Even though the world is moving to HD and its 16:9 aspect ratio as a standard, some television and VOD contracts require a full frame 4×3 version. In smaller deals you can often push your way out of this requirement, but on some bigger sales with bigger companies –just may not take your title if you don’t have a full frame 4×3 version. This is not a letterboxed version that has black bars top and bottom. It is the dreaded “pan and scan”. However it is a pan and scan that you can control – and you can pay to have a pan and scan done. A less expensive approach is a 4×3 extraction. This is a down convert from HD 16:9 in which a machine pulls the center of the picture into the full 4×3 frame. Remind yourself that you won’t have to be there when people see it. You can also wait to do this until you are forced to deliver one. When you are doing your DI – make sure that your titles/subtitles/graphics are very title safe – so that they stay in the frame when the extraction occurs – otherwise you’ll have to replace each of those titles individually – NOT FUN (I know from experience).
My workshops are coming to NYC on June 5 & 6th organized through IFP – and Vancouver on June 12 & 13th. One of the perks of attending is a digital pack of articles and documents including a delivery schedule and blank boilerplate budget in Excel. I hope to see you there! Check out the book and workshops here.