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Ok, so I’ve sorted out the correct settings for bringing 16:9 After Effects projects into Adobe Encore for creating a widescreen standard-def DVD.

The problem: A typical 16:9 (square pixel) render from AE (mine was 1280×720) dropped into a “widescreen DVD” Encore timeline leaves slight black bars on the sides (pillaring). 

Solution: The outgoing file (Quicktime in my case) needs to be 720×480 (with a pixel aspect of 1.21), which is NOT exactly 16:9.  To do this, I dropped my comp (or my final render) into a new AE comp that was this size. There’s a preset you can use, it’s the “NTSC DV Widescreen” preset. Then I scaled my source down to fit the window. It won’t fit exactly (obviously. that’s why we’re having to do this.) I lose a slight bit that gets cropped out on the top and bottom, but it’s better looking than Encore adding black space at the sides to preserve the original height.

Does Encore have a preference to crop the incoming footage to fill the screen? This would save me this step in AE. I couldn’t find it (CS5). Please comment if it does.

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