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Older films

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Chuck Mayer, Jan 11, 2006.

  1. Chuck Mayer

    Chuck Mayer Well-Known Member

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    I have a large DVD collection, which will still be valid until the advent of Hard Drives or whatnot. I will be upgrading this year to a HD format, and I had a general question regarding the software.

    At what point will older films start to truly benefit from the clarity HD will bring? Will they all? Does it depend on the time period and quality of the masters? Assume I know very little (which is true). Is an HD release the same type of step up for all films, or will it benefit older films more, or newer films more? Are these questions stupid?

    Is HD going to make The Goonies look as good as The Matrix?

    Stuff like that.

    Exciting new board! I'd like to get educated.
     
  2. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Well-Known Member

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    I'm not the expert here but I'd say no way.

    FREAKS will never looks like BATMAN BEGINS no matter what the technology is. THE BIRTH OF A NATION will always look the way it does now. HD isn't going to remove scratches and other things. LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT will always be lost. HD isn't going to find it. [​IMG]

    I'm not going to be upgrading anytime soon and the main reason is that the majority of my titles are older ones and I don't think there will be a big enough of a reason to upgrade on these. Warner did a brilliant job on FREAKS but it still looks "bad" compared to something new. Kino has done wonderful work on all sorts of titles but the "problems" with the DVD releases will still haunt the HD releases. There's simply nothing you can do until HDHD-DVD comes along, which will include a time machine where we can go back in time to see fresh, new prints of older films.

    Even if HD could make things look better you've gotta wonder how long you're going to be waiting. I very seriously doubt HD takes off faster than the current DVD did and we waited eight years for a big title like KING KONG. We're still waiting for various bigger titles. How long until we see stuff that isn't even available now on DVD? Not to mention that HD won't do any good unless the studio puts the money into making the new transfer. If Warner isn't going to bother releasing RETURN OF THE APE MAN on VHS, LD or DVD then I seriously doubt they'll do it on HD-DVD.

    Plus, let's not forget the next format, which will come very, very soon.
     
  3. Will_B

    Will_B Well-Known Member

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    I reckon that all celluloid films of 35mm and up have greater detail than what DVD can present. So any high def transfer of any film, from any era, will indeed present more of the film's original detail.

    Whether that detail is in the form of seeing the pores in people's skin, or in the form of seeing every grain in a grainy film stock, is dependent upon the nature of the film.
     
  4. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Well-Known Member

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    I've seen several older films on HDTV and it is quite the upgrade over the DVD version. Alot of folks saw the OAR HD Release of Ben Hur on MaxHD and swear it smokes the previous dvd by a long shot.

    As long as the movie was restored correctly, IMHO HD does make a huge difference.
    Probably not but that has to do with the filming techniques and the quality of the print.
     
  5. BrettGallman

    BrettGallman Well-Known Member

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    As others have said: Look at it this way, does something from 25 years ago look the same on DVD as a brand new release? Of course not, and logically we have to assume the same will be true for the HD formats. However, those movies will look better in HD than they do in SD, just like they look better on DVD than on VHS. I've seen some older films (from the 60's) on HD Net movies and they look absolutely stunning. And HD disc formats should look even better than that due to increased bandwith on the discs.

    Another piece of anecdotal evidence: the current Blade Runner release on DVD isn't pretty at all, but it looked incredible in HD. I know that's not the oldest film in the world, but I was amazed at the improvement over DVD.
     
