For footage shot in the 4:3 aspect ratio, you can achieve the letterbox look by taking advantage of Final Cut Pro’s built in filters. Providing you shot the footage with this in mind, you won’t be masking out anything important such as the top of a persons head or other important elements. If you don’t have a widescreen monitor or flipout screen, one tip is to use black tape over the top and bottom of your viewfinder or field monitor to frame your shots. After completion of your edit follow these steps to apply the letterbox mask.
- From the File menu choose “New > New Sequence”
- In the Browser window, open the Sequence by double clicking the New Sequence you just created
- Drag your completed Sequence from the Browser into your New Sequence Timeline
- In the Timeline, click once on the Nested Sequence to select it
- From the Effects menu choose Video Filters>Matte>Widescreen
- If you want to adjust the effect, Control click the nested Sequence and choose “Open Viewer”. Then, by switching to the Filters tab, you can adjust the widescreen effect- I like the 1.85 setting myself…
- Render all!