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Pixel Aspect Ratio

When the aspect ratio of a source clip doesn’t match the aspect ratio of the program, you can maintain the original aspect ratio of the source or change it to conform to the aspect ratio of the program, which will result in a distorted image.

Image distortion also occurs when a source clip uses a different pixel aspect ratio from the one used by your display monitor. A still taken from DV footage (which uses 720 × 480 nonsquare pixels), for example, is distorted when you display it in an image editing program like Photoshop, which displays square pixels (Figure 18.22). Conversely, a still image created at 720 × 480—but using square pixels—will be distorted when it is displayed at DV resolution, which uses nonsquare pixels. Some programs, like Premiere and After Effects, correct for this type of distortion automatically; otherwise, you have to correct it by resizing the image. Better yet, prevent the problem by using consistent image aspect and pixel aspect ratios.


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