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Thread: Using IfoEdit: Setting the 16:9 (16x9) Flag

  1. #1
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    Default Using IfoEdit: Setting the 16:9 (16x9) Flag

    The purpose of this guide:

    Many standalone DVD recorders on the market today have problems when recording widescreen content that may not be at first apparent. The problem occurs when a true widescreen input (not a letterboxed one) is fed into the DVD recorder, which then records it as if it were 4:3 (fullscreen) content without setting the 16:9 (16x9) flag.

    When playing back this recorded DVD on a 4:3 screen that has manual 16:9 switching (allowing to you manually vertically squeeze the picture), everything appears to be fine. But when playing it back on a widescreen monitor with a DVD player that automatically corrects the aspect ratio (eg. adds black bars to the left and right to make the 4:3 content appear correct), then what you get is something that looks like this:



    When it should actually look something like this:



    When playing back the DVD on a 4:3 monitor that doesn't have manual 16:9 mode switching, you may get something like this:



    When it should look like this:



    The reason why this is the case is because the recorded DVD's aspect ratio (the ratio of width/height) is set to 4:3 mode, instead of 16:9. Your DVD recorder has actually managed to record the widescreen content in an anamorphic fashion without setting the anamorphic/16:9 flag.


    Solutions:

    The simplest solution to solve this problem for your widescreen display is to setup your standalone DVD player's "TV Output" setting to "4:3" (either pan-scan or letterbox will do). The problem with this approach, other than the fact that you have to keep on switching between this setting, is that some DVD players (eg. computer based software DVD players like PowerDVD, and certain "big brand" DVD players) either don't have this option or the options doesn't actually work. And if you are making this DVD for a friend or you wish to lend it to others, then it is troublesome to expect them to make the same switch on their DVD players. There are no simple solutions if your TV is 4:3 and it doesn't have manual 16:9 switching (other than to get a new TV set).

    The solution outline in this guide is one that will allow you to change the recorded DVD's mode from 4:3 to 16:9, or otherwise referred to as "setting the 16:9 flag". This can be done using a free tool called IfoEdit.

    Because you'll be editing files on a DVD, it is recommended that you do the following first:

    1. Use a DVD rewritable disc to initially make the recording in your standalone DVD player
    2. Finalize the disc
    3. Copy the files from the disc to your computer and then proceed to edit these copied files

    This guide assumes you have done the above.


    Software you'll need:

    1. IfoEdit


    Instructions:
    1. The DVD files you copied from the recorded DVD should look something like this (you may have more or less files than shown in the screenshot):



      You can try to play back these files within a software DVD player like PowerDVD (in PowerDVD, use the "Open DVD files on hard disk drive" option), and you should immediately see playback aspect ratio problem, and the "Keep Aspect Ratio" option (that normally allows you to set if 16:9 anamorphic content should be displayed normally or vertically stretched) won't work.

      There might be several files you need to edit within IfoEdit to set the 16:9 flag. The first file is usually VTS_01_0.IFO (VIDEO_TS.IFO and VIDEO_TS.VOB are the files for the menu, and all the BUP files are BackUP files for all the IFO files). There might also be VTS_02_0.IFO, VTS_03_0.IFO and so on - these indicate more than one title set on your DVD (eg. if you have recorded more than one show/clip using the DVD recorder). You will need to edit each and every title set (IFO file) that has the 16:9 problem, following the instructions below on each of the IFO files/title sets.

    2. In IfoEdit, click on the "Open" button and open the VTS_01_0.IFO file

    3. IfoEdit should now display the information for this file. Look for the line shown in the screenshot below (marked in red), notice that it specifies the "4:3" aspect ratio for this title set.



    4. Double-click on this line to edit it. A new window should open, and it is here that you can select the correct (16:9) aspect ratio for your widescreen DVD. You should also select (check) the "Automatic Pan&Scan" and "Automatic Letterboxed" options. Enabling these options will allow your DVD player to set how this DVD should be played.



