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640x480 or 720x480?

geofftech's picture
Last seen: 6 years 5 months ago
Joined: 10/23/2007 - 7:24am

This is a really dumb question! I admit.

Hey all - I've got a Canon XL1s (NTSC) - I assumed that it recorded in 720x480, as when I edited stuff in Final Cut Pro and exported it out in Quicktime, that's the resolution that was produced. But now I'm started to think that actually, it's recording in 640x480 and that my exported videos are stretched slightly. So dumb questions...

- What is the native resolution for the XL1S/DV ?

- Should I be producing stuff in 640 or 720? I can't find the option in FCP which lets me export out at 640x480 ...

yours, somewhat confused. thx!

jburkhart's picture
Last seen: 7 years 5 months ago
Joined: 10/31/2006 - 4:51pm

You've run into the enigma that is non-square pixels.

DV resolution for NTSC that your camera shoots is indeed 720x480. Any settings that you need in your NLE, or say after effects, should always be set at 720x480 for NTSC DV Video

NTSC uses rectangular pixels instead of the square ones used in computers. So it turns out that 720x480 (rectangular TV pixels) equals 640x480 (square computer pixels.)

Always stay in 720x480 when dealing with NTSC DV video. It will look stretched somewhat on the computer screen, though most NLE's have a setting that you can check to compensate for this.

If you want to output for playback on computer ONLY, then resize your video to 640x480 for output. Then it won't look streched anymore, but it also won't be able to be viewed on a TV either.

Hope this helps,


John Burkhart