I don’t know how many DVDs I burned and wasted when sending a Premiere Pro project to Adobe Encore to burn as a standard definition DVD.  The preview of the DVD inside Encore looked correct and didn’t show any black bars on the sides (known as pillaring) but these black bars showed up on every DVD I burned.

I googled for the answer and most solutions weren’t helpful until I found this guy’s blog.

I don’t want to plagiarize his text so I’ll summarize what he said in case his blog disappears.

The problem: A typical 16:9 (square pixel) project in Premiere Pro (or render from AE was 1280×720) dropped into a “widescreen DVD” Encore timeline leaves slight black bars on the sides (pillaring). These don’t appear in the preview but do after the DVD is burned.

Solution: Export a QuickTime file from AE/PPro at 720×480 (with a pixel aspect of 1.21), which is NOT exactly 16:9.  To do this, either drop your 720p comp (or my create a new 720×480 (aka: 480p) into a new AE comp that was this size. There’s a preset you can use, it’s the “NTSC DV Widescreen” preset. But you must then scale the source video down to fit the window (and thus cropping your picture and removing the black bars). It won’t fit exactly (obviously. that’s why we’re having to do this.) You will lose a slight bit of your actual video that gets cropped out on the top and bottom, but it’s better looking than Encore adding black space at the sides to preserve the original height.

Now burn your DVD using Encore and you’re good to go.