I did not shoot or edit this, but am trying to understand and fix the issue. The footage was shot 720p 24 DVCPro on a HPX170 and imported into Final Cut, edited, and exported. That is the file and info I was given. According to the file properties, the dimensions are 1280×720 and the codec is Linear PCM, H.264.
When I open it in the Quicktime Player, it plays with a squished 4:3 (960×720) aspect ratio, but with Quicktime 7 or VLC Player it plays in the proper 16:9 ratio. Why is that? This is a clip that may need to be given to clients so a solution that doesn’t require them to change the actual file or their media player settings is preferable. How can I fix it to open and play properly from the get-go?
If the exported file is a deliverable, then it should be using square pixels. The file you are looking at has a PAR (pixel aspect ratio). Often referred to as anamorphic. There are several PAR’s and the 960×720 is (I believe) the DVCPROHD 720 1.33 PAR.
The reason that some players know and others don’t is a simple process of recognizing the PAR in the metadata of a file and applying it appropriately.
If you look at movie inspector in Quicktime 7, you’ll notice that the encoded dimensions are 960×720…but “current size” is 1280×720. This is because QT is recognizing the PAR, and multiplying 960×1.33
PAR’s should only be used when working in editable formats…by content producers. Once this stuff gets out into non-industry type people…it should always be square pixels.
Thanks guys, that makes perfect sense. So the solution would be to export it in a format that uses square pixels so that the client doesn’t necessarily have to have a player that interprets the metadata in order to see it correctly. Am I understanding that right?