  6. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Well-Known Member

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    "At what point will older films start to truly benefit from the clarity HD will bring?"

    maybe it would it be like a bell curve?
    maybe the less improvment or the greater negative impact would be to films newer (within 5 years say?) or much older (pre 50s 4:3)- with the greatest benefits coming to scope films from '54 on up.

    right now i see the differences on my own set up with scope films that are soft and lacking fine detail vs something like Star Wars or Alien where the pixels are packed with information.
    throwing up the Todd AO version of Oklahoma and then throwing up Star Wars and it looks like i have a whole different, and much more expensive, projector.
    and the big difference is one more has a whole shitload of fine detail to exploit and the other doesn't.

    to me, that seems like HD vs SD in a nutshell.

    on the other hand, i know HD enthusiasts like to say that everything will benefit from higher resolution, but i will be a little concerned that the revealed grain structure, emulsion properties, and poor physical condition of some films, that is slightly masked now by lower res SD DVD may make watching those in the future more of a chore than we are used to. we may have to get acclimated to viewing things differently, and with different expectations.
    whereas with new releases- we know those can still be very satisfying with just NTSC resolution. sure they can look better in HD, but will something like Batman Begins on dvd upsampled to 720p on a 720 projector (or 1080 for that matter) be unsatisfying next to its HD counterpart on all but the most extravegant set-ups? maybe...maybe not. State of the art NTSC can be pretty damn satisfying to some of us now(as long as there is nothing to directly compare it to).

    and then you have something like Tess. the poor dvd shows an image ('mastered in HD!') that has been dvnr'd and then artificially sharpened to 'compensate' for Unsworth's soft focus filming style. so Sony has the best technology with Bd? good luck making that master look anything better than the digital mess its been degraded to so far.

    so ultimately its going to come down to film by film and how much care and interest they take with them.

    and i guess we'll just have to wait and see each review that comes in.

    but in general, who would choose the non-anamorphic Planet Of The Apes over the anamorphic version?
    and thats a much smaller % difference of picture information than the difference between 480 and 1080.
     
  7. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Well-Known Member

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    This may be going off on a tangent but will hi-def formats benefit older TV shows as well? Modern day shows like Lost I'm sure will look great, but what about older shows from the 70s and 80s?
     
  8. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Well-Known Member

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    '70s and '80s, not much, because they were shot in NTSC video. The only advantage over DVD releases will be better compression and more episodes per disc. '50s and '60s, yes! Those which survive were produced on 35mm film. Admittedly, they may look a little "cheesy" because of tricks employed in filming which nobody was ever expected to see, but there is a real improvement in detail and [for colour programmes] colour richness to be had.
     
  9. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Well-Known Member

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    DVD did not make poor sources look better.
    HD disc will also not make poor sources look better.
    DVD, because of higher resolution, made good sources look better than low res formats like VHS.
    HD disc, because of its higher than DVD res, will make good sources look better than DVD.
    That being said, I am completely with the starter of this thread, gripped in fear even, over how "older" sources will fair on HD disc. My concern goes way back to the release of BotRK on DVD (wonder how long it will take HD disc to replace that title & will they be able to match or best the packaging of the CE). I was shocked, yes shocked, at how bad Bridges looked on DVD. From the opening title sequence, I saw how bad of shape the film elements where in and it took me completely out of the movie experience.
    Please do not post to try and get me to enjoy this transfer. If you like it great! However, no one elses opinion on how good this transfer is, is going to change my opinion on it. Unfortunately!
    I fear HD disc will only highlight, not hide, the source condition.
    Looking forward to digital animation on HD. Loved it on DVD (SE Bug's Life!). Expect a jaw dropping experience on HD disc!

    Cool!
    And sound!!!
     
  10. Will_B

    Will_B Well-Known Member

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    Shows from the 1980s that were edited on video:

    Depends on what kind of upsampling technology the studio uses to artificially boost the resolution. The concern is that a show like Star Trek the Next Generation that was edited on video doesn't look any better when upsampled in real-time on consumer equipment. But perhaps professional upsampling systems exist or are being developed that can take more time and care to extrapolate new detail.
     
  11. Mark-P

    Mark-P Well-Known Member

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    Just to clarify about TV shows in the 70s and 80s. Some were filmed in 35 mm and some were videotaped. The videotaped shows (most sitcoms) will not benefit from up-conversion to HD. However, the filmed series should benefit greatly assuming that the proper care and restoration is done to them. Shows like M*A*S*H, Mary Tyler Moore, Bewitched, Happy Days, and most hour-long dramas were shot on film.

