A Few Words About A few words about...™ Grey's Anatomy -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Oct 11, 2008.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I've never been one of those able to schedule a weekly viewing of a TV series, and when recorded for later viewing usually don't get to them, which is why annual releases of top series are helpful.

    Grey's Anatomy was a show that I happened upon during its first season, and found it to be well written, played, photographed -- everything fit together.

    I was later able to catch up with the interplay, problems and nocturnal wanderings of the various characters when the initial abbreviated 2005 season was released on SD early in 2006.

    For the show's fourth season, Disney has upped the ante, finally offering the show in Blu-ray, and this is where it gets interesting.

    For those who have viewed satellite or cable broadcast on a large screen, the image can generally look quite good, but ultimately not stellar when compared to Blu-ray because of the high compression factor of the former.

    The same holds true for Grey's, but something else came into play which returned me to my college film school days and a very simple fact.

    Theatrical motion pictures and TV shows are photographed differently. And while motion pictures screens have become smaller over the past few decades, and TV screens larger, the basic concept still holds true.

    Theatrical films are shot with a large screen in mind, which means that long, medium long and medium shots are generally the centerpieces. A medium close-up, close-up or rarely a big close-up are saved for special purposes. Think Rhett kissing Scarlett against the orange-red sky in GWTW.

    For TV, things work the other way, predicated upon the fact that a 27" monitor is probably the norm.

    For this reason, we have rare long shots, generally used in Grey's as beautiful sweeping shots over the city or of the long walkway at one end of the hospital, while medium shots, or medium 2-shots are generally the rarer commodity in comparison to medium close-ups or close-ups.

    This all returned to me, when I attempted to view the new Blu disc on a large projection screen, and was overpowered by the size of the images. The balance seemed off or odd in comparison to standard theatrical programming.

    Which led me to switch to a 50" plasma, on which all seemed perfect.

    And perfect is probably the correct word when attempting to describe this Disney release, which when compared to HD broadcast lets one immediately know what you've been missing.

    Black levels, detail and resolution, along with color are never less than gorgeous, which means that for fans of the show, Blu is the preferable way to go. This should be especially financially attainable when Amazon has their occasional Blu mega-sales.

    Hopefully Disney will reap rewards commensurate enough with the quality of this release to allow them to return to the first three seasons and allow an upgrade to Blu for this beautifully shot show.

    As an aside, I should mention another point, which has come into play recently as I've had the opportunity to speak with journalists. There seems to be a bit of misinformation out there regarding Blu-ray, and what one can and cannot do with it.

    On several occasions, when I've mentioned or suggested Blu-ray, the response has been that "I don't yet have an HD monitor." When I explain that an HD monitor is nice, but not a necessity, I sometimes get that "deer in the headlights" look.

    So I'll bring this up again, for those who may not be aware. In the near future those $200 standard def TVs available at the big box stores are going to disappear. It isn't going to be long before everything is 16:9 with either HD or quasi-HD capability.

    Which means that if a larger screen is in the someone's future, it makes little sense to purchase standard definition DVDs, some of which will probably be upgraded at a later date.

    If they are affordable, especially on sale, Blu-ray discs, which can be played on newer Blu players at recent price points below $300 make sense because the players can be attached to any TV or monitor in one's home to yield an upgraded image over SD discs, which are also playable on Blu machines.

    While I haven't attempted it, I would surmise that a Blu player can be wired into any of the early extant televisions that are now six decades old.

    Bottom line, you don't need a new, high end HD monitor to take advantage of Blu-ray software now, and not be concerned about double-dipping for upgrades later.

    Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. Ray H

    Ray H Producer

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    I've never seen this show, but I did enjoy your comments about shooting for film vs. television. It's something I've rarely thought about.
     

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