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Nate HansonSD DVD on HD TV
by on Oct 20, 2009 at 6:46:03 pm

I just got a voice mail from a wedding client stating that the DVD I made for them looks "distorted" and not very clear on their 40-inch TV.

I shot the wedding on a Canon GL-2 and everything looks fine on my SD TV at home. I'm pretty sure that their 40-inch TV is an HD set.

Is there anything to be done about that? Should an SD DVD look acceptable on an HD set, or will it look less than clear? Is there usually a setting on the TV set for adjusting the image?

Obviously the footage will never look like HD footage...I'm just not sure what to tell them when I call back.

Nate Hanson
Pilothouse Films

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Mark SuszkoRe: SD DVD on HD TV
by on Oct 20, 2009 at 9:18:42 pm

They need to re-set their TV or their player to anamorphic, it sounds like.

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Nate HansonRe: SD DVD on HD TV
by on Oct 20, 2009 at 9:55:52 pm

Hi Mark, thanks for the reply.

I filmed it in standard NTSC, not anamorphic widescreen. But maybe their TV is stretching it, as if it were anamorphic widescreen? I'm about to give her a call.

But imagine SD footage on a 40-inch high definition that going to look ok? I don't have a HD TV so I have no idea how my stuff looks at that resolution.

Nate Hanson
Pilothouse Films

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Mark SuszkoRe: SD DVD on HD TV
by on Oct 20, 2009 at 10:07:58 pm

The TV or the disk player may either or both suck at upscaling to fill the 16 x 9 from edge to edge. That's what it sounds like. Some brands I hear are better at this than others, I don't know if 1080 or 720 sets are better at it as a rule. the disk player and the Tv may be fighting each other, one is scaling up and the other, down.

If they try some menu settings on both machines it may improve, but this is a bad corner to get yourself into, asking the user to make what (to them) is a hugely inconvenient and technically difficult change to their set just to watch your product.

They can and deserve to get something that "just works" without having to make obscure (to them) accommodations, since everything else they get on the set is that way.

I used to have that kind of problem with dubs on VHS tape and certain users that had badly connected sets. They would call me complaining the tapes had no sound because their stereo settings and cables were all hosed up. After a while I sent them 2-track mono mixes instead and never heard another complaint.:-)

Try taking a DVD dub to the TV department at an electronics store to see if it looks the same on many different sets. Tell them you're shopping:-)

At least you may get some idea of where the settings are needing a change.

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Mike CohenRe: SD DVD on HD TV
by on Oct 24, 2009 at 5:09:37 pm

If using an upscaling DVD player - most non-blu-ray players these days are upscaling, you need to set the output to match your tv. But then you also need to set the tv to the correct aspect ratio.

This illustrates how the consumer is using technology without knowing anything about how to use it. Everyone buys the HD tv, because they are affordable and football games look awesome, but it seems many people are still watching SD programming and DVD's, myself included.

I would say 9 out of 10 people have no idea how to setup their DVD players for tv aspect ratio. While the DVR did away with programming a VCR, the DVD player aspect ratio problem has taken its place as something most consumers don't understand.

Since brides usually complain that they look fat on tv, viewing a 4:3 wedding stretched on a 16:9 screen will bring out the bridezilla in anyone.

To the original post - if you are selling DVD's to people, you need to be aware of how the end user is using the disc. Buy yourself a 16:9 set, even a $199 one from Costco, just to see what happens to your material on a 16:9 screen.

Mike Cohen

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Chip ThomeRe: SD DVD on HD TV
by on Oct 27, 2009 at 11:55:58 pm

I'd have to agree and am guilty as charged.

My TV has three settings for viewing, one normal, one expanded to fill the screen and one stretched to fill the screen width wise. The last one really does screw up the picture and have no clue why it is included as an option.

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Jim BungerRe: SD DVD on HD TV
by on Oct 31, 2009 at 6:16:09 am

Nate, I shoot weddings a lot here in Nebraska and I have an HDTV that I use at times to check how things look. I agree that when you talk to them that you ask the what their TV aspect ratio is set to and the same for their dvd player. I use an SD Progressive scan DVD player that plays movies in wide screen on my TV set. DVD Player is told that the TV is 16:9 and the TV knows that it is a 4:3 signal coming in through the composite connection. Plays SD 16:9 Movies in beautiful quality yet when I play SD Wedding footage that is, low and behold shot on GL2's, it comes out looking OKAY, not great but OKAY. People need to start to realize that a SD picture when it is done is 640 by 480 and even a 720p set is 1280 by 720, you are scaling the picture up to fit that resolution. If I freelanced weddings instead of working through a franchise I would be shooting on like an HVX200 or EX1 and produce a widescreen product on an standard DVD. Picture comes out solid as a rock and looks much more beautifil.

Sorry for the long post but I hope this helps.

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Nate HansonRe: SD DVD on HD TV
by on Nov 2, 2009 at 4:08:57 pm

Thanks for all the great responses, guys!

I got some clarification from the client. The picture looks pixelated and stretched wide. I sent her some possible settings to try (had to look up their TV's manual online), and I also suggested they test the DVDs on their computer to see if the problem is on the DVDs or if the TV set is to blame.

They have been busy and I haven't heard back yet. But it sure sounds like a TV setting issue to me.

Jim, I'm looking to upgrade to a Canon XH-A1 as soon as I can, but a Sony EX1 is way out of my budget. I started my business from scratch as a side job and I'm currently paying off my GL2 and my Adobe Master Collection.

How does HDV look when turned into a Standard Definition DVD? And do you edit the project at full resolution? Or do you import it as SD to start with?

Thanks for all the info!

Nate Hanson
Pilothouse Films

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Jim BungerRe: SD DVD on HD TV
by on Nov 2, 2009 at 4:57:11 pm

The Canon XH-A1 is a good camera. The way I do HD is Film, Edit, and Produce in HD then when you go into Encore create an regular DVD project when you bring in your video it will recognize that it is a 16:9 video and will make the video play at a 16:9 aspect ratio on a TV Black bars will be on top and bottom of video when played on a normal SD TV but when played on an HDTV that has widescreen it will play in Full Frame. You can also ReImport the video into premire at a SD 4:3 Project and trim the Right and Left sides of the video to create a Full Screen Look. But overall picture quality will be greatly enhanced. You can play around with the idea like I did by going to RED's website download there RED Reel and use that to test out HD onto SD DVD, The Reel is a 2.35:1 Cine Ratio so even on a 16:9 Set you still have the black bars on top and bottom but the picture is OMG.

Hope this helps rather than confuses.

JimmyJames Productions LLC

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Douglas VillalbaRe: SD DVD on HD TV
by on Nov 25, 2009 at 8:53:06 pm

No matter what you do to it will never look as good as your CRT TV.
Instead of telling them that the problem is their TV wish is not you have to prove that your video is the way it is supposed to be. After doing that then tell them how to see it better on their set.

Douglas Villalba

G5 QUAD 4.5 GB RAM, Decklink HD Extreme, HVX200, FX1, A1 & HV20. Letus Extreme 35 mm adaptor, Rails, GlideCam

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