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Thread: Unable to capture DV in 16:9 format (with black bars)

  1. #1

    Default Unable to capture DV in 16:9 format (with black bars)

    My Sony camcorder is not being cooperative when it comes to allowing me to acquire the footage I see on the LCD in 'widescreen / 16:9' format.

    I have used the firewire, Dazzle, and have even played it onto a TV with the intention of recording it and then feeding it into the computer, but it simply isn't 'outputting' the 16:9 format. Instead, it loses the effect and outputs 4:3.

    At first I thought this was a capture problem but now it would seem to be a camcorder issue. However, all I need to do is convert the 4:3 footage into widescreen (I need those black bars!). Does anyone have any ideas, please?

    I have two options left, in terms of doing it in a Blue Peter fashion: either try to play it onto an old TV I know used to squash everything into 16:9 and hope that works (if the TV, which is in storage still works), or re-shoot the footage with black tape to the top and bottom of the lens! Amateur night, I know, but after wasting a fruitless hour trying to find a downloadable program that would simply convert the footage into 16:9, it could be my only option!

    Any help appreciated; snarky comments get bonus points.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    South Devon


    You seem to be suggesting that you want 4:3, but with a 16:9 image within it, is that right? you 'want' the black bars? If your capturing in true 16:9 there will be no black bars.

    Which camera is it?
    Last edited by Jerry Hill; 10-07-2008 at 09:50 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Response to the response

    Hi there - thanks for responding. Yes, you're right - 19:9 within the 4:3, with the rest being black bars. The camcorder is an oldish DCR-HC14E (PAL). I'm sure my dilemma is in part down to my ignorance, of course... My aim is simply to match DVD-captured footage (a cinematic, widescreen appearance) with what I have on my DVtape, in the movie editing program (MEP). Cheers.
    Last edited by boyattheback; 10-07-2008 at 09:54 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    South Devon


    OK, well a few things to work with there. Some clarity on aspect ratios may help to start with.

    'Cinema' AR is different again, it's generally settled on 2.39:1, though there are variations, lets just stick with that for now.

    So, when you do your captures at the moment, are the subjects in the film correctly proportioned? Eaisest thing is to film a round object, a football would do. If it is then the matching of AR's needs to be done in the editor, simply by modifying the image through cropping. By that I mean to get either a 4:3 or 19:9 image to match a dvd's true ouput you'll need to crop down the top and bottom of the image. You could creat a mask to make this nice and conistent, make up the mask and keep it present all the way through, placing your footage behind it, like looking through a letterbox.

    If your football looks squashed in the sides, i.e. like an upright rugby ball, then there's a setting problem that needs to be sorted first, and that's most likely to be in your capture setup.

    So, you have firewire, good, what editing program are you using?

  5. #5

    Default Masking Required

    Hi there. Thanks for your continued patience. The footage is 'normal' (ie objects are not distorted).

    However, even if it was distorted in 16:9 mode on the camcorder, I could always re-shoot it in its normal - presumably 4:3 - mode, so this is not of massive concern, especially given your suggestion.

    This masking (or even a cropping) technique would perfectly adequate, and funnily enough I found a similar suggestion on this site via Google dating back to 2004. That post recommends Adobe Premiere for carrying out this effect.

    I am using Movie Edit Pro, and a pretty antiquated version, but it does everything I need to do and I got to grips with it very quickly, which is why I have stuck with it. It doesn't seem to have this masking technique, however. Therefore, I have downloaded a trial version of Premiere and this evening will see whether I can 'convert' the footage. If successful, presumably then I will need to export it as AVI or MPEG and drop it into my project on MEP - which may or may not involve a loss of quality.

    Sound like a plan, or someone pretending to know what they're talking about? Cheers!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    South Devon


    Some might say that 'effecting' it in Premiere then importing the result from that into something else is like using the best quality machine to cut a piece of wood, then finishing the job with a knife and fork.

    However, I'd support your idea as it's what I did to start with. I used Premiere to provide effects but used the output from that in Movie Maker. I found Premier to be one of those wretchedly annoying programs that assume you know what you're talking about already, and the help files are the same. It's like asking 'how do I draw a consistent fine ink line on paper?' and finding the help's answer is 'you need to use a mandarin injector', so you end up looking elewhere for an explanation for the help files, go Adobe, it's what you're good at! Not.

    Anyway, yes, that will work fine. If you can't suss the mask then just keep a note of the values for the crop settings and just refer to that for ensuring consistency.

  7. #7

    Default Thanks

    Thanks for that. I'm glad you think that'll work.

    I hear what you're saying about the superiority of Premiere over the program I'm using (a good analogy by the way!), but when I sat down three or four years ago to have a play with movie editing, Premiere just was not user friendly at all. And this despite the fact that I'd used music programs and was more than proficient on Adobe's wonderful Photoshop.

    In keeping with your carpentry example, I hope my efforts aren't too much of a hatchet job!

    All the best

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