Jump to content
  • 0
Sign in to follow this  
Dvd-r

Avi To Blu-Ray (Bd-R) - Toast Stretching Original 4:3 Aspect Ratio To 16:9?

Question

Hi there,

 

perhaps someone could help me with my problem. I have tried to google and talk to some of my friends, but no luck finding the real solution. I use Toast 12 Titanium (v. 12.1). My post could be a bit longer, but I want to give most of the details of this case.

 

Part 1 = I have several AVI files that I tried to encode/burn to BD-R to my personal use. With several, I mean over 70 (tv episodes which are not officially released anywhere, sadly). I chose "automatic" encoding and "best", so encoding took several days (I have a very old Macbook so that's one reason why, I'm sure). I read from these forums that Toast SHOULD preserve the aspect ratio of the source file (which in this case was 4:3) when choosing "automatic".

 

Well, after successfully burning the disc (sure, I had to remove some episodes and re-multiplex a couple of times but that was pretty easy since Toast had the "converted items" files) the actual video looked relatively good on BD-R (considering the source file) and sound was there. BUT: the original 4:3 aspect ratio was horizontally stretched to 16:9.

 

Part 2 = I tried to do the project again, but this time choosing "custom" (and "best" again) setting for encoding so that I could actually choose "4:3" from the menu. Downside was that this time I also had to choose the bitrate-settings which can be a bit tricky for a person like me (and I really couldn't crank the bitrate anyway, since there were so many episodes and the original bitrate in these avi-files wasn't very high). Well again the encoding took some time and this time the video looked worse - more pixelation and such at least - and the original 4:3 aspect ratio was AGAIN horizontally stretched to 16:9 (even when I clearly chose 4:3 from the custom menu). At this point I was puzzled.

 

Part 3 = Now I, at least, tried to burn a data disc (Mac/PC) so that I could watch the avi-episodes "straight" from PS3. But another set-back was that PS3 said that these files are not supported. So these may be avi, but perhaps not in the most conventional format (since PS3 should support some AVI-files).

 

Here are the specs of the first file (the other files seems to be pretty identical, but bitrates/size can vary a bit) - info from VideoSpec:

(DO note that I didn't originally create these avi-files, so I don't know why these specs were chosen etc)

 

Container: AVI

Files Size: 274 MB..

Duration: 21 min..

Bitrate: 1 688 Kbps..

 

Format: H.264/MPEG-4 AVC

Bitrate: Average 1 356 Kbps

Frame rate (fps): Average 23.976 (added!)

Encoding profile: Baseline L1.3

Image size: 640 x 480

Pixel aspect ratio: Undefined

Display aspect ratio: 4:3 (=original typo corrected)

Interlacing: Progressive

 

Audio format: MPEG-1 layer 3 (mp3)

Audio Bitrate: 320 Kbps

Resolution: Undefined

Frequency: 48 Khz

Channels: 2 (stereo)

Channel(s) position: Undefined

 

Thank you very much.

Edited by Dvd-r

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

12 answers to this question

Recommended Posts

  • 0

I do notice the specs on the file say: Display aspect ratio: 16:9, which may be ignored by a player (because AVI), but respected by a conversion (because H.264 video).

I do notice the specs on the file say: Encoding profile: Baseline L1.3. I’m pretty sure it should be level ≥ 3.0, but perhaps that’s not important, as it doesn’t concern the aspect ratio and Toast will be re-encoding to new settings anyway. (A regular Blu-ray player is an AVC level 4.1 device, so it could play if the level ≤ 4.1. I’ve seen this recommended for PS3 as well.)
Note that the Toast BD default average bit rate of 9.0 Mbps is meant for HD content, so SD content can do with far less. Steady shots without much noise, like tv sources, can be encoded quite efficiently. Smaller output files, so more episodes per disc. I tried some SD encoding at 2.0 Mbps and that turned out just fine. YMMV.

