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Both 4x3 and 16x9 in sequence - how to export?

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Katrina Mann
Both 4x3 and 16x9 in sequence - how to export?
on Jun 22, 2008 at 8:25:47 am

Hi,

I'm using DVD SP to burn a DVD from Final Cut. Most of our footage is true 16:9 (1920 x 1080i), but we have several archival clips that are 4x3.

I don't understand how I am supposed to export this from FCP to make it all work. DVD SP manual says not to mix these on the same track in DVD SP, and not to letterbox before bringing my assets into DVD SP. Do I have to export separately the 16x9 and 4x3 elements? Since we have so much 4x3 scattered throughout our movie I have a feeling there's a more efficient way.

I also have both 24 and 30 fps clips in the sequence and am not sure how to export that all at once.

Can anyone tell me which Compressor settings to use?

Please help,

Thank you



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Don Greening
Re: Both 4x3 and 16x9 in sequence - how to export?
on Jun 23, 2008 at 6:45:18 am

Well, first of all you need to choose which aspect ratio you want to use as your final output. This is usually based on what kind of footage you have more of: 16:9 or 4:3. Before I go any further I'm talking about working within final Cut Pro, well before you've exporting anything to Compressor or DVDSP.

For example's sake, lets pretend you have more 16:9 footage so you've decided to create a 16:9 timeline. Since your final output is for a standard definition DVD lets make it a DVCPRO 50 Anamorphic timeline. Drag your HD footage into the sequence. If you're using FCP 6 it will ask if you want to change the sequence settings to match your HD footage. Say no. When you drag some 4:3 footage into the sequence FCP should automatically pillarbox the clip so it only takes up the centre portion of your frame. If it doesn't then you'll have to double-click that piece to load it into the viewer. Change the aspect in the distort tab until it displays properly, taking up the middle of the frame with black bars on the sides only and no black bars on the top and bottom. Insert all the rest of your 4:3 clips into the timeline as necessary during the edit process. If the 4:3 clips keep coming in distorted you can highlight the first 4:3 clip you've fixed earlier and hit Command - C to copy the clip's attributes to the clipboard. Deselect the clip and Command -click all the rest of the 4:3 clips that still need aspect ratio fixing. Hit Option - V. A dialogue box will come up allowing you to choose which attributes to paste onto the other clips. Make sure 'aspect" or "scale" is checked and click OK. Now all your 4:3 clips will be changed to the proper aspect ratio.

After your edit, render and export. Use Compressor to create an MPEG2 anamorphic (16:9) movie. Bring that into DVDSP and make sure your movie asset is flagged as 16:9. DVDSP gets this right automatically, most of the time. Just make sure.

Hope this helps you in deciding which way to go with your edit.

- Don


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Katrina Mann
Re: Both 4x3 and 16x9 in sequence - how to export?
on Jun 23, 2008 at 8:27:03 am

Hi Don,

Thanks for your help.

We've already been editing for a while now on ProRes (HQ) 1920x1080 24p sequences. Almost all of our footage is 16:9 and the 4:3 archival looks properly scaled on our sequences. (We've been blowing it up to fit the frame.)

Do you think your workflow will work on the sequences we have?

When you say we should edit in an anamorphic timeline, do you mean I need to check anamorphic in the browser column for my sequence before exporting? I'm unclear on whether 1920x1080 is already anamorphic.

Also, you say use Compressor to create an anamorphic 16:9 movie... is that just 16:9 in the Geometry tab? I don't see an anamorphic option anywhere.

Thank you so much



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Don Greening
Re: Both 4x3 and 16x9 in sequence - how to export?
on Jun 23, 2008 at 9:49:37 am

[Katrina Mann] "Do you think your workflow will work on the sequences we have?"

Well, since you're already editing in ProRes you may as well continue. There's nothing wrong with that. A lot of folks want to edit in their delivery format but it's not necessary. 1440x1080 is anamorphic but 1920x1080 is square pixels. If the aspect ratio of your frames look correct right now then don't mess with it. If you're outputting to a standard def DVD then Just choose the MPEG2 preset in Compressor and it will do the job for you.

- Don



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Katrina Mann
Re: Both 4x3 and 16x9 in sequence - how to export?
on Jun 23, 2008 at 10:48:14 pm

Great,

Thank you Don



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Don Greening
Re: Both 4x3 and 16x9 in sequence - how to export?
on Jun 23, 2008 at 11:23:29 pm

I think your original question was that DVDSP doesn't want 4:3 and 16:9 on the same track. This is correct. You can't drag a full screen movie into the same track with a widescreen movie and expect DVDSP to display both with the proper aspect on the TV or whatever. So the workaround is to create a widescreen sequence in FCP and insert the the full screen stuff into it. It's that one sequence that gets exported and eventually ends up in DVDSP. Set the DVD play to widescreen and everything will look right as rain. I probably didn't make that very clear from the start, so......there it is :)

- Don


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Katrina Mann
Re: Both 4x3 and 16x9 in sequence - how to export?
on Jun 26, 2008 at 11:17:14 pm

Hi again Don,

I'm not sure what it means to "flag". Does this just mean choose 16:9 in the Geometry in Compressor? And how do I make sure it's flagged in DVD SP? Also just make sure I'm burning a 16:9 DVD? Also, will this play right on a 4:3 TV? Is there any way to make that happen?

