Are studios puposely making sloppy DVD's to push people to blu-ray?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Michael Rogers, Feb 3, 2009.

  1. Michael Rogers

    Michael Rogers Supporting Actor

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    Last time I looked at the DVD of Harry Potter and Order Of The Phoenix it was on a CRT with anamorphic squeeze and I didn't notice anything that detracted from it shown that way.

    Fast Forward to now, I have a LCD and a newly acquired Order Of The Phoenix blu-ray (Thanks Dave Scarpa)

    It looked fantastic and it had uncompressed 5.1 PCM that was so vibrant that I had to check out the old DVD and see how the sound compared in DD.

    I forgot about the sound when I saw the picture on the DVD. It was noisy and you can see "crawl" in the textures in the picture. I couldn't believe how bad it looked. I took it out of the blu-ray machine to see it in another DVD player and it was still there (though it looked more subdued).

    I don't think I was reacting to seeing the DVD image after looking at the blu ray one. I think the image looked bad for DVD.

    But on an old CRT, back when it first came out, I didn't notice anything wrong.

    It makes me wonder if these newer DVD's are being designed more to be used by people that haven't gotten an HDTV yet. And for those that do have one, the lack of good picture quality would spur someone onto blu-ray much faster.

    Or maybe there was just something wrong with my copy.
     
  2. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    No.

    EDIT: I know lots of people buy that conspiracy theory but it makes no sense to me. If someone has dug their heels in and won't buy Blu-rays, are they going to suddenly change their mind because they're being 'bullied' into Blu-ray by bad DVDs? Not to mention that the overwhelming majority of people who notice flaws in DVDs are a small minority of DVD buyers. So what would be the point of sabotaging your own product to force a small number of people (many of whom have already switched to Blu-ray) to upgrade?
     
  3. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    How big was your CRT? How big is your LCD?
     
  4. Michael Rogers

    Michael Rogers Supporting Actor

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    27" 4:3 CRT

    32" 16:9 LCD
     
  5. Michael Rogers

    Michael Rogers Supporting Actor

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    You are right, of course. My post was a stream of consciousness deal wondering how a DVD can look so bad that was apparently sourced from the same transfer that looked so terrific in blu-ray.

    My comparison of King Kong '05 DVD vs. blu-ray was well within expectations of how I expected the DVD to look compared to the Blu-ray(great for DVD but not as good as BR) . If the King Kong BR were not available, I would be able enjoy the DVD just fine.

    But watching this HP movie on DVD, I would be distracted and bothered by the picture quality. I was just really surprised.
     
  6. MielR

    MielR Advanced Member

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    I don't think they're deliberately making sloppy DVDs, but I do think that there are a lot of older DVDs in need of remastering that the studios will ignore, in favor of putting all their efforts into the blu-rays. So, they'll allow the lackluster DVDs to remain on the shelves instead of putting any more $ into them.

    FWIW, I also have a 32" HDTV, and so far all of my DVDs have looked excellent on it, and I don't even have upscaling or HDMI on my DVD player. Some discs look better than others, of course. I was amazed at how great "GREASE" looked- it was breathtaking!
     
  7. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    Warner Brothers seems to be the biggest offender here. The recent "The Dark Knight" DVD was *riddled* with video artifacts.

    What seems especially odd about this is that their earlier "Batman Begins" DVD looks fantastic -- and it's just about as long and just as dark in places as "The Dark Knight".

    My theory is that the studios (and especially WB) are just not interested in providing great DVD MPEG-2 transfers anymore. When a movie is as long and as dark as "The Dark Knight" is extra care is required from the compressionists in order to ensure that the resulting transfer displays as few artifacts as possible. Of course, it probably takes extra time, effort, and *money* to be able to provide that "extra care". Blu-ray utilizes advanced codecs -- and even when MPEG-2 is used (which is rare these days) less compression is required due to the higher available bandwidth and disc space. So the compressionists job is much easier when encoding a transfer for HD.

    WB probably figures that anybody with a large enough screen to notice the video artifacts in a poorly encoded MPEG-2 transfer would have already moved on to Blu-ray by now anyway. So they feel justified in not requiring their compressionists to "go the extra mile" for the DVD transfer. If this is, indeed, their current policy, then long and dark films like Harry Pottter and "The Dark Knight" will probably continue to be the victims of bad encodes on DVD from this point forward.
     
  8. MichaelEl

    MichaelEl Stunt Coordinator

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    In fact, the DVD of a recent theatrical release may well just be a simple downconversion of a Blu-Ray source, which may well explain why some don't look that great.

    Given that people seem to complain mostly about poor DVD transfers of recent movies (in other words, movies that usually also have a BD), I tend to believe that the studios actually are trying to push consumers towards Blu-Ray.
     
  9. Wayne_j

    Wayne_j Screenwriter

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    My theory is that the best compressionists for the studios have moved to Blu-Ray encodes leaving less experienced ones doing the DVD encodes. The quality suffers as a result.
     
  10. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Producer

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    You guys make some good points here. As a SDVD collector that's not yet made the jump to BR, it's not good to hear the theories here but I can't disagree. As far as the HD display screen size and noticing defects, I have the Panny 50" Plasma TV Model TH50PZ85U with my viewing distance at about 9-10 feet. I do see the issues on upconverted SDVD movies that you all mention but it's not enough for me to make the BR jump, not yet. The larger part of my DVD-viewing is TV/DVD sets and the BR catalog for older titles is too new for me to consider getting into BR.

    I've also noticed the wide window of picture Q when viewing upconverted DVD's. Some films look amazingly good and others don't do too well upconverted.
     
  11. Nicholas Martin

    Nicholas Martin Cinematographer

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    Yeah, there's really no excuse for a recent and massive film like "The Dark Knight" to look as bad as it does on DVD. The one shot that really sticks out is the establishing shot of a sailboat. All the masts are alive with fuzzy noise.
     
  12. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    I don't know that they're doing this yet, but I've always figured it was something that would happen down the line. They're going to have to do something to give High Def Blu the push .. at least like making all DVDs barebones, and reserve extras for Blu only.
     
  13. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    For a good few years now major studios have mastering their films in HD, & down converting for DVD. The big difference in the past few years is that films now go down the DI route (scanning the neg. ect.) which mostly (to me) looks awful (& soft!). Older movies that have gone down the old route - telecine from the interpos - still look great.
     
  14. Michael Rogers

    Michael Rogers Supporting Actor

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    I tend to agree with that, hense the word "sloppy". It's not a big conspiracy just a reallocation of the best people to work on blu-ray while DVD becomes the new VHS so a mediocre effort is made on them.
     
  15. kingfish

    kingfish Screenwriter

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    My biggest question is if the push is towards Blu-Ray would this make the studios stop releasing the classics on regular dvd. It seems that since this new format has come out regular dvd releases have slowed down to a crawl. I have even seen where Blu-Ray is now double dipping by releasing some previous releases repackaged or bundled up. As to the poster who stated that dvds aren't coming with extras that isn't true since the Blu release of Casino seems to be barebones.
     
  16. MichaelEl

    MichaelEl Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm not sure I buy that, given that vintage films and TV shows are looking better than ever on DVD. Again, the problem seems to lie mostly with recent theatrical releases where you can choose between a DVD and a BD.
     

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