      When you have finished editing, press "OK" to close the window.

    5. Click on the "Save" button to save your edited IFO file, and select "Yes" when IfoEdit asks if you wish to create a BUP (BackUP) file.

    6. Now repeat steps 2 thru 5 for each title set you need to modify. When you are finished with these title sets, you will then need to open up VIDEO_TS.IFO, and then repeat the changes for each of the title sets you have modified - it will be fairly obvious where you need to make the changes. For example, the screenshot below shows a DVD with 3 title sets that need to be changed.



    7. After you have finished editing all your IFO files, you can close IfoEdit and try to play back these files again within a software DVD player like PowerDVD (in PowerDVD, use the "Open DVD files on hard disk drive" option), and you should immediately find that the content plays back at the correct aspect ratio, and that the "Keep Aspect Ratio" option now works properly.

    8. Now all you need to do is to burn your copied and edited DVD files to a DVD disc, using Nero Burning ROM or a similar DVD-Video burning software. And we're done.
    Last edited by admin; 18 Jan 2007 at 03:54 PM

  2. #2
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    Unhappy-2 flag 16:9

    For some reason changing the aspect ratio flag in IFOedit to 16:9 does not work. Clicking "ok" after setting the flag leaves the line of video MPEG-2 unchanged, Any ideas why this is not working please?

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    Did you do the step 5 to save the change?

    Regards

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    IMHO, it is easier to change the 16:9 flag with PgcEdit. Just right-click on any PGC of the domain and select "Domain Streams Attributes". The changes will be applied to the IFO of the current VTS and in the copy of the streams attributes in the VMGM (in VIDEO_TS.IFO).
    With IfoEdit, you have to do the two modifications by hand, and IfoEdit has a lot of bugs in its GUI.
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    Default IFOedit

    Thanks Ben. We click "ok" after setting the ratios but the VTS file remains unchanged whereas previously we saw it change over from 4:3 to 16:9. Clicking "save" makes no difference. It is as if the programe just isnt working, and we have downloaded it four time now.

    It was fantastic when it worked!

    BTW how do you delete the programme? It doesnt show up in the remove file listing.

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    Default converting adapted flagged files

    Have found out what went wrong and have successfully flagged files to 16:9.

    We now have adapted video filesand audio file on hard drive. But want to burn dvd from DVD workshop 2 for dual layer facility.How do we get the adapted files in a format ( eg single .avi) to import into Workshop 2?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewandeler
    I'm editing in Avid and exporting to 16:9 Quicktime files. Then adding those quicktime files to Nero which then (for some godforsaken reason) will squeeze or stretch the video so that it is neither 4:3 nor 16:9. I would assume it's more like a 14:9. Because it either has letterbox on the top or the sides no matter what I do. So I burned the DVD and followed your steps. Then I played the TS video back on my computer with Power DVD. This time it still had Nero's stupid added letterbox but now it was playing extra wide. What looks to me like a 2.35:1. Definately wider than my original Quicktime files. I played it on the DVD and it looked exactly like the first copy. With a 14:9 letterbox video which looks squeezed (horizontally). So your changes had absolutely no effect on my DVD players ability to play the DVD. To triple check I put the DVD back into my computer and opened the files and sure enough the Ifoedit software says "16:9" Pan and Scan, Letterbox etc. So like I said. It doesn't work. It plays extra wide on Power DVD and exactly the same as before on my DVD player.
    The above quote comes from a the comments section of the article on Digital Digest, which I will reply to here.

    Dewandeler did you encode your QuickTime MOV files as anamorphic widescreen, or are they just plain old widescreen? I have a feeling that the problem you are experiencing is not exactly related to this guide, and that this guide might not actually be relevant to your problem.

    Is the native/proper aspect ratio of your video 1.85:1?

    And when when you say you loaded it in Nero, is that Nero Burning ROM or Nero Vision?

