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I want to edit video material from a PAL DVD, i.e. 720x576 pixels with a pixel aspect ratio of 1.09...

The final cut is supposed to be rendered to a video file. Therefore I am wondering whether it makes sense to use the "TV PAL 4:3" preset in the project properties, which accounts for the pixel aspect ratio, or whether I should use square pixels and just calculate the corresponding resolution of the output video.

The second one seems safer to "misinterpretation" of the video material by any players. But are there any concerns regarding the quality of the output?

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  • $\begingroup$ Related: blender.stackexchange.com/questions/23408/… $\endgroup$ – user7952 Feb 22 '15 at 20:59
  • $\begingroup$ I would personally render as still images at 1024x576 with square pixels, and downscale to 720x576 in post, i.e. when combining the frames into a video stream. That's just personal preference though, and I can't really tell you about pros and cons, and that's why I post this as a comment rather than an answer. $\endgroup$ – user7952 Feb 22 '15 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ It all depends on your output. What are your output requirements? $\endgroup$ – cegaton Feb 23 '15 at 0:46
  • $\begingroup$ @cegaton: I am not sure that I understand your question. I want to render the edited material to a video file to be played on PCs (and such). Is that what you meant? $\endgroup$ – stack_horst Feb 23 '15 at 8:37
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I misinterpreted your question, and I thought you were going to create a DVD. My bad, I didn't read thoroughly.

For simply re-encoding a DVD to a video file, such as an MP4 or an AVI, I wouldn't use Blender at all. Exactly what to use, depends on your OS. If you just need to re-encode, with minor or no filtering, I'd suggest Avidemux, which is available for multiple operating systems and has an easy to understand GUI. If you're comfortable with command line tools, there's always FFmpeg. Both Blender and Avidemux use FFmpeg as a backend to encode video, but neither of them has support for everything FFmpeg can do; most notably not all combinations of codecs and container formats are available.

For the scaling part, I'd say do as little scaling as possible. Especially avoid upscaling. If you use a container format that has native support for aspect ratio settings, you shouldn't have to do any scaling at all. MP4 and MKV are the safest bet, as they have aspect ratio support, and AVI can be made to support it with some trickery, but not all players will understand it. FFmpeg and mencoder can write AVI files with aspect ratio settings.

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  • $\begingroup$ So by using mp4 or mkv there would be no "risk of misinterpretation" of the material by the video player (i.e. not accounting for the aspect ratio) because the pixel aspect ratio is a container (codec?) thing? (+I am mostly on Linux and if need be on Windows) $\endgroup$ – stack_horst Feb 23 '15 at 8:39
  • $\begingroup$ I would use an mp4 container with h.264 high profile for the video stream and aac for the audio stream(s). I've been using that for several years, and I have yet to discover a player (software or hardware) that doesn't handle it. In most encoders you define the display aspect ratio and the encoder calculates the pixel aspect ratio. $\endgroup$ – user7952 Feb 23 '15 at 8:52

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