Classic Disney Films in HD on iTunes

Discussion in 'Streaming and Digital Media' started by Mark-P, Aug 19, 2013.

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  1. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    First off, I’m a Blu-ray guy. I would love to own most of the classic Disney live action films in the premium format. But since the likelihood of that reality is becoming pretty slim, I have finally caved and purchased my first Disney titles in HD from iTunes. I’m staying away from the more popular titles like The Parent Trap or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea because I think there is a pretty good chance for those on Blu-ray. The two titles I selected are pretty safe bets that they will never get a shot on Blu. I purchased Bon Voyage!, and The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band. Both are presented in 1.66:1 with PCM mono sound. The file sizes are 5.37 Gig and 4.5 Gig respectively. I was expecting a lot of compression artifacting. Watching on my projector, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the 1080p image quality was actually comparable to Blu-ray. The images were sharp, with appropriate grain. Some of the scenes in Bon Voyage! had slightly faded color, but otherwise the source material was in excellent condition. While I would hate to see Blu-ray lose out to digital downloads, this is a great way to get some obscure Disney titles in high definition.

    Here are a few screen captures of Family Band.

    FamilyBand1.PNG FamilyBand2.PNG FamilyBand3.PNG
     
  2. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    And here are a few captures of Bon Voyage!

    Voyage1.PNG Voyage2.PNG Voyage3.PNG
     
  3. I think you are correct that there are a lot of titles that just do not make economic sense to release in a physical format, but do on digital. I wish more people, when debating physical vs. digital, would recognize that putting an obsure title in decent quality in the hands of a film lover is a major feather in digital's cap. Enjoy!
     
  4. Chuck Pennington

    Chuck Pennington Supporting Actor

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    They aren't in PCM sound. They have AAC compressed audio at about 120 to 160 Kbps. Select "get info" on the files in iTunes to see this. They also aren't always full HD either, with some often strange dimensions.Check out THE ONE AND ONLY, GENUINE, ORIGINAL FAMILY BAND at 1:12:50 - it is missing an offscreen line spoken by Walter Brennan ("You know, I had a hunch you'd never listen to me.") that is on the DVD, and just before that there is some terrible distortion of the audio.
     
  5. Ken Koc

    Ken Koc Screenwriter

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    They are also available on VuDu as well.
     
  6. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    I stand corrected on the sound. Obviously AAC has to be converted to something usable to a receiver and my Apple TV device is outputting PCM.

    The strange dimensions are due to the fact that iTunes doesn't hardwire black bars into the encode, so however many pixels the black bars take up are not counted in the resolution.
     
  7. Ejanss

    Ejanss Banned

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    Yes, for those who go through PS3, not AppleTV, Vudu is one of the more impressive repositories of Rare Disney Films around--
    Most still in SD, but many still in Club/Archive status:
    http://www.vudu.com/movies/#uiList/24/0
     
  8. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    Here is my latest puchase: THE GREAT LOCOMOTIVE CHASE in CinemaScope!
    GLC1.PNG
    GLC2.PNG
    GLC3.PNG
    GLC4.PNG
     
  9. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    A couple of years ago I would have told you I'd never support a digital download. It was Blu-ray for me or nothing. But while Blu-ray has been stagnant in improving the technology -- you don't see them developing more efficient co-decs to compress 20 hours of HD material onto a single Blu-ray disc -- Digital downloads and streaming have made great strides in improving their quality and efficiency. A 4GB iTunes file is certainly comparable to a Blu-ray -- no I didn't say as good as -- but I will go out on a limb and say a digital digital download is as good as HD broadcast TV.

    People tend to think of Blu-ray as uncompressed video. That's not true. The original studio HD masters are much larger, and the file is compressed to fit onto a Blu-ray disc. That is why if you try to rip a Blu-ray into iTunes and compress it too much it will look like garbage, because you are compressing an already-compressed product. The HD files on iTunes and Vudu were compressed from the original studio masters, not a Blu-ray, so the compression is much more efficient and the resulting product is of the best quality.

    What surprises me most is that while Disney has gone to a lot of trouble to make these HD masters and put them out in the download retail market, they are doing nothing to advertise them. The official Disney website makes no mention of their HD download products and only has links to where you can buy the DVDs. They have obviously conceded Blu-ray for digital downloads on most of their catalog product, but they seem to be ashamed of that.

    I'll love Blu-ray until the day I die, but I think the future will take us in a completely different direction.
     
  10. stevenHa

    stevenHa Stunt Coordinator

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    Would it be possible to post an image from The Great Locomotive chase showing one of the matte painting shots ? Thanks.
     
  11. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    The opening shot of the movie is the only one I could easily find. Hope it helps.
    IMG_0052.jpg
     
  12. stevenHa

    stevenHa Stunt Coordinator

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    It's a testament to Peter Ellenshaw's painting ability but there are at least a half dozen mattes in this movie. For example, the long shot of the bridge where the fire is started, the prison where they are sent after their capture, etc.Because these are process shots, it's a good way to compare the improvement in PQ vs the dvd. Thanks.
     
  13. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    Okay, I think I found the shots you are referring to. I wouldn't have known that those were matte paintings!
    IMG_0053.jpg IMG_0054.jpg
     
  14. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    And here are screencaps from The Happiest Millionaire in HD from iTunes:

    HM1.jpg
    HM2.jpg
    HM3.jpg
    HM4.jpg

    You'll notice the aspect ratio on this one is 1.78:1. Also the sound is stereo 2.0 surround.
    And for comparison, here is a matching screencap from the Anchor Bay DVD:

    Screen shot 2013-09-07 at 6.49.56 PM.jpg
     
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