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Tip: quick viewing of anamorphic footage in VLC


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Since I don't always want to fire up my videos in an editing program when I do some quick viewings of the shots, here's how to use VLC for viewing footage in different aspect ratios.

On VLC in Windows it is easy:
- go to Preferences -> All -> Video and you'll find a field where you can enter custom aspect ratios, separated by commas. Keep in mind that VLC only wants whole numbers without decimals, so to get 2.66:1 and 3.55:1 ratios, you would type in: 266:1,355:100

On VLC in Mac OS X:
- There isn't unfortunately not anywhere to input this in the application interface, and I just spent some time figuring this out and I'm sharing the howto for you guys, since I couldn't find this information anywhere else on the net!

1) Locate the VLC preferences file: ~/Library/Preferences/org.videolan.vlc/vlcrc

Note: ~ equals your home folder for your user, e.g. /Users/myusername. The preferences file is created the first time you run VLC, like Caleb mentions further down in this forum thread. You might want to make a copy of this file before you edit it, just in case...

2) Look for the line that says (lines marked with a # character in front are comments that are ignored by VLC):

# Custom aspect ratios list (string)
#custom-aspect-ratios=

After that, just add a line that says:

custom-aspect-ratios=266:100,300:100,355:100

Then you will get the custom aspect ratios 266:100, 300:100 and 355:100 (2.66:1, 3:1, 3.55:1) to choose from in the VLC interface (Video -> Aspect ratio in the menu). Again, keep in mind that VLC won't accept decimals like 2.35:1 for custom aspect ratios. They must be entered like 235:100.

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Posted · Report post

cheers man. great bit of info. ow do we set it so a custom stretch out stays as default? if you are going through 50 individual video files and having to click 'video, aspect ratio, etc' for every clip it is very tiresome

OzNimbus likes this

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Posted · Report post


cheers man. great bit of info. ow do we set it so a custom stretch out stays as default? if you are going through 50 individual video files and having to click 'video, aspect ratio, etc' for every clip it is very tiresome




In newer versions of VLC there's a "lock aspect ratio" feature. If I drag & drop 50 files into VLC (or its playlist), it actually locks it to that aspect ratio. If you open them one by one I don't believe it does that. Cheers.

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Posted · Report post

I'm having trouble finding the preferences file. I'm running Lion, which might be the issue? I've already unhidden my user library, but there doesn't seem to be any VLC stuff in there. Where else should I look?

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Posted · Report post

Yes. These files are not shown in Finder.

If you are used to using UNIX command line, you can edit it through Terminal app. I take it you aren't used to command line since you ask the question - so here's another alternative:

1) Open Finder
2) In Finder menu, select Go -> Go to Folder (or use the keyboard shortcut shift+cmd+g)
3) Insert the following path into the dialog that pops up: ~/Library/Preferences/org.videolan.vlc
4) Now you should see the file named "vlcrc" in the Finder window
5) Drag and drop the file into some text editor that handles normal .txt files. OS X own TextEdit didn't do it for me, but most editors suitable for html and such should be able to open it up. TextMate works, and there's a 30-day trial on it: http://macromates.com/

6) For editing, just follow the steps I described in my earlier post

Good luck :)

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Posted · Report post

GREAT Tip! Thank you very, very much!!! :)

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Posted · Report post

I found it, actually. doesn't exist until you run VLC for the first time ;)

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Posted · Report post


I found it, actually. doesn't exist until you run VLC for the first time ;)




Ah yes, great addition to this guide! Yes, the preferences file will be written the first time you start VLC up. I edited the first post to mention this.

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Posted · Report post

Thanks so much for this post!

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Posted · Report post

if you have the latest version of VLC in PC or Mac (I use both)

it has aspect ratios you can just apply with out having to type in numbers

 

go to video menu pull down the menu and select aspect ratio and then choose what ratio you want !

Bingo - easy!!

Sébastien Farges likes this

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Posted · Report post

if you have the latest version of VLC in PC or Mac (I use both)

it has aspect ratios you can just apply with out having to type in numbers

 

go to video menu pull down the menu and select aspect ratio and then choose what ratio you want !

Bingo - easy!!

 

Yes, VLC has had those common film format aspect ratios for a long time.

 

But for viewing anamorphic footage shot on a 16:9 sensor you will need other aspect ratios that aren't available in that menu by default. As an example, An Iscorama 1.5x on a 16:9 sensor will equal 2.66:1. Shoot with a 2x anamorphic lens on a 16:9 sensor, and your footage will equal 3.55:1. This guide is about adding such custom aspect ratios that you need into that same menu.

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Posted · Report post

Do you know how to reroute the video feed from EOS Utility into VLC?

 

 

 

Since I don't always want to fire up my videos in an editing program when I do some quick viewings of the shots, here's how to use VLC for viewing footage in different aspect ratios.

