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DVD Cropping Issue

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Sareesh Sudhakaran
DVD Cropping Issue
on Nov 25, 2009 at 6:37:29 am

I've burned at least 10 DVDs trying to figure out why my feature film has its sides cropped when played on television sets. I've tried different DVD players and TVs (16:9 as well as 4:3), but they all crop out a significant portion of the sides - around 11% total on the sides and around 6% total on the top and bottom (which would be 5.5% on each side and 3% on top or bottom).

I have used Adobe Encore CS3 to author the DVD and I've also used Windows DVD Maker and a free software called DVD Flick, just to check whether the software is causing the issue, but the sides still crop.

The source file is a 720x576 M2V file (PAL Region). I tried burning NTSC (720x480) and it still happens, so that's not the issue.

It plays perfectly on my laptop (from where I'm authoring). When I zoom out using my dvd player, it shows the entire movie, but it doesn't fill the screen because the zoom setting is in steps. Since I'm planning on distributing this, I want it to play perfectly like normal Hollywood DVDs.

I thought maybe the source footage might be at fault, so I created a DVD from images at 1280x720 and it still happens.

Now I'm done to two possible solutions: Overscan, or some pixel aspect ratio issue. But in either case, how do I complete my movie from here? I don't want to try any other software since I know that's not the issue, and trust me, I've tried 16:9, 4:3, letterboxing, everything. It doesn't work.

I would really appreciate it if anyone can solve this for me. Thanks!


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Jeff Pulera
Re: DVD Cropping Issue
on Nov 25, 2009 at 1:40:37 pm

This sounds very much like the Overscan area is cut off. This is normal. The editing software, and computer playback of DVD, may show the entire frame, but television sets always cut some of the edges off, this is completely normal. If TVs showed every pixel, then many might show beyond the edge of the image, so there is some overlap of the bezel around the screen to keep this from happening.

In the titler of your NLE, you may have noticed a box running around the outer area of the preview image, this shows the "Safe Area", meaning titles should not go beyond the lines or they may get cut off upon broadcast.

Video 101 dictates that when shooting, never put the subject too close to the edge of the screen, you must keep all areas of interest properly framed. If the video was shot too "tight", there is not much you can do about it in post production.

If you provide more information about the video, such as was it shot as 4:3 or 16:9, SD or HD, etc., there may be other issues to look at in the production process, but I don't know anything of your workflow at this point.

Jeff Pulera
Safe Harbor Computers


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Sareesh Sudhakaran
Re: DVD Cropping Issue
on Nov 26, 2009 at 2:08:32 pm

Thank you Jeff.
I guess it is an overscan issue, but it doesn't cut off the image equally on all sides. Anyway, the footage and menus are all in 16:9.

The question is, if every set does overscan, how do we see the 2.35:1 DVDs from Hollywood? Do they crop as well, just that we don't notice it?

Thanks for you reply!


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Michael Sacci
Re: DVD Cropping Issue
on Nov 27, 2009 at 9:14:25 pm

Overscan is not the same on every TV, in fact the same model can be different and often different amounts on left or right. That is way there is a Title Safe area also, this gives you a safety to account for differences in overscan. And yes everything that is edited is edited with this cropping in mind.

BUT things are changing a bit, HDMI signal to flatscreen is pretty much full frame with no cropping but it will be command practice to edit for cropping for a long time but you also need make sure you have a clean image in the action safe area.



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