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Zoom letterboxed DVDs without any extra software Apps
I actually discovered this a month ago and forgot to forward it... maybe because it's so cool. If you have a widescreen LCD monitor, you're probably sick of playing back letterboxed movies DVDs that don't use all of your beautiful screen space -- black bars on the sides and on top and bottom -- and the DVD Player can't zoom the video to help you. Well, here's the trick: it's time to get in touch with your inner visual impairment.
  1. Go to System Prefs and choose "Universal Access."
  2. Click "Turn On Zoom." (Note the hotkeys for zooming in and out and toggling the zoom feature.)
  3. Now click "Zoom Options..."
  4. Set your minimum and maximum zoom. With this 1680x1050 screen I put the max at about 2 2/3 and the min at a little past 1. More on that in a moment.
  5. As for the other checkboxes, I find the preview rectangle annoying, but you might like it while you figure out the right max/min zoom. "Smooth images" looks very pretty, I leave that checked.
  6. "When zoomed in, the screen image moves:" [x] "Only when the pointer reaches an edge" -- otherwise bumping the mouse will move the movie off the screen while you're watching.
  7. Click "Done."
  8. Start playing the movie, full screen.
  9. Here's how I like to zoom it: first, choose "Video" -> "Normal Size" from the menu bar (or press Command-2), so that DVD Player is displaying the image accurately (no magnification). Now turn on zoom with the hotkey -- probably Command-Option-8.
  10. Use Command-Option-Equals (=) and Command-Option-Minus (-) to magnify the movie frame to fill the screen, moving your mouse to the edges of the screen to center the image. Like I said, you'll probably have to mess around with the zoom maximum and minimum a little to get a good fit.
  11. Once the whole image is centered and filling your pretty wide screen, sit back and enjoy the movie. Remember to move the remote control and info windows into the middle of the screen or you won't be able to see or use them without pushing the movie over the edge!
This trick works very well on this iMac G5 in low power mode -- probably it will work for people with less than 1GHz CPU speed.

[robg adds: An older hint talks (with much less detail) about using this same trick to show your movie on two monitors at once...]
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Zoom letterboxed DVDs without any extra software | 15 comments | Create New Account
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Zoom letterboxed DVDs without any extra software
Authored by: Hes Nikke on Dec 06, '04 12:09:43PM

I just want to note that this only works on machines that have QuartzGL ^h^h^h Extreme. if you have plain old vanilla Quartz, the DVD player uses a different technique to push the image onscreen, and you'll see no change when you zoom in.

---
vacuums do not suck. they merely provide an absence that allows other objects to take the place of what becomes absent.



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Zoom letterboxed DVDs without any extra software
Authored by: megagram on Dec 06, '04 02:40:15PM

A much easier solution to rid your DVD playback of the annoying sidebars when viewing fullscreen DVD's on widescreen monitors is:

1. System Preferences -> Displays
2. Select 1024 x 768 (Stretched)
3. Play DVD



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Zoom letterboxed DVDs without any extra software
Authored by: chromo on Dec 06, '04 04:02:18PM

yeah you can stretch the screen image but it's much less pretty. the universal access zoomed image is much sharper and keeps the original aspect ratio (so people don't look like munchkins).



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Zoom letterboxed DVDs without any extra software
Authored by: tetsuotheironman on Dec 06, '04 06:19:35PM

but you lose part of the frame? WTF is the point? Might as well watch Pan and Scan while you are at it. No offense.. but seeing some movies without the seeing the full frame as intended by director seiously detracts from viewing experience imho... I'll stick to black bars, as they don't bother me all that much..



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Zoom letterboxed DVDs without any extra software
Authored by: chromo on Dec 06, '04 06:28:56PM

no no no, this is not pan-and-scan.

you don't lose any of the frame. mess around with the zoom max and zoom min settings in the "zoom options" dialog and with just a little effort you'll be set up for the full movie frame edge-to-edge on your screen, with just a little letterboxing on top and bottom, every time you need it. movies in the 1.85:1 ratio will almost completely fill the screen, just like they do for anamorphic transfers.

it just takes a little tweaking... it works really well.



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Zoom letterboxed DVDs without any extra software
Authored by: megagram on Dec 06, '04 07:11:48PM

There are only two ways to get full-screen viewing from an otherwise letterboxed movie:

1. Stretch the image
2. Crop the image

By using Universal Access you are effective cropping the image (if it is a widescreen move, the left and right edges or if it's a full screen movie the top and bottom edges).

By using 1024x768 stretched, you are stretching the image. On apple's monitors (the 20" LCD for instance) the distortion is hardly noticeable and doesn't nearly take away as much as cropping the image would.



