[nflug] wide-screen dvd to full-screen

Joe josephj at main.nc.us
Fri Feb 2 12:19:51 EST 2007

John G. Boice wrote:
> Joe wrote:
>> I don't have a wide-screen TV and  if I were to copy a wide-screen dvd,
>> I'd like to be able to change it to full-screen before burning it.
>> I've been reading Ubuntu Hacks and have installed a bunch of multimedia
>> stuff including the following software:
>> acidrip
>> tovid
>> dvdauthor
>> makexml
>> The book outlines the general rip/encode/burn process pretty clearly,
>> but I'm not clear on how to change screen sizes without making a mess of
>> the video.
>> Any pointers or howto's would be appreciated.
>> Joe
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> Hi, Joe.
> I'm not at all certain that you can without, as you say, making a mess
> of the video.
> One of the reasons widescreen TV's are being made, is to watch movies,
> which are made in a widescreen format, generally called "letterbox
> format."  However, many times you will see movies on television that are
> edited into "pan and scan" format to fit the 4:3 ratio of the
> traditional TV screen.
> Basically, what they have to do is center the picture, scene-by-scene,
> on the main action, and just chop off all of the picture that extends to
> the right and to the left of that.  So it's like looking at the original
> movie through a rectangular 4:3 keyhole.
> Turner Classic Movies channel has a good short 10-15 minute documentary
> on this.  It clearly shows how badly this damages some films that depend
> a a wide scope of action.  Ben Hur, for example: Letterbox: you see the
> whole racetrack with a dozen chariots all cutting in on each other,
> horses stumbling and going down in the background, forming the wild
> context for Charleton Heston's part of the race. In pan&scan you get to
> see Charleton Heston and one or two other chariots.  Check out wikipedia
> for a better explanation than I'm giving of the technical process:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_and_scan
> The point is that it's more than just transcoding the digital video to a
> different framesize.  Because in some scenes, the center of the action
> might not be in the center of the screen. Say, two figures in a fight,
> struggling at the edge of a roof or something: The director might
> intentionally have placed them off to one side to emphasize them being
> "on the edge" of life and death.  If you just transcoded and chopped off
> the right and left sides without re-centering the picture, you'd be left
> with a scene with an empty roof and some noise occurring off to the side
> someplace! You might see an occasional body part flash into view from
> the side as they struggle.  Remember, pan & scan actually removes almost
> 45% of the picture!
> Here's another website that goes into the whole deal in depth. This is
> just the faq page. Browse the rest of the site until you are satisfied
> with your current DVD:
> http://www.widescreen.org/faq.shtml
> I think you get the point by now, so I'll just conclude by saying that
> movie afficianados ALWAYS buy the letterbox version of a DVD, because
> that is the real movie the way the director filmed it.
> Don't worry, be happy!
> John
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Thanks.  You explained a lot.

Of course, I picked a totally weird film to start with.  It was
anamorphic (480:269) with a Hindi sound track and subtitles in English. 
mplayer did some weird (and long) rescaling on it even when I put the
ratio int acidrip and into tovid (using  -aspect 480:269).

I finally got it to work, but the subtitles ended up on the movie
instead of on the "black" below it (as in the original), but that's OK.

One more question (for now):
Is there an easy way to get the sound track off of the movie and leave
it as an mp3?  At one point in the process it was there as an ac3 file,
but I have no idea what format that is and it seems to have gone away
when the process was completed.

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