What a pain. We had some footage taken by a widescreen DVcorder, and I went to DVD-ify it. My iBook's iMovie 4 couldn't handle it, and would squish it all up to a 4:3 ratio. The Mac Mini has iMovie 5, which did great if you told it to use widescreen when you create the project -- done by clicking a small arrow on the new file [naming] dialog and selecting widescreen.

But then, even though iDVD 5 would preview in widescreen, the DVD I burned squished things to 4:3 again. Feeeee-uhn.

Luckily I Googled up a page called Anamorphic Widescreen in iDVD 5. Apparently iDVD is writing a bit to the DVD that tells players to "Prohibit letterbox". I suppose it might work on a widescreen TV, but apparently Apple didn't do a very good job real-world testing. Does it work as the software specification doc said it should, specifically to play video recorded in widescreen formats on widescreen TVs? I bet it does. Less good in the wild with a combination of hardware the specifications doc didn't catch.

Anyhow, how to fix widescreen on iDVD 5? From the site linked to, above:

Daniel Rogers was having problems with widescreen DVDs and apparently stumbled on this page and got these techniques to work. He then got ambitious and created a new perl script which automatically fixes DVD images. It's a pretty cool script: it copies the IFO files from a mounted DVD image, determines which ones are encoded as widescreen, repairs the appropriate bits of those files, and creates a new, burnable DVD image. He doesn't have a web page up at the moment, but you can get the script from his server at www.phasevelocity.org/idvd-ws-fix. I haven't had an opportunity to try it yet, but the script looks reasonable enough (although I don't speak perl).

I can add that it works very well, whether one can speak Perl or not. I might hack up a GUI if I bump into 4 spare hours. The best part here is that the script creates a .dmg file you can burn in Disk Utility, so the fix is free and Free.

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