I have a client that I would like to sell on shooting HD from here on out, the only problem is.. for now, they still need 4:3 as their finished product. The reason we are considering HD 16:9 is so that for future use, we won't have to reshoot everything in HD. Is the Media 100 capable of capturing HD from the sony Z1U, but converting the footage for to 4:3 without squeezing or having any other problems? The same question applies for FCP 7. Thanks!
Re conforming an aspect ratio in Media 100 does inevitably involve some compromise but it can be minimised with skill and luck, depending on the original framing of each shot. You will get a window showing the frame with sliders that enable you to choose exactly how much you lose top and bottom of the frame. It can be done in a way that is hardly noticed, but, as I say, it depends to some extent on the framing.
What do you want to happen with the material? Either you will get black bars at the bottom and top of your 16:9 image to match 4:3, or you will lose parts of the image left and right, or your image will get distorted. All of this can be done in Media 100, either during capturing via a Kona board, during Playback/Master to Tape via a Kona board, or via a software conform from HD to SD.
The Z1U has viefinder marks indicating the 4x3 setting even when shooting HDV. The media100 can digitize the HDV footage at HD settings, you do your edit in HD then output to 4x3 in several ways. Like others have responded above this entails either letter box, pillar box, or, as I have done, use the Media 100HD output settings for regular 4x3 output.
You can also digitize from the Z1U or compatible deck, HVR1500, set to downconvert to 4x3 using the crop mode and edit in Media100HD using the SD settings.
Hope this helps.