How to make non-anamorphic DVDs 16x9 enhanced?
August 27, 2007 9:39 AM   Subscribe

An easy way to turn widescreen DVDs anamorphic?

I have a widescreen portable DVD player that doesn't have a good zoom function. I'd like to be able to play my so-called widescreen DVDs on it but without the black bars on all four sides, since it just centers the 4:3 image.

I realize this may cause some loss of quality, but since the alternative is seeing the picture on only 40% of the available screen, that's a risk I'm willing to take.

Is there an easy (and preferably free) way to fix the video so it is 16:9 enhanced - and preserve (reposition) the subtitles? I'm using Ubuntu (Feisty) and can also drop into WinXP if need be.

I've ripped and 1:1 copied discs before, but I've never edited a video file. The DVD player is region 1, not unlockable, and all of my DVDs are NTSC.

Ideally I'd rip the DVD, crop the video inside the VOB, set the 16x9 flag, and re-burn. It's not that easy, is it?
posted by codger to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
IF the dvd is widescreen then you should have no bars on the sides at all. If you have, then the dvd is 4:3 or the player is set to 4:3. Unless the DVD is 1:85 you will have bars at the top and bottom unless you want distort the picture by expand it. Suggest you read up on anamorphic here.
posted by Ferrari328 at 10:57 AM on August 27, 2007

For the benefit of others, some dvds are widescreen but not anamorphic. The older dvd of The Thing is one -- it displays the movie in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, but is not anamorphic. On codger's dvd player, this shows up windowboxed.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:20 AM on August 27, 2007

I think I understand - you want to take (for argument's sake) a 1.77:1 4x3 video stream, crop the mattes off the top and bottom of the video so that you've now got a 1.77:1 video stream without mattes, reset the subtitles to not drop off the bottom if they're in the matte, do this to every single VOB file (VOBs have a max size of 1GB so there are several per disc), trick the player into thinking this is a full screen 16x9 stream, rebuild the whole thing, play it back and you want it to fill the picture of your portable widescreen player? God almighty, no you can't do that.

Or rather, if you could, it'd take a month of Sundays. This in turn would ask the question of the opportunity cost - you would simply waste so much of your life trying to rectify this problem that it would simply be much more economical to buy another portable widescreen player with a good zoom function.
posted by forallmankind at 9:46 PM on August 27, 2007

forallmankind: Yes, that's it exactly. I was afraid that would be the answer.

Your point about opportunity costs is well taken.
posted by codger at 7:40 AM on August 28, 2007

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