I'm editing a project for syndicated broadcast. It was shot on DVCPRO 50 in 16:9. The last time the show aired in the LA market and I watched it, the picture looked distorted -- had the appearance of low res and stretched. Instead of the black showing on top and bottom it was full screen.
I got the beta tape back from the station and the tape looks great. Picture is clear, 16:9 format. Someone suggested that the station stretched the picture so it would be full screen. Is this possible? Have you seen it done? How can I avoid this in the future?
Some of the stations receive the show via satellite and some receive a beta tape.
As always, thanks in advance.
FCP 5.0.4, OS 10.4.7
Dual 2.3 ghz G5
Panasonic SD955 deck
Home of the nationally syndicated television programs, "African American Short Films", "Gospel Music Presents: Great Performances" and the Telly Award winning program, "A Gospel Christmas".
If you sent them an anamorphic master instead of a 4x3 letterboxed then the station could have broadcast the program without creating a letterbox. Some stations do not have the time or equipment to create letterboxed version so it is your responsibility to deliver them what is suitable for their needs.
If what you saw was stretched vertically then you were watching the anamorphic version which was not being letterboxed for 4x3 broadcast but would have looked ok on a 16x9 broadcast.
If the broadcast is 4x3 then you should deliver a letterboxed version and if it is 16x9 then deliver a anamorphic version.
FYI none of the betacam machines have the ability to create a 4x3 letterbox output on the fly from a anamorphic source. In addition Betacam SP is not ideal for delivering anamorphic masters as it does not have the full spacial resolution necessary.
Generally when delivering a HD master the playback machines have the ability to downconvert and create a letterbox, centercut, and anamorphic version.