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Brian Dunning

Cropping off letterbox bars...

Question

I have a bunch of movies that I have ripped to HD as VIDEO_TS folders. I've been using Crunch to put them into iTunes for viewing on AppleTV, which works GREAT, and I am a happy camper!!!

 

A few movies are widescreen, but are letterboxed into 4:3. Unfortunately this ratio gets preserved, and when I watch them in AppleTV, the picture is a small rectangle in the middle of my phat plasma, instead of a widescreen movie like it should be.

 

My attempted solution was to use QuickTime Pro to edit the .m4v created by Crunch, and crop out the letterboxes. My hope was that AppleTV would then display the movie full width.

 

The problem is that when you do this in QT Pro, it wants to save the file as a .mov file, which doesn't support tags including cover art. It's possible to Export from QT Pro, but that involves a whole new recompression and many custom settings.

 

Can anyone suggest a better solution to crop out letterboxes on widescreen movies that were recorded with them, and view these movies full width? (Note: I also have Toast 8, if this would help.)

Edited by Brian Dunning

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I think you can what you want directly in Crunch. When you go to Export in Crunch, select Apple TV. Then in the Quality popup, select Custom.

 

From here you can adjust the aspect ratio and image size. If you use the Preserve Aspect Ratio and Crop, I think you can get what you want. I don't have any letter boxed content to check with right now, so I don't know for sure.

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That's probably what it's supposed to do, but it does not crop out the top & bottom letterboxes. Instead it ADDS an additional set of left & right letterboxes to make the whole movie HD proportions - but again, the actual movie part is just a small rectangle in the middle. Yes, this is when CROP is selected.

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I've tried everything I could think of. The closest I've gotten was using Handbrake to convert the VIDEO_TS folder into an MP4. Handbrake does an excellent job cropping off the letterboxing. The MP4 it produced is great, but does not play on AppleTV. I tried Crunch to convert that MP4, but the sound sync was way, way off.

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