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Scaler to move subtitles on a 2.35:1 image

Mad Monk

Established Member
Gents

I am currently playing around with an anamorphic lens with my PJ but I am having problems displaying some subtitles on the screen as when I go into scope mode they get pushed off the screen.

The majority of the time I can use my HTPC to view content so I can use Thetretek software to move the subtitles around. The problem is that I am also using my PS3 as an output source and I have no way of scaling the image to 2.35:1 and also to move the subtitles. Currently I have to encode every BluRay disc I have and play it off my HTPC hard drive if I want play 2.35:1 films in scope mode.

So I think I need a scaler to

1) Move subtitles around
2) Vertically stretch the image so that I may view it in scope mode along with an anamorphic lens.

I really will not be needing the scaler for colour correction as my PJ has a great CMS built in. Can somebody please recommend a scaler that can carry these two functions using DVI/HDMI connectivity?

Oh I don't mind buying second hand if it means saving a small amount of money.

Cheers
 

Goeran

Standard Member
Gents
So I think I need a scaler to

1) Move subtitles around
2) Vertically stretch the image so that I may view it in scope mode along with an anamorphic lens.
Cheers

Hi,
Part 1 of your needs can´t be solved by a scaler. As the video signal reaches the scaler the subtitles are embedded in the video signal and can´t be moved by the scaler. Moving subtitles has to be done in the player. I also used a HTPC with Theatertek for a long time, but it has now been retired. For SD DVD I ended up buying a Samsung HD870. The Samsung player has a function called EZ View. This combines the needed vertical stretch and movement of subtitles. If you can live with the picture quality from the Samsung this will be the cheapest way of solving the problem of 2.35:1 vertical stretch and movement of subtitles for use with an anamorphic lens.

When it comes to BluRay I don´t think there is a player available to day that will solve the problem of moving subtitles. Vertical stretch can be done by some projectors, or by adding a scaler, but subtitles are a problem when it comes to BluRay.

As mentioned I have used the Samsung player, but I´m not satisfied with the picture quality. Personally I like to watch film without subtitles as I find them drawing to much focus, but my wife wanted them. The last couple of weeks I have made her watch a few films without subtitles, and she has now come to the same conclusion. They draw to much focus, and they are really not needed as long as the film has english (or nordic for us from Norway) spoken language.

As a result I am tomorrow picking up an Oppo 980H DVD player and a DVDO VP50 Pro scaler. I think this will give me the best possible picture that I can (within my financial limits) get, and at the same time the scaler gives me the functionality I need for my 2.35:1 setup. I can also finally get noise reduction on some of the BluRay films I have.

Subtitles are as of now a non issue in my home theater. If we end up with a film that can´t be watched without subtitles I´ll just start up the Samsung DVD player and live with the reduced picture quality for that film. For BluRay there is really no good solution as I can see to day. I will be doing some tests with the scaler to se if I can stretch the picture vertically, but at the same time keep enough of the bottom part to make the subtitles stay on screen as a "last resort" solution. Not sure it will work, but as a really last resort it could maybe work.....?

Long answer to a short question, but being in the same situation I figured I would try to share some of my thoughts. Hope some of it was helpful.

With regards

Gøran

p.s.

And with this I have written my first post on AVForums! Long time lurker, but I have now made the jump:)
 

Barcoing Mad

Prominent Member
The Crystallio 2 has a PiP where the secondary picture can be cropped and moved around. You might be able to cut and paste the subtitle region, at the expense of overwriting the bottom of your 2.35:1picture area.
 

Mad Monk

Established Member
Welcome to the forums Goran. Quality first post I might add :) I feel very happy that my thread got you typing.

I have read about the Samsung players and the EZview functionality and I think they are suitable for my needs as long as I can add an external VP which I am leaning towards. I never knew that the subtitles could only be moved around by the video player, so that kind of explains why it is very difficult to implement this type of subtitle repositioning.

My temporary solution so far is to use a BluRay drive in my PC and software to adjust the subtitles. I have ordered the Pioneer BDC 202 BluRay player and will be using this with Zoomplayer. There is a command that allows the moving of subtitles but this is only a 1% up/down move according to the website. I will try it anyway as I am getting a little desperate to find a solution.

Another option for me is to rip all of my movies onto a media server and find a software solution for this. This thread has pointed me in various directions and given some good ideas to try different media players via my PC.

http://forum.videolan.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=13449&start=15

If you read jech's post halfway down the page he advises on the use of FFDSHOW Video Decoder options which allow for the moving of the subtitles. This is what I will play with this weekend.

I am going to play with BS Player also. It seems that the best option right now is PC related.

