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    Convert DVDs with Flask Mpeg
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  • Resizing in Flask
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  • Resizing and Cropping a DivX in Flask Mpeg

    If you want to fit a movie into the smallest possible size, cropping can do a lot to help out. The most vital thing to remember for optimal compression is to always crop a few pixels into the image and delete all of the black bars. Mpeg compression works best on blurry images; so if a hard black line is seen at the bottom or top of your cropped movie it will not compress as effectively. In fact, if you cannot crop into the image then I'd say don't bother cropping at all.

    Resizing a DVD in Flask is slightly easier than Mpeg2avi because it shows you what you are doing. PAL users should always tick Flask's Keep aspect ratio box, unless you know you don't need it. This is even more important with Widescreen DVD's. If you use NTSC DVD's the image may become stretched wrongly. If you notice this happening, uncheck the 'keep aspect ratio' and work out the ratio resizing yourself. See the article"Resizing DVD's with Correct Aspect Ratios" in my appendix for details.



    This requires no effort at all to do since they are basically square. Simply choose the size you prefer and put them in the Width and Height boxes in the video tab. Something like 448 x 336 works well.



    To start resizing press the 'Show Output Pad'. This will bring up a picture of the movie with controls above it that allow you to change its size and crop out black areas.

    Note: sometimes a black picture will appear. You have been unlucky here because Flask has chosen a picture for you to look at and it just happens to be a blank frame! You need to select a single vob file from the middle of the movie instead of the .ifo file. This will change the picture it selects for you. Once you have the size correct reselect the .ifo file again.

    To summarize what the Output Pad controls do:

    Crop - Height & Width
    This setting represents an imaginary window in which the picture sits. By either increasing or decreasing the height and width you change the size of this window. This does not affect the size of the actual picture inside the window.
    - Cuts bits from the bottom of the picture in jumps of 16.
    + Adds them back.
    - Cuts bits from the right of the picture in jumps of 16.
    + Adds them Back
    Crop  - Top & Left Offset's
    These options move the picture inside the box up, down, left and right. They do not crop the image or change its size.
    Top Offset
    - Moves the picture down
    + Moves picture up
    Left offset
    - Moves the Picture Right
    +Moves the Picture Left
    Output Size
    This option is important because it changes the size of the actual image inside the window.
    - shrinks the picture by pulling it in from the right.
    + stretches the picture by pulling it out to the right.
    - squashes the image by pulling it up from the bottom
    + stretches the image by pulling it up from the bottom
    Reset Settings
    This puts the image back to FULL DVD size and is useful if you want to start again because you've the wrong sizes selected.
    These are basically the same as crop but it resizes the whole image without cropping. Since I am cropping the image I do not use letterbox.

    Okay, I have a 2.35:1 CinemaScope movie. I want not only to resize the picture but to crop out those back parts above and below the film. Doing this saves quite a bit of wasted memory and will allow you to use a higher bitrate and hence increase the quality of image playback. When played Fullscreen the cropped movie will still look the same because Media Player adds a black background anyway.

    After you have clicked on the output pad button you will see a picture like the one below. Press the Reset settings button to make it appear as it is on the DVD. Bingo! This picture is far to big for a single CD DivX! Tick the 'crop' box and lets start resizing.

    Note: Flask has the annoying habit of loosing parts of the picture! You will be editing it and suddenly the bottom will disappear or the whole picture will go white! This isn't actually a problem with the resizing itself, just with the preview it shows you and the DivX will be okay of course. But the easiest way to "refresh" the image and make it appear clear again is to open Windows Explorer. Maximize it once so it makes Flask disappear and then minimize it with the minimize button (don't do this by double clicking on the taskbar button). When Windows Explorer disappears and the Flask image will be as clear as a bell ;-). you need to do this quite often I'm afraid. Its also a good idea to make sure you have a light background on your desktop so you can see the edges of the picture.

    But before I crop I will squash the picture by pressing the minus (-) button in the output size section (see red circle in below picture). I pressed it 9 times until the picture was 576 wide. Notice how the size is displayed on the left of the picture. I always squash sideways first because usually the DVD will not need cropping on the sides.

    Since we resized the image to the left 9 times, we will press the Height (-) button 9 times as well (just below the red circle). Flask does its best to keep in perfect aspect ratio, but if you are unsure check out my "aspect ratio" guide.

    Okay, its not always possible to get the exact height correct, but you will still get it cropped at the best size for this particular DVD. Now we will start cropping bits off the bottom, do this a couple of times by pressing the red circle 1 (- Height). Then move the picture up until the border above disappears. Do this by pressing the red circle 2 a few times. Finally the bottom border will disappear (by using circle 1).

    In this instance I managed to get the exact size I wanted 576 x 240, but this may not be the case for you. Use the - Top Offset (seen below) and the + Top Offset (circle 2 above) to get the picture positioned perfectly.

    Okay, that's it! Don't worry if the Flask picture settings are a different size to what it says in the output pad, the cropping overrides anything Flask had set before.

    Duplication of links or content is strictly prohibited. (C) NICKY PAGE 2000