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How remove sliver of letterboxing?

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Peyton Todd
How remove sliver of letterboxing?
on Jan 24, 2015 at 10:03:01 pm

Hello,

I have an AVI video clip that MediaInfo tells me is "24.4 Mbps, 720 x 480 (4:3) at 29.970 fps DV (Sony) (NTSC) (DVCPRO)", and I would like to output a 4:3 video clip from it. Right away I notice something odd, since 720 x 480 is a 1.5 ratio, not a 1.33 ratio as 4:3 would be.

What I want, in fact, is indeed a 4:3 output from Vegas, but no matter what Project Properties I choose I get a very narrow strip of black at the top and bottom. I get this whether of not I select:

Internet 480-30p 4:3 (640x480, 29.970 fps)

or even:

NTSC DV (720x480, 29.970 fps)

What I'm choosing for the frame size when I render it (as an MOV file) is:

NTSC Square pixel (640 x 480)

(And for Video format I have "Sorenson Video 3" if that matters.)

Any idea what choices I should make to get rid of the thin black strips?

Thanks for your help!


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John Rofrano
Re: How remove sliver of letterboxing?
on Jan 25, 2015 at 3:16:46 am

Let's start with your project settings. They should be NTSC DV (720x480, 29.970 fps). If you want to render to square pixel format you must use 655x480 not 640x480. This is because NTSC DV is 720x480 with a Pixel Aspect Ratio of 0.9091 and when you multiply 720 by 0.9091 you get 654.553 which rounds up to 655x480.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Peyton Todd
Re: How remove sliver of letterboxing?
on Jan 25, 2015 at 3:44:51 pm

Thanks - that worked beautifully! But now there's a different problem: a 'ghost' image of the main protagonist's body. This is a weaker image appearing next to it, showing the outline of its edge that looks to be about 3 inches from the real body outline - or of course what would be 3 inches if the body were full size on the screen. It doesn't appear in the original AVI file, although one can see a hint of it, barely noticeable, maybe a half inch from the edge of the body. I thought one of my earlier versions had appeared without that 'ghost', but perhaps I was mistaken - in any case I don't remember the parameters used there.

What I was using till now was 15 fps (for no particular reason). I changed that to 29.97, which seemed to have no effect either way. Also my choice of Sorenson Video 3 was random, made out of ignorance. There are lots of other options available, none of which I understand...


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John Rofrano
Re: How remove sliver of letterboxing?
on Jan 25, 2015 at 5:02:03 pm

[Peyton Todd] "But now there's a different problem: a 'ghost' image of the main protagonist's body."
Ghosting can be caused by changing frame rates which blends frames to compensate. Make sure that your render frame rate matches your media's frame rate, which should match your projects's frame rate.

One thing you can do is right-click on the video event, go to Properties and check Disable Resample. If this fixes the problem it's definitely related to frame rate.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Peyton Todd
Re: How remove sliver of letterboxing?
on Jan 26, 2015 at 4:45:14 pm

Unfortunately the source, project, and render frame rates are all already set at 29.97. And Disable Resample is already chosen.

I also tried 'Best' quality, in addition to 'Preview' and 'Draft' but they didn't help either.

I thought DeInterlace method might make a difference so I tried the choices there, since the existing choice said 'Blend' and you mentioned blending. But the others didn't help. 'None' made matters a lot worse since frames seemed to drop out - anyway a jerky result.


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Peyton Todd
Re: How remove sliver of letterboxing?
on Jan 26, 2015 at 5:53:01 pm

Now I have the opposite problem with a different video: it's 'letter-boxed' with the black slivers on either side. (I think there's a different term from this, since it doesn't resemble looking through a mail slot, but I've forgotten what it is.)

Anyway, the source is 720 x 480 (4:3) 29.97 fps, DV (Sony) (NTSC) (DVCPRO) as before. I've been trying different pixel sizes and custom frame sizes as before, and they all have their effects (usually unexpected ones) on the black borders, but all I know at this point is just trial-and-error, which could go on forever.

Oddly, my first attempt was simply to increase the width, which I did from 480 to 490. This fixed the problem on the sides, but now it truly was letterboxed again (with the black borders only at the top)!


