Center Cut Safe

A bit off-topic, but you fine folks are exactly the brains I need to pick here.
In Canada, SD is only a memory. We don’t worry about the format anymore and we haven’t needed to be center-cut safe in about a decade.

Every now and then I need to supply masters the USA. Inevitably I see on the spec sheet something that looks like “HD VIDEO to be submitted “center-cut-safe” as some destinations require it.” Now… how seriously do you fine red-blooded Americans take this? Is it a black & white thing where you are always center cut safe? Or do you simply supply a letterboxed SD master? Or am I making too big of a deal of this?

Canada humbly awaits your response. (and of course we apologize for even asking the question)

These days we generally don’t care and the client signs a waiver with the traffic company acknowledging that we know it is not center cut safe. Regular safety requirements must still be met, of course. I have not had to deliver Center Cut Safe in nearly a year. Supplying a letter box SD is a huge waste of time because it is seldom used. And NEVER rely on your client to provide accurate specs for traffic. Go to the traffic company’s web site and look for their most current specs. They change almost from year to year. I had someone hand me specs that included how to deliver on tape recently.


Believe it or not, I had to deliver an SD spot last month…HD not accepted! It was for some cable outlet that only airs classic TV content.

It had been a long time since I’d dealt with good ol’ 4:3…and I had forgotten how much it sucked, lol.

But there is 4:5 so the pain is still there. And don’t forget the slimmer sister 9:16 :joy:


Totally Sinan, but the nice thing about those formats is that we are actually delivering for the format. The terrible thing about ‘center-cut-safe’ is that you need to make an inferior HD product just on the off chance that someone chops off the sides to use it for SD. This is asinine at best.

Title safe is currently 90% of the frame. If it is going to “Center Cut” for NTSC (SD), you can use Overlays to letterbox 4x3 and use the “Action Safe” guide. You can also use the preset “PAN_16x9_to_4x3” and look at the outer safe line.

And also, many of the trafficing companies don’t accept SD at 24fps, so you need to make a version at 59.94 with 29.97 timecode. All the more reason to get the specs directly from the trafficer before wasting ones time doing pointless work.

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Speaking of all of these things…does anyone have a layout or PSD of what center cut and 9x16 will look like? Action and title safe PSD that I can show my client so they can type up disclaimers but also see what they will look like in the different formats? I know you guys are all crafty like and probably have something way cooler than what I have.

This isn’t what you are after but it makes me chuckle :rofl:

We sent this out to a discourage from shooting anamorphic and protecting for socials.


This is fun! I dig it!