

Oh well, in that case I guess you need to press your client about which format is most valuable for their project. Seems like it would be a shame not to take advantage of the PDX-10's nice 16:9 though, or to degrade the image by chopping off the sides for 4:3.
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Old August 27th, 2005, 05:40 PM   #5
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I'd love to see that thread. There must be a flag that can be set to enable 4:3 pan & scan when you burn a DVD. I know that widescreen DVDs that I burn format to letterbox with either 4:3 setting on my DVD player. This has really piqued my curiosity.
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Old August 27th, 2005, 06:19 PM   #6
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OK, here ya go.... I have an anamorphic DVD that I recorded on a Sony RDR-GX7 standalone DVD recorder connected to my mac via firewire, using "print to video." In the record setup menu on the DVD recorder I chose 16:9 mode (this is a completely different menu than the playback options).

This disk proper letterboxes on my 4:3 TV using my cheap, old Sony DVD player set to 4:3 letterbox. It also plays correctly on my 16:9 plasma TV using a newer cheap Sony DVD player with the the playback option set to 16:9.

And on my 4:3 TV with playback set to 4:3 pan and scan, it chops off the sides while zooming the image to the full height of the 4:3 screen. I feel much better now :-)

But the question is "why"? Sorry, I haven't a clue. Being a consumer product, the RDR-GX7 doesn't have any tech info or sophisticated menu options to control this behavior. It just lets you choose record mode of either 4:3 or 16:9.

BTW, the disk I'm trying this with was shot on my PDX-10. It looks pretty good on my 4:3 20" Sony WEGA CRT TV (connected via s-video). So I think this is a viable solution to getting all 3 formats with a single disk. People still using 4:3 TV's probably don't have top-notch screens that will show the loss of resolution. On the other hand, people with expensive 16:9 sets are certainly going to appreciate the PDX-10's quality in widescreen mode.

So try experimenting with your DVD burning software, there must be some flag to set. If all else fails, you could always get a standalone DVD recorder, they're a lot cheaper now than they were when I bought mine. Of course they don't let you create any custom menus or anything though...
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Old August 27th, 2005, 09:39 PM   #7
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That is interesting. I just checked out my standalone DVD recorder (an $105 Cyberhome DVR 1600) and it doesn't have record aspect ratio settings. I looked at all the available options on DVD Architect 3 and don't any setting that lets you choose between letterboxed and pan and scan playback either. This is interesting stuff. Does anyone know if there is DVD authoring software that lets you do this? Does the spec allow you to move around the center of the frame or does it just lop the sides off evenly. Somebody must know this stuff.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd Ostroff
OK, here ya go.... I have an anamorphic DVD that I recorded on a Sony RDR-GX7 standalone DVD recorder connected to my mac via firewire, using "print to video." In the record setup menu on the DVD recorder I chose 16:9 mode (this is a completely different menu than the playback options).

This disk proper letterboxes on my 4:3 TV using my cheap, old Sony DVD player set to 4:3 letterbox. It also plays correctly on my 16:9 plasma TV using a newer cheap Sony DVD player with the the playback option set to 16:9.

And on my 4:3 TV with playback set to 4:3 pan and scan, it chops off the sides while zooming the image to the full height of the 4:3 screen. I feel much better now :-)

But the question is "why"? Sorry, I haven't a clue. Being a consumer product, the RDR-GX7 doesn't have any tech info or sophisticated menu options to control this behavior. It just lets you choose record mode of either 4:3 or 16:9.


BTW, the disk I'm trying this with was shot on my PDX-10. It looks pretty good on my 4:3 20" Sony WEGA CRT TV (connected via s-video). So I think this is a viable solution to getting all 3 formats with a single disk. People still using 4:3 TV's probably don't have top-notch screens that will show the loss of resolution. On the other hand, people with expensive 16:9 sets are certainly going to appreciate the PDX-10's quality in widescreen mode.

So try experimenting with your DVD burning software, there must be some flag to set. If all else fails, you could always get a standalone DVD recorder, they're a lot cheaper now than they were when I bought mine. Of course they don't let you create any custom menus or anything though...
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Old August 29th, 2005, 08:22 AM   #8
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Back to the original question, as to whether to shoot 16:9 or 4:3 in order to make DVDs in both formats, the most common is to shoot 4:3 and then do the 16:9 crop and stretch in your editor. I just did an experiment going the other way and chopped off the sides of a 16:9 frame to render 4:3. It looked fine as well.

