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Old July 1st, 2003, 04:44 AM   #1
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Best software for letterbox to anamorphic widescreen conversion?

I'm a newbie coming from a home theater background. Naturally, I want to record my videos on DVD in 16:9 (anamorphic).

My DV cam records video in letterbox (4:3 with black bars) and that's how it ends up on my PC. Now, I'd like to convert my letterbox material to anamorphic by simply cropping/removing the black bars and record that to DVD.

What's the best (easiest to use) software for doing this? None of the software I've tried seems to be able to do this.

I've tried looking through the forums for an answer but I can seem to find one. Maybe I'm search wrong. Most of the threads I end up with are on how to add the black bars, not remove them.

Anyway, any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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Old July 1st, 2003, 06:59 AM   #2
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The DVFilm products do a pretty good job. I've tried DVFilm Atlantis and was impressed with the results. They have trial versions you can download and see for your self if it's what you want.
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Old July 1st, 2003, 07:33 AM   #3
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Don't know about other programs, but in Final Cut Pro you can certainly do this. Just select the Distort property from the Motion tab. Now stretch the image such that it fills the frame vertically.
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Old July 1st, 2003, 07:33 AM   #4
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Thanks! I really want to try a product first before purchasing. Earlier today, I downloaded ULead Video Studio 7. Looks okay but can't seem to do what I want.

I was also interested in Pinnacle Studio 8 until I saw on their customer boards that it doesn't support 16:9.

I have really no idea about DV software so ANY input is most welcome.

Off I go now to check this out...
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Old July 1st, 2003, 09:51 AM   #5
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Okay, I downloaded the DVFilm software and had a look. Unfortunately, it's still not what I'm looking for.

It adds black bars to a 4:3 source to produce letterbox 16:9. I already have a letterbox source. What I want to do is convert it to anamorphic widescreen.

I did a quick search on Final Cut Pro. It looks like it's for the Mac and it costs $1,000. I'm not really willing to spend that much.

Is there any other software out there (preferably costing much less than $1,000) that can convert 16:9 letterbox (4:3 with black bars) to anamorphic widescreen?

I realize now that my thread title is a bit wrong and misleading.

To put my question in another way:

Which software can I use to produce anamorphic 16:9 widscreen DVDs from 4:3 or 16:9 letterbox source material?
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Old July 1st, 2003, 11:20 AM   #6
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Sonic Foundry Vegas 4+DVD will let you do it. I've been doing the conversion with my latest test shots, and it works fine.

A cheaper route might be Sonic Foundry Video Factory (a cheaper version of Vegas) with the MPEG-2 plug-in (extra cost). VF has the pan & crop tools, so I expect it can understand 16x9.
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Old July 1st, 2003, 06:23 PM   #7
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Thanks for the reply! Excellent recommendation!

I've downloaded it and have had a quick go at it. Nice looking interface, easy to use (especially the panning/cropping tool).

Compared to Adobe Premiere (which I've also downloaded) this is by far easier to use.

I still need to sort out some s/w and h/w issues on my PC but after a week of stress with my new DV cam (being a newbie and all) I'm breathing easier now.

Much appreciated, Bruce!!! :-D
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Old July 1st, 2003, 07:43 PM   #8
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I edited my first short with Video Factory. I was almost done, but didn't know what to do for a couple segments. After giving my deputy director a 5 minute tutorial, he sat down and edited the segments that I wasn't sure what to do with, while I was off drinking some pineapple soda. Now that's ease of use!
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Old July 2nd, 2003, 08:44 PM   #9
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Almost all NLE's will do what you are trying to do, as it a simple crop and resize.
However, make sure you check out VirtualDub (at www.virtualdub.org) - it has been mentioned her plenty of times before and this mention will just have to get in line...
It's free, powerful, but not really and NLE. It will allow you to do almost anything with a given clip of video, and most professional editors that work on Wintel that I know have a copy of it installed, including those that use Avid and DS systems, to do that little bit of tweaking that their NLE has no plugin for. Some of the third party plugins for VirtualDub add high-quality resizing, various really good image filters, top-notch adaptive de-interlacing etc etc etc.

HTH,

Kai.
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Old July 3rd, 2003, 03:51 PM   #10
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TmpgEnc can also do this... Just be sure you use software that bicubicly resizes the image (the same method Adobe Photoshop does) This gives the best result...
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Old July 7th, 2003, 07:02 PM   #11
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FilmFX from www.bigfx.com
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Old July 7th, 2003, 10:22 PM   #12
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By upsizing with bicubic, you'll get a workable result but the best route to go is to use the Photoshop plug in Genuine Fractals. It's resizing capabilities far surpass Photoshop's native interpolation.

The downside is you have to process this frame by frame and load your image sequence into your editor afterwards (Gasp!).
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Old July 14th, 2003, 11:19 AM   #13
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Using Photoshop...

If you save the footage as an image sequence, you can create a macro for Photoshop to open each file, apply Genuine Fractals, Stair Interpolation, or S-Spline. The macro would then resave the file with the same filename and move on to the next file.

It will take a while...about 8 sec per frame...but you can bring the sequence back into your NLE and re-export to DV with the new aspect ratio or image size.
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Old July 14th, 2003, 03:09 PM   #14
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That seems like major overkill to convert letterbox to anamorphic. The basic issue is that the letterbox image will only have 360 vertical lines but the anamorphic needs 480. Now maybe you can smooth this out a bit with various software techniques, but you can't create the 120 lines which weren't there in the first place. So no matter how you do it end result will have 25% less information than a real anamorphic 16:9 image. And 8 seconds per frame is a huge processing load, not to mention the file size of all the frames in JPEG format.

I can see how this might make sense for short sequences, but not for full movies....
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Old July 14th, 2003, 06:15 PM   #15
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There is actually a big difference how well different apps scale footage. Some apps don't do this well. FCP is one of them. Believe it or not but After Effects is another. I went through a nightmare this spring trying to scale super clean CG footage. The CG made all the flaws extremely visible. Finaly I tried to do it in Combustion and it worked. Combustion had the cleanest scaling algorithms I've seen so far.

This of course is only important if you have material that you think is really sensitive to scaling.
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