About QuickTime Aperture Display Modes

QuickTime 7.1 and later supports four aperture display modes that allow you to properly display video with nonsquare pixels (such as DV video) in QuickTime Player and other applications that support these modes. The four aperture display modes in QuickTime are:

Note: Final Cut Pro always displays video in the Production aperture display mode. The default setting for QuickTime movies exported from Final Cut Pro is also the Production aperture display mode.

To change the aperture display mode of a QuickTime movie
  1. Make sure a QuickTime Pro registration code is entered in the Register tab of the QuickTime pane in System Preferences.

  2. Open a QuickTime movie in QuickTime Player.

  3. Choose Window > Show Movie Properties.

  4. In the Properties window, select the main movie track (not the video or sound tracks).

  5. Click Presentation, then choose an aperture mode from the “Conform aperture to” popup menu.

Classic Aperture Mode

In this mode, content appears as it did in QuickTime 7 and earlier. The video track dimensions are respected. For example, a DV NTSC track appears as 720 x 480.

Figure. QuickTime Player window showing a frame with no pixel aspect ration correction or aperture cropping.

Clean Aperture Mode

An image’s clean aperture is a region of video free from transition artifacts caused by the encoding of the signal. This is the region of video that should be displayed.

Figure. Image showing edge encoding artifacts and another showing a cropped edge made in clean aperture mode.

In this mode, the video track is cropped to the Clean aperture mode and scaled according to the track’s pixel aspect ratio. For example, a 4:3 DV NTSC track appears as 640 x 480; a 16:9 DV NTSC track appears as 853 x 480.

Figure. QuickTime Player window showing a pixel aspect ratio correction applied and edges cropped.

Production Aperture Mode

Content may appear differently than in QuickTime 7. The video track is not cropped to the Clean aperture mode, but it is scaled according to the pixel aspect ratio. Use this option when you want to see all the pixels in your video, including the edges. A 4:3 DV NTSC track appears as 654 x 480; a 16:9 DV NTSC track appears as 873 x 480. Compare this to the Clean aperture mode, which crops the edge-encoding pixels on the left and right.

Figure. QuickTime Player window showing an image with a pixel aspect ratio corrrection applied and no edge cropping.

Encoded Pixels Aperture Mode

Content typically appears the same as in Classic aperture mode. The video track is not cropped to the Clean aperture mode and is not scaled according to the pixel aspect ratio. The encoded dimensions of the image description are displayed. This option is typically used to preview rendering (where you want all pixels) in a professional application. A DV NTSC (4:3 or 16:9) track appears as 720 x 480.

Figure. QuickTime Player window showing an image with encoded pixels.