Pillarbox 1.85:1 movie on 2.39:1 screen?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by Nermal, Jun 4, 2016.

  1. Nermal Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    I'm in the middle of setting up a home theatre and have a 2.39:1 screen, but a normal 1.78:1 (1920x1080) projector. When using iTunes/QuickTime Player/VLC to play a 2.39:1 movie then all is well; the projection fits the screen because the "overflow" is all black and therefore isn't visible.

    However, when I play a 1.85:1 movie, the top and bottom of the picture spill outside the edges of the screen. Does anyone know whether there is a way to tell one of the playback apps to shrink down the content so that it has black bars on all four sides? This will make it fit the screen, with pillarboxing on either side. This means that the effective resolution will only be about 1486x803, but that's a compromise that I'm willing to accept (it won't look any worse than 2.39 content does now).

    I've tried using the "aspect ratio" and "crop" features in VLC, but have only managed to distort the video. I've tried setting OS X to actually output at 1920x800 but it doesn't appear in Sys Prefs (I also tried SwitchResX but couldn't figure it out; even when setting 1920x800 as the default and rebooting it still wouldn't budge from 1920x1080 - and even if I were successful there's still a chance that the projector would then stretch it back out to 1.78:1 anyway).

    I'm possibly going about this all wrong, but short of re-encoding everything with pillarboxes or physically moving the projector closer to the screen I can't find any way of doing this.

    Any suggestions? :)
     
  2. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #2
    I finally figured out a (very clunky) way of doing this in VLC.
    • In VLC preferences, Video tab, disable "Window decorations"
    • Set the desktop background to black
    • Set the menu bar and dock to automatically hide
    • Open the 1.85:1 video and manually resize/position the window so that it's in 2.39:1 aspect in the middle of the screen.
    It's not ideal, but it's better than nothing!
     
  3. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 603

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #3
    Alternative: position the projector so that it's distance from the screen is such that both resolutions- and any others- all fit within the max. screen size... without having to cut resolution, etc like you are doing. Then live with black bars on the sides or top of the screen.

    I read the above like you are optimizing position of the projector for 2.39:1 to "fill" the screen. Then other resolutions are not filling or over-filling the screen. So consider doing what they do at the cinema: find the right distance where all formats you want to show fit within the screen and let the differences be.

    At my local cinema, curtains surrounding the screen with adjust to fit whatever format movie they are showing. In that, the curtains basically "crop" the (bigger) screen so that only the part of the screen that is needed to fully show the video is exposed. You could potentially set yours up this way too... or you could just live with black bars. Either way, that would conceptually be better than sacrificing resolution in a serious home theater setup. Of course, only you can decide that.
     
  4. Beerstalker macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    Location:
    Peoria, IL
    #4
  5. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #5
    I considered that, however a quick search indicates that ~75% of movies are in 2.39. Furthermore, I have a lot of action movies etc which also tend towards 2.39 so I'd wager that maybe 90% of my collection is 2.39. It therefore makes more sense to keep it positioned as I have :)

    Thanks for that! I hadn't run into that forum at all. Looks like I have some reading to do! :)
     
  6. Nermal thread starter Moderator

    Nermal

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    New Zealand
    #6
    I asked the same question on another forum and someone advised the proper way to do this in VLC. Open the video, go to fullscreen, press O, then press Shift-Option-O until it fits the screen. Easy when you know how!
     

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