    If your QuickTime files were anamorphic with an internal flag set by Avid/QuickTime to indicated this, and let's say you load this file into Nero Vision. Nero Vision might fail to understand or read the internal flag, and so when loaded in. If the aspect ratio of your video file it taller than 4:3 (eg. more like 5:4), then setting Nero Vision to "4:3" mode (in the video configuration section) might mean that Nero adds black borders to the left and right to make the video 4:3. If you set the option to 16:9, then it will add black borders to the top and bottom as well. Neither of these will look right, and it's mainly because the input video's resolution is one that Nero Vision fails to treat properly (this is more of a Nero Vision bug, which seems to add borders to the left and right in 16:9 mode, when it shouldn't).

    So assuming the native AR of your video is 1.85:1 (or thereabouts), then my suggestion is that in Avid, export your video to a resolution of 720x480 (if it is an NTSC clip, ie. it has a framerate of 23.976/24/29.97/30 FPS or multiples of these) or 720x576 (PAL clip, with framerate of 25 or a multiple of this), with the same options as you used before (16:9 anamorphic QuickTime). Now load the video into Nero Vision and use the 4:3 mode (in the preview, the video should look too tall). Encode it to a set of DVD files, and then edit the DVD IFO files using this IfoEdit method. Test again in PowerDVD, and hopefully, it should look correct now with the "keep aspect ratio" option turned on.

    I'm still not 100% convinced that Nero Vision treats input videos properly (Nero Vision seems to always want to add a top/bottom border to the videos I've tested, even in 720x576), so perhaps using another DVD authoring tool is a better idea.

    I like TMPGEnc DVD Author (TDA) - when you load a video file in it, it will actually ask you to specify the AR of the video file with a preview to show you. TDA doesn't support making anamorphic DVDs though, but you can make one yourself with the help of this IfoEdit method:

    1. Load in your anamorphic video file, and select the PAL or NTSC 4:3 AR mode. Encode it as a DVD as usual in TDA (output to folder)

    2. Use this IfoEdit method to set the 16x9 flag

    3. Test in PowerDVD
    Last edited by admin; 5 Nov 2007 at 11:30 PM

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dewandeler
    I read your thread but it won't let me respond on the other site so I'm responding here. You have the right info on the other page. Maybe Quicktime knows its anamorphic but Nero doesn't. But I thought on this page or another page on this site it said that Ifoedit could fix Nero DVD's. And that is fix the DVD after Nero adds the letterbox on top or the bars on the side. It seems what is happening is when I open the IFO file on my computer it shows the menu, I click the video and it plays the MPEG too wide. This is because Nero added the letterbox to the MPEG (distorting my original quicktime). When I open the MPEG directly with Power DVD (bypassing the IFO file) it plays it stretched (vertically) just like the DVD player. I spent all day yesterday trying every possible combination of numbers like 720X480, 720X540, 950X540, 648X486, 864X486, 640X480 and more and Nero does the same thing every time. I can't even get the 4:3 (640X480) quicktime files to fill the screen (because nero adds the letterbox). I set Nero to 4:3 and I load a 4:3 video and Nero adds the letterbox. This makes no sense to me. So it sounds now like Ifoedit cannot fix Nero DVDs. I would rather not have to get new DVD software since I already paid for Nero and its been too long to get a refund. But if I have to it's possible. Is there any free DVD authoring software out there that knows how to handle anamorphic 16:9 (I'm sure there isn't)? Or do I have to buy professional software and how much would that cost ($600)?
    This IfoEdit method is not really to "fix" whatever bugs Nero Vision has, but rather, to allow anamorphic DVDs to be made after authoring in Nero Vision or TDA, and also to fix your DVD recorder recordings of widescreen content (most recorders don't allow you to set the anamorphic flag, and so you end up recording widescreen 16:9 content in 4:3 format).

