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Confused re aspect ratios

Terry Pinnell
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I've got myself thoroughly confused about aspect ratios, and would
appreciate some basic pointers please.

I want to show my finished DVDs on my widescreen LCD TV (PAL). So I've
set that in Tools|Options|Video Properties. I'm using Movie Maker 2 to
make the movie. All my imported AVI clips and JPG images have 16:9
(~1.77) aspect ratio. Typical examples from my current project (a
short aerial trip down the River Thames in London) are movie clips
size 832 x 470 (~1.76) and still images of 840 x 470 (~1.79).

One minor question at this point. Smaller JPGs, say 420 x 235, would
obviously be lower quality, but how about larger? IOW, does it matter
if I had used JPGs of 1680 x 940, in an attempt to get the best
quality picture from my source material?

OK, the WMV from the test movie looked fine in WMP. Circles remained
circles, the picture was widescreen. So far, so good.

I then used VSO's ConvertXToDVD (previously called DivXToDVD) to
convert and burn the DVD. That includes configuring the menu that the
program adds, such as editing the default menu title of 'My DVD', and
choosing an alternative JPG menu background image. The *position* of
the menu title cannot be altered.

The resulting DVD *movie* is fine, but the *menu* is wrong. It looks
like 4:3. And because of the 'overscan' effect on TVs (another issue,
but a real PITA which I'm surprised is tolerated so widely!) the DVD
menu title "Thames Tour" is therefore almost invisible off the top

So my key question is: can I be confident that's a problem with
ConvertXToDVD? Not something I've done wrongly in the preparation?

I thought the problem might be that none of the background image
options for the menu are actually for widescreen. There are 27 JPGs
offered, and their sizes are: 1600 x 1200 = 1.33, 768 x 576 = 1.33,
720 x 500 = 1.44, and 720 x 480 = 1.50. Most, like the default, are
for those last two 'intermediate' sizes. None at all are for 1.77
(16:9, widescreen).

So I made one of the 'right' aspect ratio myself, 720 x 405 = 1.77,
and added it to the choices. This is what the program looks like with
that selected:

As you see, it looks oddly shifted upward, even in the Preview.

But in the finished DVD the title is not even visible:

Terry, West Sussex, UK
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