View Full Version : Converting project aspect ratio

December 13th, 2009, 06:24 AM
I have created a series of projects in 16:9 (PAL) which are a mixture or stills and video and then combined them to one master project for DVD menus. All worked well and on one DVD player it came out in 16:9 and then trying another it was in 4:3 with the menu cropped but photos ok\

While this isn't a problem for me it is a graduation dvd which I will be giving to my sons schoolmates and I am a bit concerned about the variation on how it is played back.

Has anyone had this problem?

Does anyone have a suggestion on how I quickly convert the project aspect ratio's of the 5 projects I have from 16:9 to 4:3 without having to rebuild the entire project. I have had a look and the aspect ratio settings are greyed out?


December 13th, 2009, 08:11 AM

What version of Premiere Elements are you using to create a DVD video from your Timeline? If you are using a Premiere Elements project preset of PAL DV Widescreen and a burn dialog burn preset of PAL Widescreen, the 16:9 flag is there for display after encoding. Look into the TV settings to determine if the TV/DVD player can take that directive from the DVD-VIDEO widescreen disc data. Does the project Preview look OK in Premiere Elements before encoding? If not, then we might need to talk about "Default Scale to Frame Size" in Edit Menu/Preferences/General as well as the Interpret Footage feature found by right clicking the media file in the Project Media view.

The party line is that once you set a project preset (new project dialog) it cannot be changed. You need to open a new project if you have a 16:9 project and want to change it to 4:3 and vice versa. HOWEVER, in August 2009 I became involved in a thread at the Premiere Elements User to User Forum at Adobe
See post #19 in which I reported on how to details for converting 4:3 project to 16:9. The concept was put forth by PaulLS, but I added the in the trends details on how to accomplish this.

Please review the above and let me know if any of it helped your situation.

I will be looking forward to learning of your progress.


December 13th, 2009, 03:08 PM
I am using Premiere Elements 7.0

I will have a look at the DVD player manuals to check on their default settings. Plus I am going to try another couple of DVD players.

The project Preview looks fine prior to encoding, the 16:9 version on the DVD player which cuts the edges off the DVD Menu actually plays the rest of the project well with no distortion it just does an edge crop. The frustrating thing is that if the menu on the DVD had come out without having half the text missing I would have probably accepted the output as reasonable.

Have tried a couple of other things
1. Starting new 4:3 master, importing 16:9 avi's - output distorted

2. opening the inidividual projects which were made in 16:9 and using the export option and selecting the 4:3 output option, then importing the 4:3.avi's into a new master project with the preference set at 4:3, the resultant 4:3 DVD output looks is shrunk like it is double cropped for the aspect ratio but not distorted and quite viewable (i thought this had solved the problem). I then played this DVD on the DVD player that previously had no problem - the result was widescreen with faces looking rather fat and an inability to do a screen resize (could be just my Sony Bravia).

Is there any other way of importing a timeline into a new project - ie the media and the clip length (I understand the answer is probably not but I did not realise the export function was there either).

I will try your suggestion in the link of editing the pre file when I get home - unfortunately I had to go to work

Once again thanks for your advice - we all appreciate your help


December 13th, 2009, 04:12 PM

I am going to give you an overview, details of which we can zero in on at another time

1. Timeline content from one project.prel in another project.prel, using export to DV AVI with or without the WorkArea Bar technique to export selectively segments of the Timeline content.

a. Typically in Premiere Elements 7, you would do that my exporting your Timeline content to DV AVI via File Menu/Export/Movie. But, you have to keep certain facts in mind, namely, what your project preset is set at and whether you want to end up exporting/saving a DV AVI standard or widescreen version of your Timeline content. If your Premiere Elements project preset (new project dialog) = NTSC DV Widescreen, in the default File Menu/Export/Movie setting would under Video would be for DV Widescreen with the Pixel Aspect Ratio = D1/DV NTSC Widescreen 16:9 (1.2). So, if you decided that you wanted that export to be standard, not widescreen, for that particular export, you would have to go into the export settings there and change the Pixel Aspect Ratio to D1/DV NTSC (0.9).

