Ripping 4:3 TV shows - To stretch or not to?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by bomadian, Aug 2, 2008.

  1. bomadian macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2007
    About to rip all the Curb your Enthusiasms for Apple Tv using either HandBrake or VisualHub and I'm in a quandary over whether to stretch the 4:3 picture to fill the wide screen aspect of my TV or keep it at the source aspect and live with the side black bars (hate them!) Wanted to know what you guys do and if there are some methods to get a nice balance. I've read lots of stuff but still come away confused - is there a definitive guide out there?

    Thanks again!!
  2. gadabout macrumors member

    Sep 15, 2007
    some people stretch, some people crop, some do some combination of the two. personally, i'd rather see the whole picture, unaltered. don't stretch the picture. it may fill your tv screen better, but it looks bad
  3. Yvan256 macrumors 601


    Jul 5, 2004
    IMHO the original aspect is more important than anything else since stretching or cropping destroys the content. :eek:
  4. FreeState macrumors 68000


    Jun 24, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    I would not stretch either, not only is the quality stretched (worse) the people and objects are stretched making them look wide.
  5. 204467 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 13, 2008
    Philadelphia, PA
    I would leave it as it was originally; once you start watching things with the black bars, you get used to it fast. Plus, stretching makes it look like crap and cropping takes away some of the video. And with Curb Your Enthusiasm, you definitely want to be able to see all of it, since almost everything in the shots advances the plot. By the way, did you ever see the one in the forth season where Larry buys his dad weed? Best episode ever (That and the two from the second season; "Shaq" and the one right before it)!
  6. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2008
    I would say to leave the aspect ratio alone.

    You hate the black bars? My suggestion would be to think good and hard about what your priorities are when it comes to viewing material on your TV.

    Let’s see if we can put this in perspective. Say you own a nice work of art. Let’s say you also have a frame that you like. The problem is that the painting is too wide to fit in the frame. Would you trim off the sides of the painting or would you get a bigger frame? What if the picture is too small for the frame? You get a matte for the picture so that you can see the whole painting and it fits nicely into the frame.

    These TV shows and movies are art. They may not be great works of art, but they are, nevertheless, art. The black bars on your screen (on the sides for 4:3 material or on the top and bottom for 2.35:1 material) are the mattes. It’s that simple. They are the way that you can enjoy material that doesn’t fit your screen.

    If you focus on the black bars, you’re missing the point. Don’t watch the bars, watch the shows. Obviously it’s your choice, but you did ask for our opinions. I believe you’ll be much happier in the long run if you can change your point of view and learn to embrace the black bars for what they are: a way to enjoy different sized material on your fixed-size TV.
  7. kolax macrumors G3

    Mar 20, 2007
    I always stretch.

    Mind you, the majority of my TV shows that are 4:3 are cartoons like American Dad, South Park, Family Guy, Futurama etc, so when stretched, everything looks fine.

    But if you have a big telly, I think black bars just look dreadful - I hate letterbox movies with passion. I end up cropping them, just so it fills the screen more.

    To be honest, I've gotten so used to watching Friends stretched to 16:9 that when I actually watch it in the proper 4:3 format, I think everyone looks weird!

    For something to be art, it has to have no purpose other than itself ;)
  8. Volante macrumors regular

    Feb 8, 2008
    Don't strech in handbrake. If you want to change aspect ratio - change display dimensions for the video. This can be done in quicktime. (This keeps the original dimensions if you want to change it later)
  9. bomadian thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2007
    lol, they are great episodes, too many to choose a favorite from although season 6 was a bit hit and miss (to rip or not rip season 6 could be another thread). Reading the opinions it does seem wise to keep the aspect ratio at 4:3, I can always use the TV settings to adjust it if people don't like the black bars, its just a shame more tv shows aren't released in wide format.

    As a side question, has anyone noticed that handbrake can't handle the HBO logo animation at the start, you know, with the tv static filling the letters? Any settings I can change that might fix this?
  10. rubberball macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2008
    Denver, CO
    HBO on Start of Curb

    I just finished doing this with my CYE, and the fuzz at the beginning bothered me... But then I thought how much is it really taking away from the whole experience? Not a lot, thought it might be nice I am pleased with the output from Handbrake for the parts of the episode that matter...

    I didn't stretch the episodes and they look great, though I understand that others have their preferences

    You know it came from HBO right? :)
  11. 204467 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 13, 2008
    Philadelphia, PA
    I had forgotten about the 6th season; "The N-Word" way actually be the best episode ever. Sorry I didn't actually offer useful information, I just thought I had to say that.
  12. zephead macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2006
    in your pants
    Excellent explanation. Especially the point of watching the shows, not the bars. Personally I think stretching is a mortal sin. ;)

    Another way to look at it is the difference between regular burgers and sliders (mini-burgers). Let's say you have a slider, but you'd rather have a regular burger. No amount of stretching, squishing, or layout is going to give you any more food than you already have. You'll just have to get yourself a bigger burger.
  13. GreatDrok macrumors 6502a


    May 1, 2006
    New Zealand
    Just show the whole picture in the shape it was shot. If it is 4:3 then show it in 4:3 and deal with it. The whole point of 16:9 displays is that they allow you to have the biggest picture available for all ratios from academy (near 4:3) through to 70mm (2.40:1) where you get the best picture height possible.

    You will be fighting a losing battle if you don't get used the pillarbox/letterbox shows. There is so much material in 4:3 that looks terrible if you stretch it, and the same goes for cinemascope where the crop the sides to fill the screen. If you calibrate your display the black bars will be fine.

    Quick story, my brother-in-law has a 42" plasma and he has set his satellite box to 4:3 just so he can then stretch the image to 16:9 so it always fills the screen since the broadcasters pillarbox 4:3 shows in the 16:9 frame which he hates. As a result, everything is stretched and worse, it is stretched and the sides are lopped off when there really is material available to fill the screen.

    This is just because he 'hates' the black bars. Really. The funniest part is that he has set his DVD player to 4:3 screen too and that means it letterboxes 16:9 and then he stretches the image so he ends up with massive black bars top and bottom and a stretched image :eek:

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