I need to take a 16:9 NTSC video I've created and prep it for playback on a PAL system at a meeting in Australia. I have done an extensive amount of format conversion from 4:3 NTSC to PAL but I've never messed with 16:9.
I'm planning to first create a letterboxed 4:3 version of the 16:9 video in NTSC, and then convert that to PAL. So the end result is a "standard" PAL DVD that's letterboxed.
Is this a bad idea for any reason I'm unaware of? Are people in Australia accustomed to seeing PAL videos that are letterboxed to 16:9 or will this look weird to them?
Australians are used to playing NTSC DVDs and we are fond of buying 16:9 TVs and DVD players that are multi system/ auto switching. Maybe its the sheer width of our clear horizons, but Australians have one of the highest uptakes of 16:9 flat screen TVs. We have been digital broadcasting 16:9 for years and will probably be the first country to stop analog 4:3. I have not delivered anything SD for broadcast for over a decade that was not 16:9 anamorphic and on digi beta.
If you still need to do a conversion to PAL, leave the sequence as anamorphic. When you letterbox the NTSC you further reduce the actual used pixels by nearly 40%. The letterboxed PAL will then be zoomed on the 16:9 monitor and will look like rubbish. Letterboxing is not a good idea. It just throws away lots of resolution.
Thank you very much for your post ... and I'm excited to hear about the broad acceptance of 16:9 footage ... here in the US we're seeing a very similar thing ... with one exception ...
It still seems that most corporate meetings are run in a 4:3 format ... the non-centralized production of PowerPoint graphics in many corporations seem to default to a 4:3 shape and much video that is prepared for these meetings is produced to match the 4:3 "look" ... it's painful but true ... even on very high-end live meetings, if the event producer is faced with accepting videos (and PowerPoints) from unknown (or uncontrolled) presenters then they choose to stay conservative and build their show around the 4:3 format ... no one wants to risk being in a situation where the playback environment is not set to handle an anamorphic image and accidentally have the CEOs video look 'screwed up' ...