Do check the output BD_0001/BDMV/STREAM/00001.m2ts file in a software player (Roxio Video Player, VLC) to verify the aspect ratio there.

Do check your tv settings and blu-ray player settings, to be sure that those are not stretching 4:3 to fill the 16:9 screen, making a fine disc look bad.

 

Are all your episodes 640×480 with the ‘faulty’ aspect ratio? I.e. do they all have the same specs? You may have to prepare/fix them all before handing them over to Toast, as Toast doesn’t have the tools to force a different aspect ratio by stretching it back. With over 70 files, you will want some batch automation.
The PS3 will play H.264/MPEG-4 AVC in an .mp4 container, but with AAC audio. I thought AVI support was limited to MJPEG video; that was cool in 2008, but I wouldn’t recommend MJPEG today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

First of all, thank you very much for the answer.

theoldarchiver, on 01 Sept 2017 - 1:56 PM, said:

I do notice the specs on the file say: Display aspect ratio: 16:9, which may be ignored by a player (because AVI), but respected by a conversion (because H.264 video).

Da*mit, I made a silly typo (and left out the fps info). Display aspect ratio on my Avi-file is actually "4:3" (not 16:9). I just double checked that and edited my original post. This is a series from the late 90s, so 4:3 is the original aspect ratio.

theoldarchiver, on 01 Sept 2017 - 1:56 PM, said:

I do notice the specs on the file say: Encoding profile: Baseline L1.3. I’m pretty sure it should be level ≥ 3.0, but perhaps that’s not important, as it doesn’t concern the aspect ratio and Toast will be re-encoding to new settings anyway. (A regular Blu-ray player is an AVC level 4.1 device, so it could play if the level ≤ 4.1. I’ve seen this recommended for PS3 as well.)

I have to say that this "Baseline level" is a bit new thing to me. In any case, 1.3 is how it's in the original avi-file, it seems.

theoldarchiver, on 01 Sept 2017 - 1:56 PM, said:

Note that the Toast BD default average bit rate of 9.0 Mbps is meant for HD content, so SD content can do with far less. Steady shots without much noise, like tv sources, can be encoded quite efficiently. Smaller output files, so more episodes per disc. I tried some SD encoding at 2.0 Mbps and that turned out just fine. YMMV.

Yes, I figured that there's no real point to choose 6-9 Mbps bit rates (let alone higher) for these avi-files since they originally are more like 2 Mbps (if I understand these numbers correctly). But in this case the "automatic" conversion seemed to do a better job than "custom" with 2,5 (average) and 3,0 (max) bitrates which I chose (if I recall correctly).

theoldarchiver, on 01 Sept 2017 - 1:56 PM, said:

Are all your episodes 640×480 with the ‘faulty’ aspect ratio? I.e. do they all have the same specs? You may have to prepare/fix them all before handing them over to Toast, as Toast doesn’t have the tools to force a different aspect ratio by stretching it back. With over 70 files, you will want some batch automation.

I believe all are in 640 x 480, BUT when majority have the fps of 23,98, some seems to have fps 25. And now I noticed that I forgot to add the fps in my original post (double sorry). I have now edited that part on the original post as well.

Now, when you say "prepare/fix" them, in what format and what are the specs I should choose? Should I use something like Mpeg Streamclip? I mean I'm not sure how to "fix" the aspect ratio on these avi-files (so that Toast could burn the BD-R disc with "automatic" and "best" encoding - and preserve the 4:3 aspect ratio).

I will also check my BD-R v.1. Stay tuned.


Do check the output BD_0001/BDMV/STREAM/00001.m2ts file in a software player (Roxio Video Player, VLC) to verify the aspect ratio there.

Do check your tv settings and blu-ray player settings, to be sure that those are not stretching 4:3 to fill the 16:9 screen, making a fine disc look bad.

