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Old October 31st, 2004, 01:51 PM   #1
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Cheap and easy way to Academy Widescreen?

Hey all. Well I just finished all the post production on our latest short film and was wondering if there's an easy way to change render settings or something to export the file squeezed to be Academy Wide screen ratio, that is have it displayed on a regular NTSC TV with the Academy ratio rather than standard in camera masked ratio (16X9)? The project originated as DVX100a 24p widescreen masked footage and obviously the final destination is NTSC dvd VIA dvda1. I'm in Vegas 4. I've tried more involved methods just as testers VIA changing track motion etc. to make it the exact academy ratio, but this way proved to have excrutiating render times (I use Magic Bullet as well, yeah, tough combination) and other problems popped up also. I'm sure some will ask why, and my answer is simply asthetic. I like the look of footage in academy ratio widescreen over the masked 16X9 way, or atleast wanted to compare the two on my TV and pick. Any quick ways to pull this off as a render or project setting? Thanks.
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Old October 31st, 2004, 02:17 PM   #2
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If you want other masks to letterbox footage check my page out:

www.visuar.com/letterbox/calc.htm

It has 1.85 and 2.35 masks available for you. But it allows you to
calculate any size you want basically (although you will have to
make the picture yourself).
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Old October 31st, 2004, 02:55 PM   #3
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Rob, thanks for your masks, you have a very helpful site. However, I'm looking for a way that I won't lose any of my picture from the 16X9 original in camera mask, actually to squeeze the 16X9 to 1.85. Having masks is a way to crop but then you must reframe each shot inside that mask. I mean to essentially resize the frame to change the ratio of the picture to avoid reframing every shot. I know how to do a few tricks to cut out the black bars for internet streaming files etc. but was wondering if there was a similar trick or setting (changing frame size, choosing not to fill frame or reverse etc.) for DVD output to resize etc. during a render and create a 1.85 output that doesn't cut off any of the picture, just resizes the frame. The 16X9 footage is already fairly close to 1.85 so that change is not really noticeable in terms of shapes being altered. Any thoughts?
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Old October 31st, 2004, 03:47 PM   #4
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Bryan,
In Vegas the only way that I know of to get Academy Widescreen is by using the Pan/Crop tool on the clip. Now if you have many clips on the timeline that probably is not the most efficient way so I would render the entire project as an AVI then bring THAT back into to Vegas as a new project and goto the Pan/Crop tool for the clip and in the pull down menu are different aspect ratios including Academy Widescreen.

Thats about the only way I know to do it.

Don B
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Old October 31st, 2004, 04:26 PM   #5
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Don - I had considered that option to then run my pan / crop and track motion combo trick to squeeze my picture to an exact Academy ratio but was concerned with a quality loss when rendering to AVI and then re-rendering in Mpeg2. I will be sending out around 12 copies on DVD to various festivals and wanted the best quality I could get from Mpeg2. Is this loss existent or noteable in your opinion or is it insignificant?
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Old October 31st, 2004, 04:54 PM   #6
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This might be useless because a) I haven't tried it and b) I don't know Vegas, but...
In Premiere, you can set the pixel aspect ratio for a project, even if that ratio is "incorrect." One of the options is the D4/D16 ratio of .948:1. If you used this setting, then exported normally, the result should be a horizontal stretch of 1/.948 (1.054). This would stretch 1.78 to 1.87, which is pretty close to 1.85.
Maybe Vegas has similar options?
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Old October 31st, 2004, 07:31 PM   #7
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Actually, I have never noticed any loss in quality at all. I always render each section of my project seperately, then put together a new project of each of the AVIs and render 1 large AVI. Then I either PTT or render that AVI as an MPEG2 and AC.3 audio for use in DVDA. I've looked at my stuff on eveything from a 13"NTSC monitor to a 61" TV and haven't seen enough quality loss to worry about it at all.

I think that might be your only choice other than setting the Pan/Crop of each clip on the timeline to Academy and THEN render as MPEG2 but I think that would be a VERRRRRRY SLOOOOOOOW process.

Don B.
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Old October 31st, 2004, 11:21 PM   #8
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Don - very nice. I always thought that even though I could export with an uncompressed setting, that there would be some sort of drawback and noticeable loss of quality. So I ran the whole process with good success, here's the steps for anyone who wants to try this for a bit of an extra widescreen effect on their 16X9 masked footage without having to reframe your shots:

I rendered out to an uncompressed AVI which ended up taking 3.5 hours for the 15 minute project (lots of magic bullet, lots) and then brought this single file into a new Vegas project. Then using the template from Rob's site, brought a 1.85 template on top of the track at 50% opacity to line up my squeeze job done with track motion - note: you need to unlock the ratio freeze button and just change vertical properties (remember, you're not going to line up where the edge of the video file is to the template, you're lining up the frame line where the picture starts from the original mask job to where the picture would normally start in a 1.85 job). Once this is set perfectly, save it as a preset (for future quick use) and I rendered my DVDA 24p project file in 35 minutes.
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Old November 1st, 2004, 08:05 AM   #9
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Glad it worked out for you.

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Old November 1st, 2004, 08:33 AM   #10
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I hate to nitpick, but "Academy" is not a widescreen format. It is 1.37:1 which is very close to ordinary 4:3 TV at 1.33:1. See http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/wide.../evolution.htm
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Old November 1st, 2004, 08:54 AM   #11
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Boyd - I understand your point, just going by what Vegas was calling it. An interesting and informative read nonetheless.
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Old November 1st, 2004, 04:00 PM   #12
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Hi Bryan, Good to read that your movie has reached the final part of post production. I understand you want a 1:1.85 "Vegas-Academy format" output from your 4:3 video with letterboxed 16:9 widescreen footage? And you want the best quality output without the need of reframing every clip with it's pan/crop tool?

I agree with Don that the quality loss in a 1st or 2nd generation rendering is very little and not visible by eye on a big tv screen. Going the "uncompressed" route is a good way to do that to prevent the quality as good as possible.

You know I used the Vegas-Academy format for our movie BitterSweet. I did a reframing of every single shot (but the length of our movie is 8 minutes). Despite the little difference between 16:9 and 1.1:85, I often felt the need of changing most shots by hand to get the best crop/composition possible.

But if you feel alright with a good average 1.185 pan/crop selection of all your footage, you could consider using the Zenote Letterbox plug-in (www.zenote.com). I've downloaded the trial version some time ago and it works like all other Vegas video fx: drag the Letterbox Effect to the Preview screen, resize it to 1:1.85 format and you're finished. You can render straight to MPEG2 and AC3, without going the uncompressed route.

Best regards,
Peter
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Old November 2nd, 2004, 09:17 AM   #13
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Hey Peter, yes, Brie is in the printing stage now, finally. But I didn't just crop the whole file with one mask, I literally squeezed or resized my frame size the little bit needed to get from 16X9 to 1.85 so there was zero cropping needed. The change alters the picture a slight bit but one really can't tell. However, after doing a little DVD test with both files to compare unaltered 16X9 footage and then my squeezed version, the squeeze really didn't look bad, but I didn't want to give our DP a heart attack by squeezing all his footage so in the end, I just stayed with the regular 16X9 file.
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Old November 2nd, 2004, 12:35 PM   #14
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Glad you stayed with the 16:9 format, as squeezing the video would cause a heartattack with any DP. And you use more resolution for the same picture information on the big screen. So everybody is happy.

Peter
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