Avoiding Anamorphisism in FCE4

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by PCMacfly, May 10, 2010.

  1. PCMacfly macrumors newbie


    Nov 17, 2008
    Well folks, I took a dive off the deep end and bought Final Cut Express 4 and loaded it onto my new MacBook Pro Intel i7. I finally made the jump up. But with that jump comes growing pains. FCE is overwhelming, lots of knobs and buttons everywhere, so I'm sure it will take me a while to understand its advantages over the iMovie series I took for granted.

    So here's my first problem - I started a new "DV NTSC 48KHz" project in FCE because I can't find an option to select something natural for 16:9 aspect (widescreen) footage. Am I overlooking something or should I be selecting something different?

    My second problem, which is part of the first - I have about 15 hours of footage shot with a Cannon HDD Standard Def camcorder that captured footage in 16:9 widescreen aspect (not 4:3 SD aspect - I specifally set it for 16:9 aspect SD). No, the Cannon is not a High Def camcorder; it only records in Standard Def. But it captures widescreen. So with that said, what setting am I supposed to select in the FCE "Easy Set-up" console to maintain 16:9 sequences for my project? If I stick to a "DV NTSC 48KHz" project, FCE ingests my 16:9 footage anamorphically into 4:3 which I just cannot tolerate. Isn't there a way to avoid this "anamorphing" altogether???
  2. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2006
    In Easy Setup there should be "DV NTSC Anamorphic" do you not have that option?

    BTW, when you import the way you speak, it doesn't import anamorphically, it imports and letterboxes it to 4:3 .. that's what you are trying to avoid, right? You want your canvas to be 16:9.

    In that case you want "DV NTSC Anamorphic"

    Hope this helps!
  3. PCMacfly thread starter macrumors newbie


    Nov 17, 2008
    Yes - importing 16:9 and letterboxing to 4:3 is what I understand to be "anamorphic", which is a fancy way of letter/column boxing. And yes, I am trying to avoid this distortion/stretching because I want my canvas to be all 16:9 widescreen - so I will try DV NTSC Anamorphic and see if that does the trick when I fire it up tonight.

    If, by chance, this resolves the problems I'm having, is it possible to combine HD 16:9 footage with SD 16:9 footage in the same sequence in my project? And, not to further complicate this anymore but I'll ask anyway - I also have SD 4:3 footage on my scratch disk as well. Overall, I have multiple footage, file, and aspect types:

    - 16:9 SD (.m4v from Panasonic SD HDD Camcorder)
    - 16:9 SD (.avi from Cannon Powershot digital camera)
    - 16:9 HD (.mp4 from Flip minoHD)
    - 4:3 SD (.mov from 8mm Hi8 cassette tape captured externally via Pinnacle Dazzle)
  4. huntercr macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2006
    Yes, you've gotten your terms slightly confused. "Anamorphic" (in this context ) means the camera recorded video at a certain aspect ratio, but when it wrote it to the media, it squashed it to another aspect ratio ( in this case 16:9 squashed to 4:3 ) If you viewed the data file raw, you would see 4:3 frames of data, but your subject matter would be squashed vertically.

    This is different than letterboxing, which in SD cameras is taking a video and applying black bars over part of the space to appear as if the footage is 16:9.

    If you select DV NTSC Anamorphic, you will get the 16:9 canvas you are wanting.

    It is certainly possible to combine SD and HD footage. You will have to scape down the HD footage to meet the SD ( it is possible to scale up the SD to match the HD, but it will be very pixelated ). HD->SD is actually very good because you can reframe your shots.

    TIP: Convert all of your SD footage to DV codec usign MPEGstreamclip before importing to FCE.

    Take your time when learning FCE. It's got a heck of a learning curve. Stuff that was trivial to do on iMovie will take multiple hours of work at times. don't get frustrated by this. The advantage to Final Cut is basically if there's something you want to do, you can do it... you might have to be extremely patient, but most of the time, it's possible to do.

    Also don't forget the Manual in FCE ( you can get to it in the help menu ) It's no slouch of a reference... around 1000 pages and can really help you out.
  5. PCMacfly thread starter macrumors newbie


    Nov 17, 2008
    So last night I tried two times with the anamorphic setting. I first created a new NSTC project and selected "DV NSTC Anamorphic" and dragged in my 16:9 SD footage (in its native format) to my project window, and then dragged it into my canvas. All that did was create pillarbox anamorphic video. Then I tried "DV NSTC Anamophic basic" which basically yielded the same result. Should I have used MpegStreamclip to convert my 16:9 SD .mov and/or .mp4 footage to .dv format first if I attempt this again? All I want to do at this point is get rid of the distortion/squishing on my canvas and maintain a 16:9 ration for a widescreen project that I want to begin edtiting.

    Thanks also for the encouraging advice about learning FCE. Like you mentioned, its taking forever to learn how to create Ken Burns effect on stills, fast forward & slow motion effects, and animated text. I should really pay tribute to the creators of iMovie for making those effects easy to load into a sequence. I'll keep working in FCE by trial and error, utilize the FCE user manual, and watch YouTube for demonstrations.
  6. PCMacfly thread starter macrumors newbie


    Nov 17, 2008
    Let me try asking it this way:
    Has anyone ever tried to import non-HD (standard definition) 16:9 aspect footage (widescreen) into the canvas of a Final Cut Express 4 project WITHOUT any distortion and/or anamorphasism? If so, what "easy setup" configuration should I be selecting for my project? The footage is already on my hard drive; I simply want to click and drag the .mov file onto my canvas.
  7. GeekOFComedy macrumors 6502a

    Sep 29, 2008
    If you use the normal ntsc dv then when it has the pillar boxes continue the edit. When u export choose export with quicktime conversion then choose options at save file and then choose size and choose a widescreen size like 640x360 or 960x540 or even the widescreen ntsc 854x480 and choose option crop instead of stretch etc.
  8. evil_santa macrumors 6502a


    Sep 23, 2003
    London, England
    give this a try, i uses FCP so i'm assuming this is the same on express.

    to set the master sequence to Anamorphic 16x9 right click on the sequence in the bin and select the "Anamorphic 16x9" dialog box that comes up.

    then with the clips you drag in the project, on the right side of the clip bin scroll across to the anamorphic column and tick the box if it 16x9, untick it if it 4x3.

    now when you edit the clips in to the master sequence the clips will be in the right aspect ratio, any 4x3 clips you will need scale up to get rid of the black bars either side , in PAL its around 135%

    hope this helps.

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