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Best way to turn 4:3 video into 16:9 widescreen DVD?

New Here ,
May 07, 2014 May 07, 2014

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I have lots of miniDV tapes taken years ago on a Sony Handycam DCR-TRV27.  Although the camera had the ability to shoot in a 16:9 format (which I believe simply cropped off the top and bottom of the incoming image), at the time we had a standard tv and so shot everything in the 4:3 format. All of these tapes have sat for years, and just played through the camcorder to the tv when we wanted to watch them.

I recently purchased the Premiere/Photoshop Elements bundle, so I'm just starting out here, but now I'd like to turn these tapes into DVDs (not Blu Ray), and of course, now our televisions are all 16:9 sets, so I'd like to end up with DVDs that fill those screens, and I'm not certain the best way to go about that.  I understand that I will probably induce some distortion, and likely some loss of quality in doing this, but I'd like to at least give it a try and compare the results.  I'm just not sure how best to go about it, due to all the different project settings, output settings, "Interpret Footage" settings, etc.  There seem to be so many possible combinations of various settings that it could take me months, lots of wasted DVDs, and lots of trial and error, to attempt all possible combinations, so I'm hoping someone knows the best path for me to get the best possible outcome the first time, and can help me avoid some of the mistakes!

I assume that my original project settings should probably be either NTSC>DV>Standard, or NTSC>DV>Widescreen, and then when publishing I should be selecting Burn to Disc> NTSC_Widescreen_Dolby DVD, but I'm not at all sure.  And I don't know whether I should be tweaking any other settings.  What I've done so far is managed to capture footage from the camera using it's i.Link cable (which fortunately I had, as I found that it's USB connection doesn't work at all with Windows Vista).  No matter whether I select NTSC>DV>Standard or NTSC>DV>Widescreen for the project settings, the capture looks (in PE) 4:3, just like on the camera.  But I found that if I have the project settings of NTSC>DV>Widescreen, I can then select "Interpret Footage" and select the Widescreen option, and it stretches the captured image to fill a 16:9 frame.  But I'm not sure this is the only, or best, way to try and get the original footage into a widescreen format for final display on a 16:9 tv.  Any advice, info, or guidance appreciated!

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LEGEND ,
May 07, 2014 May 07, 2014

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cliffyb

Please explore the TV settings further before moving forward on your Premiere Elements project with the DVD-VIDEO widescreen destination. I cannot generalize to say that all TVs are exclusively set to 16:9.

I am assuming that you will have to do DV data capture firewire into the Premiere Elements 12 Capture Window for each of these old tapes. If they are all DV 4:3 data, then I would capture firewire into Premiere Elements 12 project manually set for NTSC DV standard before beginning the Add Media/DV Camcorder.

But, set the capture up so that you are just saving your captures to a computer hard drive location. Do not include Add to Timeline.

After you have captured and saved your DV AVI standard files....

Open a new Premiere Elements 12 project and manually set the project preset to NTSC DV Widescreen.

Then import the DV AVI standard into that project and scale* the video in the Edit area monitor...either

a. to fill the complete space provided for the DV widescreen project

or

b. to adjust the view, but leave black borders.

When you get to burn to, use

Publish+Share

Disc

DVD, disc

with preset = NTSC_Widescreen_Dolby DVD.

*Scale...you can do this

a. before importing the media, go to Edit Menu/Preferences/General and uncheck "Default Scale to Frame Size"

or

b. before importing the media, leave Edit Menu/Preferences/General with a check mark next to "Default Scale to Frame Size"

Please review that scheme and decide if it works for you with regard to lack of distortion and views wanted.

Thanks.

ATR

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New Here ,
May 07, 2014 May 07, 2014

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Get ready for reality.  The material that you originally shot at 4:3 will forever remain 4:3.  There is no way to massage it so that it will become 16:9 --you cannot add material that is not there.  Any adjustments you may make to 'widen' the 4:3 images will result in:

  1. an exaggerated short and wide looking image --if the image 'display' is stretched horizontally to reach the left and right margins of the screen without adjusting the vertical size
  2. missing material at the top and/or bottom --when the image is stretched vertically until the image widens to reach the left and right margins of the screen

In normal viewing retaining the proper height-to-width perspective will result in a image that fully fills the vertical size of the screen while leaving a narrow blank band on the left and right side fo the screen.