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Mike Kujbida
Re: How remove sliver of letterboxing?
on Jan 26, 2015 at 6:23:03 pm

Stab in the dark here but open the Pan/Crop window on the event, right click and choose Match Output Aspect.


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Peyton Todd
Re: How remove sliver of letterboxing?
on Jan 26, 2015 at 7:07:51 pm

This could be on the right track, Mike, since when I chose 'match output aspect', the "vertical letter-boxing" (as I'm calling it, since I forgot the appropriate term for the vertical equivalent of letter-boxing) disappeared in the preview window. But not in the actual output, unfortunately.


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John Rofrano
Re: How remove sliver of letterboxing?
on Jan 26, 2015 at 10:43:00 pm

[Peyton Todd] "I think there's a different term from this, since it doesn't resemble looking through a mail slot, but I've forgotten what it is"
It's called "Pillarboxing" because of the two black pillars on each side of the video.
[Peyton Todd] "Anyway, the source is 720 x 480 (4:3) 29.97 fps, DV (Sony) (NTSC) (DVCPRO) as before. I've been trying different pixel sizes and custom frame sizes as before, and they all have their effects (usually unexpected ones) on the black borders, but all I know at this point is just trial-and-error, which could go on forever."
So your project is set to NTSC DV (720x480, 29.970 fps) and you drop a 720 x 480 (4:3) 29.97 fps, DV (Sony) (NTSC) (DVCPRO) video on it and you get pillarboxing? Wow that's odd.

What file format? AVI or MOV?

When you right-click on the event and go to Properties | Media, what does Vegas Pro think the file dimensions are? (maybe post a screen shot of the media properties tab)

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Brad Leigh
Re: How remove sliver of letterboxing?
on Jan 27, 2015 at 2:43:42 am

If the Ghosting is still continuing (hard to tell from the posts) one more thing you might check. Is the video event placed exactly on the frame boundary? In older versions of Vegas I used to turn this off to fine trim an audio edit. Sometimes I would forget and place a video event in the time line or move an edit that was slightly off the frame. As John R pointed out to me there is no need to turn off Quantize to frame in the newer versions of Vegas. This can cause ghosting. Also I use a lot of clips generated from an animation program that outputs quicktime Animation codec. Even if I set my other software to 29.97 FPS it would create a file that was 30 FPS. This caused ghosting until I set Playback rate -.01 percent. This doesn't relate to your problem, but what I noticed was sometimes I would still see ghosting after I fixed the problem and the cure was to restart Vegas and reopen the project.
Brad

i7 2600 3.4 Ghz 8Gig Ram , Win 7 Pro, Vegas Pro 12


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Peyton Todd
Re: How remove sliver of letterboxing?
on Jan 27, 2015 at 11:51:10 pm

Thanks. Yes, the ghosting is still happening. Just to clarify, I don't believe what I'm rendering technically qualifies as an 'event'. The full source video is loaded to Vegas as one big event, and what I'm rendering is a selection within it. Per your post, what I did in hopes of improving matters was to make sure the edges of the selection fell at a location reached by cursoring with the arrow keys instead of clicking with the mouse. That did not improve matters.

Based on the 29.97 fps vs. 30 fps question, that might seem to make a difference since the template I use for rendering is MOV 3Mbps, which defaults to 15 fps, an even fraction of 30. But the Customize Template option lets you choose 29.97 instead. I appear to get identical results with both choices however.

One oddity about the ghosting - though perhaps not so odd to someone who understands it - is that it's not just a faint copy of the protagonist moving exactly beside him and offset a little bit. Rather, at one point the protagonist reaches out to grasp something. What one sees is the ghost (fainter) arm reaching out first, then it's suddenly joined by the 'real' (i.e. less faint) arm.

Anyway, bottom line, I've decided for now to just live with this problem and move on to the many other tapes I have to edit, most of which don't have this problem.

Come to think of it: although I did make sure the edges of the full selection were at frame edges as just described, I did not attend to that issue in determining the size of the sub-titles (these are tapes of a child whose speech is not easy to understand), which I placed in a different video track by means of inserted text events. I made those the same length of time as the spoken sentence they matched.


