A User's Guide to Aspect Ratio Conversion

A User's Guide to - A USER'S GUIDE TO ASPECT RATIO CONVERSION Q A User's Guide to Aspect Ratio Conversion One of the most confusing yet critically

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A USER’S GUIDE TO ASPECT RATIO CONVERSION
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Q A User’s Guide to Aspect Ratio Conversion
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A 1 One of the most confusing – yet critically important – production issues facing television program producers and broadcasters is aspect ratio. Though the technical tools to change aspect ratio are advanced and simple to use, the creative choices facing producers are not. Many variables ranging from program genre to the cultural tastes of viewers come into play when making tough decisions on picture shape for digital television systems. In its continuing series of discussions of real world DTV transition issues, Snell & Wilcox has assembled four of its top engineers for a look at some of the choices producers and broadcasters face as they prepare their programming for both conventional (4:3) and widescreen (16:9) viewing. The participants are David Lyon, technical director; Phil Haines, vice president of post production; Peter Wilson, head of HDTV; and Prinyar Boon, principal engineer.
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1: Let’s start at the beginning. In shooting original footage for a new drama production, what’s important if we want the show to play well on both 4:3 and 16:9 television sets? Lyon:Try to make sure your master tape has got as much information as possible on it. Look at the history.You don’t need to invent it. Go back to feature film production. In filmmaking the entire frame is shot so there is more in that image than they intend to put out on the final print or video release. In the simplest case – with today’s modern cameras – if you shoot in 16:9 and use the technique of protecting the sides, you can later take the center out of that image without a significant degree of loss.This way you’ve always got the extra information to use in a 16:9 release. You can’t shoot and protect over the top of the image.Video cameras that can do it just don’t exist. But you can at least try and use the model to make sure you have as much information as possible. I think if you are going to release 16:9 the only sensible choice is to shoot 16:9. Of course decisions of final aspect ratio can be made after the fact in post production. For example, if you want to show the 16:9 image in a letterbox on a 4:3 display you can do that after the event. If you wish to take the center out of that 16:9 image, you can also do that after the event.At least the information is there for you to play with. Wilson: It’s now common to shoot 16:9 but confine the action to a 14:9 shoot and protect graticule, which gives you some leeway to convert to either 16:9 or 4:3.This 14:9 area is really masking, not a new aspect ratio. It’s a compromise.This is now a trend in the UK and Germany. Another alternative common in Europe is Super 16mm film, which is a 15:9 aspect ratio.This works very well.
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This note was uploaded on 11/16/2010 for the course ELECTRONIC 082171040 taught by Professor Roche during the Winter '10 term at MIT.

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A User's Guide to - A USER'S GUIDE TO ASPECT RATIO CONVERSION Q A User's Guide to Aspect Ratio Conversion One of the most confusing yet critically

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