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Thread: Problems with widescreen

  1. #1

    Default Problems with widescreen

    I really am at my wits end with this.....I am in the UK using standard PAL equipment.

    I have some MPEG2 files on my PC, recorded on a Hitachi DVD camcorder and a Panasonic VDR-D310 DVD camcorder.

    This has been converted through the Panasonic software to MPEG files, sized at the recommeded 704*576 pixels. It was shot as 16:9 widescreen.

    Now, I have tried to edit this footage in Premiere Elements 2, which outputs unwatchable DVD's. There seems to be a problem with the field order, as the default "lower fiedl first" gives unwatchable DVD's,

    I gave up on editing the footage, but now have a new PC and want to try again. Premiere Elements 2 has been loaded on again and still produces rubbish.

    I have dowloaded a trial version of Cyberlink Power Director Pro, and this outputs watchable DVDs. However, this handles the widscreen footage oddly. If I ask it to scan and detect the best settings, it selects 4:3. if I produce a 4:3 disc, the DVD looks distorted on scrren.

    If I override it and tell it to produce 16:9, it looks fine on the preview screen, but the DVD watched on the telly is "cropped". The aspect ratio is correct, but the edges are'nt the same - the watermark "trial version" - which is clearly in the top left on the preview - has the top half of the letters off the top of the screen.

    I've tried the trial version of Vegas 9 but that seems to be strugggling too with this footage, and can't give a proper looking aspect ratio.

    One other problem......I have been told that the standard field order for PAL is lower field first. Both Vegas and PD7 tell me that the footage is Upper field first. When I produce a DVD in PD7, it looks fine played on the telly with my DVD recorder, but is distorted and jerky when watched on my PC using the various players on there.

    So several questions......why is the aspect ratio such a problem ? Why the field order differences ? What the hell do I do now ??

    Have I got some non standard kit ??

  2. #2


    Further to this, I have tried the same project on a trial of Vegas Platinum 9. With exacty the same results......

    Vegas tells me that the field order is Upper Field First. I selected lower field first on the finished article, and it produces a DVD.

    Watching this on the TV via my Panasonic DVD recorder, the video looks fine, but again the widescreen image is cropped and isn't what I see on the screen in Vegas.

    When the same disc is played on my computer, it is unwatchable, with two images shown, with an offset between them, and lots of interference.

    I can't be the only one to suffer this nonsense, can I ???

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Nelson, New Zealand


    Have you tried selecting "progressive" rather than lower field this might make it more watchable on the computer monitor, what you are describing is just the normal interlaced video that most video cameras produce and is fine for TV but not on a computer, if you need to change field order there is a freeware program called ProjectX that will do it,

  4. #4


    Hi Andy, I don't have a solution to all your problem but I do have some data that can at least reduce what you are looking at.
    It is false information that PAL or NTSC has a particular field order so you can eliminate that. The key to editing MPEG2 files is to maintain the original properties all the way through the process so...keep the upper field first, that's what you started with and that's what you should finish with.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Nelson, New Zealand


    If you want to re-encode to 720x576 you could try one of the encoders listed at
    TMPGEnc - Products: TMPGEnc Plus 2.5 Product Information
    you might still be able to down load the old freeware version of TMPGEnc, I think from memory this would be able to re-encode the video to the resolution you want.
    If you need to know what you field order is and a lot more besides have a look at the BV Biterate viewer at
    Tecoltd Bitrate Viewer
    I think the old version is all you need and I think it's still freeware
    it would mean you could tell if any of your editors were inadvertently switching the field order, as lancecarr said, stick with the original field order.

  6. #6


    Just reviewed your original post and there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
    First, because the MPEG2 file from most camcorders use the unusual (but still part of the correct standard) resolution of 704x576 for PAL it is common that consumer level editors misinterpret this.
    Also, the video probably was not shot in a "true" widescreen format using a 16:9 CCD. It was most likely a 4:3 CCD with the cam cropping the image on the fly to a widescreen size. This is called "pan and scan" and although will give a widescreen effect is not "true" widescreen.
    The result of these two points is that various video editing programs may interpret the properties incorrectly.
    The workaround:
    You must not let the program automatically do anything if you are having you are.
    You have to "tell" the program what to do at each step and enter the properties of the files as they are, not as the program "sees" them.
    Maintain the upper field first properties, maintain the 704x567 resolution and, as wandering-free suggested, use a third party analysis program to get the true properties and maintain them throughout by intervening at each step.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Nelson, New Zealand


    I have always assumed that my new camera would be the same field order as my last one, they are both Canon the old one a mini DVD, lower field first, my new one an HF10 with the new AVCHD encoding turns out to be upper field first, I have only ever done a couple of re-encodes to DVD using Video Studio Pro X2 and thought how ropey they looked, so after our recent discussion and prompted by what lancecarr said I check all the settings and found that the program always defaults to lower field first, I just tried another conversion and changed it to upper field first and it plays perfectly.
    Cheers Bryan

  8. #8


    Glad you got it sorted.

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