Archive for the ‘Letterbox’ Category

Take those black mattes off your web movie for faster download

Monday, October 22nd, 2007


Do you have Quicktime movie clips on your website that were shot in 16×9? Guess what, you can save 1/3 of your bandwidth by excluding the (4×3) black letterbox from your Quicktime Movie. Just crop into your Quicktime Movie using After Effects, Quicktime Pro, or similar software and recompress your film without the lame black space that does nothing for your movie except choke the download speed and use up valuable hard drive space. Not only that, but a 16×9 movie looks so much more professional when it is at the right shape and doesn’t have the black bars junking up the composition. And if you think that looks cool, do the same thing with your 1.85 or Panavision Quicktime movies. Welcome to Hollywood, baby!


HDV to Standard Defintion – Go for the letterbox!

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

HDV is the little brother to broadcast High Def such as HDCAM or D5. It shoots/records in the 16×9 aspect ratio which, for the math inclined is the same as 1.78 : 1 But standard def television uses an aspect ratio of 1.33 :1

So in down-converting the HDV to standard, you basically need to force the shape of a longer rectangle into a the shape of a regular TV which has a more square shape. (see examples below)

The two ways of doing this are to hack off the sides of the rectangle (also called a “center extaction”), which still provides excellent resolution . But in that case, the sides of the picture will be gone. For example, if there is a dinner table scene and one of the actors is far to either side of the frame, they will be cut off.

However, if you want to see ALL the image, then the long rectangle needs to be shrunk down to fit inside the square. This means there is no image at the tops and bottoms of the frame in the standard def tv. It’s letterboxed. The black bars at the top and bottom are just “empty”areas where there is no picture because it has been shrunken down.

Letterbox is widely accepted on broadcast tv these days. Many network shows run this way due to the complications of trying to have different versions for high def and standard def. People are used to it and the filmmaker’s compositions are preserved. So shoot/record/ dub your HDV into letterbox when you put it on a regular tv. It looks cooler, and the dude at the dinner table isn’t cut off.