    Also regarding Star Trek on HD, the original series from the 60's was filmed and should look good in HD (although the cheesiness of the FX will be more evident.) The later series (TNG, DS-9, and Voyager) were filmed, but then converted to video for editing and effects work, so they are unfortunately stuck with NTSC resolution.
     
  12. FrancisP

    FrancisP Well-Known Member

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    HD does not allow any imperfection to hide. For example, when the producers of ST[​IMG]eep Space Nine created a digital
    transfer of The trouble With Tribbles, they found a multitude of sins that were not visible to the original technology. They ranged from stains on Spock's shirt to paint brush strokes on the plywood sets. They were fixed only at great expense.

    The bottom line is that some classic films will not make it due to the added expense of fixing these imperfections.
    If the studios have not released a film on SD, it is likely that it will not be released on HD dvd. I fully intend to complete my collection of classic films on SD because there
    is no guarantee that they will show up on HD. Of course, when I do that, it is less likely that I will buy them on HD.
     
  13. Will_B

    Will_B Well-Known Member

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    I think this forecast is premature. If the NSA can resolve the text of a license plate read from an earth-orbiting satellite, then chances are that professional upsampling image enhancement techniques are going to be able to extrapolate greater resolution out of video-based television shows.

    Whether these enhancement techniques will be affordable enough for even "cheap" companies like Rhino to do, I don't know. But in theory this kind of enhanced upsampling should become a standard part of any professional video authoring packages.
     
  14. Will_B

    Will_B Well-Known Member

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    I will graciously allow myself to imagine that they still drink coffee and use paint in the 23rd century. [​IMG]
     
  15. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Well-Known Member

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    I would expect that shows shot on video would not be upconverted at all. There is nothing in the specs for either Blu-Ray or HD-DVD which requires content to be in HD, and you could fit hours and hours of SD video on one disc.

    Weren't some of the later Star Trek TV productions shot in HD video anyway? I know Enterprise was, but I seem to have the impression that later seasons of DS9 and/or Voyager were too. [Of course Babylon 5 was shot in 16:9, but I don't know if was HD.]
     
  16. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Well-Known Member

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    Babylon 5 was shot on film, but not at 16:9. They used the Super35 format to permit both 16:9 and 4:3 framimg. The show was final-compsited on analog video, and the CGI was produced at NTSC resolution and in 4:3. When they did the widescreen transfers for The Sci-Fi Channel (later used on the DVDs), they were went back to the original film elements for the pure live-action stuff, but had to settle for the final composites for CGI ann other FX scenes. (This might also be an option for other shows from the era. The mere fact that shows were final edited on digital video does not mean that the original film elements were discarded and could not be used as source material for a new master, even if the result was a mixed bag.)

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  17. BrettGallman

    BrettGallman Well-Known Member

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    Just a quick question that kind of pertains to this thread: What was "Firefly" shot on? Video or film?
     
  18. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Well-Known Member

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    There are many older films that look better than many modern films. It all depends on budget, film-stock, and film-style. Not to mention preservation.

    Many large-format films will look spectacular in HD 1080P if the studios bite the bullet and do a proper 4K hi-res transfer and downconvert to 1080P.
     
  19. Chad R

    Chad R Well-Known Member

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    It was shot on film, and I'm pretty sure it was posted (edited) with High Def in mind. I think at the time the show aired FOX was broadcasting Digital widescreen, which was something like 480P, or comparable to a DVD. Not true High Def, but I think the show was ready for High Def in case FOX made the switch (which they eventually did).
     
  20. Juan C

    Juan C Well-Known Member

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    There is now non-real-time upsampling equipment in development that allegedly runs circles around the current best scalers, HTPCs or upconverting players available.
     

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