    However, from some testing, I've found that when loading in existing VOB (and possibly MPEG-2) sources, Nero doesn't suffer from the same problem. So a solution might be to use a freeware MPEG-2 encoder (or to output to MPEG-2 in Avid, if possible) to encode the files first to a DVD compliant MPEG-2 stresm, and then load them up in Nero Vision, author and then edit with IfoEdit to add the 16:9 flag. I tested using DVD Flick, and it worked well (DVD Flick is good because it allows you to manually override the AR or the input video - I set it to 4:3 to retain the anamorphic video) - unfortunately, DVD Flick is a big buggy.

  9. #9
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    Take care. With IfoEdit, you change the AR in the IFO files only. It is also in the VOB files. Theoretically, the IFOs have precedence, but some players cannot display a 16:9 video properly if the VOB files are flagged as 4:3.
    To patch the VOB files, you can use DVDPatcher.
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    What about the menu flagging, I suppose the same goes for that as well you need to set the flags right if you have 16:9 menus?

    Do we need to set the 16:9 flag for the menu at the VIDEO_TS.IFO file as well? I've authored a DVD in Encore having 16:9 menus, but the flag at the VIDEO_TS.IFO was as 4:3 like in the sample image (see the attachment) I have here for some reason. In the VTS_01_0.IFO etc. files the menu (even though they don't even have menus, so why is that?) aspect ratio setting was 4:3 as well...

    PS. can the VOB file aspect ratio settings (as r0lZ referred to) be changed also with PGCEdit?
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    The menu AR is independent of the title AR. You don't need to change it. Furthermore, if you have menu buttons in a menu, you cannot safely change the AR, as the button highlights will be at the wrong position.

    I don't know Encore, but perhaps it has an AR setting for the menus, and you have specified 16:9 only for the AR of the movie.

    If there are no menus in VTS 1, 2, etc, the menu AR is not used, and must be 4:3.

    You cannot change the VOB AR with PgcEdit. Use DVDPatcher.
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    Ok, so the VTS Menu attributes does stand for the DVD Menu attributes of the current VTS we are viewing right? What then is the actual "Video Manager Menu attributes" of the VIDEO_TS.IFO ?

    As you said "If there are no menus in VTS 1, 2, etc, the menu AR is not used, and must be 4:3.", then this explains why it's like that for some of the VTS that don't have menus, fine.

    In Encore you are able to choose the aspect ratio for the menu, or it actually recognizes it by itself and it checks the 16:9 option for it. But in another authored DVD project of mine, there is no 4:3 content in it at all, no 4:3 menus or 4:3 timelines, but only 1 VTS and the menus of it and the timeline of it are all in 16:9. Why there is still the "Video Manager Menu attributes" flagged as 4:3 (being the Video Menu Manager attributes in the VIDEO_TS.IFO)? And as it is so, would it then be OK to change the aspect ratio flag of it to 16:9 (letterbox) ?

    I've also viewed other commercial titles with IFOedit and if they have 16:9 menus in them overall, their Video Menu Manager attributes of VIDEO_TS.IFO are also flagged as 16:9.

    I would appreciate a lot if someone could clarify this...? Thanks.
    Last edited by joybreaker; 25 Apr 2008 at 01:35 AM Reason: typos

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    VIDEO_TS.IFO holds the "Title Menu". It is global to the whole DVD, and should theoretically contains the menu that allows you to jump to any title in the DVD. It is almost never used that way in commercial DVDs, but you can certainly create a Title Menu with Encore.

    If Encore can flag the menu as 16:9, then it's because there is a 16:9 flag in the MPEG file you provide. Of course, the MPEG file must have been encoded with that flag correctly set. Encore cannot automatically recognize the AR if the menu is made of still frames, as they do not have AR flags.

    Again, if a menu has no video content (and therefore no VOB file) it must be in 4:3. Otherwise, the AR depends of the authoring you did. You cannot change it with PgcEdit (or IfoEdit) if it has menu buttons, or the highlights will be at wrong places.
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    r0lZ.

