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16x9 sequence is getting squeezed to 4x3 when I export from Compressor

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Matthew MacVey
16x9 sequence is getting squeezed to 4x3 when I export from Compressor
on Feb 5, 2009 at 4:33:31 pm

My usual Final Cut to Compressor workflow is producing an unusual result. I am starting with an anamorphic DV NTSC sequence in Final Cut, but when I export this from Compressor using the Uncompressed 10-bit codec in a Quicktime wrapper, the video is squeezed to 4x3.

Here is my process in depth.

These are the sequence settings shown in Final Cut.

720 pixels x 420 pixels. The pixels have an aspect ratio of 16:9 and so the sequence is displayed widescreen. (My one question about this section is what do the QuickTime Video Settings mean? This is not something that I have ever adjusted... can it affect how Compressor interprets the sequence?)

Then I export a reference Quicktime.

Then I bring this Quicktime reference movie into Compressor and apply the QuickTime Uncompressed 10-bit settings provided with Compressor. Now, I don't normally adjust the geometry at all with this workflow since I thought that this format automatically used the current frame geometry settings from the sequence. However, having no luck with this I attempted to fix the problem myself by adjusting the geometry to match my sequence settings in FCP.

Unfortunately, my attempted manual override of the compressor export failed. The quicktime that I got from this was squeezed to 4x3 just as before!

Using QuickTime Conversion directly from FCP I was able to get the appropriate 16x9 quicktime, but I really need to figure out how to do this in compressor since I have to process a lot of sequences and need to keep FCP available and Compress in batchs. So, any suggestions?

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Nick Greiner
Re: 16x9 sequence is getting squeezed to 4x3 when I export from Compressor
on Mar 4, 2010 at 1:19:26 pm


I'm having the same problem. Did you ever find a solution? I export>using compressor then use "DVD best quality" settings. I drop that movie into iDVD, but when I burn the disc, it plays back looking like 4x3 (ie not anamophic). This is the DVD playing on a DVD player and NTSC TV set.

In Compressor, Inspector A/V attributes are:

Encoded Bounds: 720x480

Display Bounds: 853x480

Pixel Aspect Ratio: NTSC CCIR 601/DV (16x9)

Any ideas how I could fix it?



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Matthew MacVey
Re: 16x9 sequence is getting squeezed to 4x3 when I export from Compressor
on Mar 4, 2010 at 3:52:13 pm

I think that we are dealing with different situations as I was making a quicktime to project and your workflow is through iDVD.

Kind of hard to remember back a year ago, but I believe my issue was actually a discrepancy between the way that NTSC displays on a computer monitor vs. a NTSC monitor.

That being said, I have had to continue to tweak things whenever I deal with any NTSC encoding. I always seem to have surprises with the aspect ratio. Usually an issue of getting the right settings for the pixel aspect ratio and the overall geometry/aspect ratio of the video.

I actually rarely make DVDs and if I do it is with DVD studio. The issue could be in iDVD and you might want to check the forum for any issues there.

One other thing, make sure that you have your NTSC monitor on the right setting. Some monitors you have to manually switch from 4x3 to 16x9

So, a few things that I would recommend experimenting with.

1. Try a different exporting method from FCP. My normal workflow is to export a reference movie (I think that I go over the details of this in my original post) which keeps FCP 6 free for doing more editing. Also, sometimes exporting using Quicktime conversion seems to eliminate NTSC aspect ratio problems. But, Quicktime conversion also locks up FCP and is not the most efficient way to use your computers resources.

2. Try editing the inspector properties for your mpeg. Under the Encoder tab, and the Video Format tab within that you have options for changing the aspect ratio and field dominance that you will want to check.

3. Once you have all of your settings in inspector you can try to check the results in the preview window of compressor (select the full clip, not just the setting, in the jobs window). Under the scaling pull-down menu there is an option to turn correction for pixel aspect ratio on and off. This might help you get a sense of what your output will be like. Also, try switching between the two buttons in the upper right corner of the Preview window. This will switch between the SOURCE and SETTING aspect ratio.

Okay, those are my suggestions for now. Good luck. Keep experimenting (perhaps with some 20 second clips).


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Nick Greiner
Re: 16x9 sequence is getting squeezed to 4x3 when I export from Compressor
on Mar 5, 2010 at 2:09:46 pm

Thanks Matt,

I don't think this is a display issue because the DVD is not anamorphic. NTSC monitor setting is correct, and inspector properties seem correct. Using QT conversion and manually setting the dimensions to 853x480 works, but as you noted is not efficient; however, I'm doing that as I have a deadline. Later on I will continue to experiment, and if I come up with anything I'll post it here.

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