What Happens with Different Aspect Ratios?

There are special considerations when you add subtitles to a track with its display set to one of the 16:9 options, especially if you have subtitles configured to provide buttons over video.

Normal Text Subtitles and 16:9

The text on the subtitles you create in DVD Studio Pro on 16:9 tracks will appear horizontally stretched when viewed on a 16:9 monitor. You can counteract this effect by choosing a narrow font. When a 16:9 track’s subtitle plays on a 4:3 monitor using either the letterbox or pan-scan method, the text will appear at its natural, nonstretched width. Additionally, the text is complete, even when you use the pan-scan mode.

Normal Overlay Graphic Subtitles and 16:9

Overlay graphics that you use for subtitles on 16:9 tracks must be anamorphic (horizontally compressed) to display properly when viewed on a 16:9 monitor. If you use nonanamorphic graphics for the subtitles, they will appear horizontally stretched when viewed on a 16:9 monitor.

When a 16:9 track with a graphic subtitle plays on a 4:3 monitor, the entire graphic appears, whether you use the letterbox or pan-scan mode. If you used an anamorphic graphic for the subtitle, it will appear horizontally squeezed when viewed on a 4:3 monitor.

Buttons over Video Using Text Buttons and 16:9

If you create subtitle buttons by typing text and using the text as the buttons on a 16:9 track, the highlights will work as expected when played on a 16:9 monitor.

How the track plays on a 4:3 monitor depends on whether you are using the letterbox or pan-scan mode.

  • If you play the 16:9 track on a 4:3 letterbox monitor: The highlights will not match the text, because the highlight areas have been scaled along with the video.
  • If you play the 16:9 track on a 4:3 pan-scan monitor: The highlights will match the text.

Based on this behavior, it is recommended that text buttons not be used when creating buttons over video on a 16:9 track that is set to play in the letterbox mode on a 4:3 monitor.

Buttons over Video Using Overlay Graphic Buttons and 16:9

If you create subtitle buttons by importing an overlay graphic and configuring it for a 16:9 track, the highlights will work as expected when played on a 16:9 monitor.

The highlights will not match the overlay graphic when played on a 4:3 monitor, either letterbox or pan-scan.

  • If you play the 16:9 track on a 4:3 letterbox monitor: The highlights will be expecting the overlay graphic to be compressed vertically about its center by 25 percent (matching what happens to the track’s video).
  • If you play the 16:9 track on a 4:3 pan-scan monitor: The highlights will be expecting the overlay graphic to have had 12.5 percent of its width removed from both the left and right edges (resulting in a total of 25 percent of the width being removed, matching what happens to the track’s video).

In both cases, you can create overlay graphics that compensate for these issues, but not one that will work for both 16:9 and 4:3 playback.

One solution is to create two sets of graphics—one for 16:9 monitors and the other for 4:3 monitors, either letterbox or pan-scan. If you place the graphics on separate subtitle streams at the same timecode, you can use a script to determine how the DVD player is configured and enable the appropriate stream.

See Creating Buttons over Video for more information about using buttons over video.