Artbeats FAQs

Can I use Artbeats 720x486 clips with a 720x480 editing system?

Certainly! Most video editors will import QuickTime files directly from the Artbeats CD-ROMs and automatically convert them to DV (FireWire, IEEE1394) or MPEG-2 format when necessary.

However, certain video editing applications will scale 486 footage down to 480 instead of cropping it. If the footage has interlacing of any kind, this presents a problem. Even with progressive footage, there is no reason to unnecessarily soften the footage by scaling it.

There are a couple of methods you can use to crop, but one thing you need to keep in mind when cropping is field order. Artbeats clips are lower field first. DV footage and some MPEG systems are also lower field first. If you simply crop 3 (or any odd number) of pixel rows off the top of the frame of lower field first footage, you change the field order to upper field first. To prevent this, crop an even number of rows, i.e., 2 off the top and 4 off the bottom.

For instance, to crop imported footage in Premiere, use the Image Pan plug-in (oddly, not the "crop" plug-in) in the Transform folder to clip 2 or 4 lines off the top of your footage. An easier method is to pre-process the footage with a tool like Cleaner 5 from Discreet. You can simultaneously crop and transcode multiple clips in a batch using an application like Cleaner.

To import 720x486 clips into a 720x480 Avid, select "Maintain non-square pixels" in the import settings dialog. This will crop 4 pixel rows from the top of the frame and 2 pixel rows from the bottom--thus keeping the fields and the field order intact.