Fixes the thin vertical black bars on the edges of Panasonic SD movie clips. (An aspect-ratio issue)
Also sets the 16:9 header flag for widescreen clips.
If you wish to link to this website, please use the link https://www.stearsoft.co.uk/sdcorrect as this will ensure the link works if the location of these web pages change. Thank you.
See the full story below, but here is a link to a free (but donations accepted) bit of software I wrote. It didn't actually take very long to write. The time consuming part was figuring out what was going on and researching how to fix it...
The current version of SDcorrect is 1.2 (details)
SDcorrect is written to work with Panasonic SDR-S26 produced mpeg files (with .MOD extension). It might work with other Panasonic SD camcorders, but probably won't work with other brands. Try it and see if you have a similar problem.
SDcorrect does 5 things. The 5th is the critical one:
How to use SDcorrect:
Next time you can skip steps 2-10, as SDcorrect remembers your settings :)
Here's a screen shot of my settings:
To streamline your workflow further, you can set up your system so that SDcorrect automatically starts when you attach your camcorder. To do this in XP, you need to install TweakUI which is part of 'Powertoys for Windows XP'. This is a small, free application from Microsoft found in the right Download panel of their PowerToys for Windows XP page. Once installed, run it and add SDcorrect to the Autoplay Handlers (under My Computer->Autoplay->Handlers). You can then go to the Autoplay bit for details on how to make SDcorrect automatically start.
Having recently purchased my first camcorder (a Panasonic SDR-S26 with which I'm very pleased), I've come to the point of wanting to make the most of it by using some decent video editing software. The software that came with it was very limited; quite cumbersome to use, and very limited features (I couldn't even see how to add a sound-track) or options for producing movie files of various formats. Both my Father, and Father-in-law have older DV camcorders and happily use Pinnacle Studio 9. So I took my video files round to test that out. I had a very painful experience - it appeared to work in theory, and little experiments produced good results. However I then tried to put together 40-50 clips to make a 10-15 minute movie. Not only did things get very slow for any kind of edit, but Pinnacle kept crashing. I rebooted 3 times during creation of the movie. And when I got to the end and tried to produce a movie file it never got past the first stage - after probably nearly 10 attempts trying several different file formats I had to give up with no movie. I do have perseverance though, so took the files (including my movie project file) back home and downloaded a trial version of Pinnacle 12. It was much much much better. Despite my computer being older and slower and with less memory than my father-in-law's, Pinnacle 12 ran much faster and didn't keep crashing. It also imported the version 9 project and managed to produce a movie first time. Unfortunately, it didn't handle the sound very well and at 4 points in the rendered movie I got short bursts of white-noise - one burst actually lasted several seconds. This experience led me to research alternative products.
To start the process of choosing some software I got onto the internet and put in some key words into a search engine. I quickly found a Video Editing Software Review on the TopTenREVIEWS website. A very useful overview of major products, rough indication of prices and features and some reviews. I'd already checked out Pinnacle Studio, so what to look at next. On their recommendation, I looked at CyberLink PowerDirector and Corel VideoStudio first. Following analysis of those, I then needed to look further and tried Magix Movie Edit Pro. Those were then the 3 I downloaded trial versions for and analysed for myself (see below). The marketers among you may wonder why I didn't consider other products. This is based on gut feel and may be based on incorrect assumptions, but firstly price was off-putting; the cheaper ones had the features I want, so why pay for features I'm unlikely to ever use. Secondly, I've had bad experiences with other Adobe and Roxio products which counted them out. If I was to try another product, the SONY one would have been next - my impression of Sony products (right or wrong) is that they tend to have limited support for 3rd-party options, which is why they were 4th, not 3rd on my list.
I was looking for all sorts of things and getting a general feel, but these were the critical things that helped me decide between these 3:
|Features I was looking for||CyberLink PowerDirector||Corel VideoStudio||Magix Movie Edit Pro 15|
|Being able to make a DVD resolution windows media file (.wmv)||Yes||No, not obviously.||Yes|
|Backward compatible MPEG sound for playback on older players (Not sure whether this would be much of a problem actually)||No||Yes, good options||Yes|
|Ability to make non-interlaced MPEG files (I originally thought this was important - not so sure now though)||No||Yes||Yes|
|Stable system without hanging or crashing||Seemed good - but not tested as hard as MAGIX||Hung on me once||Good, but see note below|
All the tick-box features seemed to be in all of them, but overall I was most impressed with the MAGIX offering. It was more difficult to learn how to use - I initially gave up quickly thinking the interface was limited, fiddly and not up to the job, but having realised features work a little bit different, I have come to not just like the interface, but prefer it to the others. Movie Edit Pro gives lots of flexibility and options at every stage and lets me take control. I know this would be off-putting to some, and they'd prefer one of the other systems probably, but I like the complete flexibility Movie Edit Pro gives, not just in editing, but in importing and producing movie files too. Movie Edit Pro worked quickly and reliably without hanging or crashing for a few days. It did eventually crash when I confused it on an advanced Menu creation process before burning a disk. However it crashed nicely!! It saved my project and closed gracefully, so that I could just start up again - and carry on from exactly where I left off. Nothing lost, except perhaps a minute or two. I have to say I got a little bit frustrated trying to put my own movie-loop in the background of the menu, but I got there in the end - Using a separately produced MPEG seemed to work best - again flexibility of options allowed me to find a way of getting what I wanted.
The big problem with Movie Edit Pro 15 was that on reading my movie clips, it put thin black strips down each side, as described above. Because I prefered it over the other possibilities, particularly in terms of flexibility and in being able to do all the things I had tried, I decided to persevere, and even wondered whether it was MAGIX's fault anyway and if I should investigate further. I did - and SDcorrect is the result. With this tool, Movie Edit Pro becomes my clear favourite. Since writing SDcorrect I have discovered that in Movie Edit Pro you can manually adjust the aspect ratio of the imported clips (within Object Properties of a clip), which actually solves the problem more easily. I still use SDcorrect though, as it automates the process and improves workflow. I have to point out that learning to use the interface was not that straight-forward, and some people will be put off by all the flexibility and options it gives. I like it though.
I've spent many a frustrated hour (well days actually) getting to the bottom of this black-line thing, so if you've read this far, I hope this might save you similar frustrations and give you the solution you've been looking for.
If you're wondering who I am - I'm a Mathematics teacher, but before teaching spent 8 years as a professional software development engineer. If you are a mathematics teacher yourself, you may like some of my electronic web-based Teaching Resources. If you're any kind of teacher, or have any role that involves marking attendance on a regular basis, you may like my attendance software, called STEARsoft.
If you wish to say thank you with a token donation, please click on one of the Donate buttons below. Thank you. (It will actually donate to STEARsoft.co.uk for which I am the Sole Trader)