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Thread: Aspect Ratio

  1. #1

    Default Aspect Ratio

    I am creating DVDs from images shot with my Sony TRV19E Mini DV camera.
    I can shoot with the camera at default aspect ratio (4:3 I'm guessing) or set it to 16:9. When set to 16:9 the image in the camera LCD display is "mailbox" shape (black bands top and bottom).

    Does this mean I have lost some image area when using 16:9 setting?

    When I transfer the images on tape to my PC via Firewire, Windows Movie Maker asks if I want to capture in 4:3 or 16:9.

    If I do not choose to capture to the PC in the same ratio as was selected in the camera when the original tape was shot, will image distortion occur in DVDs I create?

    If I play a 4:3 DVD I create in a 16:9 TV, is the image stretched (giving everyone fat heads)?

    If I play a 16:9 DVD I create in a 4:3 TV, is the image compressed (giving everyone skinny heads)?

    Will all TVs in the future be 16:9?
    Which ratio should I be using to shoot and PC capture images?
    I am in Australia (PAL TV system)
    Any advice appreciated.
    See you in the green room.

  2. #2


    I thought that was a series of interesting questions, and I've been thinking the same recently. I have just decided to shoot in the cinema mode, and see what happens when I capture and edit. My TV and DVD player will handle 16:9 stuff OK, so hopefully all will be well.

    Suck it and see (as we say over here)

    Rabitt, the pom.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Bracknell, Berkshire, UK


    Well, the simple anmd most obvious answer is to shoot in whatever format you intend to edit and deliver in. If you intend to delilver a widescreen presentation then shoot and edit in widescreen.

    Frankly, I've never tried shotoing 4:3 and tried to edit it into a widescreen movie. Doesn't make much sense to try if you can shoot in 16:9. Try it and see if you like the results but it will lower the quallity as you will have to zoom the image to fit wither way around.

    But to your other question. If you trv19 is anything like my trv33 then it is shooting in true widescreen. The only reason you have black bars top and bottom of the camera screen is that the camera screen is not 16:9 and the camera is 'shrinking' the image slightly to fit. When you capture you should find you have an anamorphic (alomst) picture. i.e. short fat people (just like me ) who are just waiting to be stretched horizontally for display on a widescreen TV or in your editing s/w. If in premiere (say) you start witha widescreen preset then the preview monitor will do the stretching for you during edit.

  4. #4


    Further investigation has revealed that although my camera has a 16:9 option, it does not shoot in true 16:9. It seems to just chop the top and bottom of the picture off, I guess the resulting image is then just blown up to make it 16:9 (losing detail I guess). I will therefore stick with 4:3. It's strange that the camera manual makes no mention of the details of the 16:9 option. 16:9 on this camera seems a bit of a hoax just like the USB streaming functionality advertised (Sony said "Oh, you need Firewire to download from the camera", I said "Well why advertise USB streaming as a selling point?". I got firewire and all OK)
    See you in the green room.

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