I've been digitizing (DVD) VHS, Hi8, D8 tapes and 8mm home-movies for over 10 years -- it is what it is.  You can't magically create what is not there.  Based on the taped subject matter, you may think you have achieved so measure of success (long scenery shots, buildings, etc) by stretching the 4:3 image with unnoticeable distortion.  However, trying the stretching techniques with any people in the foreground will definitely result in unacceptable distortion --unless there is enough unneeded space above the heads (or below the feet) to allow you to zoom in while stretching.  Its a lot of work and not really worth it because is it rarely possible for this technique to be used during an entire movie --thus viewers will be subjected to a continual stretch-shrink sequence.  Take a look at any of the TV stations that routinely show old movies or TV shows --even thought the station broadcast in widescreen HD, those old shows all are broadcast with left and right blank bars.

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LEGEND ,
May 07, 2014 May 07, 2014

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oldevhs

I still think that looking for a TV settings adjustments solution is preferred. But, if desparate times,.....

True you are not going to convert the originally shot 4:3 to 16:9 on tape, but you can change the display of the edited video so that it presents with as 16:9 without distortion if width and height are scaled together in the Edit area monitor to the point where the black borders do not exist.. To do this there are tradeoffs. Prime, in zooming in some perpherial areas of the image  will be lost. But, it is not impossible to scale to focus on the essentials of the frame image. And, whether a continual stretch-strink sequence is a given is open to question.

I am not recommending recording 4:3 video with 16:9 destination, but if I think

Please review that scheme and decide if it works for you with regard to lack of distortion and views wanted.

at which time reality and what can be done will meet head on. Of course, mini test run before any grand projects.

ATR

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New Here ,
May 12, 2014 May 12, 2014

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Thanks to everyone who replied here....I've done some testing myself, and while I have found out how to force the original 4:3 footage to fit a 16:9 output, and wasn't too(!) upset with the amount of distortion that created, I've decided to just process and output all of the tapes at their original 4:3 format.  I personally dislike watching 4:3 content on the widescreen tvs common everywhere today, but it's still probably the best, and simplest, way to get the clearest output for these old tapes.  Thanks again for the help, I may be back as I get deeper into the process and come up with other questions

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LEGEND ,
May 12, 2014 May 12, 2014

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CliffyB

Thanks for the follow up information. We are glad that you are moving forward in your project with a workflow with which you feel is giving you the best results.

Please do not hesitate to ask questions. We will be watching for further progress.

Best wishes.

ATR

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New Here ,
Jan 17, 2022 Jan 17, 2022

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Hi there, I hope to find you well. A long time has passed since you started this thread  back in 2014, still it seems that the topic is still actual, at least as far as myself is concerned. After all these years  and new technologies , softwares etc. I am still (2022 !) looking for a solution for this same  issue. To be honest with you I only recently started to get involved with tape conversions so at that time I was not around but I am facing now the problem and I have been trying to find a solution in the web  and after  some time spent in various forums, tutorials  etc, I came across this thread which SEEMS to talk about my own problem. At that time you came to the conclusion to process and output the DV tapes  at their original 4:3 format. But at the same time you had indicated:

"while I have found out how to force the original 4:3 footage to fit a 16:9 output, and wasn't too(!) upset with the amount of distortion that created".

 

If you are still around and still recall  about this issue, would you be so kind and tell me which solution you had found at that time  to force DAR  4:3 to 16:9 ?  My objective is to transfer Mini DV tapes (recorded in 4:3)  from old DV Camcorder via firewire to PC. I use Cyberlink Power Director latest edition (no Adobe Premiere at least for now) , That is ok. I can straight away obtain an Mpeg2 file DVD quality 720 x 576 (I am in Europe so we have PAL) but there is no way that this footage can be obtained straight away in DAR 16:9,  unless a later encoding which requires much longer time. Actually this is what I want (possibly) to avoid. I am used to do the same with analog tapes (I use  those USB dongles for analog acquisition, no firewire of course) , and while the resoltuion must be changed to 1280 x 720 to allow the "stretching" to 16:9 DAR, it suits me fine and does not require any further encoding. With DV tapes this does not work. POwer Director allows me to change resolutions and I obtain 1280 x 720 footage but Dar still remains at 4:3. Therefore  I am forced to further process of encoding which allows me to change the DAR  but as said, with a further long process. I have Windows 10 and good enough hardware .  I have tried to encapsulate the footage  into a Mkv container (as I was told this would work  fast without further encoding) using Mkvtoolnix (but this does not succeed to change DAR)  and  Avidemux (it suceeds but it take very long time, equals to  encoding). I have been told to  use MiniDV or others but I obtain large Avi files which require further encoding, as well. Do not want Avi, even if  experts and purists  are blaming me for that.    Sorry for being so long in my explanation  but if you are still around, I would appreciate to know if your problem at that time  was the same and which solution you ah d found as per above indication of yours. Thank you and have a good day. 

