Upconverting SD Video

Upconverting a 4:3 aspect ratio image to a 16:9 frame results in borders (or side panels) on the left and right sides of the 4:3 image. This type of frame is sometimes referred to as pillarboxed.

If the aspect ratios of the original and destination formats match (for example, 720 x 480 anamorphic footage upconverted to 1920 x 1080), you can simply scale the original video to the destination size.

Original size
Original aspect ratio
Destination size
Destination aspect ratio
Upconversion method
720 x 480
4:3 (1.33)
1280 x 720, 1920 x 1080
16:9 (1.78)
Scale up and pillarbox
720 x 480 (anamorphic)
16:9 (1.78) squeezed
1280 x 720, 1920 x 1080
16:9 (1.78)
Scale up
1280 x 720
16:9 (1.78)
1920 x 1080
16:9 (1.78)
Scale up

Pillarboxing 4:3 Video in a 16:9 Frame

Scaling 4:3 video to 16:9 results in black side panels on either side of the 4:3 image.

Figure. Diagram showing how scaling 4:3 video to 16:9 results in black side panels, and the Canvas showing a clip that has had that scaling applied.
To pillarbox a 4:3 clip within a 16:9 sequence
  1. Create a sequence with a 16:9 aspect ratio. For example, choose the DVCPRO HD - 1080i60 Easy Setup and then create a new sequence.

  2. Drag a clip with a 4:3 aspect ratio to the sequence.

    If a dialog appears asking if you want to conform your sequence settings to your clip, click No.

  3. If the clip is not automatically scaled up to fit the sequence, select the sequence clip and then choose Modify > Scale to Sequence.

    The 4:3 sequence clip is now scaled to fit in the 16:9 sequence and appears pillarboxed.

For more information, see Scaling Images and Video Clips to Match a Sequence.

Upconverting 4:3 Anamorphic Video to 16:9 Video

4:3 anamorphic video is actually a 16:9 image squeezed into a 4:3 frame, so it can easily be scaled to fit an HD sequence.

Figure. Diagram showing that a 4:3 anamorphic video is a 16:9 image squeezed into a 4:3 frame, and the Canvas showing an image that has been upconverted.
To edit 16:9 anamorphic footage into a 16:9 sequence
  • Follow the instructions for scaling a 4:3 clip into a 16:9 sequence in Pillarboxing 4:3 Video in a 16:9 Frame. However, instead of using a normal 4:3 clip, use a 16:9 anamorphic clip.

    The 16:9 anamorphic clip is now scaled to fit in the native 16:9 sequence.