Dox Magazine: 4:3 to 16:9 Transition

4:3 to 16:9 Transition

Paul wrote this article for DOX Magazine during the Power Trip era.  Check it out for some interesting information on the 4:3 to 16:9 conversion.  After all, you still come across 4:3 content stretched to fit a 16:9 screen, even now.  How do we make it all look good?

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"Versioning" has become an inevitable burden for non-fiction filmmakers as they adapt their work to fit various television time-slots in an effort to squeeze every drop of revenue from a project.

My film Power Trip now has four different length versions with another in progress, and I am approaching twenty distinct Masters, with iterations for NTSC, PAL, Texted and Textless. Tape stock expenses alone are burdensome.

Now comes a new dimension to versioning as TV transitions from the traditional 4:3 aspect ratio to 16:9 - finally catching up to cinema, which went wide-screen decades ago, reacting to the perceived threat when television was new. There seems to be little consensus across borders about the best way to make this transition, so the process has become bewildering.

In Europe I've seen 16:9 TV's stretching out 4:3 sports broadcasts, making the athletes look ridiculously fat. Channel surfing on a sophisticated wide-screen TV produces a startling variety of shape contortions to fit the screen size. Broadcasts in 4:3 from the US, such as MTV, suffer most, blown up and cropped on top and bottom to fit 16:9...CONTINUE READING HERE!

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