U-Lead Video Studio *stretches* ratio of VCD stills! Help

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I just want to make a simple slideshow, maybe with a bit of audio and some transition effects... okay... so I guess it's not so simple after all. Well, I downloaded the trial version of ULead Video Studio and I've already generated a VCD compatible mpeg stream of my stills

- BUT -

Any images that aren't already in the general shape/ratio of the mpeg format are stretched and pulled into the 'correct' size - leaving them all warped, crushed, and or stretched.

Is there any way to make it leave the image in it's original shape/ratio - perhaps by adding a black area around the image where the pixels need to be padded? Am I better off using another type of software for this project to work as I want it?

Any advice is appreciated.

Rob - aka Toe

-- Robert Batina (rbatina@bigfoot.com), June 13, 2000


Nero 5 does the same to still images. I resize the images to around 704 by 576 (PAL SVCD) in Paintshop Pro. You can add black borders to non 4:3 images.

-- Garth (bird@iinet.net.au), June 13, 2000.


Yes, Ulead stretches portrait image to frame size and there is no command to maintain the aspect ratio. I encountered the same problem, too. But, after searching for another software to make VCD stills, it's good to try Adobe Premiere 5.1. It has a command to maintain the aspect ratio of the picture. So, it didn't look stretched anymore.

-- Beni K. (b_kartono@hotmail.com), June 13, 2000.

here we go again!

The VCD system is designed to be played full screen on a TV or computer screen which has an aspect ratio of 4:3 (AR). In NTSC 640 x 480 or 768 x 576 in PAL. In NTSC authoring process the 640 will be stretched to 720 and in in PAL compressed to 720 AND the viewing TV will reprocess those funny dimensions back to the 4:3 AR. Yes I know the VCD frame size is 352 wide but the same reasoning applies.

You should NOT fix the aspect ratio at all. Simply get the stills to a correct 4:3 ratio to start with and let the process of making a VCD from Premiere do the compressing or expanding and it cannot do that if you fix the aspect ratio.

In the burner programs you should make your stills 640 x 480 and then stretch them to 704 wide without changing the height. In PAL you make them 768 and then compress to 704. Simple.

If you follow these processes you will never have trouble with stills in a VCD production.


-- Ross McL (rmclennan@esc.net.au), June 13, 2000.

It was spoken:

'You should NOT fix the aspect ratio at all. Simply get the stills to a correct 4:3 ratio to start with and let the process of making a VCD from Premiere do the compressing or expanding and it cannot do that if you fix the aspect ratio.'


Okay, that makes sense... but the part I am not quite 'getting' is if I have images that are not 4:3 ratio... like, lets say I have a few dozen images that are 1000x400 resolution, for whatever reason. They aren't really even close to 4:3 - and would look odd if I tried to stretch them to that ratio.

I'm really looking for a program to just drop these images into, without having to do anything to them first. I realize that VCD is full screen - but I would think to allow really odd shaped images to be added to a VCD mpeg stream, you'd have to somewhere have an option of having a border added, to give the image it's 4:3 ratio needed.

(Sorry if it's taking me a while to grasp the concept... I don't really have any software yet to try this first hand, and I'm not interested in running out and buying Adobe Premiere for 800 bucks or whatever, just to try it out. *chuckle*)


-- Rob Batina (rbatina@bigfoot.com), June 14, 2000.

That's exactly what Ross is saying: if your original picture file wasn't 4:3, then resize/resample/crop it to something that is. In between you have to decide whether you want to add black (or whatever color borders), or crop it such that it's exactly 4:3. Take your 1000x400 for example. If it was important that everything in it is seen on TV, then you know you have to add borders on the left and right such that it becomes 1000x750, which is now 4:3. You can do this by opening it in an image editor and adding, say, black of 175 pixels each on the left and right. If, on the other hand you don't want borders you necessarily have to crop the width of that picture so that it comes down to 533x400. Either way the 4:3 ratio is preserved for the encoder, authoring, and playback stages to do their bit and mash the pix to whatever ratio they see fit--and you still see circles, and not ellipses on the TV display at the end.

-- EMartinez (epmartinez@yahoo.com), June 15, 2000.

It was then spoken....

That's exactly what Ross is saying: if your original picture file wasn't 4:3, then resize/resample/crop it to something that is.


I know that is what he was saying... what *I* am saying is that I am wanting some software that will do that for me. :) I'm saying that I'm not interested in adding borders, manually, to hundreds of images, just so that they are close enough to a 4:3 ratio to not get distorted much. :)

I would have just thought there'd be some sort of cheap/free application that would automatically generate an avi or mpeg stream, and still leave the images in their original ratio, while making the video file 4:3 (aka - automatically adding borders to make any non- 4:3 image 4:3)

I apologize if I'm not making myself clear enough for what I'm after, here. :)

-- Rob Batina (rbatina@bigfoot.com), June 15, 2000.

Sorry I have been out for a couple of days investigating/filming a big mobile crane accident so I am late catching up.

Nothing is easy in any of this and no one makes an automatic program to do what you say. People get into trouble because of a lack of understanding of the process - I have explained that several times here before and again for you.

What I do to limit the effort is to have a whole series of numbered "black" pages at the correct 4:3 size in a folder on a CD which I copy to the hard drive in the same folder - Page001 002 etc. All the hard work has been done in Premiere with a preset that has transitions between etc all ready to go.

Then in Photoshop 5.5 I get the photo, decide what size I want because I also use 16:9 and a lot of 2:3. I then lay it over the black blank and resave it under the same name in the same folder on the hard drive. If the photo is smaller then photoshop centres it and the black shows around the picture. Having done all that in photoshop for every image I then simply go to premiere, fireup the project and presto all my images are on the timeline ready for processing. I remove the excess unused "black pages" add music and front end titles and then render the mpeg-1 file from the timeline and burn a VCD - you will not get anything simpler or less time consuming than that is. I have done 1000's of photographs that way.

If you expect good quality out on the TV you will not get it without working for it. If your not prepared to put the work in to understand the process and to get images of the correct sizes and shape then do not complain about your squeezed and battered images on the TV when you see them. There is no alternative other than perhaps to go out with a video camera and take your "stills" as moving images on a strip of tape and put them to a VCD.

-- Ross McL (rmclennan@esc.net.au), June 16, 2000.


You want an app called Sonic Foundry Vegas Video. You can drag an entire DIR of differing res .jpgs .bmps .gifs etc, set the default display duration, crossfade duration, and it will create a slideshow on the timeline. Then drop in any .wav file (st or mono) and render as .mpg (Vegas Video ver. 2.0b only)or .AVI or etc.

Use the VCD template to render and you can burn it to CDR and play it on most stand alone DVD players.

Pretty cool!!


-- Eric Robertson (abacus@ncinternet.net), December 30, 2000.

The answer can be found on Ulead's home page. Goto to tutorial and select video turorials. The first one explains why this happens and how to fix it. Has to do with aspect ratio of the frame. Videostudio is by default stretching the image to fit the frame. This is what causes the distortion.

-- keithw (keithw_2000@hotmail.com), October 05, 2001.

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