A question about aspect ratios

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A question about aspect ratios

Postby Fizziks » Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:28 am

Hopefully I got my question in the right section.

Okay, so basically I want to do an AMV from multiple sources. However, several of these sources have different aspect ratios, such as 4:3 fullscreen, 1.78:1 widescreen, and 1.85:1 widescreen.

So here are my questions:

1) Should I bother cropping my video to fit a single aspect ratio, or should I leave the ratios alone? I'm thinking my AMV would look better if I cropped my video.

2) If I do crop my video, should I crop it after I edit all the scenes together (this option looks like it would save me the most time and hassle), or should I crop my sources before editing my AMV?

Any advice or suggestions you give me would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance. :)
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Postby Minion » Thu Nov 09, 2006 11:51 am

either crop or pan them. don't edit with different frame sizes
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Postby Krisqo » Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:10 pm

Decide on which aspect you want the entire video to be in. When you decide, then crop and resize the other sources to match.

I find it easer to crop before you edit so you do not end up cutting parts out of the footage you want to leave alone.
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Postby Minion » Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:16 pm

ya, when i have multiple aspect ratios, i just crop everything to 640x480
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Postby Zarxrax » Thu Nov 09, 2006 1:20 pm

Yep, its better to crop before you edit. It also gives you the most flexibility in choosing your aspect ratio. If you crop after you edit, you are almost surely limited to just cropping the top and bottom to make everything widescreen. If you crop first though, you can decide if you want to crop everything down to 4:3. Personally, I usually like to go 4:3 if thats what the majority of my sources are. When you crop the tops and bottoms of footage, you can often end up losing some important parts of the screen! When you crop widescreen down to 4:3 though, you probably aren't going to lose much, and you have a lot of flexibility as to what part of the video to take--you can use the middle section, or you could crop mostly from just one side.
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Postby Fizziks » Thu Nov 09, 2006 5:32 pm

Thanks for all the advice guys!

I'll probably crop my footage to 1.85:1, since most of my sources are of that ratio.
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Postby Scintilla » Thu Nov 09, 2006 5:52 pm

I'm going to go against the grain here and put in a good word for <i>not</i> cropping before editing.

I was once working on a project in Adobe Premiere Pro that combined 4:3 and anamorphic 16:9 sources. I decided to expand the anamorphic source horizontally and blow up the 4:3 one to match widths, then set my project resolution to match the widescreen source. I did not crop the 4:3 source to match the project resolution: it ended up taller than my 16:9 source.

Now, here's another reason why Premiere Pro rocks: when you import video (or still images, for that matter) that doesn't match the project resolution, it doesn't resize the video. It just centers your video in the project. If the video's too big for the frame, then parts of it get clipped.

The advantage of doing it this way was that I could control, in each scene, just what parts of the 4:3 footage I wanted to be clipped, simply by moving the clip up and down with the Motion settings. <i>I wasn't stuck losing the same parts of every frame,</i> which I would have been if I'd cropped the footage in my script.

Because let's face it, you won't always want to take just the top 64 and bottom 64 pixels every time.
(Same thing applies in the other direction if you fit everything to 4:3 instead.)

Of course, this only works if your NLE will treat sources with non-matching resolutions the same way. I never would have even thought of trying this approach in Premiere 5.1, which very annoyingly resized every source that didn't match the project resolution.
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Postby Willen » Fri Nov 10, 2006 5:51 am

+1 for Adobe Premiere Pro.

Ultimately, it comes down to your artistic vision. There are quite a few videos that successfully combine 4:3 and letterboxed 16:9 sources together. For example, Kevin Caldwell's Engel does a good job using letterboxed 16:9 EOE footage in the musical bridge to delineate that section from the rest of the video which is in 4:3. For most videos, I suggest sticking with one aspect ratio or the other.
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Postby Keeper of Hellfire » Fri Nov 10, 2006 7:16 am

Scintilla wrote:<i>I wasn't stuck losing the same parts of every frame,</i> which I would have been if I'd cropped the footage in my script.
For me this is one more reason to stick with making clips instead editing with scripts. For one project I converted the entire footage from 16:9 to 4:3 (for artistic reasons). I used VDM for cropping, and that way I could control what was cropped either. And this method works independent from the NLE.
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