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Compress QT HD movie to letterbox 4X3

560 Views 12 Replies Latest reply: Dec 20, 2012 6:39 PM by Russ H RSS
Linda Ehman Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
Currently Being Moderated
Dec 19, 2012 8:57 AM

This should be easy, but I am having no luck! The local community access channel wants to air video of mine.  Here is what they want:


Compress your video to MPEG2. The screen ratio we use is 4:3 so use that. If your video was shot 16:9, letterbox it so it plays in a 4:3 with black bars on top and bottom. Then, take that file, burn it onto two data DVDs.


Can anyone give me step by step on how to do this? I seem to either be cropping or squishing it, I would like to keep the same aspect ratio.  Also, they want "Data DVD" how do I do that?  I have Compressor 4.0.5


Thank you

iMac (21.5-inch Late 2009), Mac OS X (10.6.8), 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • Russ H Level 6 Level 6 (12,880 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 19, 2012 10:27 AM (in response to Linda Ehman)

    Hi Linda.


    How was your video shot? HD or SD?



  • Russ H Level 6 Level 6 (12,880 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 19, 2012 11:52 AM (in response to Linda Ehman)

    Congratulations, Linda.That's exactly how one does it ( and as you have found out there are many, many combinations of geometry settings that you would think might work, but don't.


    Another way is to create a 4:3 project in FCP and drop your HD clip into the timeline.


    The DATA DVD is computer-readable – and not palaybale by a DVD player. It's a good choice because it preserves a lot more of the quality of your video. By comparison the MPEG 2 compression for DVD's throws away a lot of data and has a tendency to introduce artifatcs.


    You can burn a data DVD in the finder by inserting a blank disk, double-clicking to open and copying your letterboxed QuickTime file to it. Then just hit the burn button  that appears in the left side Finder pane. You can also do this in DIsk Utility.


    If you use a DVD-R (recommended), it will not be re-writable. If you use Disk Utility, it would be possible to add (append) another file. But assuming your show is a reasonable llength, you probably wouldn't be adding stuff.


    Remember that these disks only hold 4.4 GB. Check the estimated size of your output in Compressor before encoding. For example, a 30 minute DV NTSC show could exceed the disk's capacity.


    Good luck.



  • Russ H Level 6 Level 6 (12,880 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 20, 2012 10:50 AM (in response to Linda Ehman)

    Linda Ehman wrote:


    I also found out the hard way that I needed to drag audio settings in as well, as I burned a few dvd's without audio. 

    Apparently you used a Create DVD preset, which encodes for disks that are going to be played on a DVD player and are highly compressed. (That may indeed be what they want, but it would be odd to specify it on 2 data disks.)


    The data DVD's they specified are just movies that are stored on the DVD. The files are intended for computers, not players. They could just as well be delivered on a thumb drive or portable hard drive. Presumably, they specified 2 DVD's because they didn't expect the file to fit on one disk.


    I think what they what they want is a transport stream MPEG. Definitely check with them and ask what bit rate they need. BTW, the default setting for this format is multiplexed so you don't have to worry about including audio. The following screen shots assume a transport stream, but there are other possibilities as well, so –again – I would check to avoid wild goose chases.


    Screen shot 2012-12-20 at 1.04.01 PM.png


    You would choose NTSC and 4:3 in the Encoder pane.


    Screen shot 2012-12-20 at 1.25.50 PM.png


    In the Geometry Pane under padding you would choose 16:9 and this gives padding of 60px top and bottom. (Why it switches back to custom, I have no idea. But the padding settings are automatic,)


    Screen shot 2012-12-20 at 1.26.10 PM.png

    When you're ready to submit, the Summary pane should look like this:

    Screen shot 2012-12-20 at 1.27.31 PM.png


    Good luck.



  • Russ H Level 6 Level 6 (12,880 points)
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    Dec 20, 2012 1:19 PM (in response to Linda Ehman)

    Do you have Final Cut?

  • Russ H Level 6 Level 6 (12,880 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 20, 2012 2:42 PM (in response to Linda Ehman)



    Doing this in FCP would go like this:


    Import your HD file into a new event.

    Create a new project that references that event. But instead of letting FCP determine the settings from the first clip, choose Use Custom Settings, From the drop down menu, choose NTSC, 726X480 and select whatever frame rate you shot at.


    Edit the clip to your time line. Export through Share>Master File.


    That should give you the letterboxed 4:3 video file, which you can then copy to a Data DVD.



  • Russ H Level 6 Level 6 (12,880 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Dec 20, 2012 6:39 PM (in response to Linda Ehman)



    Good luck with the show.


    Let us know if there are any more questions the station raises about the format




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