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Compressing to mpeg2 from HDCAM

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Lili Lab
Compressing to mpeg2 from HDCAM
on Feb 7, 2006 at 5:05:48 am

Hi, I'm working with HD created images, to be displayed via projector in a gallery, as well as also shown on SD monitors. These are the problems I have:

1. create a 16:9 mpeg2 via
a) using compressor from FCP
b) using a set top recorder via terenex from HDCAM


a) when playing it back on my computer I get letterbox image, but left and right sides stretch to the edge of the screen. Looks letterboxed when projecting. Waste of vertical space when projecting

b) terenex makes mpeg 2's look good quality wise, but generates a black border around entire image -- hence it's smaller than compressor mpeg2

2.** for projecting situtations, the best that I've encountered, and please correct me if I am wrong on this, is to create an anamorphic 4:3 DVD, for "Stretch" when played back through projector. That way I make use of the most space possible. I would make an Anamorphic 16:9 dvd, but it distorts the image, making it look stretched.

Please advise. Also, would you say the quicktime compressor is as good as a terenex? I don't understand the different border situation.



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Charles Simonson
Re: Compressing to mpeg2 from HDCAM
on Feb 10, 2006 at 6:11:37 am

I have almost no clue as to what you are really asking, but this is what I could gather and answer:

The QT MPEG-2 encoder is very good (the version included with Compressor 2), although it isn't the best out there. But for most purposes, it is sufficient. Better encoders can be found with ProCoder and MainConcept IMO. Basically, the software MPEG-2 encoders are so robust and fast these days, especially for SD, that with the right tools, a hardware encoder is almost not needed for most situations.

If you have a 4:3 projector, and you have a 16:9 source, then the best option if you want to maximize space is to crop from the sides to a 4:3 image. Just make sure you know this in the editing stage though, as you may crop some material you don't want to. Also, if all you are going to be using the encode for is the projector, and you know the resolution of the projector, perhaps 800x600, and you are working with HD, then instead of cropping and scaling to 720x480, crop and scale to 800x600.

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