How long before we get even better high definition transfers and double dipping?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by andrew markworthy, Jan 9, 2008.

  1. andrew markworthy

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    I know that at the moment we're all bowled over by the quality of high def discs and we can't imagine them looking any better. But those of us with long memories can recall similar praise heaped on the first generation of CDs and DVDs - and in both cases within a couple of years we discovered that there could be even better digital transfers and so we all re-bought favourite titles when they were remastered.

    Now here's the $64k question - can high def discs (and from now on I guess that means Blu-Ray) be bettered? Blu-Ray has a lot of spare capacity at the moment, and assuming this isn't squandered on something ridiculous like interactivity, presumably picture and sound quality could be enhanced even more (especially since Blu-Ray operational specs can be upgraded).

    And if it can be bettered, when will we reach a point of diminishing returns? I know that those of us who bother to tune our systems and have reasonable eyesight will be able to notice further improvements in quality, but what about Joe [or Jo] Six Pack? Unless a set is tuned properly, my hunch is that before long any additional improvements will be lost on the viewer. And let's face it, J6P just wants something that plays right out of the box (in fairness, a perfectly reasonable thing) - s/he doesn't want to be bothered with nerdy fiddling about with contrast controls, and may well prefer a garish over-saturated and over-contrasted picture. Accordingly, it may be impossible to see further improvements on such displays. And let's not forget that older consumers may (literally) fail to see further improvements - as we get older not only does acuity go south, but with it ability to see contrast, etc. E.g. my own parents have pretty good eyesight for their age (late seventies) but they now find it impossible to see the difference between HD and upscaled SD.

    So - are the current high def discs as good as they'll get in this format, and if there is room for improvement, who will notice?
     
  2. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    We already have. Just look at The Fifth Element [​IMG]
     
  3. Alon Goldberg

    Alon Goldberg Screenwriter

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  4. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    Well, Warner Bros. has already released Full Metal Jacket as a special edition with a better high definition transfer, so the process has already begun. Additionally, I have heard rumblings that some of the forthcoming Warner Bros. Profile 1.1 titles, e.g. Batman Begins, may be released with PQ and SQ "optomized" for BD.

    This is not surprising, as I am sure the studios know a lot of enthusiasts have upgraditis and OCD, some of us are cursed with both! As it was with SD DVD however, the choice to double-dip is and always has been your alone.
     
  5. Reagan

    Reagan Supporting Actor

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    I think it all depends on how well things were done the first time. Can you imagine a Blu-ray re-release of Pirates 2, Cars, or Ratatouille that claims to have improved picture or sound quality? I can't. They seem to have maxed out the format in those two areas. The early days of DVD were much different.

    Thus, I would say that a studio can put out a first class blu-ray that needs no replacing (aside from extras). Whether they will is a different story, but things look good so far for a number of studios.

    -Reagan
     
  6. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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    I think we'll be seeing the studios holding back lossless audio on some releases. They'll use it as an extra incentive for customers to double-dip on the Special Edition release. Sony will probably lead the way in this fashion (ie. SuperBIT).
     
  7. JulianK

    JulianK Supporting Actor

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    I expect to see a double-dip of 300 with the Picture-in-Picture once WB starts releasing profile 1.1 titles.
     
  8. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Producer

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    Hardly. Every Sony release has PCM on it. They might do it for the extras though.
     
  9. David Deeb

    David Deeb Supporting Actor

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    With entertainment product? Immediately & before you fill up your collection.

    How long before Pink Floyd & Led Zeppelin release even better audio remasters and double dip?

    Oh wait. They've done that several times each already including the latest "upgrade" from each group in the past 3 months.
     
  10. Ron Reda

    Ron Reda Cinematographer

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    Funny, I thought this same thing the other day. Extras I will not double dip on & the A/V quality seems astounding right now. Here's to hoping the market remains double-dipless and they focus on getting older titles updated.
     
  11. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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    Sure, but it doesn't mean they won't stop the practice of including PCM on releases they expect to double-dip people on later. It's a business afterall - they're always trying to find ways to get people to buy essentially the same product more than once. It's the reason the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD formats were introduced afterall.

    Not saying it'll happen, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least if it does.
     
  12. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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    Once HDDVD is gone, the BluRay cases will probably change color. Right now, they're blue to drive home the point that they're BluRay. But different color cases will become common, including clear. I expect companies will avoid red for awhile, though!
     
  13. BrettB

    BrettB Producer

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    I don't think there's a snowball's chance in hell that Sony will suddenly abandon lossless for the purpose of double-dipping. Sony (and most likely everyone else) will primarily use bonus features, and secondarily, improved video to get the re-purchase.
     
