Vegas-DVX100- REAL!! Widescreen letterbox at

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Old July 12th, 2005, 03:09 PM   #1
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Vegas-DVX100- REAL!! Widescreen letterbox

Okay, this is a fairly significant discovery I've made while creating my film

This concerns LETTERBOX created video with the DVX100:

I have been really surprised to see that no one else has gotten this, and it makes a HUGE difference

The problem is this-- you create letterbox video with the DVX100, only to lose a significant portion of the image on the right and left sides when you edit and render USING THE VEGAS RECOMMENDED whitepaper settings- which includes this fatal flaw:
Project propertiecs .9091 pixel aspect ratio.

Not only does this distort the image in the preview window, but a good 15% of the edges are lost outside the safe areas (show safe area grids in preview windows.)

When you render for DVD, you get a so-so semi-widescreen letterbox image that is halfway between true "widescreen" letterbox, and plain old 4:3

You can correct the preview window distortion by right clicking the preview window, and selecting "simulate device aspect ratio" but that does nothing about losing all of the "widescreen" letterbox image on the sides.

By simple choosing Project Properties Pixel Aspect Ratio 1.0 Square, you accomplish several things at once:

1) You get a correct undistorted aspect ratio in Vegas preview window
(it is then not necessary to make corrections by right clicking the preview window and selecting simulate device option)

2) maintain FULL width of image captured on tape, and creating true "widescreen" letterbox proportions.

Please note, this has NO EFFECT on normal non-letterbox created video.

WHEN RENDERING to MPEG-2 (using the NTSC template for DVD production), leave the Custum/Video aspect ration alone, at 4:3

You may thank me for this new and incredible discovery by getting a copy of my new movie created with the DVX100 and Vegas 6, and DVD architect :-)
Happy filming!

Other free info on good DIY projects here including a semi-fisheye DVX100 lens QUALITY for about $100, boom pole, etc---

Last edited by Neil Slade; July 12th, 2005 at 07:20 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old July 14th, 2005, 03:20 AM   #2
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Thanks for the info, and definately thanks for the boom pole idea too. Have you had any issues exporting to other programs after making this change (photoshop or after effects in particular)?

One thing though....your website (the one for the movie, not the tutorials) is a bit on the convoluted side. Its really hard to tell right off that your selling a movie. You have to scroll down a full page length, and read down to the third sentence before any mention is even made of your movie, and it is an additional two page lengths before you make any mention of how to purchase the film...this is not good for business. The first page should really be a general description, a link to a trailer, and a link to how to buy the dvd as your most important and prominant aspects...and all the things about the cast, detailed descriptions of plot, and other production notes should all be on a different page. Your website is your main tool for selling, so it should be top consider trying to find a graphic design student to help out. I've programmed web pages since I was 16, and I still consult a few design friends before I finalize a page design.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 10:00 AM   #3
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Page Format

Pictures are worth a thousand words

HERE IT IS to look at,


Thanks for your comments, per page formatting suggestions, I've very carefully considered these things, i.e.-- I don't want to come off snotty, really, but----

The top of the page, the first line says: An Amazing Brain Adventure FILM.


The TITLE of the page says Mirror MOVIE page.


The second line says Welcome to the Mirror and Amazing Brain Adventure DVD web page.


Then I've learned from hard experience to put anyforum sign-up at the top of the page, which I've done.

In the first week, I've sold 200 copies of my DVD, from the button which appears after the basic introductory material.

I take the position that SELLING my product is not the most important thing I have to offer.

Information and content is.

When you give your web visitor something good first, they then realize you are more than just another salesman. You are a writer/artist with something to actually say besides--- send me money.

I have 10,000 people on my email newsletters, and I get between 1000 and 2000 hits a day on my site, with zero advertising. Just word of mouth. And I make my ENTIRE, complete, living from my own books, CDS, and now DVD-- all from my web site. Alone. Have for about 5 years.

Thanks for your advice about getting a graphic designer to help me make my web page successful :-) No offense taken- on the contrary, I think graphic designers and students might learn something from my web site. I, in fact, don't like most web page design, because it usually ignores some basic psychology which I very carefully factor into my entire site-- I write books and brain and behavior, after all.


As for exporting to other programs, I havn't a need to do that, if anybody runs into problems, this would be a good place to post.


Here's a few other points regarding my square pixel selection:
What I didn't care for was that the "safe" area is so large from the DVX-

So, when you process per whitepaper recommendations, you really don't get a letterbox that equals commercial DVD letterbox proportions- you get this half way thing between widescreen and 4:3, and THIS bothered me. It was half baked widescreen, and I wanted REAL widescreen proportions from my camera and software.

