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Pixel Aspect Ratios

Generally, computer systems display images using square pixels (a 1:1 pixel aspect ratio, or 1.0 PAR) However many formats, including common standards like the D-1 and the DV, use non-square pixels to represent the image. If you display non-square pixels on a square pixel monitor, then the image will appear distorted. Luckily, After Effects can compensate for the difference between standards so you can use both standards in the same composition and output them without distortion.

After Effects automatically interprets D1 (720 x 486) and DV (720 x 480) footage to compensate correctly for their pixel aspect ratio. Nevertheless, you should check to see that your footage is interpreted correctly, and you should understand how to set the PAR for other standards. Starting with After Effects 4.1, you can even manually customize how the program automatically interprets footage (see "To set interpretation rules," later in this chapter).


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