ADOBE AFTER EFFECTS: Forum Expressions Tutorials Creative Cloud

Aspect Ratio import issue

COW Forums : Adobe After Effects

<< PREVIOUS   •   FAQ   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
Ryan Walker
Aspect Ratio import issue
on Oct 3, 2016 at 11:39:54 pm
Last Edited By Ryan Walker on Oct 4, 2016 at 1:23:47 am

Working with an h264 master that is 1920x1080. The Pixel Aspect Ratio is Non Square 0.75:1 and the Frame Aspect Rato is 4:3. My question is how can a video with a Frame Aspect Ratio of 4:3 have a resolution of 1920 x 1080? It has to be something to do with the non square pixels. But I'm not sure how. When I play the video in Quicktime it's a perfect square, however when I bring it into After Effects and create a comp based on the video settings it appears as a rectangle. Can someone shed some light?

Other info: The video was originally a 16mm film that was shot in 4:3. I have no idea how it wound up in this format.




Return to posts index

Dave LaRonde
Re: Aspect Ratio import issue
on Oct 4, 2016 at 2:18:00 pm
Last Edited By Dave LaRonde on Oct 4, 2016 at 2:23:20 pm

Pixels, when recorded and displayed, don't HAVE to be square. They can be tall & skinny, as they are in your example.

They can also be wide -- you can shoot and display in 1440x1080, and it will be 16x9 video. If you displayed the pixels as square, the image would be 4x3 AND it woud look squeezed horizontally.

It would be a lot easier if all pixels were square. But camera makers and codec designers like to cheat to use less data to get an image, so they generally make the pixels wider.

Your example is a weird one! 1920x1080, but it's 4x3 video. There's more horizontal resolution than usual. And then what do they do? They record it in a lossy codec like H.264! They're throwing away information! Weird! Very weird! Where did you get it?

Incidentally, it looks like footage that may have been shot af Kent State University in May 1970.

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


Return to posts index

Ryan Walker
Re: Aspect Ratio import issue
on Oct 4, 2016 at 9:45:03 pm

Hey Dave -
Thanks for the insightful explanation. I was fairly confident 4:3 was possible, but the pixels seemed so oddly shaped that I started questioning my findings. These pixels are more like skyscrapers than squares. I do have a couple follow up questions if you wouldn't mind. They aren't 100% After Effects, so feel free to pass.

I am trying to wrap my head around how this file was even created. I'm assuming the file was originally a square when it was digitally transferred from film. So how was the creator able to take that square, put it in1920x1080 instead of a 1440x1080 and lock it at a 4:3 without having black bars on the side? I would think that would be done in AE, but I'm not understanding how they selected 1920x1080 and locked it for 4:3. Seems like AE defaults to 16:9.

The other question I have is about putting this 1920 x 1080 4:3 video onto a DVD. Majority of TV's these days will take a 4:3 video and by default stretch it to fit 16:9. Therefore compressing it directly for MPEG2 will leave me with a 4:3 scenario. I don't want that stretch, and black bars are fine. How would I go about prepping this video for conversion to MPEG2 for DVD burning while working with the pixel situation? Will I lose additional quality with a h264 master?

The project was filmed in 1967 in San Francisco.


Return to posts index


Tero Ahlfors
Re: Aspect Ratio import issue
on Oct 4, 2016 at 4:17:49 pm

[Ryan Walker] "however when I bring it into After Effects and create a comp based on the video settings it appears as a rectangle"

Do you have the aspect ratio correction checked for the viewer?


Return to posts index

Ryan Walker
Re: Aspect Ratio import issue
on Oct 4, 2016 at 8:09:08 pm

Tero - I'm assuming you're referring to the "Toggle Pixel Aspect Ratio Correction" button. Yes, that seemed to do the trick as far as viewing this piece in a square format. Thank you for the input.


Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: Aspect Ratio import issue
on Oct 4, 2016 at 9:36:04 pm

Depending on what you're doing next with this, it might be helpful to render with square pixels with a 4:3 aspect ratio from Ae.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


Return to posts index


Ryan Walker
Re: Aspect Ratio import issue
on Oct 4, 2016 at 9:48:57 pm

Trying to get it to a DVD. Sent this to Dave a few moments ago.
"The other question I have is about putting this 1920 x 1080 4:3 video onto a DVD. Majority of TV's these days will take a 4:3 video and by default stretch it to fit 16:9. Therefore compressing it directly for MPEG2 will leave me with a 4:3 scenario. I don't want that stretch, and black bars are fine. How would I go about prepping this video for conversion to MPEG2 for DVD burning while working with the pixel situation? Will I lose additional quality with a h264 master?"

I am interested in what the process would be to return the project to square pixels?


Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: Aspect Ratio import issue
on Oct 5, 2016 at 12:56:52 pm

If you're going to standard definition DVD, you don't want square pixels, but you do want different non-square pixels than you have right now.

Create an NTSC DV comp, put your content in it, and scale it to fit the height of the comp. The keyboard shortcut is to select the layer and press Claw+G. (Claw is my goofy shorthand for Ctrl+Alt+Shift on a PC and Cmd+Opt+Shift on a Mac.)

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


Return to posts index

Ryan Walker
Re: Aspect Ratio import issue
on Oct 5, 2016 at 7:14:28 pm

Thanks for the info Walter.

I do realize that I don't need square pixels for this project because it's for a DVD, however I was curious how that would be achieved if you wouldn't mind a quick explanation.


