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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 D-1 and DV, use nonsquare pixels to represent images. If you display nonsquare pixels on a square-pixel monitor, the image will appear distorted. Luckily, After Effects can compensate for the difference between standards so you can use both 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 ratios. Nevertheless, you should check to see that your footage is interpreted correctly, and you should understand how to set the PAR for other standards. You can even manually customize how the program automatically interprets footage (see “To set interpretation rules,” later in this chapter).


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