Playing videos in correct aspect ratio?


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  1. sremick

    sremick Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    So I've been experimenting with ways of converting DVDs to play on my Captivate.

    I've settled on Handbrake as it seems to provide the best set of features and highest-quality video, and despite the myriad of options is actually the easiest way to get what I want as a final product.

    However, one feature it doesn't have is the ability to explicitly set the output file resolution and then hard-letterbox it in order to adjust for movies the originated in a different aspect-ratio (AR) than the device's native resolution. Instead, Handbrake encodes videos in native AR. Which of course is the Right Thing To Do.

    However, the problem is that the Captivate's built-in video player won't play videos in their native AR, and will instead stretch them to fill the screen. I find this corruption and distortion unacceptable... it looks awful.

    Granted, a player like Act 1 will play them just fine but that's not free. :( I shouldn't have to pay extra money just to get this to not screw up videos.

    Is there either:

    A) A way to get the Captivate's built-in video player to play movies in native AR?

    or...

    B) A good, free player that I can use instead?
     

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  2. rajendra82

    rajendra82 Well-Known Member

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    I had never hear of handbake until now. For the past dozen years I have used VirtualDub. It is free, powerful, and will let you re-encode a video to any resolution with hard letterboxing. Lots of control.
     
  3. rajendra82

    rajendra82 Well-Known Member

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    I played with the media player, and there is a way to get the built in player to preserve the original aspect ratio. On the right side of the control panel that starts when you play a movie, there is a button. When you click it, it toggles bettween stretch to fit, keep original resolution, and zoom preserving AR (i.e., letterboxed/pillarboxed) modes. The third mode is what you need to switch to when watching the movies that are not in the same AR as the screen resolution.
     
  4. sremick

    sremick Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Thanks for that info. I actually hadn't noticed that now rather-obvious control. I played with it and at first thought it solved the problem, but apparently not.

    I tried recording a sample video clip from DVD using Handbrake, using two different settings. One, I set anamorphic on ("Loose"), and the other I turned it off but checked the box for "Keep Aspect Ratio".

    In the resulting files, the non-anamorphic video is hard-rendered at 720x400 resolution. This indeed preserves the AR, but 720 is considerably less than the Captivate's 800-width. If the video had been encoded with full with, the resolution I'd be expecting would be about 450 lines high. But Handbrake doesn't let you set the destination file width higher than 720 since the original video source is only at 720 (before anamorphic stretch). When playing this 720x400 video, the Captivate's video player indeed lets me toggle between original size (which gives me black borders both on top & bottom as well as left & right), full width (which looks right but is lower quality than it could be) and fullscreen (which stretches it vertically too, not acceptable).

    The anamorphic file is encoded as 720x480 (like the original source video). However, the "original size" and "full width" look the same with no change in dimensions... in fact, "full width" here is acting more like "full height"... the resulting image takes the full height, but has black borders on the left and right, so the image is compressed horizontally and so is distorted. Fullscreen still works fine, but that's still giving me a distorted image.

    I don't get why it's seemingly impossible to get the video player on the Captivate to do the Right Thing. It should take the anamorphic file, read the AR data (which says correctly that the video should be stretched to the AR of 853x480) and then one of the zoom options should scale that down to 800x450 to preserve the original AR and fit it to the Captivate's 800x480 screen.

    Using the non-anamorphic method isn't acceptable as I'm losing quality short of what the Captivate is capable of.

    Is there any other free video player that does AR correctly?
     
  5. omgitsoop

    omgitsoop Well-Known Member

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    I've just left handbrake at 720x480 and have been happy with the results. Would I be better off dropping it down to 400 though?
     

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