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Yikes! Need to change pixel aspect ratio.

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Danny NeumannYikes! Need to change pixel aspect ratio.
by on May 4, 2011 at 4:12:10 pm

Hey folks, please be gentle, I'm really new to After Effects.

I created a fairly large composition in AE CS3. The dimensions are correct for the ultimate deployment (1536 x 680) but I've just discovered that my pixel aspect ratio was set incorrectly. I have it set to "D1/DV NTSC Widescreen (1.2)" and it needed to be set to "Square Pixels." So when I preview my project there are black bars top and bottom. When I change the pixel aspect ratio of my compositions to "Square Pixels" it literally cuts off my content on both sides. Gah. I don't have the time to rebuild the entire project!

Any suggestions? All help is much appreciated. Thanks!


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Dave LaRondeRe: Yikes! Need to change pixel aspect ratio.
by on May 4, 2011 at 4:49:31 pm

Relax. It's not a disaster, but it won't be an automatic deal.

Make a new 1536 x 680, Square-pixel comp. Open your existing comp. Select all the layers, then paste them in the new comp. You'll have some rearranging to do, but you can't help that: the screen aspect ratios of these two comps are very different indeed, due to the difference in pixel aspect ratios. So you have no choice but to change your layout.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Danny NeumannRe: Yikes! Need to change pixel aspect ratio.
by on May 4, 2011 at 4:51:00 pm

OK, thanks much, Dave. Really appreciate the quick reply!


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Kevin CampRe: Yikes! Need to change pixel aspect ratio.
by on May 4, 2011 at 4:56:22 pm

[Danny Neumann] "When I change the pixel aspect ratio of my compositions to "Square Pixels" it literally cuts off my content on both sides."

yep.. thats because your comp s not as wide as you though it was when the pixels aspect was 1.2...

not know anything about your comp (particularly if you layers are larger that the comp size), you might try settign the comp to square, then creating a new adjustment layer att he top of the comp and adding the transform effect. try adjusting the scale property of the transform effect to see if you can get things to fit better in the new square pixel environment.

another quick fix option could be to drop the current 1.2 par comp into a square pixel comp (with the same size), scale it to fit as best as you can and add cc repetile to the nested comp. repetile can be used to fill in the edges of the nested comp (up, down, left, right) as needed an has a variety of ways to fill them in (tile, mirror [i think it refers to that as unfold], etc.). however, it will only work well if you don't have content that moves in and out of frame.

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Danny NeumannRe: Yikes! Need to change pixel aspect ratio.
by on May 4, 2011 at 5:05:53 pm

Ah, thank you, Kevin.

A little more about the project:

The pixel dimensions of 1536 x 680 reflect the fact that these compositions will be placed in a Scala framework and then deployed across 4 monitors

Soooo, my AE comps are layed out in a way that specific content falls in specific places (1536 divided by 4 ... you get the idea) to reflect the fact that this will ultimately be playing on 4 screens mounted side by side on a wall. I think that need for precise layout is what makes my stomach drop at the thought of needing to re-lay it all out.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Yikes! Need to change pixel aspect ratio.
by on May 4, 2011 at 5:24:07 pm

[Danny Neumann] "...I think that need for precise layout is what makes my stomach drop..."

Sorry to hear it has to be so precise. In AE, God is in the details. Good luck.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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Kevin CampRe: Yikes! Need to change pixel aspect ratio.
by on May 4, 2011 at 5:53:00 pm

unless the piece can handle getting squeezed (scaled in horizontally) without showing looking bad, i think you will need to do a bit of reworking...

if it can be squeezed, drop the 1.2 par comp into a square pixel comp and choose layer>transform>fit to comp... it should match the monitor configuration just fine, but all content will look anamorphic (about 20% skinnier).

Kevin Camp
Senior Designer
KCPQ, KMYQ & KRCW


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Danny NeumannRe: Yikes! Need to change pixel aspect ratio.
by on May 4, 2011 at 6:06:53 pm

Yeah, I'm slowly coming to terms with that, haha! There's lots of text and people so its pretty obvious that things are squished.

Thanks again, fellas. You guys have created a great resource here.


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Dave LaRondeRe: Yikes! Need to change pixel aspect ratio.
by on May 4, 2011 at 6:24:22 pm

The nice thing about AE is that it knows what to do with standard pixel aspect ratios. You can create a square pixel comp, then add 720x480 video (0.91 PAR) and 960x720 video (1.33 PAR) and both will look just fine.

They won't be the same size, but they'll look right.

Dave LaRonde
Sr. Promotion Producer
KCRG-TV (ABC) Cedar Rapids, IA


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