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In Encore CS5 Essential Training, author Chad Perkins gives an extensive overview of Encore CS5, Adobe's powerful application for authoring DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, and Flash-based video for the web. This course covers adding audio and subtitle tracks, creating image slideshows, and using Encore as a presentation tool. Also explained are the Blu-ray enhancements in CS5, and advanced techniques such as creating games and hidden content for disc menus. Exercise files are included with the course.
Another issue to be aware of is something called the pixel aspect ratio. Essentially, a pixel is a little square that makes up an image on a computer. On a monitor, on a computer, these are square. They are exactly as wide as they are tall. But on a TV screen, and especially when we're talking about Standard Definition Video, these are typically not square. It can mess up your final product. Even though what you're seeing here on Encore looks fantastic, when you go to play it back on your DVD, it will tend to look stretched, if you don't know what you're doing.
Now here is the challenge. I have this piece of footage here, this Explore CA ad. As I click it to select it, the Project panel gives me a summary at the top of its core attributes, its pixel dimensions, 720 x 480, and its time length, This is saying it's 15 seconds and 13 frames long, and its frame rate. It's 23.976 frames per second. But folks, here is the rub. The difference between standard definition fullscreen video and widescreen video has nothing to do with pixel dimensions.
Yes, you heard that correctly. The difference between fullscreen video and widescreen video is not the difference in pixels, only in the aspect of those pixels. So we can't tell just by looking at this footage, if it's fullscreen standard definition or if it's a wide screen standard definition. So thus becomes the challenge, because this is a little bit dangerous. We don't know what we're doing. So if we wanted to make a widescreen menu, and we are going to use something from our Library here, we want to find a menu that said WIDE, say, for example, this Radiant menu says WIDE? This is a widescreen menu.
So for looking for something, again, widescreen, we would choose this here. Likewise, of course, you can choose any menu that had the word Wide in it. Otherwise, if it doesn't have WIDE, if it's just a regular menu, and it does not say HD, then it's going to assume fullscreen standard definition. So if I double-click Entertainment menu, for example, then we have this more squarish orientation. Now other than menus, the real concern with pixel aspect ratio is when you are creating your assets.
So this is more of a help to you, if you have power over the control of assets. Sometimes when you're working in Encore, you get stuff later on down the pipeline. You don't have control over the art that's being created, but if you do have control over that stuff, then make sure that it is created with the correct output pixel aspect ratio ahead of time, because you can't change it here in Encore. You can't even tell what it is here on Encore. But if you go and you test your DVD on a set top player, and you find that it is really stretched out, It is probably because of the pixel aspect ratio.
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