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xdcam into M100i (standard def)

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Nickelxdcam into M100i (standard def)
by on Sep 19, 2007 at 3:09:58 am

Hi. I have some 1080 XDCam footage that I've already run through the Sony Transfer software. I've opened the clips up in FCP and tried several exports and imports into M100. I get the files into M100 fine, but I can't get the aspect ratio right. I want to just letterbox the footage to keep the 16:9 look, but I keep getting "squished" video. Any suggestions on settings I should be using? Thanks.


Nick Lammers
Media Mill, Inc.
St. Louis, MO

Media 100i XS 8.2.3a on an old G4
Producer 11.5.1 on MacBook Pro 2.33 GHz core 2 Duo


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AjmetzRe: xdcam into M100i (standard def)
by on Sep 19, 2007 at 7:42:22 am


On import there should be an option to either honour the file's original aspect, or use 4:3 aspect ratio, or 16:9 aspect ratio.

If it comes in as 16:9 it will be anamorphic...thus it will look like normal 16:9 on a widescreen TV, but like squished 4:3 on a normal 4:3 TV, this is done so it always maintains full resolution. It should display as 16:9 in M100's playback window however. [If you get any probs with this, try changing your hardware digitising settings to 16:9 too (Edit:Preferences:Hardware..), and then importing, but usually the drop down menu in the import options should suffice].

If you want it to actually be a letterboxed 4:3, so it looks widescreen even on normal 4:3 monitors, then you can use Boris to create a letterbox effect for 4:3 screens. There are different ways to do this, but I usually do my editing with it all squished, and then when finished export as a "by reference" file, then I create a composition clip the same length, double click it to go into Boris FX. Change the track type by clicking the type icon, and selecting "Media File" and then selecting the by ref file I just exported. Then I use the down arrows on that layer to get to the face track, select the aspect ratio as 16:9 - the media stops being squished, but is now wider than the screen space, so I then click the top part of the media layer, and the position settings appear, and I just change the scale to about 75%, or sometimes 70%, depending what looks better, and then quit and return to M100. Then hit render, and it conforms the media to letterbox.

Phew! =P Am using Media100i 7.5 in OS9 with Boris FX 6.1 so if that sounds a bit of a convoluted way round, there's a chance it might be simpler in your version 8.2.3a in OSX.

Tip: It can be frustrating when composition clips become accidentally unrendered. If you want the media more secure in that sense, then after rendering it, go to import again, and visit the folder where all your media files are digitisised to. Order it by date, and the most recent file will be your render - ending with a HAL extension. Import it in, and you'll now have you comp clip as a normal green video clip to play about with.
It's still useful to keep the original comp clips however, if you ever need to double click them to go back into boris and check the settings, or make changes, etc.


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AjmetzRe: xdcam into M100i (standard def)
by on Sep 19, 2007 at 7:46:31 am

Oh hang on...you have Producer on a notebook?
I believe the modern Media100s have options to automatically letterbox media. So it'll likely be a lot easier on your notebook, than on the G4.


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FlohRe: xdcam into M100i (standard def)
by on Sep 19, 2007 at 8:15:23 am

[Ajmetz] "I believe the modern Media100s have options to automatically letterbox media. So it'll likely be a lot easier on your notebook, than on the G4. "

Yes, they have that option and it really is a lot easier. Anyway, I would suggest editing the thing anamorphic and doing the Letterbox conversion at the end, either in Producer, in AE, Red or whatever you have available.


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Nickelthanks, guys
by on Sep 20, 2007 at 2:24:06 am

Hi Ajmetz and Floh - thanks for the advice and sorry for the slow reply (I was out of the office all day). Sounds like my best option is to edit "squished" and then do the letterbox work. Just for argument - do you know if it is possible to export from FCP as a 4:3 letterboxed file?


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FlohRe: thanks, guys
by on Sep 20, 2007 at 6:10:46 am

[Nickel] "do you know if it is possible to export from FCP as a 4:3 letterboxed file? "

Possible - yes. Easy and with a good quality - no. The FCP scaling is not very good...


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NickelRe: thanks, guys
by on Sep 20, 2007 at 11:59:30 am

OK. Thanks again.


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