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A 3:4 Box in a 16:9 Hole

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Martin NelsonA 3:4 Box in a 16:9 Hole
by on Nov 13, 2009 at 4:41:12 pm

My brain hurts. As always, I've done a search on this site before posting and, as often, I apologize in advance for not spotting the likely thread that addresses my problem exactly. If you will point the way I will gladly and with due tribute, finish the journey on my own.

Executive Summary: I am exporting 3:4 scenes to be viewed in a 16:9 Flash player with the intent of them playing in their original aspect ratio with black on the sides (what do you call a lateral letterbox?). The scenes look fine in FCP, but when exported they are too narrow.

More Detailed Explanation: (and I'm sorry; I have no idea how to make this brief) I am, several years late, building a website (Alright, in fact I am providing material and opinion to someone else who is building it for me). I will, as one does, be posting examples of my work, some of which are 3:4 and some are 16:9. The masters at my disposal are largely in the form of mini DV or DVD's (I have full rights and permission to post these scenes). I am capturing into FCP the scenes I wish to show, cutting the exact portions each into their own sequence then exporting, using QuickTime conversion as FLV files.

The Flash player on my site resizes whatever is put in it to fill the window - a conventional 3:4 video will distort to 16:9. So the trick (as best I understand it) is to export 3:4 pieces in a 16:9 window. OK, so I cut my clip - which is 720 x 480 - into a sequence that's also 720 x 480/NTSC DV (3:2) with 'Anamorphic 16:9 selected and with the DV/DVCPRO - NTSC Compressor setting (not, I think, that this last bit should matter since I'm exporting as a FLV).

This looks fine in FCP. It is 3:4 with black on left and right. OK, so then I export using QT Conversion. I set the format to Flash Video (FLV), I use the On2 VP6 Video codec, I set the Quality to HIgh and I don't do anything with the resize window. When I open the resulting file in Adobe Media Player though, I get an image with black sidebars as I want, but it's narrow with an aspect ratio something like 3:3.4.

How do I get it to appear as it should?

If you're still with me and you need more information, I will gladly provide. Meanwhile, I'm going back to searching this forum for the perfect, already posted, solution.

Your humble servant,


Martin

2 x 2.26 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
6 GB RAM
OS 10.5.8
FCP 7.0.1
Color 1.5.1
Quicktime 7.6.4
Avid Media Composer 4.0.2.20


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Jeremy GarchowRe: A 3:4 Box in a 16:9 Hole
by on Nov 13, 2009 at 5:16:09 pm

It's called a pillar box, but compressor refers to it as padding. I'd have a look in the Compressor Geometery tab, and do you transcoding there. You can add a 4:3 movie, choose a 16:9 frame size and add the padding there (there's even a 16:9 padding preset).

Jeremy


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Martin NelsonRe: A 3:4 Box in a 16:9 Hole
by on Nov 13, 2009 at 11:34:14 pm

Jeremy,

That sounded like a good idea, especially as QT Conversion seems to take a long time. But I don't see where I can create an flv file in Compressor. I have seen, since writing this morning, other threads here suggesting I can use h.264 compression and change the extension to .flv, but until I know what I'm doing, I'd like to play by the rules.

Thanks for 'pillar box,' by the way. I had that in my head, but it didn't sound right.

Martin

2 x 2.26 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
6 GB RAM
OS 10.5.8
FCP 7.0.1
Color 1.5.1
Quicktime 7.6.4
Avid Media Composer 4.0.2.20


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Nicholas BierzonskiRe: A 4:3 Box in a 16:9 Hole
by on Nov 13, 2009 at 5:21:43 pm

And run tests with 5-10 second clips instead of the whole video file. You'll get quicker results.

-Nicholas Bierzonski
Senior Editor/DVD Author/Java Boy
http://www.finalfocusvideo.com




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Henry TruongRe: A 3:4 Box in a 16:9 Hole
by on Nov 13, 2009 at 8:37:12 pm

I believe if you are using Quicktime Conversion to export, when you go to the size settings, there is an option to preserve aspect ratio. I did a quick test just right now, and if you check that option, and select letterbox, it should pillarbox the 4x3 file for you. Give that a try, and as noted above, do a small clip to test, and not a full export. Saves you from wasted time if the settings are incorrect.

One thing to note as well, typically it is referred to as 4:3, and not 3:4.

-henry

HD Creative Services
http://www.hdcreativeservices.com
323.461.3715


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Martin NelsonRe: A 3:4 Box in a 16:9 Hole
by on Nov 13, 2009 at 11:44:33 pm

Well, I seem to have it working now. Henry, your comment pointed me in the right direction, though, oddly enough, what worked was sort of the opposite of what you wrote.

I used QT Conversion to Flash Video and under the Crop and Resize tab of Options I selected Resize video and did not change the sizes, but deselected Maintain aspect ratio. I really don't quite get it, but that gave me the correct composition.

If anyone would like to explain that to me, I'd love to hear it.

Martin

2 x 2.26 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
6 GB RAM
OS 10.5.8
FCP 7.0.1
Color 1.5.1
Quicktime 7.6.4
Avid Media Composer 4.0.2.20


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