And finally, why are some folk suggesting first a quicktime export at Currnent settings, then dragging that into Compressor. I think you're just suggesting straight to Compressor, right?

And how big can my MPEG export be? Only 4.7 gigs?

Really really appreciate your help,
Katrina



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Don Greening
Re: Both 4x3 and 16x9 in sequence - how to export?
on Jun 27, 2008 at 7:52:17 am

[Katrina Mann] "I'm not sure what it means to "flag""

Simply put, it means to notify. When you're working with pretty much all standard definition stuff, whether it's 4:3 or 16:9, the frame size is always 720x480. If it's a 16:9 image it's still squeezed in to that space. This is known as an anamorphic image. By "flagging" the image as widescreen or 16:9 you're telling other programs and eventually a television how to display that image. The widescreen image ends up with a PAR (pixel aspect ratio) of 853x480 instead of 720x480. Make sense?

[Katrina Mann] "Does this just mean choose 16:9 in the Geometry in Compressor?"

Yes, When you encode your project to MPEG2 in Compressor just choose to encode at the 16:9 aspect.

[Katrina Mann] "Also just make sure I'm burning a 16:9 DVD?"

When you bring your .m2v file into DVDSP you can highlight it either before or after you drag it into a track and down in the lower right window you'll see the properties for it. Just make sure it's set to 16:9 letterbox. Sometimes DVDSP gets it right because your movie has already been flagged as 16:9 but sometimes it's not. Just make sure. The other important thing is that the actual track even when empty also has to be set to 16:9. Click inside the empty track and change the track properties to 16:9 letterbox. This is important, too.

[Katrina Mann] "Also, will this play right on a 4:3 TV? Is there any way to make that happen? "

All set top consumer DVD players have a menu where you can tell it what kind of TV it's hooked up to. If it's a widescreen TV that's what you set the player to. If it's hooked to a 4:3 TV set the player to that. Now when you play a widescreen movie using a full screen TV it will be letterboxed. If you play a full screen movie on a widescreen TV it will be pillarboxed.

[Katrina Mann] "And finally, why are some folk suggesting first a quicktime export at Currnent settings, then dragging that into Compressor. I think you're just suggesting straight to Compressor, right?"

Actually, I'm not. I like to export a self-contained QT movie and drag that into Compressor. This way you're not tying up Final Cut Pro and you can continue to use that program while Compressor does your encoding. Also, with self-contained, you don't need to keep the media afterwards, but if you export a reference QT movie you do. It's whatever works for your particular workflow. I've also found that exporting self-contained is a more reliable way to do it. Reference movies are rather, shall we say, fragile. But that's just me.

[Katrina Mann] "And how big can my MPEG export be? Only 4.7 gigs?"

Once you've exported and dragged the project into Compressor It's important that you encode your audio to the industry standard AC3 file format. This takes up far less room on the DVD (about 10 or 20% of the original audio) and also the bit rate is much lower, which helps to create a more reliable playback in set top DVD players.

4.7 Gbyes is what it will say on the DVD-R but in REAL Gbytes it works out to a little more than 4.3 something computer Gbytes. Also very important to consider when building a DVD. A good rule of thumb is to keep your .m2v file size down around 3.8 or 3.9 computer GBytes. When you bring the .m2v file into DVDSP the disc meter up at the top reflects the space used on the actual DVD and is not based on computer GBytes so you'll see a jump in the .m2v files size. Remember that your .ac3 encoded audio will take up space along with DVD menus, etc. so all your asset file sizes have to be taken into consideration when you build your DVD.

What else. Oh, encoding bit rates for the video:

Don't exceed a peak bit rate of 6.5 otherwise you run into possible playability issues with some set top players. Remember that it's the combined bit rate of both the audio and the video that is the concern. With AC3 audio and a 6.5 max video bit rate you're making a DVD that will play smoothly in just about any DVD player. NOTE: Really high bit rates do not make a better encode.

Since I don't know the length of your project here are some generic encoding numbers:

video length is an hour or less: use a CBR setting in Compressor with a straight 6.5 bit rate.

video length over an hour: use the VBR setting in Compressor with a peak rate of 6.5 while the "target" bit rate is determined by the file size of the video.

I better get another thank you for all this :)

- Don





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