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Aspect ratio settings in MPEG Streamclip

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Bobby Hall
Aspect ratio settings in MPEG Streamclip
on May 11, 2016 at 1:58:00 am
Last Edited By Bobby Hall on May 11, 2016 at 1:59:57 am

I'm creating my editing demo reel in FCP 7 and I'm using three sources of footage. My sequence settings in FCP will be 1920x1080.

The first is 1920x1080 ProRes 422 .mov files. The other two are DVDs that I'm converting to .mov using MPEG Streamclip.

When I open the first DVD in MPEG streamclip and click "show stream info" it says it's 720x480 4:3 and when I click on "export to quicktime" the default setting is 640x480. Does this mean the aspect ratio of the entire image of the DVD is 720x480 and the image minus the black bars is 640x480? And should I leave the setting at 640x480?

The "show stream info" for the second DVD says 720x480 16:9 and when I click "export to quicktime" the default setting is 854x480 (16:9). Two other options are 720x480 (unscaled) and 720x480 (DV-NTSC).

Is it wise to put 854x480 footage in a 1920x1080 timeline in FCP 7? And could you also create an 854x480 sequence in FCP 7?

What's the difference between 720x480 (unscaled) and 720x480 (DV-NTSC)? And should I choose one of these over the 854x480 setting?

Thanks.


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Shane Ross
Re: Aspect ratio settings in MPEG Streamclip
on May 11, 2016 at 4:40:15 pm

[Bobby Hall] "Is it wise to put 854x480 footage in a 1920x1080 timeline in FCP 7?"

Sure. It's 16:9. You will have to scale it up and render, but that's it.

[Bobby Hall] "And could you also create an 854x480 sequence in FCP 7?
"


No. That's non-standard frame size, and FCP 7 doesn't like non-standard. SD was always 4:3, and the footage was letterboxed, or anamorphically squeezed, to accommodate that. You have extracted and un-anamorphically squeezed it...which is fine for what you are doing.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Bobby Hall
Re: Aspect ratio settings in MPEG Streamclip
on May 11, 2016 at 8:46:40 pm

Thanks for the info!


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Bobby Hall
Re: Aspect ratio settings in MPEG Streamclip
on May 12, 2016 at 3:00:25 am

When I open up one of the DVDs in MPEG Streamclip and click "show stream info" it says it's 720x480 and when I choose to convert it to .mov it defaults at 640x480. I converted it to this aspect ratio as well as 720x480 to see the difference and they both look exactly the same. Why is this?


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Aspect ratio settings in MPEG Streamclip
on May 12, 2016 at 3:50:01 pm

If you're dealing with 16x9 SD footage from a DVD, it's better to use 720. The reason: it was 720 on the DVD, so you're introducing less image degradation.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Bobby Hall
Re: Aspect ratio settings in MPEG Streamclip
on May 12, 2016 at 6:22:24 pm

Aren't all DVDs 720x480? Why shouldn't I choose 720 when ripping from a 4:3 DVD?


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Bobby Hall
Re: Aspect ratio settings in MPEG Streamclip
on May 13, 2016 at 3:35:04 am

Dave (or anyone else),
I did as you suggested and ripped a portion of my 16:9 SD DVD and chose 720x480. Of course it looks squeezed in Quicktime and Final cut Pro 7 unless I check "anamorphic" in the sequence settings. I also converted the clip at 854x480 to compare them both in FCP 7.

The 720x480 clip is just slightly horizontally more stretched than the 854x480 clip but the 720 one also shows just a little bit more detail on the sides. But the 854x480 clip seems more correct to me because of the slightly stretched picture on the 720 one. Does this have anything to do with square vs non-square pixels? I'm trying to understand this!

Also, the 16:9 DVD footage is going in a 1920x1080 sequence, and dropping the 854x480 clip looks better than putting the 720x480 clip in because then I have to distort the aspect ratio of that clip and change the scaling. So in this circumstance, isn't it better to convert the 16:9 SD footage as 854x480? You said ripping at 720x480 yields better resolution, so I don't understand! Thanks for any help!


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Dave LaRonde
Re: Aspect ratio settings in MPEG Streamclip
on May 13, 2016 at 4:26:21 pm

You only had 720x480 pixels to begin with. Any upscaling you do won't alter that fact. I think it's unnecessary to go to 854.

Dave LaRonde
Promotion Producer
KGAN (CBS) & KFXA (Fox) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Bobby Hall
Re: Aspect ratio settings in MPEG Streamclip
on May 14, 2016 at 8:49:14 pm

Ok, thanks Dave. I'm trying to better understand aspect ratios of DVDs and how they're displayed. I've read that all DVDs, whether 4:3 or 16:9, are 720x480 pixels.

If you have a fullframe pan & scan DVD and display it in its native 1.5:1 dimensions, how would this look? Does it look horizontally stretched? And is showing it in 4:3 just a matter of squishing it horizontally until it's 4:3?

And if you have a 4:3 letterboxed DVD, does it do the same thing as above and the only difference is black bars are encoded in the top and bottom of the frame?

If you have a 16:9 Anamorphic DVD, which is also 720x480 pixels, how does it look if displayed in its native 1.5:1 ratio? I don't quite understand this and I'm just curious how it would look compared to a 4:3 DVD.

Also, since pixels on a DVD are rectangular, I don't understand how the 720x480 ratio is 1.5:1. To me this only makes sense if the pixels are square because then the width and height would be the same.

If the width of a pixel is longer than its height, you can't divide them to get the aspect ratio, right? For instance, if you had a frame of 15 pixels wide and 10 pixels high, and if the pixels are 2 inches wide and 1 inch high (for the sake of argument), then the width of the frame would be 30 inches (15 pixels times 2 inches) and the height would be 10 inches (10 pixels times 1 inch). This would give an aspect ratio of 3:1. It would only be 1.5: 1 if the pixels were square. So how does a 720x480 DVD with rectangular pixels come out to 1.5:1?


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Bobby Hall
Re: Aspect ratio settings in MPEG Streamclip
on May 16, 2016 at 6:57:15 am

Also, when I rip DVD files to convert to .mov for editing in FCP 7, should I choose 720x480 unscaled or DV NTSC? What's the difference?

Should I deinterlace or not? Does mixing this footage with progressive footage have any influence on whether or not you choose to deinterlace?


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