View Full Version : Aspect Ratio and FCP

06-27-2005, 01:02 PM
I'm new to LW and I'm a bit confused about pixel aspect ratio in LW. I'm building a sequence and outputting a QuickTime movie using DV/DVSC PRO. I will import the finished QT movie into Final Cut Pro for use in a letterboxed 4:3 NTSC video (DV footage captured in 16:9 anamorphic).

How should I set my camera properties (width, height, and pixel aspect ratio) if I want the final LW sequence to fit into the 4:3 letterbox (which is occupied by the 16:9 anamorphic DV footage)?

Is my question coherent? Any help or noob pointers would be greatly appreciated.

06-27-2005, 02:29 PM
First off, you're confusing your aspect ratios for editing. I assume that you mean that the final output is going to by 4:3 with letterboxing. You say that the footage was captured in 16:9.
Assuming all of this is right, you want to edit in 16:9, render your Lightwave stuff in 16:9, do everything in 16:9 if that's your output. The letterboxing has nothing to do with anything unless you are part of the DVD authoring process or something. Unless there are some other circumatances, you only need to concentrate on working in 16:9.
You can adjust the aspect ratio in the camera propertis window to a DV widescreen ratio (there is a drop box).
Another thing is that you DO NOT want to render your LW projects to DV. You're automatically killing quality by rendering out to a DV file and then again when you render in FCP. You need to render out sequence files in something lossless (tiff or PDS) This also has the benifit that if you have a crash or some other problem in the middle of a long render, all your work is not lost. Also, it is easier if you need to go back and change a portion of the render, you only need to render the effected portions.

Hope this helps,

06-27-2005, 03:33 PM
J-Rod, thanks for the reply. What you said about focusing on 16:9 helped me better understand what it is I am trying to do.

To be clear, I am end-to-end production. So, yes, I am also part of the DVD authoring process. I mention the 16:9 anamorphic DV because that is the video footage I am bringing into FCP and I will compress the FCP sequence to NTSC 4:3. What you said regarding 16:9 though makes me realize this is irrelevant. Cool.

However, I do have an additional question. I am capturing TIFFs as well as the QT DV stream. Since I have the TIFFs, do you recommend bringing those into FCP? Alternatively, I could render to MPEG-4 or even H.264. This is my inclination since it seems more convenient to use footage in FCP rather than thousands of TIFF images each 1/30 second in duration.

What does one do with the sequence images? Is footage an absolute no-no?

Thanks again to you, J-Rod, and in advance to anyone else with pointers.


06-27-2005, 03:56 PM

I do a fair amount of 3D for 16x9 anamorphic. My work usually goes through an Avid or Aja IO which are D1 NTSC, 720x486, and I usually run the 3D renders through After Effects for compositing.

I personally like to render to 864x486, square pixels, then bring that sequence into an 864x486 square pixel comp in AE. When rendering the final composite I stretch it down to 720x486 in the output module, creating the final anamorphic widescreen animation. (You'd probably use 864x480 for DV)

If you render out a Tiff or Targa or whatever sequence from Lightwave you can go to Quicktime player and select File-Open Image sequence, select your sequence, set the frame rate, then save it out as a Quicktime using the Animation (lossless) codec. You can then bring this into FCP. You won't be able to drop it into your DV timeline and have it play without rendering. It'd be better if you didn't have to compress your animation with the DV codec before encoding it as an MPEG2.

Good luck.

Shawn Marshall
Marshall Arts Motion Graphics
www.marshall-arts.net (http://www.marshall-arts.net)

06-27-2005, 04:42 PM

Thanks for the info. That is exactly what I needed to be told: "save it out as a Quicktime using the Animation (lossless) codec."

One thing that strikes me is how confusing and non-intuitive the translation between screen resolutions is and how variable the different formats are.

In the year and an half I've been DVD authoring, moving between 4:3 and 16:9 DV and FCP, I'm amazed none of this ever sticks. When making DVD menus in Photoshop, I always thank goodness I can simply click on a button that makes up for the difference between what I see on a computer monitor and what will be seen on a 4:3 TV screen.



06-27-2005, 05:47 PM
FCP can bring in sequencial image sequences (I think that's redundant) as one unit. Just select the first file that LW rendered out, as long as the naming convention is consistant there should be a check box for importing it as a sequence ( I know AE does and I can't remember where in FCP) then in the program you manipulate it just like footage. Saves you that quicktime step and the rendering time and even though Animation is a lossless format you're still adding a generation to the image and those add up.


12-14-2005, 01:20 AM
even though Animation is a lossless format you're still adding a generation to the image and those add up.
now that's just being superstitious. :tsktsk: By definition there is no generation loss in a lossless codec, any more than there is using image sequence files.

It'd be better if you didn't have to compress your animation with the DV codec before encoding it as an MPEG2.

-Shawn Marshall

You don't.

Just set the timeline in FCP to be animation codec instead of DV. Chances are it won't play well, and you get to watch the beachball spin for a while every time you make changes, but if you want highest quality, that's the way to go. Then you don't have to compress until you export to MPEG2. This is what I do for my showreel (http://fxscript.org/webreel-qt7.html). It stays in animation codec until I export to H.264. DV is good for your home handycam, but it is teh suck as a post production format.

If editing in Animation codec gives your machine hissy fits, do an offline (remember them?). Start off with the timeline in DV or whatever, and then when you're finished cutting change it to Animation (and re render everything) before exporting.

Image sequence files are a better way to go I agree, apart from anything else you can always drop in and out if you need to start, stop, or re-render part of something. And like Lottmedia said, they import into FCP just as easily as quicktimes.

12-14-2005, 01:51 PM
Blast from the past. Six months ago, I'd forgotten all about this thread.

About the Animation that's not quite true. While it is technically lossless, well, it's not, also. Any time you render you're adding generation (generation is not quite the correct term, more like introducing a small amount of error) to the source, even (and especially) when you render a sequience in FCP (or Premiere, or Vegas) it's usually so minute as to be neglegable, but it's important to know it's there. And it adds up. Constantly rendering your effects tp preview can add up to garbage in the compression (even in lossless, there's still compression) For most of us is dosen't matter in the least and the precieveable output of the image is identical in quality as the original, but from a technical standpoint (or an anal one, in my case) "digital" is not the pure form people seem to think. Not to try and rag you Stib, just throwing out some useless info :)