Using 4:3 archive footage in a 16:9 production

3 replies [Last post]
Chris Lovell
Joined: Nov 29 2000

I am working on a documentary which was shot in true 16:9 (we were kindly leant a DSR500 for the shoot) We are completing the edit in 16:9, with a view to eventual broadcast sales. We need to include some archive 4:3 camcorder footage and would welcome some advice about the best approach. If we just include some 4:3 footage, then we'll get 'vertical letterboxes'. If we crop the image to get 16:9, the resolution will be dire - we're starting off with 2nd generation VHS camcorder stuff to begin with. Anyone have any creative ideas?

Chris Lovell

tom hardwick
Joined: Apr 8 1999

I'd keep the original stuff in 4:3 and accept the black bars L & R. Or have them as grey bars or multicoloured bars or hanging curtains or kaleiderscopic moving patterns.

But keep the 4:3 undistorted and at it's highest resolution I'd say.


Joined: Apr 12 1999

I agree; I've seen this done on a couple of DVD 'making of' documentaries which were mostly shot in 16:9 but include some 4:3 footage with black bars left and right... it looks fine to me.

P4-3.06/2GB RAM/2500GB IDE/SATA. Avid Media Composer, Liquid Edition, Premiere 6, Lightwave, Vue 6, eyeon Fusion 5. DV and HDV editing/compositing.

Joined: Jun 10 1999

I've seen that done in movies too. Consider From Dusk Till Dawn - while the movie itself was presented widescreen, all the 'TV news reports' were shown as 4:3 images with black bars left and right.