    Any theory why the other commercial titles which have 16:9 menus have the VIDEO_TS.IFO Video Manager Menu flagged as 16:9 even if they have menu as their DVD TITLE? How come it is possible not screwing things up if the menu can't indentify itself as 16:9 if it is a still image? To be exact, DVD TITLE is the one where you get when you press the TITLE MENU button when viewing DVD from your remote controller, right? Well, at least in a test case the IFOedit recognized a intro video as the DVD TITLE from the IFOEdit's "DVD play" mode as I pushed there the DVD TITLE button, but when I watch the same DVD with normal DVD player the TITLE MENU button takes me to the actual main menu instead...? What's the logic in that?

    Anyhow, I tested to change the VIDEO_TS.IFO from my own project's VIDEO_TS.IFO file to that 16:9 and it didn't at least in the IFOEdit's "DVD play" mode really change the button highlights at all? And this current menu is my first play on dvd and the TITLE BUTTON action takes always the user to this menu. After all, it really is a 16:9 menu, even though originally the IFOEdit has the 4:3 flag for it for some reason. IS it ok to change this Video Manager Menu attribute flag if it doen't mess up the DVD (at least how the dvd seems to work in a player) when you try to re-play it after the change? Meaning, is it against the rules and "not legal" to do so?

    Hope you bear with me, trying to just get this cleared up once for all.
    Last edited by joybreaker; 25 Apr 2008 at 04:08 AM

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    Yes, the Title menu is accessed by clicking the Title Menu button. Most of the time, the Title menu PGC is just a dummy, that calls the Root menu of the main VTS. In this case, there are no difference between the Root Menu and the Title Menu buttons.

    In commercial DVDs, the other PGCs of the VMGM are usually filled with intros, logos, FBI warnings, and junk, but rarely with real menus with buttons. Of course, if the VMGM has some video content and even if it doesn't have real menus with buttons, the AR flags are meaningful. It's only if it has no video content at all (no VIDEO_TS.VOB) that the flags are meaningless, and must be 4:3 to be standard compliant.

    I haven't said that a DVD cannot identify a still image as 16:9. It's the purpose of the flags in the IFO, and the AR is also written in the VOB when the still image is converted to VOB format. I just wanted to say that the authoring program (Encore in your case) cannot guess the aspect ratio of a still image, and therefore that you have to specify it manually when you build your project.

    Changing the AR flag of the VMGM has probably no effect on your DVD because your menu is authored in a VTSM domain. The VMGM probably contains just nothing, or only dummies that call the VTSM menu.

    If you want to understand that, I strongly suggest you use PgcEdit instead of IfoEdit, as PgcEdit offers a much more clear view of the organization of the DVD, and it can simulate the DVD playback. It will be (relatively) easy for you to understand what happens when you click the Title menu, and you will see exactly which PGCs are played and when, and in which domains they reside. Furthermore, you should understand that I prefer to explain the DVD insides using the terminology and the GUI of PgcEdit. I am its author, after all! (BTW, IfoEdit is not at all a bad program. But it is an extremely low-level monitor, difficult to understand and to master, especially for a newbie.)

    Again, you cannot change the AR of a menu with buttons. You will easily see if the menu has buttons with PgcEdit (but it's impossible in IfoEdit.) In the PGC selector pane, a PGC with buttons has the number of buttons in its label. For example VTSM 2, LU 1 (en), 3 (1:03) 4b means that the third PGC of the first language unit of the VTSM menu of VTS 2 has video content (duration 1:03) and has 4 buttons. You will know for sure that you can't change the AR of VTSM 2.

    BTW, to change the AR of a domain with PgcEdit, just right-click on any PGC of that domain, and select "Domain Stream Attributes". The flags will be modified in the IFO of the current VTS and in VIDEO_TS.IFO, in one operation. (You have to edit both files with IfoEdit.)
    Last edited by r0lZ; 25 Apr 2008 at 05:49 AM
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