@Barcoing Mad - Interesting and unorthodox methodology. I'll be sure to look into the Crystallio 2.

I'll keep you guys posted :)
 

cip8er

Established Member
Thanks for this thread.

We also have the same blu-ray subtitle problem as we are using a CIH display for the movies. This is a major problem for us and desperately in need of a feasible solution.

I have posted the following in another thread.

http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?p=7043446#post7043446
posts#128,134

Also have posted this in another forum:

Subtitle placement could potentially be a significant issue with future blu-ray releases if the subtitles are placed on the black bars. If the subtitles are fully or patially placed on the black bars, some people will not be able to watch a movie in the way that they want to watch it. This practice impacts two categories:

1. There is trend towards constant image height (CIH) displays mainly aimed at watching movies in their native aspect ratios. These displays do not show black bars and therefore if the subtitles are fully or partially placed on the black bars they cannot be read. If an attempt is made to expose the black bars fully or partially, by distorting the image (yuck!) or the image is shifted upwards to expose the black bars (and cut the top of the image), the picture would look awful and almost unwatchable. Therefore, the CIH displays, which can be used to watch 2.35:1 movies in their full glory, cannot be used if the subtitles are fully or partially placed on the black bars. More and more people will go for this type of displays in the future and placing subtitles in the black bars will create a big problem for the future.

2. The second category is the zoomers. I do not want to debate whether zooming is right or wrong to remove black bars. Whether it is right or wrong, there is a significant amount of population that hate to see black bars on their 16x9 displays when watching 2.35:1 movies. They use the zooming function to remove black bars from the display. Some people use nonlinear stretch and simultaneous zooming to remove black bars. If the subtitles are on the black bars, these people will not be able to watch the movie in the way that they want to watch it.


Two potential solutions for this problem:

1. Do not place the subtitles on black bars, rather place it on the bottom of the picture, IMO, where it should be. This is the way that the motion pictures are subtitled. Since blu-ray is high resolution, the font size can be made smaller and still would be readable due to the increase in blu-ray clarity. Therefore subtitles will not interfere with the picture.
2. Blu-ray has a subtitle repositioning function which needs to be authored on to the disk software. This will allow user to change the font size, colour and placement on the screen. This solution may require additional effort from the author. So I am not sure whether this would be feasible if this causes an additional burden on the authoring process.

I think blu-ray is an opportunity to take Indian movies to the next level globally. The Indian colour palette and the detailed decorations, costumes and dresses will thrive on large HD displays. Therefore it is very important to take this opportunity in the best possible manner without overlooking any aspects of it.

Industry insiders please consider this seriously and provide best advice to the studios to get this right from the start and avoid significant future problems.

I am happy to say that the first Indian blu-ray, Heyy Babyy, which is a very good job overall, has placed the subtitles at the bottom of the picture rather than on the black bars which would avoid future potential problems. Hope this trend will continue.

I should add that a movie could have two subtitle tracks one on black bars and the other on the picture. This is another viable solution.
 

Barcoing Mad

Prominent Member
I prefer the subtitles to be in the black bars for obvious reasons - but appreciate the arguments expressed here. More user control desirable.
 

cip8er

Established Member
Yes, the best method is to give the user the control of subtitle placement.

I have requested studios and manufacturers to seriously consider to give a solution for subtitle repositioning in the following blu-ray forum thread in the "Blu-ray Technology and News" section.
http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=50457

In addition to CIH displays, millions of zoomers also would benefit from subtitle repositioning.
 

Mad Monk

Established Member
Yes, the best method is to give the user the control of subtitle placement.

I have requested studios and manufacturers to seriously consider to give a solution for subtitle repositioning in the following blu-ray forum thread in the "Blu-ray Technology and News" section.
http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=50457

In addition to CIH displays, millions of zoomers also would benefit from subtitle repositioning.

Excellent link.

I think I have almost given up on the subtitle issue. After playing around with endless HTPC scaling programs I haven't found one that gives a satisfactory picture. It is possible to use a scaling program such as Dscaler to scale to 2.00:1 and even them you can use various zoom ratios to try and get the desired effect. VLC has some good internal adjustments as well but the overall image quality after using these types of software solutions is not that great at all.

Currently there are no good solutions if you want to use a CIH setup and a HD source. I am going to return my HTPC BluRay player and sell my PS3 as well. Apparently HD DVD allowed for some customization of subtitles but BluRay has won the war. This situation sucks.

I guess one of the shining lights is that most of my favourite films are very old and mostly on 4:3 DVD so I should be able to still watch them with the subtitles on my scope screen.