On VLC in Windows it is easy:
- go to Preferences -> All -> Video and you'll find a field where you can enter custom aspect ratios, separated by commas. Keep in mind that VLC only wants whole numbers without decimals, so to get 2.66:1 and 3.55:1 ratios, you would type in: 266:1,355:100

On VLC in Mac OS X:
- There isn't unfortunately not anywhere to input this in the application interface, and I just spent some time figuring this out and I'm sharing the howto for you guys, since I couldn't find this information anywhere else on the net!

1) Locate the VLC preferences file: ~/Library/Preferences/org.videolan.vlc/vlcrc

Note: ~ equals your home folder for your user, e.g. /Users/myusername. The preferences file is created the first time you run VLC, like Caleb mentions further down in this forum thread. You might want to make a copy of this file before you edit it, just in case...

2) Look for the line that says (lines marked with a # character in front are comments that are ignored by VLC):

# Custom aspect ratios list (string)
#custom-aspect-ratios=


After that, just add a line that says:

custom-aspect-ratios=266:100,300:100,355:100

Then you will get the custom aspect ratios 266:100, 300:100 and 355:100 (2.66:1, 3:1, 3.55:1) to choose from in the VLC interface (Video -> Aspect ratio in the menu). Again, keep in mind that VLC won't accept decimals like 2.35:1 for custom aspect ratios. They must be entered like 235:100.

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Posted · Report post

Do you know how to reroute the video feed from EOS Utility into VLC?

 

I haven't used Canon EOS Utility, so I can't fully say how they have solved it. They might provide driver for using camera as capture device, although I kinda doubt it. If they have, when camera is connected it should show up under menu File --> Open Capture Device in VLC.

 

If not, rerouting that video requires figuring out the Canon USB protocol for the video stream. Perhaps someone has done it already and you can find some 3rd party tools / plugins for it.

 

I take it you want this for some kind of monitoring purpose. If Canon or any 3rd party doesn't provide a capture driver, it will be far easier to get an hdmi monitor or to get hdmi feed into computer with one of those black magic cards with hdmi input.

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I'll just mention that I now use this all the time. Once you set it up, it is just there, but it is incredibly nice to be able to watch my clips desqueezed straight from the camera, no rendering, no converting. Once I've dumped a card to my drive, I just open all the clips at once. That way, it loads them as a kind of "playlist" and it holds the modified aspect ratio from clip to clip so you only have to set it once. This simple little trick is a major time saver when you add it all up! Thanks again for the tip!

dahlfors likes this

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Posted · Report post

Not sure if this has been answered before,

but I'm using a 2x Kowa B&H anamorphic with VLC and the custom aspect ratios.

 

Does anyone else notice the 3.55 aspect ratio feels a little too squashed for 2x in VLC?  That the 3:1 actually feels normal?

Is there something I'm doing wrong?

 

I'm using a 58mm helios on a Canon 7D.

Thanks

E

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Most all anamorphics vary in ratio based on your focus point. The closer you are focused, the less you have to desqueeze. When focused at infinity with my Kowa, it is pretty much a true 2X desqueeze. When focused close, however (say, 5ft), it can be as little as a 1.5X desqueeze. 

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Posted · Report post

ah that makes sense. I had my diopter focusing at 3 feet away.
The only thing I dont understand is how does that work with monobloc anamorphics, ie higher end ones, that focus from infinity down to minimum close focus without a diopter? How do editors deal with that, do they have to adjust the desqueeze factor in the middle of a shot? or is it not a problem?
Thanks Caleb for the reply.

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Posted · Report post

I think (and I'm not 100% on this) . . . that is what is called the anamorphic "mumps". Higher end and newer lenses like those coming from Zeiss claim to have left the mumps behind, but older anamorphics (even the high end ones) had the mumps to varying degrees.

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Posted · Report post

I just use MPC-HC and the numpad 4 and 6 varies the width of the video (the aspect ratio is displayed at the bottom). It works when multiple files are dropped in.

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Posted · Report post

this might become a stupid question

 

but i can't find the org.videolan.vlc file in my Library/Preferences directory.

I just got a new macbook (mavericks) and want to paste the new aspect ratios in.  I know I did it once on my old one, and open/ran the VLC app like Caleb said but I still can't find it.  I tried searching for it, but no luck.

 

Can anyone help out? 

Thanks!!

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Posted · Report post

Okay so I answered my own question.

Basically it's in preferences within the VLC application now.  NOT in the .plist or Preferences folder as above.

Click preferences>show all>video>video auto scaling/custom aspect ratios.

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Posted · Report post

Hi guys i am hawing a issue in windows vlc after typing my ratio 2x squeeze which is 3.551 in vlc tools preference video force aspect ration after i save it my aspect ratio does not change at all or my 3.55:1 is not saved in video aspect ration many any ideas

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