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In Premiere Pro CS5 Essential Training, author Chad Perkins shows not only how to edit video with Premiere Pro, but he also explains how to use video to tell compelling stories. This course covers the Premiere Pro workflow from a high level, providing a background on how projects go from start to finish before diving into basic clip adjustments, such as color correcting scenes for more dramatic impact, applying transitions effectively, and slowing down and speeding up clip playback. The course includes creative techniques, such as making titles and removing a green screen background from a shot. Exercise files are included with the course.
In this chapter we're going to look at several really key elements or attributes of video. Now, I'm not sharing this with you so you could have this kind of like beard scratching moment where you feel superior and know all about the ins and outs of video. I'm sharing these things with you because oftentimes when you have trouble, when you are troubleshooting with your videos, something doesn't look right, something is not working correctly, it is often because of these attributes of video. So, knowing this is really indispensable. Let's look at this example here. We have here some footage.
If I click on this, we could see that the footage is 1280 x 1080 pixels, also referred to as 1080. If we click on our sequence, our sequence is also 1280 x 1080. But for some reason when I look at the footage that I brought into the sequence and I click it to activate it, I can see that there's actually more footage on the sides. How can that possibly be, because my sequence is the same number of pixels? And something's also screwy with this video. When I open this up in Adobe Bridge it actually seems squished.
It actually kind of compresses the video. So what is the problem? Why is this piece of footage so weird? The answer lies in its pixel aspect ratio. On any piece of video footage or any computer image, if we zoom in far enough, we'll see these little tiny squares that make up images on our computer and these little squares are the building blocks of what we do here, and these little squares are called pixels. That's short for picture elements.
Now, on a computer these little squares are just that. They are square, as equally why it is they are tall. But on a television set and the way that the some cameras record footage, those pixels are not square. They are a little bit more wide or a little bit more tall. So, I'm going to take this magnification back to Fit here. And what's happening is that we are not using the correct pixel aspect ratio in this sequence. We could tell the pixel aspect ratio by this number in parentheses here. So, our sequence, the pixel aspect ratio is 1.0, meaning that the width and the height are the same proportions, so it's a square.
So, 1.0 means square pixel aspect ratio. But if we click on our footage you see that the pixel aspect ratio is 1.5. In other words that the width of the pixels are one and a half times wider than the height of the pixels. So, even though we're dealing with the exact same number of pixels, the sizes of the pixels are what are causing the differences between the sequence and the footage. So what I want to do is create a new sequence here. Go down to the bottom to this new icon. Click on Sequence. Now I know that this is DVCPROHD footage.
It's DVCPROHD and then 1080p and if we select this we could see that the settings are 1280x1080 with a 1.5 pixel aspect ratio, this is what we want. Select this preset and the DVCPROHD > 1080p folder and go ahead and click OK. And now when I put this footage inside of this sequence, it looks perfect. This is also why sometimes when you give footage from sources like this that have weird pixel aspect ratios to another program or toward a client or something and let's say here in Bridge where it is expecting a 1.0 or square pixel aspect ratio, it has to squish all the stuff in to fit in the 1280x1080 spot and of course it's meant to have a wider pixel aspect ratio than just square and so it appears squished.
So, oftentimes if you're watching a low-budget production, they are not mindful of pixel aspect ratios, then it will appear a little bit squashed or little bit stretched out. Now, another trick you can use to get around this is if you notice that we have basically HD footage here. But HD, as we will learn about later in this chapter, is really 1920x1080 not 1280x1080. But the thing is that 1920x1080 with a square pixel aspect ratio is about the same as 1280x1024 with the 1.5 pixel aspect ratio.
Let me show you what I mean here. I'm going to go to this sequence here. I'm going to click New > Sequence. Another new sequence. This time I'm going to go to Digital SLR and I'm going to go to 1080p and I'm going to go to 1080p24, and this is true HD. 1920x1080 with the square pixel aspect ratio. I'm going to go ahead and click OK here and when I bring in this footage and bring this in here, then it matches. So, really 1280x1080 with a 1.5 pixel aspect ratio is the same thing as 1920x1080 with a square pixel aspect ratio.
And if all you get out of this movie is that sometimes pixel aspect ratios can make things look stretched or squished then that is what you really need to understand out of this. Sometimes cameras play around with their pixel aspect ratios so that they can get away with having a smaller sensor and recording this much footage and stretching out the pixel aspect ratio to compensate for it. So you're actually getting the same amount of information just kind of in a different way. So, just be mindful as you're going forward and creating sequences and working your projects that pixel dimensions are not the only key ingredient to getting the right size of your sequence.
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