Copyright © 2024 Jiri Kriz,

Picture Format in Movie Maker

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Cropping and extension of images.

Windows Movie Maker ("MM") is a nice program to make slide shows with music and visual effects. Unfortunately, it is no longer supported by Microsoft and so one cannot expect any improvements.

One of the problems is that MM crops pictures to get one of the selected formats 4:3 or 16:9. My pictures are 3:2 (in fact 5472x3648) and I want to produce a show for my TV that is 16:9. When I chose the format 16:9 in MM, the pictures are cropped to 5472x3078.

  1. Image 3:2 cropped to 16:9
    Let us denote the width and height of the 3:2-image by w and h, respectively. It is w/h = 3/2. Let h' be the height of the cropped image such that h'/w = 9/16. It follows that h' = 9w/16 = (27/32) h = 0.84 h. So, the cropping looses 16% of the image height (8% on top and 8% on bottom) and 16% of the image content. The 16x9 area on the TV is completely filled.


    The red area is cut off the picture, the blue area fills completely the TV screen.
  2. Image 3:2 enhanced to 16:9
    In this approach we enhance the image width to w' such that w'/h = 16/9. We get w' = (32/27) w = 1.185185 w. The width is enhanced by 18%, i.e. giving 9% empty border on the left and on the right of the picture on the TV. No information from the picture is lost.


    The black border was added to the picture to fill completely the TV screen.

I have adopted the following approach. I let MM crop my pictures, which is OK in most cases. I check the top and bottom regions to check whether an inportant information (e.g. head, spire) has not been cut off. If it was, I add black borders to picture to get the 16:9 format. The width of the border is 5472 * 0.185185 / 2 = 506.7 = 507.

The border can be added manually using a program like GIMP. A new image with the width 5472 + 1013.33 = 6484, and the height 3648 is created with a black background. Then the picture 5472x3648 is copied onto it and exported as JPG.

An easier procedure is to use the program ImageMagic that can be installed from the internet. The executable of ImageMagic is called convert.exe and is located in the installation directory. In the command shell (I use cygwin on Windows 8.1) enter
PATH/convert.exe img_3x2.jpg -bordercolor Black -border 507x0 img_16x9.jpg
to generate img_16x9.jpg from img_3x2.jpg. PATH is the path to convert.exe.


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