Return to posts index


Walter Soyka
Re: Aspect Ratio import issue
on Oct 5, 2016 at 8:00:44 pm

[Ryan Walker] "I do realize that I don't need square pixels for this project because it's for a DVD, however I was curious how that would be achieved if you wouldn't mind a quick explanation."

Same deal. Either drop it into a square-pixel comp and render that (easy), or dig into the output settings and adjust it there (a little harder).

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


Return to posts index

Ryan Walker
Re: Aspect Ratio import issue
on Oct 5, 2016 at 10:13:44 pm

Wouldn't I end up with a 4:3 DVD based on what your recommended? My concern with a 4:3 DVD is most newer TV's will auto stretch it to fit a wide screen. My target audience is an older crowd who won't have a clue about fixing that. Based on what you've written, my best bet to achieve a 16:9 with a 4:3 square in the middle is to create a DV Widescreeen comp and apply the same logic. That sound right?


Return to posts index

Dave LaRonde
Re: Aspect Ratio import issue
on Oct 5, 2016 at 10:20:30 pm

[Ryan Walker] " My concern with a 4:3 DVD is most newer TV's will auto stretch it to fit a wide screen."

I don't think you need to be concerned. The aspect ratio of the video file is determined by the DVD authoring application. If you tell it to play back in 4x3, the DVD should play back in 4x3. The same thing applies if you want it to play back in 16x9.

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


Return to posts index


Ryan Walker
Re: Aspect Ratio import issue
on Oct 5, 2016 at 11:06:26 pm

Create an NTSC DV comp, put your content in it, and scale it to fit the height of the comp. The keyboard shortcut is to select the layer and press Claw+G. (Claw is my goofy shorthand for Ctrl+Alt+Shift on a PC and Cmd+Opt+Shift on a Mac.)

I dropped my video in a AE 720x480 NTSC DV comp and "Claw+G" it. I then took the comp converted it to MPEG2, then drug it into Encore. Once in Encore the program defaulted to a 4:3, now way to switch to a 16:9. Burned the DVD and both TV's I tried it in stretched the video to fill the screen. It's not terrible, but it doesn't maintain the same 4:3 look as it does in the original file.

What if I created a NTSC DV Wde screen comp and Claw G that?


Return to posts index

Tero Ahlfors
Re: Aspect Ratio import issue
on Oct 6, 2016 at 6:50:16 am

TV's have a setting for how they deal with the aspect ratio. Most default to strecthing but you can set it to "native" or what have you and you'll get pillarboxed 4:3 image. That said you can't control how people have their own TV's set up.


Return to posts index

Ryan Walker
Re: Aspect Ratio import issue
on Oct 6, 2016 at 8:10:26 pm

I do realize that I can't control another viewers TV. This project is geared to the 60 year old and up crowd who probably won't be well versed in aspect ratio. The man who directed this is in his 80's and doesn't like the quality when the video stretches. I agree, it looks much worse. Therefore I am thinking my best bet is to create a 16:9 version so when the average viewer plays it on a wide screen TV, quality isn't lost in potential default stretching. In general testing on HD TV's, stretching seems to be the rule, not the exception. The 16:9 version will have black bars on the side, but it won't lose quality based on a TV manufactures decision to default stretch a 4:3 DVD.

My thought was to create an AE NTSC DV Widescreen comp and scale the video accordingly. Am I off in my thinking?


Return to posts index

Walter Soyka
Re: Aspect Ratio import issue
on Oct 6, 2016 at 9:25:43 pm

[Ryan Walker] "In general testing on HD TV's, stretching seems to be the rule, not the exception. The 16:9 version will have black bars on the side, but it won't lose quality based on a TV manufactures decision to default stretch a 4:3 DVD. My thought was to create an AE NTSC DV Widescreen comp and scale the video accordingly. Am I off in my thinking?"

If you manually pillarbox a 4:3 image inside a 16:9 frame, and your viewer is watching on a 4:3 screen, the 16:9 iamge (pillarboxed 4:3) will be letterboxed to fit in the 4:3 frame. You'll end up with a litterboxed image: black bars on all four sides of the image.

Walter Soyka
Designer & Mad Scientist at Keen Live [link]
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
@keenlive [twitter]   |   RenderBreak [blog]   |   Profile [LinkedIn]


Return to posts index

Ryan Walker
Re: Aspect Ratio import issue
on Oct 6, 2016 at 10:31:47 pm

Wasn't so worried about 4:3 screens as they are hard to come by. But oddly enough I am getting a litterbox on some widescreen HD TVs and even Windows Media Player when the 16:9 AE comp DVD is used. Sounds like you guys were right, a 4:3 DVD is the best way to go. I simply have to suck up the potential stretch issue.


Return to posts index

Dave LaRonde
Re: Aspect Ratio import issue
on Oct 6, 2016 at 10:41:35 pm

[Ryan Walker] "....oddly enough I am getting a litterbox on some widescreen HD TVs and even Windows Media Player when the 16:9 AE comp DVD is used."

Those aren't settings you can control when authoring a DVD; they're set by the user, even Windows Media Player Ugh). If the user doesn't fart around with the settings on the HD TV set, things ought to be fine.

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


Return to posts index

Ryan Walker
Re: Aspect Ratio import issue
on Oct 7, 2016 at 12:03:04 am

Dave, Tero and Walter I thank you much for the quick responses and help.


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]