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Converting 16:9 to 4:3

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Pat Ford
Converting 16:9 to 4:3
on Jul 3, 2008 at 6:33:18 am

Have done google and forum search without finding a good answer. Am assembling footage for a corporate video. The client has given me several DVDs. Some of these are 16:9 and some is 4:3.

What is the best way to convert the 16:9 for use in a 4:3 video? The par dimension of the the 16:9 is 1.

I am asking about resizing not DVD to AVI conversion. I have Super file converter as well as Premiere CS3.

Thanks for any insight.

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Pat Ford
Re: Converting 16:9 to 4:3
on Jul 3, 2008 at 6:52:58 am

Sorry guys, don't know where that par dimension came from.

Here are some descriptors from Super file converter:
Width : 720 pixels
Height : 480
Height : 480 pixels
Pixel Aspect Ratio : 0.844
Display Aspect ratio : 1.778
Display Aspect ratio : 16/9

Does that make it any clearer?

Thanks guys

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Vince Becquiot
Re: Converting 16:9 to 4:3
on Jul 3, 2008 at 4:10:28 pm

From your first post:

If the PAR is 1:1, then it didn't come from a DVD. If it is widecreen from a DVD, then it should be 1.2.

That's unless you used a converter that changed it to a 1:1 PAR, in which case the new file should be 854x480 1:1.

From your second post:

These specs are for 4:3 footage stretched horizontally to fit 16:9.

Just bring it into Premiere, and make sure it's interpreted as .9 PAR in the project panel and it should show up as 4:3. (should)

If you do need to bring 16:9 in a 4:3 project, you will need to scan horizontally using the motion settings, until it's centered where you want it. You may have to keyframe that throughout the clips.


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Tim Kolb
Re: Converting 16:9 to 4:3
on Jul 3, 2008 at 8:14:38 pm

...and make sure the pixel aspect ratio is interpreted properly for both the 4:3 and 16:9 (.9 and 1.2 in the case of 720x480 DV or NTSC DVD MPEG material) so that both are in the correct aspect. Many NLE programs tend to default to pixel aspect interpretation of the project for all incoming media with the same pixel dimensions...

Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,

CPO, Digieffects

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Pat Ford
Re: Converting 16:9 to 4:3
on Jul 4, 2008 at 9:00:59 pm

Thanks for your contributions, gentlemen.

One thing I did not tell you….the footage is usually made up of the content of what once was two 16x9 screens. Sometimes these are arranged vertically; sometimes they are arranged horizontally (stacked). It’s the content of multiple screens in an exhibit.

So, this is what I have done. See if there is a problem….

I imported the footage (720x480) into Premiere. I interpreted the par to 1.2. I then scaled the video so that it all fit in the frame.

The down side to this, as someone mentioned, is that the video is much reduced in size, but all of the original footage is within the frame. And thus, the original composition is intact. For my purposes right now…I am logging…I think this is best.

Sound reasonable?

And have a great 4th weekend!!!

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