Properly Cropping and Resizing Non-HD Video Game Footage
- Unless otherwise noted, screenshots have been taken with the USBAV-191 ADS Tech Video Xpress.
- In the video screenshots, black areas outside the active picture area have been flood-filled orange to make edges easier to see.
When recording footage from VHS or tapes or analog camcorders, cropping and resizing is quite easy. Just follow the guidelines below:
However, when recording non-HD video games, things become more complicated. This is because, as the Lessons Learned Through Recording VCR and Video Game Footage With Two Different PC Recording Devices article points out, non-HD video games don't always use the classic 10:11/40:33 PARs. Additionally, non-HD video games may have a significant portion of the picture surrounded by black bars, and these black bars should be cropped.
When we are dealing with non-HD video game footage, the first thing to do is to crop out the black bars in the picture. The following rules and guidelines should be followed:
Additionally, when determining the PAR of non-HD video game footage, it is helpful to look at:
With these rules and guidelines in mind, let's look at some video game footage and how to properly crop and resize it.
Perfect Dark (2010, Xbox 360)
Below is a screenshot of the 2010 Xbox 360 version of the 2000 Nintendo 64 game Perfect Dark:
Fully removing the orange border results in cropping 7 from the left, 2 from the top, and 9 from the right. This leaves a 704x478 picture. However, since 704x478 is so close to 704x480, it would probably make the most sense to simply crop 7 from the left and 9 from the right to leave a 704x480 picture. As for the PAR, since 704x478 is above 704x474, this footage has a PAR of 10:11.
Metroid: Other M (2010, Wii)
Below is a screenshot of the 2010 Wii game Metroid: Other M:
Although this is not a screenshot of the game itself, it is a screenshot of the wrist strap warning shown before every Wii game, and the picture area of this warning is the maximum picture area used by the game. Fully removing the orange border results in cropping 8 from the left, 58 from the top, 1 from the right, and 59 from the bottom to leave a 711x363 picture. However, given the cropping rules and guidelines and the fact that the extreme outer rows of this picture do not contain useful information, it would make more sense to crop 8 from the left, 60 from the top, 0 from the right, and 60 from the bottom, which would leave a 712x360 picture. This footage also has a 10:11 PAR.
Perfect Dark (2000, Nintendo 64)
Below is a screenshot of the original Perfect Dark:
Fully removing the orange border results in cropping 5 from the left, 22 from the top, 13 from the right, and 22 from the bottom to leave a 702x436 picture. However, given cropping rules #1 and #3, it would make more sense to crop 4 from the left and 12 from the right to leave a 704x436 picture.
But what is the PAR of this footage? Below is a side-by-side comparison of the Nintendo 64 (N64) version with the Xbox 360 version (the Xbox 360 screenshot was created by combining screenshots from the USBAV-191 ADS Tech Video Xpress for the upper 478 rows and the ATI Theater HD 750 for the bottom 2 rows):
Scaling the N64 Perfect Dark to 480 rows shows that the N64 and Xbox 360 version match up about the same vertically. However, the N64 Perfect Dark is showing more information horizontally; this is easier to see when the Xbox 360 screenshot is not being flipped:
So, in order to find the PAR of the N64 footage, it needs to be determined how large a correctly-proportioned version of the Xbox 360 screenshot has to be to get the objects in the two versions to have the same width. First up is the Xbox 360 screenshot resized to 640x480:
As can be seen, 640x480 is too small. However, if the Xbox 360 screenshot is resized to 648x486, the following is obtained:
The middle section of the wall now has the same width in both pictures. This means that the PAR of the N64 version is 436:486, which simplifies to 218:243.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (2003, Nintendo GameCube)
Below is a screenshot of the 2003 Nintendo GameCube game The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (TWW):
Fully removing the orange border results in cropping 21 from the left and 23 from the right, leaving a resolution of 660x480. Since 660 is divisible by 4, these croppings need no further adjusting.
For the PAR, below is a screenshot from the instruction booklet for TWW [1 page 13]:
The first thing to do is to create a horizontal comparison between the original screenshot and the instruction booklet screenshot:
Next is a vertical comparison:
The pictures seem to match up both horizontally and vertically. This means TWW appears to have a 1:1 PAR, which further means that no resizing is required.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl (2008, Wii)
Below is a screenshot of the 2008 Wii game Super Smash Bros. Brawl (SSBB):
Fully removing the orange border results in cropping 16 from the left and 17 from the right, leaving a resolution of 671x480. However, given cropping rules #1 and #3, it would make more sense to crop 16 from the left and 16 from the right to leave a 672x480 picture.
For the PAR, below is a screenshot from the instruction booklet for SSBB [2 page 14]:
If you look closely at the instruction booklet screenshot, two things become apparent. These are:
Given the two pieces of information above, one might reasonably assume that the widescreen mode of SSBB shows less information on the top and bottom. However, as the comparison picture below between the non-widescreen and widescreen modes shows, this is not the case:
So, the first thing to do is to determine how much of the 480-row height is covered by the instruction booklet screenshot. As it turns out, the instruction booklet screenshot seems to take up 462 of the 480 rows. This is shown below (the blurry part of the picture is an upscaled portion of the instruction booklet screenshot):
Something that is apparent from the above picture is that, as is, the recorded SSBB screenshot is too wide. So, the next task is to determine how much the recorded SSBB screenshot needs to be squished to achieve the same proportions as the instruction booklet screenshot. Through some trial and error, it can be determined that the 672x480 recorded SSBB screenshot needs to resized to roughly 630x480 to achieve the same proportions as the instruction booklet screenshot. This is shown below:
Based on the previous pictures, the SSBB footage seems to have a PAR of roughly 630:672, which simplifies to 15:16. This means that the SSBB footage should be resized to at least 672x512 to both maintain full detail and achieve the correct proportions.