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Community Expert ,
Jan 17, 2022 Jan 17, 2022

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You cannot capture 4:3 footage as 16:9.

If you dont want avi and capture to some other format it means you are dealing with much higher compression (quality loss) and when burning to dvd it needs to re-encode which means more image quality loss. Dv-avi is only 1:5 compression.

When converting 4:3 to widescreen you have two options.

Setting it to letterbox in a 4:3 setting or enlarging the footage 133% to fit the widescreen frame.

In other words what ever method you use you will lose image quality and that is not what you want with old mini dv. At least I would not.

 

This past year I have been digitizing D8 footage.

Captured as dv avi and converted with Topaz to 720p50 with footage left to 4:3. to burn on bluray

https://www.topazlabs.com/video-enhance-ai

 

AnnBens_0-1642422172708.png

btw Elements does not support mkv.

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New Here ,
Jan 17, 2022 Jan 17, 2022

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Thank you for your prompt reply. I have been  capturing 4:3 analog footages Video8, Hi8 etc to MPEG2 with  DAR  16:9 . This is possible by selecting the option "res. 1280 x 720'  from the several ones (with Cyberlink Power Director) and the quality is ok (most of my Clients are not purists and get along well with that and are happy with the quality) . This process does not require any further encoding so I just put the into an USB pendrive and tehy watch the video full screen 16:9. I understand it looks a little bit "stretched" if compared to the native 4:3 but again my Clients are happy as they do not want to see as a standard  a vintage 4:3 DAR video . I am happy, too as I do not need a further process of encoding, at least  for those who do not require improvement of the borders, transitions etc. 

Now, I expected Cyberlink to do the same foe MiniDV tapes via firewire in order to obtain  16:9 DAR at one go while transferring. This si unfortunately not the case, the software allos me to set a 1280 x 720 resolution (same as for analog tapes) but the MPEG2 file I get  still keeps the 4:3 DAR. In this case, to obtain what I get with analog tapes, I have to encode the file with 16:9 ratio but it takes twice as long .

 

CliffyB in his post dated May 12, 2014 seemed to have found a solution but at the end of the day he stuck to  the process of obtaining  an ASVI file and then  encode. I was keen to know (if he is still a member of this forum) which was the solution he had found at that time .  I would not mind to  turn to  Adobe if that  solution was an option.

 

I have also another solution but also  takes long time: I tarnsfer DV tapes from DV Camcorder through firewire to my LG HDD Recorder while selecting first 16:9 as aspect ratio on the HDD REcorder. The file I get in the Hard Disk is a VOB file  with  DAR 16:9 widescreen. The problem is that I have then to burn it into DVd and then bring it into the PC where  I merge the VOB files (actually MPEG2 files) and then into the USB pendrive. So there is no further encoding process but still too long as:

1)  Camcorder to HDD REcorder  (say 1 hour in top quality)

2) HDD to DVD  (say 1 hour in top quality)

3) DVD to PC and pendrive (say 30 minutes including  extracting and merging of the VOB files) or alternatively half-encoding  via Cyberlink  

 

I might  try and burn DVD straight from Camcorder via the HDD recorder but  I  do not like this because some DVDs might be defective and I would have to start over again even if I use DVD RW.

 

This is the reason why I was looking  to speed up the whole thing, avoiding encoding and getting a widescreen footage even if Mini DV tapes  were recorder  with 4:3 DAR.

Hope this is not too much confusiing.  

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