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Broadcast video question - 720x486?

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Nathan Groberznski
Broadcast video question - 720x486?
on Jun 25, 2014 at 7:31:37 pm

I have been editing and doing some post for awhile, but typically I only output for web video.

I have a broadcast commercial that Im going to be working on and have gotten a few tech specs from the station where it will air. There are a couple things that Im not totally clear on and im hoping someone here can help.

The station is still SD, and request everything center-cut - I get that. They are also asking for the file to be delivered to them at 720x486.

720x480 is a format im familiar with, but 720x486 is something I havent seen before. When I use the After effects default of square pixels, the comp looks like it takes on more of a 4:3 ratio. Thus not fitting my 16:9 footage shot with the Canon XF305.

Is this correct?

Thanks in advance! Ive been using this forum for quite some time but have never posted before!

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John Cuevas
Re: Broadcast video question - 720x486?
on Jun 26, 2014 at 1:16:05 pm

720x486 is/was a broadcast standard for many years, but it doesn't use square pixels, it uses .91 or 1.21 sized pixels, depending if you are delivering 16x9 or 4x3. If they are asking for center cut, it sounds like they are expecting 1.21 pixels(Widescreen).

But here's the thing, and I've made this mistake in the past at quite a cost. Get confirmation from the studio what they are expecting for Pixel Aspect Ratio. Then you can just press "cntl + K" and choose one of the NTSC D1 presets and you're done.

Because your computer is square pixels, things will looked squished or stretch using non-square pixels. Under your comp window is a pixel aspect ratio toggle that will 'correct' for using non-square on a computer, but when you do this shapes/text will look all jaggedy, don't worry about that, it will look fine when it plays on the air.

Oh...and again GET me, it can be a very very costly mistake.

Johnny Cuevas, Editor

"I have not failed 700 times. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work."
---THOMAS EDISON on inventing the light bulb.

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Nathan Groberznski
Re: Broadcast video question - 720x486?
on Jun 26, 2014 at 9:33:41 pm

That makes perfect sense Johnny! I appreciate both the insight and the advice. I am going heed your warning and contact the studio immediately.

Thanks again!

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Nathan Groberznski
Re: Broadcast video question - 720x486?
on Jul 15, 2014 at 3:10:16 pm
Last Edited By Nathan Groberznski on Jul 15, 2014 at 3:15:00 pm

Hi Johnny, Thanks for your help before - Im wondering if I can pick your brain again.

I just got confirmation that they are using SQUARE PIXELS. I was under the impression that the 720x486 standard didnt use square pixels? They also told me that they want 4:3.

Do these settings make sense to you?

Thanks again, I really appreciate it

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