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-   -   Best software for 4:3 to 16:9 conversion? (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/techniques-independent-production/11480-best-software-4-3-16-9-conversion.html)

Aylwin Cal July 1st, 2003 03:44 AM

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.

Adrian Douglas July 1st, 2003 05:59 AM

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.

Boyd Ostroff July 1st, 2003 06:33 AM

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.

Aylwin Cal July 1st, 2003 06:33 AM

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...

Aylwin Cal July 1st, 2003 08:51 AM

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?

Bruce A. Christenson July 1st, 2003 10:20 AM

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.

Aylwin Cal July 1st, 2003 05:23 PM

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

Bruce A. Christenson July 1st, 2003 06:43 PM

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!

Kai Leibrandt July 2nd, 2003 07:44 PM

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.



Bram Corstjens July 3rd, 2003 02:51 PM

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...

Maurizio Panella July 7th, 2003 06:02 PM

FilmFX from www.bigfx.com

Michael Robinson July 7th, 2003 09:22 PM

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!).

Brandt Wilson July 14th, 2003 10:19 AM

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.

Boyd Ostroff July 14th, 2003 02:09 PM

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....

Martin Munthe July 14th, 2003 05:15 PM

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.

Boyd Ostroff July 14th, 2003 08:08 PM

Actually what really impressed me was the film "28 Days Later" which I saw on the big screen in the theatre. They shot this in 4:3 on a PAL XL-1s, cropped to 16:9, then scaled to 1.85:1 before printing to 35mm film. Although the resolution wasn't as good as film, there was really no evidence of pixellation. Of course they spent some real $$$ doing the film transfer.

Michael Robinson July 15th, 2003 01:14 AM

Boyd, I hope you don't mind--but I respectfully disagree. 8 seconds per frame really isn't that big of a hit if you remember that a few years ago it was standard for certain effects to have even longer rendering times per frame. If you're used to dealing with complex motion graphics and animation (loads of layers w/multiple effects per layer) this could really seem a breeze. I can understand the apprehension in wanting to delve into a process that might include some frame by frame work (roto is very mind numbing--been there), but this is the basic building block for any program that we're using today. Until we see consumer HD at an affordable price, we're going to have to find workarounds. That being said, would I do this for every project? No. But I'd like to try it to see how it comes out. A possible way to do it would be shooting double-anamorphic like Martin has done, uprezzing with Genuine Fractals, and then scaling it back down for DV output...I don't know if we can cheat resolution this way but it's worth trying.

I don't expect software applications to do everything I'd like on first go round...it takes some reverse engineering to get what you want sometimes, and until I can Vulcan mindmeld with a computer...I expect to be scratching my head and figuring out glitches and cheats (even if they often mean going the long way) for quite some time.

Boyd--it's good to see another member from Philly on here (hadn't noticed before). I'm in the process of moving from it to the Harrisburg region myself.

Boyd Ostroff July 15th, 2003 02:32 PM

<<<-- Originally posted by Michael Robinson : Boyd, I hope you don't mind--but I respectfully disagree. 8 seconds per frame really isn't that big of a hit if you remember that a few years ago it was standard for certain effects to have even longer rendering times per frame.

No argument there. I was just thinking back to the original question, where the desire was to take video that was letterboxed at 4:3 and make it anamorphic. The fact is that you have a rather limited amount of information to deal with there, notably 720x360 pixels. I'm sure you can smooth it out using various software techniques, but you aren't going to create any detail that was lacking in the original image. Therefore it seemed to me there would be cheaper, faster, easier ways to do this by scaling in your NLE as opposed to a frame-by-frame approach. But I suppose it all depends on what you expect from the end product.

<<<-- Originally posted by Michael Robinson : Boyd--it's good to see another member from Philly on here.

Thanks Michael, and good luck with your move to the state capital ;-) Actually I live in South Jersey, and there appear to be several other dvinfo.net members there.

Bram Corstjens July 19th, 2003 07:28 PM

In the end it's all about how it looks.

Maybe losing 25% sounds scary, but when the source image is clean and a *good* resizing application is used. 25% less detail does not look 25% worse. It's all about how much detail an average human can see. How much can be removed without affecting overal quality and how much of the interpolated pixels (because of cropping and resizing) are 'guessed right'

Yes, there is a difference, but it's very small. Especially when the image is moving.

Michael Robinson July 20th, 2003 12:42 PM

There's a new resizing plug-in that was just released--I haven't used it yet, but there's a downloadable demo at--


The filter is included in the Anarchy Toolbox set. This might be better than doing it frame by frame in Photoshop, if it looks good.

Alturo Nguyen July 21st, 2003 06:58 PM

after effects plugin for letterbox to anamorphic
after effects plugin for letterbox to anamorphic

the manual for the digital anarchy resizer has no support or tutorial...

haven't used it, saw it, let us know how it works
good luck

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