Goal: I'd like to upscale a recording from a 1680 x 1050 (16:10 aspect ratio), 2010 Macbook Pro screen to 1920 x 1080 (16:9) for 'best-try' upload to a variety of target platforms (FB, YT, Vimeo etc).

Note: thanks to the crap graphics chip ('Black Screen of Death' NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M) on this laptop model, I cannot attach an external monitor.

Clearly, the largest 16:9 aspect ratio video I can natively capture on this screen is 1680 x 945, making the scaling to be applied = 1920 / 1680, or approximately 1.14 times the original.

Not bad, but taking a step back for a moment, am I at the time of recording truly stuck with 1680 x 945 (16:9) max, or are there other options in the pursuit of a 1920 x 1080 end result?

  • Would (for example) ffmpeg allow original recording at a resolution larger than the native screen size? (conceivable, as all user interaction is in the middle of the screen, the remainder simply providing visual context).
  • Can I otherwise trick my laptop into thinking it has a 1920 x 1080 screen attached?
  • is there some other possibility I should be aware of?

If you see a practical approach to a native 1920 x 1080 recording, some detail (for example ffmpeg command) would be helpful.

Operating System - OS X Yosemite - Version 10.10.5 (14F1021)


MacBook Pro (15-inch, Mid 2010) Processor 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7 Memory 8 GB 1067 MHz DDR Graphics Intel HD Graphics 288 MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M

1 Answer 1


Apparently, it may be possible to get the OS to output a higher resolution than the native one. It requires some config files tweaking. I can't vouch for this method.

If you just need to show, say, the middle third of the screen, then another possibility is to zoom in to provide a larger source for ffmpeg to upscale. Depending on the size of the area of interest, this might not make much difference.

Of course, I dare say, 1680 --> 1920 should be an easy upscale post-recording with hardly much difference in perceptual quality unless your items of interest are very small.

  • Amongst the Reddit chat (your first paragraph link) is mention of the resolution switching program QuickRes, but on closer examination they issue an explicit warning against changing to HiDPI modes (presumably also relevant to config file tweaking). Given my dodgy graphics chip (single point of failure nightmare), perhaps something I should just respect. The zoom feature, though good to know of, can't compete with direct SVG zooming in a browser. That leaves upscaling, which (Blender willing..) I'm now trying. Test? --> Discrete 1920 x 1080 PC screen. Dec 21, 2015 at 11:22

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