(edit) I checked the 00001.m2ts file in VLC and it actually seems to be in 4:3. It has proper black bars. I then checked my PS3 and PS4 (and my TV, which has a proper 4:3 selection for the 4:3-material) and the aspect ratio is stretched to 16:9. Could it be that some "aspect ratio flag" for the BD players is missing from the BD-R?

 

Edited by Dvd-r

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

I made a silly typo (and left out the fps info). Display aspect ratio on my Avi-file is actually "4:3" (not 16:9). This is a series from the late 90s, so 4:3 is the original aspect ratio.

 

Ok. More puzzling, though. The 16:9 assumption must come from somewhere.

 

In this case the "automatic" conversion seemed to do a better job than "custom" with 2,5 (average) and 3,0 (max) bitrates which I chose (if I recall correctly).

 

Automatic also removes the video encoding setting for aspect ratio.

Not sure if it matters, but is your menu set to the matching aspect ratio (‘Standard’ or ‘Widescreen’)? [ Options>Menu Style>Customize>Menus>Aspect Ratio ] Perhaps they are linked somehow?

I believe all are in 640 x 480, BUT when majority have the fps of 23,98, some seems to have fps 25.

 

A computer software player may not care much about mixed standards, but many set top players and/or tv sets will bark on a mix of NTSC/PAL frame rates. If that applies to your setup too, then you may have to transcode the PAL files to NTSC.

Now, when you say "prepare/fix" them, in what format and what are the specs I should choose? Should I use something like Mpeg Streamclip? I mean I'm not sure how to "fix" the aspect ratio on these avi-files.

 

Not sure yet. First thing is to figure out where the 16:9 comes from, and then remove/alter that piece of information.

I will also check my BD-R v.1. Stay tuned.

(edit) I checked the 00001.m2ts file in VLC and it actually seems to be in 4:3. It has proper black bars. I then checked my PS3 and PS4 (and my TV, which has a proper 4:3 selection for the 4:3-material) and the aspect ratio is stretched to 16:9. Could it be that some "aspect ratio flag" for the BD players is missing from the BD-R?

 

I’m slightly puzzled about the black bars in VLC. VLC should default to a floating window of frame size, thus without bars. Full screen playback on a wide screen monitor would then introduce black pillars, of course.

Blu-ray is always 16:9 for HD material, but can be 4:3 or 16:9 for SD material. This has been confirmed for PS3 playback as well, although not for Toast specifically.

However, in my own testing: while I don’t have a BD-RE disc here at the moment, my BD test disc image, burned to a DVD-RW disc, plays 4:3 on my Pioneer set top BD player (although the menu background isn’t visible here for unknown reasons).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

More info (or maybe just more confusion). I just noticed that some episodes on the BD-R are actually in 4:3 and they're in MPEG-2. Those (majority, I might add) that play in "stretched" 16:9 are in AVC. Like I said earlier, this is the original disc that I encoded/burned with "automatic/best" settings (so I couldn't choose the codec, aspect ratio etc). It seems that two codecs were used with this disc.

 

Mixed NTSC/PAL is not really a huge issue here, since in Europe maybe 95% of the DVD/BD-players and TV sets support both PAL and NTSC. NTSC has never been a problem in Europe when it comes to set top players and TV sets. And VLC player is not very familiar to me. Any other ideas how to check the aspect ratio etc from the actual BD-R (PS3/4 excluded)?

 

I'm now burning one disc where I also chose the "standard" menu (instead of widescreen menu which I chose earlier). I'll also try to burn/test your BD test image in a few days. I'll let you know how it plays on my PS3/TV.

Edited by Dvd-r

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

I just noticed that some episodes on the BD-R are actually in 4:3 and they're in MPEG-2. Those (majority, I might add) that play in "stretched" 16:9 are in AVC. Like I said earlier, this is the original disc that I encoded/burned with "automatic/best" settings (so I couldn't choose the codec, aspect ratio etc). It seems that two codecs were used with this disc.

