Cinemascope-Friendly skin. What to change?

I have been waiting for ages that someone launches a Cinemascope-Friendly Skin, but it looks like that's not going to happen in XBMC, so I thought I could make the changes myself.

The problems is known. I have a 2.40:1 Projector Screen, the projector delivers the image in it's native 16:9 Format but the projector is setup to fill the cinemascope screen with the cinemascope movie and the black bars are "projected" outside the screen (since they are black, it's no problem).

The problem is that XBMC and its skins outsput the menu in 16:9 format. That means I have three solutions:

1- To deliver the menu at the fixed height of my screen, meaning black bars to the sides (not good)
2- To deliver the menu at the fixed width of my screen, meaning part of the menu is projected outside of the screen (fatal)
3- To design a skin and customize XBMC to deliver a 16:9 menu with black bars on top and bottom outside the screen (perfect!)

I would need some rough guidelines about what/where needs to be change in a skin in order to show all its data in a 1920x800 window (with black bars up and down), and of course without stretching/distorting the image

The idea sounds easy, but I guess there's some complexity on it.

I don't need a fancy skin, so I would start modifying the easiest skin (which?)

I hope someone can help me on that... Smile


I have been checking the "Skinning Manual" and found the following option in addon.xml

<res width="1280" height="960" aspect="4:3" default="true" folder="960p"/>

First question (before I start trying things blindly).. what attributes can I define as "aspect"?

Would this work? --> <res width="1920" height="800" aspect="2.40:1" default="true" folder="scope"/>

(I would asume that the attributes of the aspect tag are predefined, but I can't find which domains it can take)

I assume that after that, I would need to change the position of the windows and controls... now comes the next question.. are the <posx> and <posy> tags absolute or relative to the "window" defined in addon.xml?

I know those are basic questions, and many people will find them boring.. but any help would be really helpful Smile
Probably better off asking in Skin Development.
Dammit! I totally missed that sub forum.

Can a helpful mod move this thread to the skin development sub forum?

I Would Love to See a Cinemascope Skin. So can anybody please help deibit and answer his questions
OMG i want this to happen soooooooo badly! I'm willing to help with any art. Or whatever anyone needs just contact me.
by they way you will need a background process to size all fanart to "fit" "stretch" "fill" or something.

other than that the design should be easy enough. I already suggested this to marquisqui on the aeon mq5 suggestion thread. I'll be surprised if anything happens.

dude this would save people so much money on those lumagen video proccessors. those things cost 1200 dollars. People at the avsforums would go nutso.

here is a lumagen in action. I will probably get one but i think your gonna have hit the non-linear stretch button even when you back out of a movie. (which sucks)
If you need black bars in the top and bottom.
Try if you can find the WIP skin called Veda.
I'm on my phone now so can't link you.
Image [RELEASE] Metroid
Image [RELEASE] IrcChat
you here that! WIP skin called veda. what is WIP?

oh massiv your are a developer with that front? Well be famous make the first cinemascope skin. It will need Adjustable fanart, osd sizing presets like 4 or 5.

just get drunk set your pc res to 1920x800 and go to town. Let me know if you need any help. All I got is art skills.

heres the link though.

btw i will definitly try it out. THX man
tried it. how does it have black bars though? I'll pass on that skin because it doesn't come close to confronting the problems with a Constant height setup for home projectors.
Ellisd25 a WIP is a Work In Progress (unfinished). And it is a 720p skin so that is of course not an out of the box solution. But it would be 'easy' to cut the top and bottom bar off. Beats making a new one just for the aspect ratio.

Deibit, it looks plausible. I'm just not sure on decimals in the aspect, might be 12:5 instead.
You could copy and rename an existing skin. Change the settings and 720p folder name on it and see if it runs.

Or wait for people to come back from holiday.
Image [RELEASE] Metroid
Image [RELEASE] IrcChat
Yeah I thought it was a out the box solution when you mentioned it. I'm no skinner. I wish I was.

I think the ratio would be 21:9 BTW
I feel your Cinemascope pain. For years I have used a competing product because it's skins looked right in 1920x800 even though it's interface was not as nice. I finally decided to start poking around under the hood in XBMC to see if I was up to working over skins and found the skinning engine fairly easy to understand.

The biggest challenge I see for skinners with CIH setups, is there are four types and all require different skinning techniques. There is the straight 1920x816 or 800 CIH that views 2:35 content native with the black bars out of the screen area and 1.85 content is scaled down to ~75% size to fit in the CIH screen. Then there are the projector memory zoom CIH guys where the image is effectively 1920x800 for 2.40 content but the projector zooms back out (or in depending on how you look at it) to show 1.85 content at 1920x1080 to keep full resolution. This requires the skin to react differently based on the content. As XBMC sees 2.40 content packaged in 1920x1080 frames as 1.85 (like MKV rips from Blu Ray), the user has to manually update their entire movie db to label the 2.40 films as 2.40 or the skin won't be able to adjust correctly. Next, there are the anamorphic lens CIH setups where the skin would have to be squished from the sides so that the lens could expand it to full screen correctly. (this is actually fairly easy once you create a 2.40 skin). Finally there are the guys that create a custom resolution on their PC like 1920x800. This requires a competely different way of adjusting or writing skins. Since those of us with 140" projected CIH screens are in the vast minority, we continue to not be worth the work involved to achieve the above.

All that said, MOST of the skins I have messed with adapt fairly easily with a few simple adjustments. A good place to start is by using the <animation> tag to zoom. By separating the background stuff like fan art and opaque overlays and keeping them 1920x1080 or 1280x720 they can be left mostly alone. Things like dialogs can be zoomed then using the screen center. (<animation effect="zoom" start="100" end="74.075" center="960,540" condition="!StandardSkin">Conditional</condition>). Other things like menus that come in from the side have to be zoomed with a different x center and <topx> offset of an additional 140 that is also conditional based on whether you want the skin to display at 1.85, 2.35 or 2.4. I have done just this with different parts of different skins in the last couple weeks and it works. Sometimes things have to be adjusted to look right on both screen ratios, but I try to adjust in a way that does just that. Here are some screenshots from Aeon Nox that show some of this.

Image Image

Image Image

Image Image

As I won't use XBMC to view pictures, play music, watch online content, do the laundry, mop the floor, or wash the dog on my projection system, I won't be editing any skins past the config menus and the video playback tree. Don't ask me to do it. What I will do is share what I have done when I clean it up a bit so that there is a starting point for all that other stuff and a couple of decent CIH video skins.

I am a believer in open source communities, and as such feel the need to contribute something to this cause as I am now using it. I will post back here with a future link to where you can get the Confluence240 and Aeon240 skins once I have posted them. I waited YEARS for options to appear for us CIH users. Sometimes you get tired of waiting and have to just do it yourself. Hopefully the coding strategies used here will be picked up by other skinners to make other skins easy to mod for CIH.
DoghouseCinema, have you made progress on the CIH skin? Please post a link to it, even if it is incomplete.
Since those of us with 140" projected CIH screens are in the vast minority, we continue to not be worth the work involved to achieve the above.

Any chance there has been any progress on this?

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