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Peyton Todd
Re: How remove sliver of letterboxing?
on Jan 27, 2015 at 2:55:01 pm

Thanks for sticking with the problem, John. I'm ashamed to say that after a half hour searching, I can no longer find the VEG file I was dealing with. All the evidence (dates on yesterday's renderings, etc.) points to a particular VEG that no longer exists on my PC for some reason, not even in the Recycle Bin. I tried again with the video clip I thought it must have been but no problem occurred with it when I set the properties to what you told me - not even letter-boxing. (It seems odd, by the way, that the MediaInfo report on these AVIs says 720 x 480 but 4:3 ratio... Vegas seems to know to go with 4:3.)

For now I'll just have to wait till the problem re-emerges, which may soon happen since I have lots and lots of videos to edit, all of the same type as this one.

Meanwhile, I have your solution for the most common problem I've been experiencing, which is the letter-boxing. And thanks for providing the term 'pillar-boxing'.

Incidentally, I have no particular desire to go with either square or .909-size pixels. Square is just what keeps popping up as default.

Peyton


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John Rofrano
Re: How remove sliver of letterboxing?
on Jan 27, 2015 at 11:05:41 pm

[Peyton Todd] "It seems odd, by the way, that the MediaInfo report on these AVIs says 720 x 480 but 4:3 ratio... Vegas seems to know to go with 4:3"
It's not odd once you understand that DV video does not use square pixels. The pixels are actually 0.9091 wide. 0.9091x 720 is 654.552. Since you can't have a fraction of a pixel, when you round up you get 655x480 which is closer to 4:3 (so we call it 4:3 even though 640x480 is really 4:3).
[Peyton Todd] "Incidentally, I have no particular desire to go with either square or .909-size pixels. Square is just what keeps popping up as default."
The reason it's importune tot know is because QuickTime on Windows has a hard time with non-square pixels so sometimes you need to do the math so that it can use square pixels.

Glad I could help. It reminds me that I have tons of DV tapes from when my kids were young that I'd better capture to a hard drive because the tapes are unplayable!

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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Peyton Todd
Re: How remove sliver of letterboxing?
on Jan 27, 2015 at 11:32:36 pm

Many thanks for the explanations. I was able to figure out that the missing VEG never existed at all; I had purposely not saved it, under the mistaken impression that the bad parameters I had entered would mess up whatever the specs were of an earlier version that I mistakenly assumed did exist. When I started afresh today, everything worked fine.

I still haven't fixed the ghost problem in the other video, but I'm living with it since I have so many other AVI files to edit.

As to old AVIs, I wonder why yours can't play. Mine were originally black-and-white recordings made on 1/2-inch reel-to-reel tapes in the 1970s, which already couldn't play by 1998 since (a) very few of the old machines still existed; and more importantly, (b) when one did play them, the oxide that stored the info had degraded to the point that it gummed up the VTR head and caused it to grind to a halt. I had to have them rescued at about that time at great expense by a company called Vidipax. The technique was to scrape off the loose oxide and re-record them to VHS. Then I digitized them myself via Vegas Video.

Peyton


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Brad Leigh
Re: How remove sliver of letterboxing?
on Jan 28, 2015 at 3:52:51 am
Last Edited By Brad Leigh on Jan 28, 2015 at 4:06:15 am

Peyton
Interesting you mentioned the original Videos were shot on a black and white machine. The original Black and White standard was 30 Fps not 29.97. I know that they were transferred to VHS where one would expect the conversion to be done, (or at least pulled down when played back)but I know that 1/2 machines well at least Betamax was capable of recording B&W@ 30. I would double check the frame rate ( you can use movie inspector in Quicktime) and that quantize to frames is on so that the video is being placed exactly on the frame boundary.
Brad

i7 2600 3.4 Ghz 8Gig Ram , Win 7 Pro, Vegas Pro 12


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John Rofrano
Re: How remove sliver of letterboxing?
on Jan 28, 2015 at 12:51:35 pm

[Peyton Todd] "I wonder why yours can't play."
Sorry, that was a spell check error. I thought I typed "before the tapes are unplayable!" but it translated it as "because the tapes are unplayable!". I can play the tapes just fine and I should capture them while I can still play them and also while computers still come with firewire ports to capture them.

It's important to re-evaluate your archive strategy every few years because those of us with analog and digital tapes view them as an archive but you have to maintain hardware that can still play them.

~jr

http://www.johnrofrano.com
http://www.vasst.com



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