Using HTPC to Crop Black Bars from Blu Ray Playback (CIH using Zoom method) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 06-18-2012, 04:11 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a 4 TB (and growing in the future) network share with my smallish collection of Blu Rays ripped to it in ISO format. I can mount using VirtualCloneDrive and play back works using VLC, PowerDVD 12, TotalMedia Theater 5, Media Player Classic HC.

The only hiccup I have so far is that I have a 2.35:1 Constant Image Height setup using the zoom method. If I set the HTPC to output 1920x1080, it projects an image a few inches above and below the screen's black borders. In the past, I've been using a Blu Ray player and just kind of living with the black bars being present when watching 2.35 content (and zooming out and using masking with 2.20/1.85/1.78 content). They're not too noticeable, but in movies like Tron: Legacy or The Dark Knight, where the AR changes from 2.35 to 1.78, some of the actual film bleeds onto the wall. So, between the black bars that are noticeable during dark scenes, and movies with variable aspects, I decided to build a HTPC. Solution:

I can set up the HTPC to output at 1920x810ish to fill the screen perfectly, but then Blu Ray playback of 2.35 content is pillar AND letter boxed (because the 2.35 movie has the black bars as part of the video encode), 16:9 content is only pillar boxed (but would be ~810p instead of 1080p, another [easily solved] issue for another day). *WITH VLC*, however, I right click on the video output, go to Video Stream > Crop > 2.35 and voila, the black bars are cropped from the playback and the video fills the screen.

The only problem is, VLC doesn't bitstream (or decode) HD audio, so while the video options are everything I want and need, the audio is nowhere close. I haven't been able to find a good way to crop the black bars in PDVD12, TMT5, or MPC-HC (even using their "crop black bars" modes), it's so frustrating that it's so freaking easy to do in VLC but none of the other, more "robust" players (VLC can handle basically anything but HD audio, it seems) seem to have the function. I've kind of messed around with ffdshow in MPC-HC, but the playback is stuttery and I haven't been able to get the settings to my liking.

Basically, I need a video player that can:

  • Launch from XMBC
  • Has Blu Ray ISO/m2ts playback support (XMBC auto mounts to VCD and opens the largest video file, I believe, so basically m2ts support.. this might change in the future so ISO support would be nice, as I ripped a 1:1 copy with menus and such)
  • Bitstream HD audio
  • Crop video (like I can in VLC)


I've looked everywhere, I feel like, and have come up short. Any ideas?
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post #2 of 6 Old 06-18-2012, 10:37 PM
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Does your projector do masking? The JVC's do, but unfortunately the lens memory's do not save the masking settings so they need to be dialed in manually, for movies like Tron: Legacy.

Another option might be to make some simple masking panels. Use rigid foam board or plywood, wrapped in a good black velvet (many really soak up the light) - then use small velcro strips or similar to attach them.

I also suggest you post this in the HTPC forum, there may be other software solutions I'm not aware of.

Paul
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post #3 of 6 Old 06-19-2012, 05:03 AM
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Why not try the new Eden Version of XBMC, I downloaded the nightly version, and it's built in player bitstreams HD audio, crops the blackbars, and picks the index file from Blu Ray iso Movies to play the correct video file. I have a setup that sounds really similar to yours, I am also doing the custom resolution 2.35:1 image projection, and this solution for me works great.

Hope this helps.
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post #4 of 6 Old 06-19-2012, 02:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plewacka View Post

Why not try the new Eden Version of XBMC, I downloaded the nightly version, and it's built in player bitstreams HD audio, crops the blackbars, and picks the index file from Blu Ray iso Movies to play the correct video file. I have a setup that sounds really similar to yours, I am also doing the custom resolution 2.35:1 image projection, and this solution for me works great.
Hope this helps.

I'll try this later. I have the latest stable release but didn't try any of the nightly builds.

My projector doesn't do masking to my knowledge, automatically or manually. I have some curtains for the horizontal masking and painted the wall black so the black bars aren't to noticeable but with tron and tdk party of the movie projects onto the wall and it's much more noticeable.
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post #5 of 6 Old 06-27-2012, 07:57 AM
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I did some CIH planning a year or so ago but financials have delayed buying the screen, Projector or finishing the room. Its almost just as well as in the interim I have had some major eureka moments which will make the finished room infinitely better than before. Had I finished the room already I'd have found it hard to convince myself to rip it all out again and start over with the new ideas.

Point is, I have a fairly good idea about the ins and outs of CIH and the zoom method but I'm not sure I understand what the OP is talking about. Is this HTPC cropping purely to permanently crop the 16:9 sections of variable AR content like Batman so that the whole film is displayed at 2.35:1. ie you lose the extra information top and bottom but you don't have to deal with the messy switching or overspill of that extra top/bottom information onto your masking.

Or am I misunderstanding and thats not what the OP is talking about at all?
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post #6 of 6 Old 06-27-2012, 09:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plewacka View Post

Why not try the new Eden Version of XBMC, I downloaded the nightly version, and it's built in player bitstreams HD audio, crops the blackbars, and picks the index file from Blu Ray iso Movies to play the correct video file. I have a setup that sounds really similar to yours, I am also doing the custom resolution 2.35:1 image projection, and this solution for me works great.
Hope this helps.

I would like to play bluray movies at the 16:9 size (removing the black top & bottom bars) How would I do this in XBMC?

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