Mixing Aspect Ratios in Avid Media Composer

Avid Media Composer has some great tools when
it comes to mixing and matching different media formats. It can become tricky building a project that
is compatible with both the older Standard Defination television sets and the newer widescreen
HD sets. The trick is to build two versions of your
sequence. Build one for your 4×3 audience, and one for your Widescreen audience. For example, let’s say I have three different
media types which are: Standard Definition 4×3 media. Standard Definition
16×9 anamorphic media, and High Definition footage. Go ahead and import your media into Avid Media
Composer. In this case I’m going to use Avid’s Link
to AMA files feature which is located under the file menu to import my clips. If you’re new to using Avid’s AMA feature,
the clips will turn yellow indicating that the Avid software is referencing the clips
directly. For my first example, I’m going to drag all
these clips directly to a new Standard defination sequence. You can verify your format settings by clicking
on the format tab within the Project window. If I drag through my sequence you can see
the first two shots that are supposed to be widescreen are stretched into a 4×3 frame. Instead of applying the re-format filter to
every single segment, I’m going to apply the reformat filter to an empty track above all
the segments. Hold down the option key and right click within
the grey area of the timeline window. This will allow you to create a new track
with a specific track number. I’m going to place an add-edit on my V10 track
to separate my 4:3 media from my widescreen media. Apply the re-format effect to the empty track
area. Move this monitor icon to the top most track
so you can see the filter modification. Now, for this SD clip, even though the aspect
ratio is correct, it may look strange that the other segments have been letter boxed
and this segment is full frame. I recommend applying a 16×9 mask to match
the rest of the sequence. Now, you may end up with a situation where
you’ve clipped off part of the frame. To fix this, apply a resize effect to the
individual segment. To make adjustments, make sure the V1 track
is the only track that is turned on. Then click on the effects editor button. You can then adjust the horizontal or ‘Y’
position slider to choose the area of the frame you want to display. Okay, now the media looks correct for a Standard
Definition 4×3 television. Next, let’s reformat the same clips for a
High Definition 16×9 screen. Navigate to the format tab within the Media
Composer project window. Change the project type to 1080i with a raster
of 1920 x 1080. Apply a resize filter to first clip in the
timeline. Park over the segment and press the effects
editor button. Then stretch the X axis a value of 135. The last clip needs to be re-sized and cropped
in order to fit a 16×9 aspect ratio. Apply the blowup filter to the last clip in
the timeline. Enter into effects mode and adjust the field
parameter to a value of 5. If you’ve chopped an important part of the
image you can use the Y position parameter to adjust the video image. For more tips like these or to enroll in a
certified Media Composer training course. Visit GeniusDV.com