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Too often, editors assume that 16 by 9 means Hi Def. 16 by 9 is not necessarily Hi Def, it could be DV Anamorphic, which is Standard Def. Thinking of the two aspect ratio in terms of shape is a more sensible approach to understanding the main difference between the two. 16 by 9 is the "Letterbox" or more rectangular shape, and 4 by 3 id the more "traditional" or more square shape.

aspect_ratios.png

If you start a project in one aspect ratio, and try to change it to another, it can be a frustrating situation if you don't follow the correct process. The best way is to load a new sequence setting instead of trying to change all of the Sequence settings. Additionally it is often necessary to reset the Distort in the Motion tab.

If you get into a situation where you need to provide both a 16 by 9 and a 4 by 3 version of the same project, it will be best to produce in the footage's native aspect ratio, and then drag the produced sequence into an empty sequence of the other aspect ratio. For example if you produced a HD sequence, and needed a 4 by 3 SD version, you would drag the HD sequence into an empty 4 by 3 sequence, and allow it to letterbox itself into that sequence.

Understanding the differences in aspect ratios, and how to set up your Sequence's properly is very important. Check out our video tutorial on this topic for step by step instruction, on many of the most important areas of dealing with aspect ratio, as well as using HD media, in a SD Sequence.

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