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Zoom letterboxed DVDs without any extra software
Authored by: chromo on Dec 07, '04 01:53:35AM

i don't get what all the talk of cropping the image is about. what gets cropped out is the letterbox bars above and below the movie image.

before zooming, the movie plays in the middle of your screen, with large unused screen areas on all sides. after zooming, the movie fills the screen left to right. you see the whole movie frame.

if you're seeing something different from this maybe you need to play with zoom-in and zoom-out commands a little more, to get a closer fit.

for movies that are "enhanced for 16:9 widescreen" - anamorphic transfers - the DVD player software automatically fills the width of the screen and yes, if you zoomed this, it would crop the image. this trick is for movies that are NOT enhanced for widescreen and so the DVD player displays them fairly small in full-screen mode - a waste of expensive screen space.

the OSX "tiger" DVD player has video zoom built-in apparently...



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Zoom letterboxed DVDs without any extra software
Authored by: megagram on Dec 07, '04 10:13:15PM

Sorry, I thought you were talking about a standard 4:3 movie being played on a widescreen monitor (ie with the black bars on the left and right). I haven't tried your trick with a widescreen movie.

However, I still do not understand how you think you are getting rid of the black letterbox bars without either cropping the movie or stretching the movie.

If you start with a widescreen movie that doesn't have the same aspect ratio as your monitor (for instance a 16:9 video playing on a 16:10 monitor) playing in the middle of your screen (like you suggest) and then zoom in over it, you are essentially superimposing your monitor's aspect ratio over the movie's and are effective cropping out a bit of the video from either side so as to remove the bars on the top and bottom.

The other alternative to this is to zoom the video with distortion.

Please explain to me how your trick works without either cropping or distorting the video.



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Zoom letterboxed DVDs without any extra software
Authored by: luserpete on Dec 08, '04 12:46:47AM

there is absolutely no way that you can make video that is a different aspect ratio than your monitor fill the screen without losing some of the frame or distorting it. you can say whatever you want, but it's not possible.

you can't make a 4:3 clip fill the screen on a 16:9 monitor without losing part of the top and bottom or distorting the image. you can't make a 16:9 clip fill the screen on a 4:3 monitor without losing part of the left and right or distorting the image. you can say whatever you want, but it's scientifically impossible.

if a movie doesn't fill the screen when you go into fullscreen mode in dvd player or quicktime or whatever, then you can't make it fill the screen without losing or distorting part of the image. it's that simple.



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Zoom letterboxed DVDs without any extra software
Authored by: zwheeloc on Dec 08, '04 09:15:01AM

I think what chronos is trying to say is if you play a 16:9 movie on a cinematic display normally, you get the big black bars around the picture. By zooming the picture in, you just get the picture on the screen with no distortion. This will not work as well with a 4:3 movie.



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Zoom letterboxed DVDs without any extra software
Authored by: zwheeloc on Dec 08, '04 09:17:54AM

Sorry, I meant chromo not chronos... I meant color not time. <smile>



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No, no, no. You don't understand. Look:
Authored by: nickp on Dec 08, '04 10:34:30PM
This is a screencap of the problem (from my 1920X1200 23" cinema display, somewhat reduced):

http://dna.caltech.edu/~nick/broken-letterbox.jpg

Now do you understand how you can zoom the picture without losing anything? There's black on all four sides.

Thanks to Anonymous -- this has been bugging me for some time, I can't imagine what [certain programmers] were thinking ...

P.s. The screencap is actually from VLC in fullscreen mode, but the Apple DVD player does the same thing and disables screencaps.

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No, no, no. You don't understand. Look:
Authored by: megagram on Dec 08, '04 11:58:55PM

That's totally bizarre. Now i understand the reason why this hint could be useful. However, running on an Apple 20" Display (1680x1050 resolution) with the same aspect ratio of all of their displays I have never had this problem with a widescreen DVD playing back at fullscreen.

Are you running OS X 10.3.6? And also, are you sure you have the video to playback fullscreen but also in Maximum size? When I have the movie playing with these settings it fills the screen from side to side no problem.

I wonder why you guys are experiencing this strange playback.



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Badly produced DVD's
Authored by: thelamecamel on Dec 10, '04 10:39:45PM

The problem is that these particular DVDs are designed for people with 4:3 screens, who want to see a 16:9 letterboxed image rather than pan and scan. So, every frame of the movie is a 4:3 image with black stripes at top and bottom.

I used to have a still camera with a "panorama" option that did this - it blocked the top and bottom of the frame, so the negative had black bars recorded onto it.

Most 16:9 DVDs do not have this black recorded on the image (it is a waste of space). I do not know whether the actual movie file is in 16:9 or is squashed into 4:3 (and your widescreen TV desquashes it).

So this hint IS cropping the picture, but it's cropping the parts of the picture that really shouldn't be there.



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Badly produced DVD's
Authored by: wibbble on Dec 11, '04 12:32:42AM

Anamorphic 16:9 DVDs are 'squashed' into 4:3 and then 'stretched' back to 16:9 by your DVD player, which will either pass it on to your TV as-is, or add black bars at the top and bottom to make it back into 4:3, if you only have a 4:3 TV.

When the DVD is not anamorphic, and has the black bars encoded in, it doesn't so much waste space as resolution - the picture quality when you watch it on a widescreen TV will be a bit worse than an anamorphic DVD. There's no good reason for non-anamorphic widescreen - every DVD player can correctly handle it for 4:3 TVs.



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