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Weird issue with PAL DVcam footage

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Alexander Wolf
Weird issue with PAL DVcam footage
on Nov 21, 2011 at 7:32:02 pm

Today I was troubleshooting some FCP-issues that had to do with working with different formats: DV-PAL, XDCAM EX and DSLR footage. There was one issue I was not able to resolve: dv-pal footage that was captured via firewire as dv-pal. It was used in the anamorphic timeline along with other footage and has black borders on all sides. (as if it's less than 720x576, more like 600x450). I looked at the format tab and saw it's dv-pal 720x576. I checked 'anamorphic' in 'properties' but that just stretched the image.
Then I recaptured the material as DV PAL anamorphic and that got rid of the vertical borders but not the horizontal ones on top and below...

This material was shot in 2007 and I asked the filmer what it was shot with. He remembered that the cameraman did something with the settings that made the image look stretched but the cameraman assured him that -once in Avid- it would be fine. But now we're editing in FCP...

What could have possible happened? How can we fix this..? I tried resizing but that -ofcourse- degrades the image. I told the filmer to try to contact the filmer and ask what he did but that was years ago and meanwhile I'm trying to help...


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Neil Patience
Re: Weird issue with PAL DVcam footage
on Nov 21, 2011 at 8:26:19 pm

It sunds like you are mixing HD and SD footage in the same timeline.
I suspect the reason that your DV footage looks bordered on all sides is that its sitting in the middle of a 1920x1080 frame and anamorphic hence the stretched look. (Thats fine for DV footage in a normal anamorphic DV timeline)

If you want it to fill the HD frame then you have no option but to resize it up to 1920x1080 so its never going to look good.
The only other option is to downres all the XDCam EX and DSLR footage to standard def but thats probably not going to work for you either.

Mixing HD and SD is always going to be a compromise of some sort or other.

best wishes
Neil
http://www.patience.tv


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Alexander Wolf
Re: Weird issue with PAL DVcam footage
on Nov 21, 2011 at 8:43:00 pm

Thanks, Neil, I wish you nailed it but I created an entirely new project using the PAL DV Anamorphic Easy Setup, recapturing 20 seconds or so... and I got rid of the sidebars, but not the top bars...


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Neil Patience
Re: Weird issue with PAL DVcam footage
on Nov 21, 2011 at 9:03:07 pm

Ok so in your DV timeline where the side bars are gone but not top/bottom, does the picture look the right aspect ratio or is it squashed top to bottom ?

It might be the footage is 16x9 letterboxed (which is 4x3 in ratio)

So to make that look right in an anamorphic timeline uncheck the anamorphic flag on the source. Then strech it top/bottom so that it fills the frame.

That should then look correct in an SD anamorphic timeline.

However to put that into an HD timeline you have to treat it as 4x3 not 16x9 - does that make sense ? So the quality is really going to suffer.

best wishes
Neil
http://www.patience.tv


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Alexander Wolf
Re: Weird issue with PAL DVcam footage
on Nov 21, 2011 at 9:31:26 pm

Update, just after I read your response, Neil: just got a call from the filmer who said his cameraman just told him he shot 4:3 letterbox. So you are right.
I imported it into a (new) dv pal anamorphic (easy setup) project. It looks squished, I uncheck the anamorphic and it looks good (with 'normal' black bars top/bottom) When I drop the file into the timeline it asks to change the sequence setting to match clip settings. (when I check the sequence settings, 'anamorphic' is unchecked...?) When I check anamorphic in the sequence settings, the image squishes again. So the footage should be anamorphic but not the timeline... strange...

I also get confused because of the black bars top and bottom. My HD projects have grey bars top bottom in the viewer window (which, of course, is normal) Why are the grey bars suddenly black in DV? (and does it matter??!)

Knowing this, what is the best advice I can give my colleague?


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Neil Patience
Re: Weird issue with PAL DVcam footage
on Nov 21, 2011 at 11:18:24 pm

Hope this helps:

4x3 is 720x576 pixels.
16x9 anamorphic is also 720x576 pixels however the image looks tall and thin when viewed that way.
In order to make the anamorphic image appear in the correct ratio there are 2 options.
Either leave the top and bottom as they are and stretch the sides out to 1024x576 (widescreen), which is in effect what happens when you set the anamorphic flag. This is 16x9.
Or
You can leave the sides as they are and squash the top and bottom of the image creating a letterbox, which is what has been done in your case. This formats the picture for 4x3.

Since your footage has been letterboxed then it is now in a 4x3 ratio so in order for it to remain looking correct you do not want any settings to be anamorphic. It is not anamorphic it is letterboxed.

If you want to edit this footage on its own just treat it as 4x3, nothing anamorphic.

If you want to place this into and HD timeline with your DSLR footage then you have some problems as you will have to zoom it considerably and re-stretch it horitontally (back to being anamorphic in effect.)

This will result in a reduction in the quality of the clip but it is unavoidable.

You may find that compressor or mpeg streamclip etc do a slightly better upres job than FCP but broadly its always going to look poor in that scenario.

What is it you actually want to do with this DV footage ?

best wishes
Neil
http://www.patience.tv


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Alexander Wolf
Re: Weird issue with PAL DVcam footage
on Nov 22, 2011 at 8:00:10 pm

You're a grest help, Neil, I really appreciate it. My colleague wants to use it in a film he's been working on for 4 years or so and that's been on the shelf for a long time...


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