I'm showing work in a few days which will be displayed, using a dvd player/projector, on a 4:3 screen. The projectionist asked me to letterbox my work so it will display (a 16:9 project) using letterbox so that it won't be cropped off the screen.
I'm not sure at which stage of the process to enforce the 4:3 conversion. Is it in fcp x, compressor, or is it in DVD studio pro?
Does it make sense that I give him a 4:3 project and within his dvd player sets it to 16:9?
This isn't really the forum to post this question Jarrod, the FCP forum is where you should post things that have to do with all things related to Final Cut Studio, even if you're unsure which app in the suite it the right one to ask about. However, I'll go ahead and answer you now, and the Cow staff can move this to the proper forum later.
The projectionist is misinformed about DVDs. A properly encoded and authored 16x9 DVD does not cut off anything when displayed on a 4x3 televison or projector, there is in fact a flag in the DVD spec that causes a DVD to playback full screen 16x9 on a widescreen monitor, and letterboxed on a 4x3 monitor.
That flag is automatically added to the MPEG-2 by Compressor when choosing one of the 16x9 DVD presets, and if you make certain to selecty the 16x9 checkbox when authoring with DVDSP, your DVD will display properly on either a widescreen or 4x3 monitor/projector.
FYI, all commercial DVDs behave exactly this way, and have for many years since the flag was added to the DVD spec when 16x9 TVs first became available. You never see commercial DVDs labled 16x9 or 4x3 for this very reason.