I've just received some stock masters from the UK. They were sent online as QT video files. The QT Inspector doesn't actually say they are PAL, but they're 25 FPS and they did originate from the BBC so...
The aspect ratio also appears a bit odd. They opened in QT in a 4x3 window and look stretched a little vertically, but I can tell that 16x9 will stretch them too far horizontally. Here's the QuickTime Inspector window for one of the files:
So my questions are can I use Compressor to convert these to 30 FPS NTSC, should I do something about the aspect ratio during conversion and is Compressor the best method for doing these things?
I know these questions may merit different threads, but I've already got two posts up on these files; I didn't want to appear greedy.
2 x 2.26 Ghz Quad-Core Intel Xeon
12 GB RAM
ATI Radeon HD 4870
Avid Media Composer 188.8.131.52
They are PAL. PAL D1 pixels are non-square, but unlike NTSC D1, they are stretched vertically and not horizontally. The distortion is normal in Quicktime and will not show that way on a video monitor.
If you are going to do the standards conversion in Compressor, use the preset in the Other Workflows/Advanced Format Conversions folder for NTSC (Photo JPEG NTSC, 8 Bit Uncompressed NTSC, or duplicate one and create a custom preset for Pro Res NTSC). Make sure to turn on the Frame Controls, then set the Resize filter to Better or Best, Output Fields to "lower", and the Rate Conversion to "Better" or "Best".
The temptation would be to set everything to "Best", but it will take a very long time, and depending on the material, may not give the best results. Try a test with Better and see if it is sufficient.
A hardware standards conversion at a dub house would be superior, but you would need to output to a PAL VTR for that. Does not sound like thats an option.
As for the aspect ratio, it looks like the person sending it [probably manually] set the pixel aspect ratio to square pixels (ie: 568x576) so it would display properly online at 4:3. If you use the Compressor settings from the Macworld article I don't think you will have to change the aspect ratio before converting to NTSC.
The BBC would supply 720 x 576 Anamorphic. This is standard and would look 4:3 vertically stretched in QT. Presuming you also want the NTSC to be anamorphic, then you don't need to change aspect as it is already correct.