I am bringing super8 clips into Final Cut Pro 7. My clips are all .mov files.
My super8 footage is i think something like 4:3 aspect ratio. I want to be making a video in 16:9 in FCP.
When i bring my clips into FCP they always match the top and bottom of my clip to the top and bottom of the 16:9 image canvas, so that i HAVE TO stretch my clip out in order to fill the 16:9 canvas (black spaces on the left and right sides). I want to stretch my footage as little as possible since the image quality isn't great to begin with (it's super8 footage!).
How can i bring my clips in and have FCP match the left and right sides of my clips to the left and right sides of the 16:9 image frame?...and then i don't have to stretch my image, just move it up and down and decide what to crop out of the image (and so no resolution loss).
I do not want to crop y footage to 16:9 before importing to FCP as what i will be cropping off the top and bottom is not consistent throughout the footage.
You want to find a plugin that does non-linear anamorphic stretching. That's the only solution for what you want specifically. And that will present issues depending if subjects are closer to the side edges of the frame. Not sure who still sells one for FCP7.
If the main thing you want is to eliminate black bars left and right, you could simply try scaling-up the footage in the timeline to fill the frame (cutting off the top and bottom of your footage) and then re-position the shots up and down to create the best framing. Obviously you'd need to do this shot-by-shot for best results. You will lose some quality in the scale-up, but you might find it still looks OK. Worth an experiment.
Alternatively, if you wanted to retain the entire Super 8 frame, you could do what is often done with i-phone footage which has been shot the wrong way up.
Make a duplicate of the footage behind (below) the original and stretch it to fill the 16x9 frame. Then add a blur to that layer. It also helps to darken down the blurred footage and / or add a slight colour tint. Or whatever floats your boat...
Thanks for taking the time to respond to my plea for help. I looked up non-linear anamorphic stretching, but it's not what really what i want. It will take the 4:3 to 16:9, but it will also distort the image, and i'd rather lose some image quality than distort.
I think what i've realized...and please tell me if this is true!?...is that no matter what i do i can not start with 4:3 and end with 16:9 without either stretching the footage (so distortion) or zooming it out (so image quality loss). BUT...if the original super8 footage were digitized (telecine) as 16:9 then i would have a proper 16:9 clip to begin with...is that correct?
To telecine the footage into a 16x9 format won't help you because you will have exactly the same issue. The telecine operator will either have to distort your image or zoom-in and re-frame. (Or leave black bars left and right.)
You are correct that there are basically two ways to get 4x3 to fill a 16x9 frame. Either stretch the image which will distort it or crop in on the 4x3 image, which will lose a little quality, but more importantly will cut off the top and bottom so will require re-framing to find the best composition.
If you want to fill the 16x9 frame I would really recommend you try the 'zoom-in and re-frame' approach. You may be surprised how little quality you lose.
Thanks again for replying. I am indeed zooming and cropping. The mov files i have were at least captured at 1080p, so my image is not horribly degraded.
It's hard to make clear what i meant about telecine capturing...and i won't go on at silly length about it. I guess what i'm wondering is if the telecine capture could be 16 wide but more than 9 tall (tall enough to capture the entire 4:3 super8 frame). So it wouldn't be 16:9 anymore, but maybe like 16:14 or something. Clearly i don't know much about telecine and aspect ratios...and probably due to that i'm wondering this. Is such a thing possible? So then i would have my super8 footage set to meet the width of 16:9 and with out having the top/bottom pre-cropped...of course they'd be cropped in FCP, but i would then be able to choose exactly what to crop from the top/bottom for each shot. To my mind, which is obviously not that educated in FCP and image capturing (my apologies)...but yes, to my mind this seems to offer a solution for bringing super8 into FCP and 16:9 without either distorting or degrading the image.
Aspect ratios describe the relationship between the sides, not the actual resolution, therefore 16:12 would be exactly the same as 4:3 (or 1.33:1)
Assuming you footage is 1440 x 1080,
if you want to edit 4:3 super8 footage in a 1080p 16:9 timeline without scaling you would have to scan it at a resolution of 1920 x 1440 then you can move it up and down to get the crop you wanted while maintaining pixel level accuracy,
The super8 footage might not be high enough quality for this to mater, as long as the scan has enough resolution to capture all the detail nothing else you do will make a difference.
You could also drop the 1080p footage into a custom 1440 x 810 timeline for a pixel accurate crop.