 

I was unaware that this could happen. Even if there were no default choice, then I expected that a disc would use one video codec for re-encoding. Paraphrasing columnist Bill Vaughan: You learn something new every day, often that something is that you were wrong before. (I wonder how Toast makes that codec choice; what logic/predictability goes into it.)

 

[ If you tried different settings in the same session (i.e. without quitting Toast, and thus purging the temporary files), then Toast could possibly confuse itself by not re-encoding something that was re-encoded earlier; e.g. if temporary converted files from clip 1 with codec A and temporary converted files from clip 2 with codec B are still present ( ~/Documents/Roxio Converted Items ). That could perhaps account for a mix of codecs? ]

Mixed NTSC/PAL is not really a huge issue here, since in Europe maybe 95% of the DVD/BD-players and TV sets support both PAL and NTSC. NTSC has never been a problem in Europe when it comes to set top players and TV sets.

 

Here in Europe as well. I am aware that our set top players handle either PAL or NTSC, but that is not the same as mixing both standards on the same disc. But, discouraged by Toast itself, I never actually tried it.

 

Any other ideas how to check the aspect ratio etc from the actual BD-R (PS3/4 excluded)?

 

Roxio Video Player (in the Extras menu) should play .m2ts files and anything else Toast can output. The shape of the player window should tell you 4:3 from 16:9 easily.

Several tools can generate reports on media files, including aspect ratio. (Most of these are based on MediaInfo.) E.g. VideoSpec, MediaInfo CLI, MediaInfo GUI, iMediaHUD.

I'm now burning one disc where I also chose the "standard" menu (instead of widescreen menu which I chose earlier).

 

Come to think of it: a DVD or BD should be able to hold both 16:9 and 4:3 content on the same disc, so that should be independent of the menu. Therefore, it shouldn’t make a difference. But the unexpected “16:9” must have some origin, so still a good test.

I'll also try to burn/test your BD test image in a few days. I'll let you know how it plays on my PS3/TV.

 

I would like to know how that goes on your end. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Alright, I finally did what I should've done right from the beginning. I tested some of these BD-R discs in standalone players (Sony BDP-S550 with TV type as "16:9" and screen format "Fixed Aspect Ratio", and my friends Sony BDP-S7200) and the aspect ratio shows as 4:3. My friend also reported that while the disc is 4:3 in his standalone player, it's "stretched 16:9" in his PS3 too. So, I have to assume that the main problem is PS3 and probably not Toast nor the burned BD-R. I mean the aspect ratio seems to be 4:3 on the disc - as it should be.

 

Why PS3 is stretching the image then? That's a mystery to me at the moment since I can't find any options from the PS3 that could cause that. My "official" Blu-ray releases in 4:3 (like the classics, Batman tv-series etc etc) work just fine. I remember reading that PS3 will upscale any SD material on Blu-ray discs (not talking about the DVD-releases) to 1080i/50 or 1080i/60, but not sure is it true. And I guess the burned BD-R with my project is already "upscaled" (SD AVI files encoded/burned to BD-R)?

 

On a related note, it seems that I got the best results (image quality wise) when there were max. ~25-30 episodes (~274 MB per episode) on one BD-R, since the bit rate was a bit higher (4-6 Mbps) and the image looks more stable. Originally I burned over 70 episodes to one disc, so the bit rate was somewhere around 1-3 Mbps. So even when the bit rate on the source material is not that high (like in this case), it's probably best to encode/burn the disc where the bit rate is eventually higher than the source material. This is my gut feeling, at least (based on this project). Also, I used "automatic" encoding with "best" settings and it'll probably work fine for many projects. And yes, I would choose AVC over MPEG-2 (I guess "automatic/best" always uses AVC anyway?).

 

And I haven't encountered any playback issues with mixing both standards (PAL/NTSC where Toast gives the "warning") on the same disc. If the player/TV supports both PAL/NTSC (or 1080i/50 and 1080i/60), it should play the videos on the disc. And the actual menu is obviously not mixing two standards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Perhaps worth checking:

In your PS3 settings, Video settings, is the “BD / DVD - Upscaler” set to “Normal”? (Setting “Full screen” may cause stretching.) Or even try “Off” if “Normal” doesn’t work.