Also, as long as your output from Vegas uses the .9091 pixel aspect ratio, you still end up with this.

My solution, one click, switch to square pixels in Vegas-- you get true widescreen, use all the area on the DVX image, etc.-- it solves many problems at once, without any distortion of the image. None, zero-
I MEASURED IT USING A TEST SQUARE...! I am VERY sensitive to any kind of distortion, whether it results in image distortion, color, sharpness anything-- and I have no tolerance for any.

YES YES YES try it! You gain ALL of the frame, exactly-- this is what is so fantastic, and amazing that nobody else has stumbled on this before.

As for converting to widescreen- please give exact detailed step by step instructions, because I haven't successfully done that yet- been too busy on my project. Thanks

As for this pixel adjustment for DVX letterbox, NOBODY at Sony Vegas had a clue about this, their own whitepaper says nothing about this, and a thorough search on the web turned up nothing, zilch.

Last edited by Neil Slade; July 14th, 2005 at 06:39 PM. Reason: minor stuff
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Old July 14th, 2005, 06:40 PM   #4
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Old July 14th, 2005, 09:19 PM   #5
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How did you get from to from your home page.
Maybe thats what Matt was talkin
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Old July 14th, 2005, 10:02 PM   #6
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I just built the page for the widescreen photos

my main site is where I've got all my info,and junk. just has the pictures of what I'm talking about in this thread, plus some links to other video DIY projects I've done

Do you mean how DO you get to the Mirror DVD page from my main site?

I actually haven't even done that yet anywhere near what I plan...

I just sent out a newsletter from my yahoo groups with a link, and hit 10,000 people with one letter (and mentioned it in a couple of letters actually) People know me and my work, and like my other stuff, so, they go to the DVD page, and buy it.

It's also on my order page at where I list all my for sale books, music, and such

I think that's what you mean.

My site is an educational-entertainment site--- edutainment. Selling is my second priority-- giving people info of value always comes first. For this, people support my work by purchasing the items I have for sale.



Last edited by Neil Slade; July 15th, 2005 at 02:42 AM.
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Old July 16th, 2005, 10:23 AM   #7
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maybe a mod might like tot merge this thread with the duplicate post in the DVX forum.

this has been discussed in detail with more explainations there..
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Old July 16th, 2005, 10:46 AM   #8
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It was starting to go in circles, and Chris wisely put an end to it.
People were missing my point and making absolutely bogus claims of distortion, squashing of image, etc. which I've clearly shown are absolutely untrue (see the web page I built).

Anyway, I've updated my web page, and made this as absolutely clear as possible concerning image skewing (which doesn't occur whatsoever), as well as the non-issue of lost resolution (which is at best only one interpretation and purely academic, and has zero perceptual effect).

The critiscm in the other post is really beyond unfounded, since I've been an absolutely loyal and enthusiastic Vegas user for years, through Vegas 4, 5 and now 6.

I found an easy fix to multiple problems which needed a solution-- its either this, or the status quo of ignoring the issues, i.e. missing frame portions on a standard external monitor while editing, unsatisfactory letterbox shape on a standard playback end device (consumer TV), having to switch on on and off the "simulate device aspect ratio".

My film uses both 4:3 AND letterbox-- switching the simulate device.. back and forth every time I edit-- totally unecessary now, with better end result. (I edit and apply square pixels to the letterbox portions, then import into a new project with the 4:3 footage, and treat-render this second level with the standare .9091 pixels.)

People can still edit letterbox with the .9091 pixel aspect ratio, Vegas works fine. I have nothing but great things to say about Vegas- with the exception of this chopped letterbox issue.

Simply changing to 1.0 square in project properties allows the entire frame to be scene on an external monitor, without having to spend thousands for a "pro" monitor- you see it exactly the same way the end consumer will see it on their home TV, and you get what I consider a better proportioned letterbox in the final product.

I think this is worth mentioning, and for many of us, worth trying.
I could find no down side, despite all the claims to the contrary, and the proof is on my page, updated as well. Sony Vegas techs had no objection at all to this method, and I think if anybody would see actual flaws in this, they would.

If it doesn't appeal to you, fine, do it by the book, no skin off my nose.
This is just one more optional tool you can use.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 06:52 AM   #9
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For everyone who wants to read the other thoughts, visit the "duplicate"
thread here:

For the same reasons I'm closing this one as well. All has been said on the topic.

Rob Lohman,
DV Info Wrangler & RED Code Chef

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