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Thread: widescreen myths...

  1. #1

    Default widescreen myths...

    ok well my problem is im trying to grasp the full understanding of widescreen video, but it seems the more i research the more confused i become. First i'l tell you of my current understanding and then of what i am hoping to do.

    Firstly i understand that widescreen is becoming the prefered standard in tv productions now and so it would make sence to shoot on a true widescreen camera (or anamorphic lense with my vx2100 ) and i know that when this footage is played back on a widescreen tv it will be fine and cover the whole screen but i also know that if it is played back on a conventional tv (4:3) then the image will become strectched. what im trying to understand is how do the professsionals shoot on true widescreen and yet when viewed on my conventional tv instead of it being a stretched image it becomes letterboxed and also vice versa, how come when even old movies which were not shot with widescreen lenses or even letterboxed still play back fine on wide screen tv's as i was always told you would get verticle black bars at the either side of the picture if that was ever the case?

    my guess is the footgae is shot widescreen then outputted with the black border added to the top and bottom because in my weird way of thinking it kind of makes sence because a normal tv would see the black bars as part of the image and display them where as a widescreen tv would disregard them and play the 16:9 image. does that make any sence?

    My aim is to produce a music video and have it so when played on a widescreen tv it fills the entire screen and when played on a normal tv it is neatly letterboxed, is this possible? thanks in advance for any help

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Kansas City, Missouri, USA, Earth, Sol, Milky Way, Local Group, Universe 42


    It all depends on what medium you plan to put your final work on; DVD, HD-DVD/Blue-Ray or Beta digital tape. I'll only explain the DVD form, since I know squat about the others.

    With DVD, which is what I presume you'll be producing for home television viewing, there are only a few choices of pixel formats, 720x480 (D1 NTSC) or 720x576 (D1 PAL) are the only ones guaranteed to be usable on all DVD players. The others (480x480, 352x480, 480x576 and 352x576) may not play on older machines.

    Notice I said nothing about aspect ratio? That's because it's not set by the pixels format, it's set by a few bits in the MPEG2 file and used by the DVD authoring program in other files. A DVD player uses this info to adjust how it converts the movie to the TV output, scaling the video and adding the top and bottom black space according to what the viewer has set on his player. 4/3 and 16/9 are the standard values, there may be others, but these are the most popular.
    Fav quote - "Experience is whatcha don't get 'till ya don't need it no more."

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