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Forums Apple Final Cut Pro Legacy Transcoding miniDV format to something smaller and more viewable…?

  • Transcoding miniDV format to something smaller and more viewable…?

  • Thad Bennington

    May 2, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Hello everyone,

    I am in the process of capturing old miniDV tapes (and VHS tapes through my miniDV deck), which results in DV formatted files (720 x 480 (640×480), Millions 16-bit integer (Little Endian), Stereo, 48.001 kHZ). In reading about transcoding these files, it sounds like going to H.264 MP4 files is a good bet… but I have questions about this.

    First and foremost is the issue of non-square to square pixels. The format I’m capturing in seems to be in non-square format. Since my intent is to create files that I view on my devices, and never to go back to tape again, how should I, in the transcoding process, be addressing going to square pixels so the material doesn’t look “squished”? Set the size at 640×480? I want to make sure these files are playable for as many years into the future as possible, so I want to make sure I get this right.

    Secondly, I read about this “Quicktime Gamma Shift” thing, and it sounds like going directly to MP4 and skipping Quicktime as a wrapper is also advisable. But… as a Mac user, can I actually do that? Quicktime seems to take over everything! Should I even bother with this, or is there an app I should be using to transcode that would allow me to “skip” Quicktime?

    Thank you for any and all advice,

  • Michael Gissing

    May 5, 2019 at 9:21 am

    If your DV tapes were 4:3 anamorphic to capture a 16:9 frame, then you need to transcode to a pixel aspect that is 16:9. So 480/ 9 x 16 is 854. That’s a 16:9 square pixel aspect not 640 x 480. If you tapes were PAL then the majic number is 1024 x 576.

    So many more questions about what devices you are making these files compatible for. If for modern screens, then you might want to consider an upscale to 1920 x 1080. Also if the originals are interlaced (very likely) then you might need to correctly de-interlace as you upscale. DV is lower field first.

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