  14. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Cinematographer

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    I'm not saying lossless on it's own will be used for double-dipping, I'm saying that it could be used as well as supplements and/or improved video to entice people to double-dip. Judging by the importance placed on lossless by some on this forum, I can see it getting them to double-dip. Afterall, SuperBIT enticed many on this forum to double-dip not only because of improved video, but also because of the included DTS track.

    I really don't think it's that much of a stretch.
     
  15. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    Honestlly, for the best transfers out there, I think we've already reached that point. I know there's talk about a Blu-Ray upgrade of Batman Begins & the Matrix films, but the current HD-DVDs of those are pretty widely recognized as being stellar. I personally am thrilled with these discs and can see no value in paying more money for what will probably be incremental improvements.

    Fifth Element & Full Metal Jacket have been mentioned as examples of double-dips already happening, but remember that both of those discs were recognized as problematic from Day 1. I'm sure we'll see some more of this with other less-than-distinguished titles, but the numbers are much less than those from the beginning of SD DVD. Also, we don't have the non-anamorphic issue to deal with this time.
     
  16. Chuck Anstey

    Chuck Anstey Screenwriter

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    There are several ways to improve video.

    1. Over time they will learn to squeeze out more quality in the same bits but experience with DVD codecs already have probably given them a huge head start. This is likely minor improvement and the most recent releases will be a little better than previous most recent releases.

    2. Do a much better HD transfer from the original elements. This can happen when they did 2K transfers for 2K display. However, if you want the best 2K image you need to use 4K or 6K transfers and down-res them to 2K. Not a huge deal but even low-res DVDs have benefitted from new HD transfers.

    3. Remaster the film from better elements. This is likely to be the big one. For "The Fifth Element" remastered specifically, it has been shown that its resolution is only about 700-800p and HD has more resolution than this current film transfer. Whether there was more resolution on the best film stock version of the movie is another debate. Other films like "Casino Royale" and "King Kong" use every bit of the 1920x1080 resolution.

    The next big improvement would be from the players being able to handle 4:4:4 transfers and deep color resulting in full 1920x1080x36 bit color. That wouldn't be subtle but I don't know if current HDM was designed to ever be able to do that and not too many display devices can display the extra bits of color.

    I would expect double-dipping on movies that were released 2-5 years before HD-DVD and Blu-ray were introduced and on some poorer catalog transfers like Willy Wonka where they just didn't spend the time and effort to get all they could out of the original elements. Movies released to the theater since HDM inception should have used very fresh copies of the film or the digital versions and should be close to the best they can get transfer-wise.
     
  17. Grant H

    Grant H Cinematographer

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    Paramount could double-dip on all its BD releases, since they never gave us lossles audio, though it was coming in the wave of titles that were canceled at the last minute due to their defection. WB also withheld lossless on many BD titles and has a number of "artifacty" transfers that could be improved upon.

    Lionsgate will be the leader, as they were with DVD. There were 3 DVD releases of Stargate before we got a good one. They've given us heavily filtered releases on BD, and the earliest lacked lossless audio (Terminator 2). Fox also seems to be playing the withhold the extras game on a number of titles, something they learned in the later years of DVD. "We can release the movie only now, then a few months later release it with extras and people will buy again!"


    Sony's the last company I'd point a finger at to expect double dipping for quality (maybe next to last -- Disney's releases are top notch). And even their record with extras is pretty good. PCM audio from day 1. (Just to point out, though, not all of their titles use PCM anymore -- newer titles are TrueHD only like SM 1 AND 2, and RE 3. Expect that, especially as they add more extras like PiP.) Though we'll likely see a deluxe Spidey set when 4 hits Blu-ray, seeing as how they left the extras off 1 & 2, hopefully so they could master them in HD.
     
  18. Paul_D

    Paul_D Cinematographer

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    I've been holiding off buying HD versions of SD discs where the SD has been upgraded since the HD release (e.g. Serenity) for just this reason. You can see an HD double-dip on titles like this isn't far off, especially with Universal now likely going blu.
     
  19. Jeff Robertson

    Jeff Robertson Second Unit

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    Me thinks any titles using MPEG2 that are re-released with AVC/MPEG 4 and lossless audio (as others have said) would show an improvement. I'm just getting into Blu-Ray and noticed a lot of MPEG2 titles available with lackluster reviews. This keeps me from buying in so much. I'm focusing on only the best for now.
     
  20. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Yeah, it's definitely best to be more picky w/ purchases under the circumstance, especially since they are not cheap. With DVD before, I was never all that picky, but now that I've got a large-ish collection on DVD (w/ various double-dips), I only want to buy serious upgrades on HDM unless it's a new day-and-date release -- and even then, I want to be more cautious about purchases given the pricing...

    _Man_
     

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