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Old August 10th, 2010, 07:10 PM   #1
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Wide aspect ratio

Hi,

I've been trying to figure out the best way to do this. Maybe one of you guys could help me out.

I shoot in 16:9, but since I like a more cinematic look, I set guides in my camera's (Canon XH-A1) LCD screen so that I can frame for a wider aspect ratio. The problem is that when I get in post, I need cut off a portion of the top and bottom, but I don't know exactly where to cut it. In Final Cut there's a plugin that allows you to select the aspect ratio you want, and it will crop the top and bottom accordingly, but I have yet to find an easy way to do it in Vegas (which is my NLE of choice).
The best solution I came up with is to make a kind of matte in Photoshop that I could just paste over the video, but I don't know exactly how to figure out the size of the black bars and all that.
If I remember correctly, the ratio I usually go for is 2.35:1. If anyone can help me that would be great. If you're feeling extra nice, maybe you can even make the matte for me and email it! :P
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Old August 10th, 2010, 07:39 PM   #2
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If I remember correctly, the ratio I usually go for is 2.35:1.
So, if you shoot 1080p, your width is 1920. And 1920 / 2.35 = 817.02. So, if you want a height divisible by 8, make the height 816 lines. 1920 / 816 = 2.35 (rounded to two decimal points). Sounds like a winner to me.
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Old August 10th, 2010, 11:08 PM   #3
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The only complication, would be the PAR, right?

If I want to crop my DV footage to 2.35:1, I need to remember that in 16x9 mode, I'm 1.2121 PAR. So, if I take my 720 / 2.35 I get 306, however I then need to set the PAR to 1.2121 (to prevent any unnecessary scaling) and multiply the height accordingly, coming up with 370, or 368 for a multiple of 8.

I think the camera you're using is HDV with a PAR of 1.3333, so you can sub in your own numbers. But I get 1440 / 2.35 = 613 * 1.3333 = 817, or rounded to 816. Now, I didn't just mean to be complicated to get the same number =) 1440*1.3333 is very nearly 1920, so it should have been the same. I only mention it in case you're using footage that is not square.

But, I'm not sure you need a matte of any sort. If your project is set to the 816 height, then in each clips pan'n'crop, you can go in and if the 'Maintain aspect ratio' and 'Stretch to fill frame' are checked, change the 'Height' to your calculated (project) height, then all you need to do is lock motion on the Y axis and move the big F around to crop what and where you want, or even animate it if you need to.

I think the math/thinking there is important to prevent any type of scaling, and preserve as much original detail as possible.

However, after going through all that, I think that you're actually saying you've framed it all appropriately and want your output project to be the full 1080, just masked off.

I'm busy working on a few plug-ins for Vegas right now for other purposes. It wouldn't be hard to make one up that provided that functionality, I will try and work it out. It should be doable as a surface generator, which would make it efficient, except I'm not sure that type of plug-in gets all the information that would be required... I'll see.

If you don't hear from me about it, and you care to, poke me on the list about it. But that would be an interesting exercise while I'm wading through the remarkable lack of documentation available for Sony PIDK... Are you 32 or 64 bit Vegas?
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Old August 11th, 2010, 12:11 AM   #4
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The only complication, would be the PAR, right?
Not necessarily. The PAR usually affects the number of columns, not the number of lines. So, it would still be 816 lines, even if the PAR squeezes the 1920 pixels per line to 1440.
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Old August 11th, 2010, 02:24 AM   #5
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Not necessarily. The PAR usually affects the number of columns, not the number of lines. So, it would still be 816 lines, even if the PAR squeezes the 1920 pixels per line to 1440.
True, as the maths bore out =)

But if he was making an image 1440x613 thinking it was 2.35:1, and importing it in to Vegas, I suspect the default PAR would have been 1:1, giving not the expected result if it were just scaled up. I suppose just applying the 1.3333 (or whatever) PAR to the still image, assuming the 1440x816 was correct, would have produced a final image correctly, with further messing around.
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Old August 11th, 2010, 07:38 PM   #6
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But, I'm not sure you need a matte of any sort. If your project is set to the 816 height, then in each clips pan'n'crop, you can go in and if the 'Maintain aspect ratio' and 'Stretch to fill frame' are checked, change the 'Height' to your calculated (project) height, then all you need to do is lock motion on the Y axis and move the big F around to crop what and where you want, or even animate it if you need to.
That would make it a little more complicated though. It would be great if I could just add the matte to a track above the rest, and extend it to the duration of my video.
It would be really awesome if you could create a plugin for it. I'd do it myself but I have no clue how to do that type of thing lol. I looked into it once and ended up giving up on it for the time being.

Thanks for your help, guys.
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Old August 12th, 2010, 01:26 AM   #7
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It would be really awesome if you could create a plugin for it.
That would be an overkill. If you do not want to use any of the solutions presented, just create a single bitmap with a mask and stretch it over the length of the entire project.
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Old August 12th, 2010, 05:54 PM   #8
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That would be an overkill. If you do not want to use any of the solutions presented, just create a single bitmap with a mask and stretch it over the length of the entire project.
That's what I wanted to do originally, but he started talking about making a plugin. It would be kind of neat being able to do it with a plugin though.
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Old August 12th, 2010, 08:13 PM   #9
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Writing such a plug-in would be quite simple. But so would be creating the necessary bitmap.

The difference is that in this case the plug-in would add unnecessary overhead. The plug-in would take up space on your hard drive, would have to be registered in Windows registry, a separate one would be needed for 32 bits and 64 bits, it would have to be loaded by Vegas, so it would take up additional memory, but most importantly, it would have to create the exact same mask for every single frame in your video, which takes time.

The bitmap, you create once and use the same bitmap for every frame. And you can use it in as many projects as you want, both in a 32-bit and a 64-bit environment.

I love plug-ins, I have written a few. But in this case a plug-in would be an overkill.

Just create a simple PNG bitmap with 182 black lines on the top, 182 black lines at the bottom, and 716 transparent lines in the middle (or any other pattern you want). Add the bitmap to the top track and stretch it over the entire length of the project. That is a complete solution that will work with any version of Vegas, present and future, and probably with any other NLE you may want to use in the future. Keeps it simple.
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Old August 13th, 2010, 07:40 AM   #10
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Does the NewBlue Video Essentials II Letterbox plugin do what you're talking about?
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Old August 13th, 2010, 02:35 PM   #11
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=)

It is very similar, although I was thinking just a quick surface plug-in that simply allowed someone to specify an aspect ratio. It looks like the NewBlue one allows %s, not a difficult bit of maths, but still be nice to just have a drop-down of X:Y to choose from.

Adam, if it's just a surface generation plug-in, I think it would be fairly efficient. They're handled quite differently from the transformation plug-ins. No doubt, not as efficient, but not quite as bad as the transformation or transition plug-ins.
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