Because DVD Catalyst 4 was created to eliminate as many clicks as possible for whatever you use it for, it has the capability of removing black borders automatically. All similar programs require you to either select the proper black-bar removal method for each item you convert, or you can only convert one thing at a time. DVD Catalyst’s automatic black bar removal options create and scan screenshots of the actual video for black areas, and with a comparison of the data found in the screenshots, it removes the black borders, regardless of what kind of video you are converting.
Settings that control this behavior are located in the Borders tab found in Global Settings (Power User Mode)
Regardless of what black bar removal mode you have selected (except for “no cropping”), DVD Catalyst will scan the video when you start the conversion for black borders. For a decent accuracy vs. speed ratio, it creates 5 low-quality screenshots.
Each screenshot is scanned for black areas, and if the data collected is considerably different from the others (such as in the first screenshot) it will be ignored. From the data that is kept, the information is used for the black border removal process.
The above screenshot shows in red of what portion of the movie is considered video, and, in this case we had the Droid 2 profile selected with the “remove completely from device” option, displays in green the portion of the video that is actually kept. When the conversion is completed, we end up with full-screen video on the Droid 2
Leaves the video as is, so if there are black borders in the video, they will be converted as well. Useful if you only convert video files that do not have any black borders.
Remove from file:
Removes just the black borders from the video portion if there are any.
Completely remove from device:
Removes the black borders from the video if there are any, and then removes part of the sides of the video to make the video full screen.
Partially remove from device:
This option sits in the middle of the previous 2. Black borders will be removed from the video if there is any, and then parts of the video will be removed to make the video almost full screen. Basically half of what will be cut off with “remove from device” will be removed with this setting. You will still have black borders, and you will lose part of the video, but only half of what you would otherwise have to deal with. More screen-filling without losing too much of the video.
Full screen stretch:
Removes the black borders from the video (if there are any) and then it stretches the video to make it full screen.
Some conversion tools call this “Anamorphic”, but in the end, it makes people still look funny.
Add black bars to fit resolution:Removes the black bars from the video if there are any, and then adds new ones to make the video the selected screen resolution. Some devices and video formats (3gp) only support specific screen sizes, and this ensures the files are compatible. The reason why the bars are removed first is to make sure the entire border-area is the same black. Many movies have a slightly tinted black border, and by adding a new one to that, video player devices will not be able to determine the border correctly.
As mentioned in the beginning, the above applies to video in general.
DVD Catalyst’s approach in detection of black borders is unique in that rather than using fixed border-size specifications (which often leaves small borders, or cuts off too much from the video) it creates screenshots and actually “looks” at these screenshots to determine what needs to be removed. However, regardless of what setting or method you use, there will always be a loss or change in the way the video looks in some way, either by still having black borders but the entire video portion, full-screen video with a portion of the video missing or full-screen video with a (slightly) distorted look.
Our personal preference goes towards “remove black bars from file” (which is why it is set as the default). On most video players, the video player application has a zoom function, which enables you to choose if you want to watch the video in its original form or full-screen.This video:
Will play like this:
And like this: