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Re: Stinton Needs Squishing

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Timothy Allen
Re: Stinton Needs Squishing
on Jun 17, 2003 at 10:37:33 pm

As I understand it, Media 100 doesn't expand the actual clip per se, it only displays the clip at a different aspect ratio.

You are still dealing with 720x480 files whether you are in 4x3 or 16x9.

For 16x9, Media 100 stretches the display of each frame on the X axis (side to side). By stretching the Y axis, you compensate for the aspect ratio to match 4x3, even though that puts the top and bottom of what was your 4x3 frame out of the visible frame area.

Or put another way...a true anamorphic 16x9 image will appear "squished" vertically when displayed on a 4x3 monitor. This is natural. If the rest of your footage is anamorphic 16x9, this is also what you want to match your (originally non-anamorphic) 4x3 footage with.

Webster’s Dictionary defines anamorphic as: "producing, relating to, or marked by intentional distortion (as by unequal magnification along perpendicular axes) of an image."

If you simply crop the picture so it has black bands on the bottom and top, that’s "letterboxed 16x9", not "anamorphic 16x9". This works for faking 16x9 that will be displayed on a 4x3 screen, but is not anamorphic 16x9.

Therefore, you want to make your converted image appear "squished" (on the x axis) when viewed on a 4x3 monitor. (Intentional distortion in order to make it appear “correct” when displayed in a “true” 16x9 environment).

So... you don't do that by squishing the X axis, you do it by expanding the Y axis. As I mentioned, the 16x9 image is already 720 pixels across the X axis, so that axis doesn't need modifying. The Y axis aspect needs modifying to keep your circles round.

You could also think of it this way...unmodified, your 4x3 pictures look “fat” when they are displayed in true anamorphic16x9. If you squish the horizontal axis to make them appear normal, you would get black bars on the sides of the picture, and would have a 4x3 image inside of the 16x9 frame. By stretching the vertical axis, by 120%, your 4x3 picture becomes larger than your 16x9 area, (Pixel-wise it’s something like 864x480) and the top and bottom get cropped (since the frame is actually still only 720x480). You don’t see the actual crop line, because the crop is the edge of your 16x9 frame.

This way you don’t need your talent to sign up for weight watchers, and you will have less distortion then squishing horizontally, then having to stretch back out to 720x480 (because regardless of how you get there, you will still be going to 720x480 even though it’s displayed anamorphically).

Sorry for the long post, but it took me a while to wrap my head around this until I actually started working in anamorphic 16x9. I’m not using Media 100 anymore, but most NLEs treat Betacam NTSC 16x9 footage this way.

I hope that explaining it a few different ways doesn't add to the confusion. Once you try it, and see it with your own eyes, it starts to make much more sense than reading about it ever could.

Happy editing!

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