Against my better judgment, I’ve thrown my hat into an MEP with an unspoken “elite editors only” rule, and just as I feared, I think I’m in over my head already.
I’ve edited my short clip at a resolution of 640 x 480, but since this is to be a “720p project” my submission is going to need some work if it wants to meet the “HD 720p” standards that the coordinator is aiming for. To the best of my knowledge, this means that it needs to be turned in at a resolution of 1280 x 720. How to meet this requirement is beyond my knowledge at this time.
Also, this will be a widescreen 16:9 video, and my source is in 4:3. So I fear that I may have no choice but to severely crop my clips to fit the required aspect ratio. So it appears there are two major issues with my video that I need to resolve, and they seem to be mutually exclusive, or at least working against each other. If I need to “blow up” my video to a height of 720 pixels, having to cut it down to to change the aspect ratio doesn’t exactly get me off to a good start.
First, I think, I need to either find a way to rip my footage at a higher resolution, or to upscale my footage without sacrificing quality. I’m not sure either of these solutions is possible. I’ve checked the Internet and found nothing but cryptic, false, and misleading information. On the official Avisynth website, general information is written in language that’s impenetrable to beginners, and fishing for advice on message boards is bound to get you a hundred different poorly-written methods to achieve a simple goal.
Perhaps the solution doesn’t lie solely in Avisynth, but maybe in Premiere itself. I originally created my project in a 4:3 formatted sequence. Perhaps I need to paste my work onto a new sequence with a different AR? Premiere offers not just a standard widescreen 16:9 sequence, but also HD 720p sequence settings that will set the video on a 1280 X720 “canvas.” Maybe this would be a good place to start?
I went ahead and repasted my timeline into a new sequence with these settings and exported the results. Predictably, when viewed in full screen on Media Player, it’s surrounded by a lot of empty space, which pretty much confirms that I’ll need to “upscale” the footage somewhere along the way. Again, there seems to be a dozen different ways to do this. I might as well just go with one filter that’s worked for me in the past and change it later if need be.
I’m supposed to take my 640×480 video and convert it to 848×480, as requested by the project coordinator. Some simple math for my own reference:
848×480≈16:9 (I’m assuming that the minor difference is either indistinguishable to the average viewer, or that the coordinator himself will have the means to correct this incongruity in post-production)
The script I’ve gone ahead and tried:
Lines 1 & 2 upscale the footage while preserving the original 4:3 aspect ratio. Line 3 crops 78 pixels off the top and bottom of the frame to reduce the height of the video from 636 to 480 pixels, essentially “reshaping” the frame from 4:3 to 16:9. On the file exported from the “HD 720p” sequence, the bottom third of the frame is cut off. This looks terrible and is enough to tell me that maybe importing 4:3 footage into an AR that big just isn’t going to work at all. But when I apply this script to my original 4:3 formatted footage…
…the results are passable, with no image stretching or unsymmetrial cropping on the top or bottom of the frame. Of course, this wrecks havoc on a few shots but otherwise achieves the desired result, I think.
To really make this work, I think I’d need to go back into my original scripts I used to turn the .VOB files from the DVDs into .avs files, and thoughtfully apply the cropping on each individual shot to avoid blocking out where the “action” in the shot takes place. This is by no means an impossible task, but would be incredibly difficult and time-consuming. Nonetheless, I will look into it once I have the time to do so.
This is not meant to be an instructional, “how-to” entry, but is just a record I’m keeping for myself to try to work through the problem. I’m still very much a beginning editor and have difficulty sorting out the hows and the whys behind these intermediate-level problems.