I enjoy some of the older bollywood cinema as well. My opening feature was going to be Sholay which is shot in 2.20:1 and is available on DVD luckily :)

I may try a Lumagen but they seem very expensive even SH for something that is going to do half a job (not its fault really as the subtitles should have been sorted in the BluRay spec)
 

cip8er

Established Member
There is more discussion on this in that forum in the black-bar-haters thread. The best hope is to get a firmware solution from player manufacturers to reposition the subtitle raster image. This cannot be hard as s/w players like TheaterTek could do this for DVD. Hope Sony will take the lead and give subtitle raster image nudge up/down in the next PS3 firmware upgrade.

The blu-ray subtitle problem impacts zoomers as well not only CIH displays. There are millions of zoomers out there who would benefit subtitle repositioning. Also this could be the evolutionary path to NG Scope TV which is a treasure chest for the manufacturers. People should start thinking outside the box.

I have posted the following in the other forum:

http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=48166&page=9
post#167

I think, the black-bar-haters group is significantly higher than what we see in these forums based on my very limited, probably biased research sample.

Firstly, I should say I always watch all my content in correct aspect and I don't mind black bars on our plasma. However, my teenage daughter always use zoom and/or stretch and I cannot convince her not to do it. She does not use zoom only when she watches subtitled movies and she really hates that mode.

I went through all my family and friends that I closely know (about 100) to find out there opinion on this and interestingly none of them are members of this type of forums.

Basically, I could divide these into three groups.

They are:
1. Zoomers and they always get rid of "evil" black bars (but they appreciate to have the flexibility to see the whole movie if that is required)
2. Non-zoomers but put up with "evil" black bars just because of the subtitles. This group predominantly watches foreign language movies.
3. Main interest is to watch the movie in the original aspect but still does not like black bars.

My stats shows the following rough breakdown.
category 1: 25%, cat 2: 50%, cat 3: 25%
(Please note that to refine this type of survey, it is possible to have more categories.)

I think in my sample, about 80% predominantly watches foreign language movies with subtitles. Hence it is a biased sample. However, this could be the case when non-English-speaking countries are considered which is a significant market.

Then there is the question whether the black-bar-haters would invest in a Scope TV set. I think they will, if a solution is offered in few years time (say in 4-5 years). They may even keep two sets: one for the TV and one for the Scope movies. Remember 4x3 is history and we need to deal with 16x9 (1.78:1) and 2.35:1 in the future. An anamorphic mode for 2.35:1 scope content will be a plus for the future scope TVs to get the best out of the blu-ray format.

If this can be realised, it will surely be a treasure chest for the manufacturers. To get the ball rolling please give us a firmware solution for the PS3 for subtitle (raster image) repositioning so that the other manufactures could follow.;)
 

Neil Davidson

Prominent Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hi Guys,

Probably not a solution for most people but the Kaleidescape movie server allows you to move the subtitles and it also outputs aspect ratio data for the image that is on the screen. It will also do this for Blu-ray when that player is released early next year.

There is no more better system for scope at present!
 

Mad Monk

Established Member
There is more discussion on this in that forum in the black-bar-haters thread. The best hope is to get a firmware solution from player manufacturers to reposition the subtitle raster image. This cannot be hard as s/w players like TheaterTek could do this for DVD. Hope Sony will take the lead and give subtitle raster image nudge up/down in the next PS3 firmware upgrade.

I checked out that discussion, thanks for the link. I may be confused here but wouldn't a PS3 firmware upgrade still be insufficient as the subtitles are embedded in the video and thus unable to be moved? If a simple PS3 firmware update can achieve this then I guess its time to join that forum and complain and moan until something is done about it LOL. Failing that zooming seems to be the answer for those that have sufficient zoom range with their PJ. Unfortunately I am at maximum throw with minimum zoom so zooming is not an option for me with my current PJ :(

The majority of films that I watch are international so subtitles are really very important for me (although I think I could learn Cantonese,French and Spanish before the subtitles issue is resolved with Blu-ray)

Hi Guys,

Probably not a solution for most people but the Kaleidescape movie server allows you to move the subtitles and it also outputs aspect ratio data for the image that is on the screen. It will also do this for Blu-ray when that player is released early next year.

There is no more better system for scope at present!

That's media server porn :D Add the AMX touch screen to it and you're in AV Nirvana.

After doing a little more digging I have stumbled across .srt files. These are files that contain all of the info regarding the subtiltles. People have somehow extracted these from a HD presentation and you are free to modify them before you play them in a film using various media players like VLC or Media Player Classic. Apparently if the player has support for FFDSHOW you are then able to move the subtitles around at will.