It is probably more a question of framing than quality.
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Old August 30th, 2005, 10:38 PM   #9
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Shoot in 4x3 or 16x9 .... thanks for the feedback

Thanks Boyd & Laurence,

I've discussed this further with the customer & they've decided to go 16x9.

FWIW, further to your posts I've tried a 16x9 shot on the PDX10P, edited in Vegas 6 & authored in DVD Architect 3.0 & outcome is 4:3 letterbox & 4:3 pan & scan function the same (tried various DVD players from 5 yr old Pioneer to a fairly new HD 16x9 hdmi upscaling Samsung).

Anyway looks like I'll get the best quality outcome given they are happy with 16x9 anamorphic.

Cheers, Graham
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Old August 31st, 2005, 09:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Graham Budd
...fairly new HD 16x9 hdmi upscaling Samsung).
Unfortunatey most (probably all) upscaling DVD players only uprez 24P. They don't do a thing with the kind of interlaced video the Sony cameras shoot.
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Old August 31st, 2005, 04:08 PM   #11
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Many DVI / HDMI players will upscale to 576p/720p & 1080i from NTSC or PAL from standard (interlaced) resolutions & frame rates to component progressive scan and DVI / HDMI inputs on a TV or projector if it has those capabilities.

Depending on what you select it basically takes the DVD content (whatever it might be) and sends to the display device at standard HD rates & resolutions as analogue (via component) or digital, via DVI-D or HDMI connection.
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Old September 4th, 2005, 10:48 PM   #12
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I have a friend with a new 50" Samsung widescreen TV and uprezzing Samsung DVD player. We compared the uprezzing Samsung to his old $35 budget Cyberhome DVD player. We tried a variety of source material including stuff shot on video as well as standard 24p anamorphic movie stuff. We really tried to see a difference. We really wanted to see a difference, especially him as he had just spent some money on this difference. Anyway, neither of us could see any difference at all. Maybe there is a subtle difference we couldn't make out, maybe you need a bigger 60" plus TV to see the difference, or maybe we were both just too farsighted (I'm in my forties, he's in his fifties). In anycase, I won't be buying an uprezzing player until they get to the point where I can actually see some difference!
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Old September 5th, 2005, 02:05 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence Kingston
I have a friend with a new 50" Samsung widescreen TV and uprezzing Samsung DVD player. We compared the uprezzing Samsung to his old $35 budget Cyberhome DVD player. We tried a variety of source material including stuff shot on video as well as standard 24p anamorphic movie stuff. We really tried to see a difference. We really wanted to see a difference, especially him as he had just spent some money on this difference. Anyway, neither of us could see any difference at all. Maybe there is a subtle difference we couldn't make out, maybe you need a bigger 60" plus TV to see the difference, or maybe we were both just too farsighted (I'm in my forties, he's in his fifties). In anycase, I won't be buying an uprezzing player until they get to the point where I can actually see some difference!
The TV was uprezzing the Cyberhome.
Really there will not be much difference at all until you push a signal through it that is greater than 720x480, assuming that it is an HDTV.
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Old September 5th, 2005, 09:40 AM   #14
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You know, I suspected that. So then my conclusion should be that the Samsung TV uprezzing looks exactly the same as the DVD uprezzing rather than that uprezzing doesn't make a noticable difference. Do most HD TVs uprez? I have an older (early 2000's) Toshiba HD 4:3 TV with vertical 16:9 compression and the image from DVDs looks really good on that. I wonder if it's uprezzing as well?
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Old September 5th, 2005, 11:20 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence Kingston
You know, I suspected that. So then my conclusion should be that the Samsung TV uprezzing looks exactly the same as the DVD uprezzing rather than that uprezzing doesn't make a noticable difference. Do most HD TVs uprez? I have an older (early 2000's) Toshiba HD 4:3 TV with vertical 16:9 compression and the image from DVDs looks really good on that. I wonder if it's uprezzing as well?
Uprezzing is such a vague term. I think the word your looking for is interpolation. This is the process of averaging pixels that are side by side and coming up with new pixels to make the image look like it is a higher rez image. Uprezzing sounds like your just trying to get a smaller rez image fit in a larger space, which is extremely uncomplicated.
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