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Thread: Convert 16:9 PAL DV to smaller file sizes (WMV)??

  1. #1

    Exclamation Convert 16:9 PAL DV to smaller file sizes (WMV)??

    I have a 'true widescreen' DV camcorder that records the video using a pixel width of 1.4568 and I have created a short film that I have exported as an AVI with the PAL Widescreen DV Codec.

    However, the file size is too large (as expected with DV video) and I want to compress it to make a WMV. However, there are no presets in Vegas (I also have Windows Media Encoder which may help, but I coulnd't see a widescreen mode) for WMV in the export tab for widescreen video.

    Ideally I want high video and audio quality as I only need to fit about 3 minutes of video on my 256MB pen drive - it does not need to be small enough for web download/streaming. The presets for WMV are also in 640x480 and not 720x576.

    Can someone recommend the best way to export my video in a form that will be compatible with most PCs (i.e. WMV or similar) and that will produce a smaller file size.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Bracknell, Berkshire, UK


    I've hit this (sort of) problem before. What you need to know is that a resolution of 720x576 is in fact widescreen. It's also 4:3 at the same time. Confused? You will be. there is not difference in dimensions between standard and widescreen. All that changes is the 'shape' of each pixel. The trick is to tell the wmv file that the pixels should be displayed in a different shape to get the aspect ratio you want. I never found a way either when I looked for it. Maybe someone can offer help nowadays but what I did is....

    Simply stretch the image out to 1024x576 which (for square pixels) is what widescreen actually look s for. WME can do this for you.

  3. #3


    Thanks, I'd read a bit about pixel width as opposed to dimension changes, and am (justifiably?) confused.

    I think the problem may lie with the output from Sony Vegas. When viewing the thumbnail of the video in Windows it is 4:3, and looks a different shape to some 16:9 video thumbnails I have. Also, when played in anything other than Windows Media Player the video is not displayed as widescreen, but stretched to fill my whole 1024x768 monitor. This happens with VLc media player for example.

    This leads me to think that maybe Vegas is not exporting it as true widescreen, despite selecting Pal Widescreen AVI as my export format - but this may be linked to the common 720x576 resolution as Alan mentioned.

    Can anyone shed some light on this?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Blog Entries


    Unfortunately Sony won't give me a review copy of Vegas, otherwise I would have loaded it up and found the right settings for you.

    Anyhoot, as Mr Mills says the problem here is in the pixel aspect ratio. You need to change this on export (or chose a preset that is in widescreen) to stretch your pixels out so that your video is in widescreen. Essentially you'll be telling the application to stretch them out on playback, i.e. flagging the aspect ratio as 16:9 etc. This is why you'll find that flagging the adpect ration on divx won't work for example (the playback software doesn't normally read this info on thge AVI). This does however work well with WMP9 or above and WMV.

    My prefered solution for MPEG4 is to export as a 720 * 404 without cropping. This will squish it up to more or less the right ratio,

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Warsop, Nottinghamshire.
    Blog Entries


    Quote Originally Posted by RiW View Post
    ...The presets for WMV are also in 640x480 and not 720x576.

    Make sure your project preferences are set to widescreen to begin with. Also, when you go to render, select WMV but click on Custom.... a whole raft of settings are there for you to play with. I usually render to AVI to begin with, then render out to other formats for web, dvd etc.

  6. #6


    Thanks, I have my default project settings as PAL widescreen in Vegas - not sure if there are any other aspect ratio preferences elsewhere. I tried the export in WMV format and it exported as 4:3 with black bars on the top and bottom. This at least played in the correct ratio but only as a smaller rectangle in the centre of a widescreen TV as it thought the black bars were part of the 4:3 video.

    If the clips are to play on a widescreen plasma screen which method would work best - the square pixel and change the resolution so that ### : ### = 16:9 or setting the pixels to be wider. The widescreen plasma display is 'powered' by a computer ouput - so would it use square pixels?

    Thanks - and Turn Media, when you say you Render to AVI then other formats, how would you change a PAL DV Widescreen rendered video into a smaller widescreen format (e.g. WMV)


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