 

I think the episodes are not upscaled on disc; not upscaled by Toast: the .m2ts file will be SD resolution. The player can upscale it on the fly, or a tv can upscale it. Which upscaler produces better results, only testing can tell. Some (noise/halo) artefacts may be more obvious in one or the other, pointing to a preference for one method. Probably somewhat related to the age and high endness of the devices.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

Yes, I'm aware of PS3 upscaling, I have been using it since 2007. It's set to normal and I actually did some testing with the menu options just in case. Dead end.

 

About upscaling.. it was my understanding that Toast will create an HD disc (so to speak) and not just encode sd files to a BD-R (in sd). At least the codec is clearly AVC. But I'm not an expert with Toast/Blu-ray encoding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

The Blu-ray video specification allows for SD content, and Toast will also allow this when making Blu-ray video discs. If you want to take low resolution SD content and have it upscaled on disc as HD, then

(a) you will end up with a 16:9 frame (which means pillarboxes as part of the video frame for what was 4:3 content), as all HD content on Blu-ray must be 16:9;

(B) the larger frame size (1280×720/1440×1080/1920×1080) will require more bitrate, thus less episodes per disc;

© you will have to do the upscaling outside of Toast; as the settings have no provision for upscaling details for SD to HD;

(d) software upscaling is not necessarily better than hardware upscaling by the player or tv.

 

I don’t see the benefit in taking that route.

Edited by theoldarchiver

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

So to simplify, Toast is creating a BD-R disc where all my AVI files are encoded to BDMV (originally AVC MPEG-4, and the same on BD-R?) - but in SD resolution (like the original files are)? Toast will encode my AVI files to BDMV, but without any upscaling (sd to hd) or changing the aspect ratio? In my case, obviously audio is converted to Dolby Digital.

 

Sorry about these (similar) questons, but I just want to be clear how the Toast operates. I mean the quality (when I burn max. ~25 episodes to one BD-R) is actually surprisingly good in my "52 TV (excluding the aspect ratio playback issues with PS3). That's why I also thought that maybe the original resolution is also "upscaled" via Toast when encoding/burning the disc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

So to simplify, Toast is creating a BD-R disc where all my AVI files are encoded to BDMV (originally AVC MPEG-4, and the same on BD-R?) - but in SD resolution (like the original files are)? Toast will encode my AVI files to BDMV, but without any upscaling (sd to hd) or changing the aspect ratio?

 

Yes. Apparently Toast thinks a 640×480 source file has a closest valid match to 720×480 SD resolution, and will encode to that. [SD vs. software upscaled samples] Toast tries to find the aspect ratio and keep that (or use padding for a mismatch).

 

In my case, obviously audio is converted to Dolby Digital.

 

Blu-ray video doesn’t support mp3 audio, so Toast has to convert the audio to either PCM or DD stereo. (The summary in the bottom right should tell which is currently selected.)

 

I just want to be clear how the Toast operates.

 

For some of these, I had to experiment and measure the result. The documentation doesn’t tell a lot of these details, and some things I hadn’t tried before. :)

 

I mean the quality is actually surprisingly good in my "52 TV).

 

People lived with SD television for decades, and new commercial DVDs are still for sale, so SD is not that bad.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 0

 

 

People lived with SD television for decades, and new commercial DVDs are still for sale, so SD is not that bad.

 

 

Yeah, sure (although I did sold most of DVDs in this year). I mainly meant that the "avi =>BDMV" encoding looks pretty good after all in my "52 tv, since quite frankly I was expecting a bit more compression artifacts etc (that's why "automatic/best" settings could be recommended to many projects). Then again, I have more episodes where the image size is a bit different. Let's see how the process goes with them.

Edited by Dvd-r

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×