2. ClipMate is software that can allow you to copy/paste Premiere Elements Timeline content from project.prel to project.prel. For versions earlier than Premiere Elements 8, issues have been reported with the transfer of transitions and audio in the process. Check out my write on that:

3. TV Overscan is a topic that you should not overlook. It is the reason for being for use of the Premiere Elements Safety Margins (right click Edit Mode Monitor, select Safety Margins). Text needs to stay within the inner rectangle and action with in the outer rectangle.

4. DVD Menus Available. The Premiere Elements project preset (new project dialog) determines what type of menus will be available to you in Create Menus. So, if you set your Premiere Elements project preset (new project dialog) = NTSC DV Widescreen, the menu in Create Menu will be for the widescreen for the project. So, if you change the burn dialog from Widescreen to Standard, you will still have the Widescreen Menus to content with. And, the same trend holds true for NTSC DV Standard project preset (new project dialog) and NTSC Widescreen preset in the burn dialog (you have standard menu in end product).

5. Default Scale to Frame Size and Interpret Footage are two features that you should look into…Edit Menu/Preferences/General for Default Scale to Frame Size and Preview Media view/right clicking video file/selecting Interpret Footage.

A lot to consider, but I would start by looking at the TV settings.


December 13th, 2009, 04:53 PM
Thanks ATR

I will try what you suggest - what's the pixel aspect ratio I need to use for PAL.

Or if all else fails and I don't want to rebuild the projects. Would it be easier and simpler to upgrade to version 8, buy clipmate and just import the prel's into PAL 6:3 in a new projects?


December 13th, 2009, 05:48 PM

If you are dealing with the project at the level of the project preset (new project dialog), then the choices are PAL DV Standard or Widescreen.

When you get to the Pixel Aspect Ratio of the File Menu/Export/Movie settings as well as the Interpret Footage feature, then the options are:

for standard: D1/DV PAL (1.067)
for widescreen: D1/DV PAL Widescreen 16:9 (1.422)

At this point I would put upgrading to Premiere Elements 8 out of the equation.

Read up on the Interpret Footage feature and other. Explore and experiment with it to see if you can achieve your goals. Update me on your progress and at that time we will both rethink the situation and plan strategy accordingly.


December 14th, 2009, 06:10 PM
I have done a lot more testing and have some observations which may help - just remember I am a newbie at making DVD's but it may help some other newbies - ATR is a bigger help

Firstly on DVD players (note: I am not sure what it is like in NTSC) - I have played the DVD on 4 different DVD players and found that if the DVD player is a native widescreen HD player then a 16:9 menu and movie plays is displayed as expected (almost - see comments on menu later) and having a 16:9 or 4:3 TV does not have an impact. However playing 16:9 PAL menu and movie on SD non-native widescreen players required changes in the DVD playback settings which may or may not be obvious in the player menu system, this is probably worth bearing in mind if you are planning on distributing DVD's to a group of parents who may or may not be able to work their way through the issues. It was interesting to note that that it was the DVD player which was doing funny things not an overscanning issue with the TV.

Secondly, using the menu templates bundled in with Premiere El 7, not all templates are created equal and do appear to perform differently depending on if they are 16:9 played at 16:9 or 16:9 played at 4:3 or 16:9 played at 16:9 on a 4:3 TV (even if they are specified as widescreen), eg menu highlights for selected menu items may be shifted. Safe boundaries are critical, do not rely on autoformat options and assume that simply using the template and doing a preview is enough. My tip is if you have a project that generates more than 1 submenu then use the simplist template first as a test and then go more exotic not the other way around. Ensuring that menu items are well within the safe boundary is also worthwhile as it gives the end-user more flexibility if some cropping, dvd player processing or overscanning occurs.

The learning experience continues and thanks ATR for your advice

December 14th, 2009, 06:27 PM

That sounds like great progress and thanks for sharing.

Exploration and experimentation are the keys to success. Keep up the good work.

Please keep me updated on your progress.