This would however mean encoding all of your HD movies to a media server before you can watch them in CIH setup correctly. I am going to have a go at the HD version of Kung Fu Hustle this weekend and I'm feeling fairly optimistic that it will work. If it does, it means the end of our problems with subtitles but it does mean a HTPC or media centre would be compulsory if you decide to go down this route.

VHS was so much easier :)
 

cip8er

Established Member
I checked out that discussion, thanks for the link. I may be confused here but wouldn't a PS3 firmware upgrade still be insufficient as the subtitles are embedded in the video and thus unable to be moved? If a simple PS3 firmware update can achieve this then I guess its time to join that forum and complain and moan until something is done about it LOL.

Subtitles are not embedded in the video. Same as in DVDs they are stored as raster images. The player reads these subtitle images and superimposes on the video. Hence, the player has the ability to reposition the subtitles, however, it has to recompose the full raster image (on the fly) to reposition. This should be a trivial task since s/w players like TheaterTek can do it. There is another XML based solution for subtitles but no studios use it as this approach has player dependant problems.

This topic should be discussed and highlighted in all major forums (including this one).

I think there is a significant number of zoomers (millions) who do not like black bars. The black bars are in the way of human vision unlike side columns. That is one of the reasons that people like CIH displays. It will be easier to sell scope TVs to zoomers as they could gain more picture on scope TVs. However, zoomers need subtitle repositioning function for the zooming. So the manufacturers should provide a solution to reposition subtitles for the zoomers so that they could build a large market for their NG scope TV sets. That is the logic, at least in my mind.

My main concern with HTPC approach is the video quality. Could HTPCs achieve good PQ for blu-ray similar to PS3?
 

Mad Monk

Established Member
A little update.

I have managed to rip many BluRay titles to my HTPC and store them on my hard drive. It is even possible to extract various soundtracks and other features on the disc such as subtitles. The video quality is also fantastic with typical bitrates around the 10k mark. It is very difficult to tell the difference between an encoded file and the original disc. I would say that there is very little loss in IQ when encoding video to H264 using the mkv container.

But...I still haven't managed to get FFDSHOW or any other software for that matter to reposition the subtitles. All the features seem to be there in MPC and VLC as well as FFDSHOW (which should be enough in itself).

The search continues...
 

Mad Monk

Established Member
cip8er - I have a new toy, its a Lumagen HDQ. I'm hoping that it will give me satisfactory results when I make minor adjustments to the screen size.

I read the Lumagen manual and it put me to sleep so this will be a slow and painful process :rotfl:

I'll keep you posted to my findings
 

Mad Monk

Established Member
Thanks NicolasB. A specialist Lumagen forum with help from Gordon. Thats the best news I've heard in a while :)

I'm sure he's come across this problem before so it should be easy to fix LOL.
 

cip8er

Established Member
I cannot understand how a scaler would move the subtitles. It is hard coded on to the black bar when the image goes through the scaler. If the scaler is used to expose the subtitles, then the lower black bar will be exposed. This will look ugly due to pincushion especially if an anamorphic lens is used.

One of the major reasons to choose a CIH display is to remove the black bars. This solution will force you to look at the black bars with additional ugly pincushion.

Some more discussion of the issue can be found in this thread:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=14082654#post14082654
 

binbag

Established Member
Last night I was watching an MKV file of Apocolyto on my latest toy; the Popcornhour media streamer. As the subtitles didn't come up automatically I had to go into the menu to find them and found it HAS got the facility to lift them into the picture area of the screen which meant that I could watch it at full width. :thumbsup:

When I get around to burning an iso of one of my DVDs I'll report back if it does it with them.
 

Mad Monk

Established Member
Last night I was watching an MKV file of Apocolyto on my latest toy; the Popcornhour media streamer. As the subtitles didn't come up automatically I had to go into the menu to find them and found it HAS got the facility to lift them into the picture area of the screen which meant that I could watch it at full width. :thumbsup:

When I get around to burning an iso of one of my DVDs I'll report back if it does it with them.

That is very promising news. Thanks for posting. I look ofrward to your update.

Does the Popcorn Hour struggle with 1080p files over a network?

I have been playing around with my Lumagen and love this product to bits. Its scaling of SD material to a HD screen is fantastic and worth the price alone IMO. I've played with the vertical stretch modes and they do not effect PQ as much as I thought they would.
 

YellowSphere

Prominent Member
I've been lusting after a CIH setup for a while, but I never stopped to think about subtitles with scope films. I watch a lot of foreign language movies, so it'd be crucial.
 

binbag

Established Member
Just a quick update. To date I have completely failed to get my PCH to play .iso files (although plenty of others have appeared to without difficulty) and I am waiting to see if a firmware upgrade will sort this out.
 

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