4:3 vs. 16:9 question?

  • This topic has 6 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 12 years ago by AvatarAnonymous.
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    • #37558

      Here’s my situation: I own a Canon XL1 and a Canon GL2. Both of these cameras LCD’s and viewfinders are set up for shooting in 4:3 (which was pretty much the norm when they were manufactured). Anyway, obviously, everything is headed in the 16:9 direction, so I was debating shooting both cameras in 16:9, which they’re both capable of doing. Unfortunately, when you switch to 16:9, the image you see in the viewfinder is squished and out of proportion. After some more playing around, I noticed that when I hook my camera up to a widescreen TV, there is basically no difference in the footage shot in 4:3 or the footage shot in 16:9. So, my question is, is there any drawback to just continuing to shoot in 4:3 knowing that it will most likely be viewed in 16:9? The new widescreen TV’s appear to stretch the image quite well without really looking out of proportion or “stretched”, and I’m still able to compose my shots well in my camera’s viewfinder. Any thoughts, comments, advice would be appreciated.

    • #166535

      I’m not a hugeexpert with HDTVs or widescreens, but here is how it works with my camcorder:

      The recording aspect ration can be set to 4:3 (fullscreen) or 16:9 (widescreen). In order to get the picture to display correctly on a TV (using an A/V cable), the Select TV Type option (full or wide)in the camera menu must be set correctly – indicating the type of TV that is used with the camcorder. If the option is set correctly, the video is displayed on the TV exactly with no stretching. However, when the TV format is set wrong (e.g. set to 16:9 on a fullscreen TV), the camcorder assumes the wrong aspect ratio and stretches (or skews) according to the TV setting.

    • #166536

      I know what you’re talking about because I used to have a GL2. I never liked the way the LCD displayed 16:9 – squeezing it like you mentioned.

      In my opinion, if you want to shoot 16:9, then set your camera to 16:9. It won’t take long for you to get used to the squished image in the LCD.

      I noticed on the HDTV at my school that when it stretches a 4:3 image to 16:9, it leaves the center of the image un-stretched, but then it stretches both ends. Looks fine in a static image, but when you pan it really makes for a dizzying image. Horrible in my opinion.

      So, just set your camera to 16:9 if it’s going to be viewed on a widescreen TV.

    • #166537

      Here is a further question related to this topic from an ignorant newbie.

      During a recent trip to the U.S. one of my co-travellers shot a bunch of video with his camera (a Panasonic, I think) set to the 16:9 “wide screen” mode. He has given me the job of editing the 6 hours of video down to a watchable size.

      The videos copied direct from the camera to my computer appear squashed as described above when viewed using Windows Media Player.

      How does one go about stretching the videos back out so that they appear normal again?

      I have tried a whole bunch of utilities to do this, with only some slight success. The one closest to working properly is a utility called Super C howover, one of the clips is always converted with some form of corruption so that it is uneditable by Movie Maker. Also, many of these utilities have a whole bunch of options for the video format, most of which are gobbledegook to us newbies.

      I have spent many, many frustrating hours attempting to resolve this problem.

      Does anyone have any useful ideas?

    • #166538

      Most editing software does not actually save stretched video – so what you are viewing in a media player might be misleading. I understand what you’re getting to with Windows Media Player. By my experience with Windows Media Player, large videos (mostly 720×480 and over) that are to large to fit are adjusted so that they fit the play screen. If the blank area of Windows Media Player is adjusted to a perfect square, then the video will be stretched so that it fits that way. If widescreen footage is played on a standard (non-widescreen) monitor in fullscreen mode, the image is squeezed horizontally so that it fits the screen.

      If you save video in 16:9, you will get unstretched video in 16:9. Converting between fullscreen and widescreen causes the picture to be cropped horizontally or vertically so that it fits the apropriate size.

    • #166539

      Hey XTR-91, many thanks for your response.

      Ishould have been a bit more specific with my query – I was using Media Player as one example, as it doesn’t matter what I use to play the video; it always appears “squashed”. If I simply take the squashed video, and use something like WindowsDVD Maker to burn it to a DVD, it shows as squashedon a TV when played in a normal DVD player.

      What I am wanting to do is to edit the video down from 6 hours to something like an hour, insert a couple of photos here and there and add captionsto create a highlights movie of our trip. If I try and edit the original squashed 704*576 video, and then expand it to widescreen 1024*576 as part of the creation and authoring stage, any inserted photos and captions are stretched horizontallyas well. So, I have used a utility called Super C to unsquashthe 704*574 videos to 1024*576 format which puts them into the correct widescreen format. This all works OK, except for one long video clip, which Super C does reformat, but creates a corrupted file that is unreadable by any software that I have tried to use with it (including Media Player and Windows Movie Maker).

      As I previously stated, I am tearing my hair out trying to resolve this, and have wasted many hours in front of the computer with no luck. There are lots of video reformatting utilities, but all the ones I have tried either create video files that are poor in quality, have so many features and not enough documentation that they are too hard to use, or in some cases create HUGE files that are unmanageable.

      If I don’t find a solution soon, I will have no more hair left !!

    • #166540

      This is still most likely a problem with the playback device you are using- media player, monitor, camcorder, TV – not the video or DVD contentitself. Windows Media Player has been known for stretching or not correctly showing the video with its aspect ratio. If you are using a monitor, check your computer’s display settings for the monitor and see if it is stretching the graphics of your user interface.

      It is also possible that you have saved the video back to your camcorder and using it as a player directly into the TV (e.g. A/V or HDMI) – check the playback settings on your camcorder. Particularly with mine (a JVC Everio), there is a SELECT TV TYPE option (4:3 or 16:9)so that it knows how to adjust it in order to show up correctly on the specified TV type. And last but not least, could you post and show me the type of TV you are using – HD or Standard, fullscreen or widescreen?

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