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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.
Now as we prepare to export our project, there is a very important concept I want you to be aware of, and that is Frame aspect ratio. Previous in this training series, we talked about the Pixel aspect ratio, the aspect ratio of those little tiny squares that make up the image. But there are two important aspect ratios for the entire frame. The first is kind of like the old school TV way of doing things. It's very square, and it's referred to as 4:3. It's a little bit more wide than it is tall, but essentially, it looks square.
We refer to that as fullscreen. Now there is also 16:9, so it's almost twice as wide as it is tall, and we refer to that as widescreen. Now because of the increasing popularity of HD, and because this is the way that cinema is, widescreen is quickly gaining popularity. But what happens when you play a widescreen DVD on a 4:3 TV? Well, you actually have two options for that. One, you could do something called pan and scan.
On pan and scan, the DVD player will crop the image to fit, so it'll actually crop off the stuff that's too wide. The other option that your DVD player has is that it can letterbox the footage, and that means that it plays the entire 4:3 image, but it shrinks it down so it all fits in the 4:3 area, and that creates black bars at the top and at the bottom, and it maintains the 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio. Many filmmakers prefer the letterbox way of doing things because the pan and scan way crops your image. It kind of ruins the footage.
So, I think it's like 45% of the actual shot gets cropped off. Now with all the work the directors put into accomplishing their shots and setting these things up and composing them correctly, that really messes with the art of the piece. So, Encore then does those directors and arty people a favor by overriding the set top DVD player setting and forces set top DVDs to letterbox the 16:9 footage. So, if you're outputting a widescreen project from Encore, you never have to worry about it being panned and scanned and cropped at the edges because Encore will force the set top DVD player to play back with letterbox.
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