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Old December 20th, 2004, 01:34 PM   #1
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Editing 16:9 with 4:3?

I have a project that about mid way through I switch from 4:3 to 16:9 for certain stylistic reasons. Now I'm shooting this on an XL2 and wondering that if I just import these two parts on different sessions (and changing the capture settings) will this work as intended? Hopefully, when viewing this on a 4:3 TV, the 4:3 sessions will be full screen, and when we switch to 16:9 in the movie, the black bars will appear over the footage. Is this possible? Thanks.
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Old December 20th, 2004, 02:13 PM   #2
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Is this possible?

Yes and no... From what you say, you are really working in 4:3 and simply want to letterbox the 16:9 footage. That's easy. But you cannot mix true 16:9 with 4:3, they are different formats. In 16:9 the pixels are stretched horizontally to fill the wider screen (hence the name "anamorphic" which comes from the Greek "changed form"). So to put 16:9 into your 4:3 project you'll reduce the size to 720x360 with a 60 pixel black bar above and below. In doing this you will be sacrificing some of the resolution of the original XL-2 footage which is 480 pixels high.

Anyway, it is extremely easy to do this in FCP. Just setup your 4:3 sequence as you normally would. Then capture your widescreen clips as anamorphic 16:9 (actually it doesn't matter how you capture, you can change the properties to anamorphic later if you prefer). Once you've captured everything, just drop them into your 4:3 sequence. FCP will automatically letterbox them to fit. You will need to render these however.

Is that what you want to do? The only other option would be to create a 16:9 sequence and drop the 4:3 clips into that. In this case, FCP will "pillarbox" these clips by adding a black bar to the left and right of the image. This would allow you to retain the full quality of the XL-2 widescreen images when viewed on a 16:9 monitor. But it would only make sense to do this if your target audience is watching on widescreen TV's.
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Old January 9th, 2005, 12:22 PM   #3
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My good friend Kevin Monahan from the San Francisco Cutters wrote an excellent article regarding this. You can find the article on Ken Stone's FCP pages at http://www.kenstone.net/fcp_homepage...ding_16_9.html

There is also a SEARCH tool you can use to find articles and tutorials related to what you need to know about FCP at

Best regards,

- don
DONALD BERUBE - noisybrain. Productions, LLC
Director Of Photography/ Producer/ Consultant
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