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Questions About Older Movies On Blu-Ray + TV In Widescreen

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by JargonJohn, May 6, 2008.

  1. JargonJohn

    JargonJohn Auditioning

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    Hi. I'm sorta new here, and I have a few questions that's been on my mind for a while.

    1) Is it worth buying older movies on Blu-Ray? And by older, I mean 10+years old. Will they look any better on BD then on DVD?

    2) Also, when did most television studios start filming/editing their shows in a widescreen format?

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    1) although film isn't measured in 'lines' of resolution, like video, it contains a higher degree of resolvable detail than 1080p (Bd) is able to display. So the short answer is Yes. But the thing to realize is there are mitigating circumstances that will determine the practical difference that Bd vs DVD will reveal to your eyes
    -the quality of your vision
    -the size, resolution, and quality of your display
    -the distance you sit from your display(known as the viewing angle)
    -the quality of the original master(transfer) used to make the Bd
    -the compression/encoding of the Bd
    -the style and aesthetic choices made when the movie was shot (i.e. the kind of film stock, the lighting, the lenses...etc),
    -the condition of the film elements used to make the transfer
    and so on. So ultimately while the potential is there, you yourself may or may not see much of a difference. At the same time, someone with different gear who sits closer to a larger display may be dazzled by the improvment he sees.
    Despite the marketing hype on the jackets, Blu-ray is not the most spectacular visual display technology ever devised by man...its simply high definition resolution which is currently the highest available consumer home video display resolution. Most film, even 70 year old 'full frame' (1.33:1 AR) blows Blu-ray away in the area of 'definition' capability.
    2) Not sure exactly, but I would guess shortly after the debut of Dvd which started making the concept of letterboxing ok for viewers with non-16:9 displays...so probably around '99/2000 I would think it started to become more prevelant. I'm sure somone here will know exactly.
    BTW- welcome to the forum.
     
  3. Mark-P

    Mark-P Screenwriter

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    The key word in the question is "most." And that didn't happened until the networks started broadcasting in high definition and that was around 2003.
     
  4. Jari K

    Jari K Producer

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    Perhaps they could look slightly better in your TV, but generally HD-films (usually 1080p) are meant to be seeing with HDTV (720p/1080i/1080p - latter being "full HD").

    My advice is, that buy a new HDTV first. Of course you can keep buying Blu-ray-titles in the meantime (you just can´t enjoy "HD quality", which is a shame).

    "Widescreen format" means several different aspect ratios: 1.66:1, 1.78:1, 1.85:1, 2.35:1, 2.40:1, even 2.70:1 with e.g. "Ben Hur"... (vs. traditional 4:3 AKA 1.33:1). So you always have those "black bars" with certain films (no matter what TV you´ve, 4:3 or 1.78:1).
     
  5. AlexCosmo

    AlexCosmo Stunt Coordinator

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    1.If they were shot on film and the transfer is done right, yes.
    2. Well, X-Files season 5 was the first season to shoot wide, so whatever that year was.
     
  6. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Jari, how do you know what kind of TV John currently has? And what exactly is an "HD-film" (as opposed to, say a "film-film")?

    Paul_Scott's detailed answer is the correct one and to summarize: Yes, anything shot on film, from whatever era, will look better on Blu-ray, if it's mastered properly and you have the equipment for proper playback. (Note: "better" = "more detailed and more accurate".)

    M.
     
  7. Jari K

    Jari K Producer

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    He said "10+years old". I just assumed that it´s just normal "tube-TV" or at least using standard definition (not "HD" - 720p or 1080i/p).

    With "HD-film", I just meant Blu-ray/HD DVD. Bad choice of word, perhaps.

    I guess others are more "open" etc ( [​IMG] ), but I personally don´t see any real point of buying e.g. 1080p Blu-ray-films and then watch them "downconverted" to NTSC 480i/p (via standard definition TV). That just was my point.

    I would start saving for a new HDTV and buy some selected Blu-ray-titles in the "meantime". But if HDTV is not an option, is probably best to stick with DVDs (cheaper).

    Then again, these are all personal choices.
     
  8. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    ???

    He didn't have to (re-)install an old TV set just to view movies that are 10+ years old. He probably has a new HDTV already, or contemplates buying one, and wonders if it's worth viewing older movies on BD on it.

    The general answer is: yes. Old movies like Casablanca and The Searchers have already proven to look stunning on the hi-res format!


    Cees
     
  9. JargonJohn

    JargonJohn Auditioning

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    Just to clear things up, I have a 40' Sony Bravia that's limit is 1080i. And my Blu-Ray player is a PS3 that's hooked up via HDMI cables.

    But thanks for the help!
     
  10. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    1) Both Babylon 5 and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman were shooting in Super35 and protecting for 16:9 in anticipation of HDTV in 1994 three years before the debut of DVD. (Everybody thought HDTV was going to arrive a lot sooner than it did, and the producers of B5 assumed the widescreen home video release would be on laser disc. [​IMG])

    2) Unless it is a tube set, John's TV is either 720p/768p or 1080p - probably the former. The fact that it can accept a 1080i signal is irrelevant. If it is a fixed-pixel design (LCD, LCD-RP, LCoS, DLP, about 90% of plasmas) it scales everything to its native resolution, which is going to be progressive.

    3) "10+ years" referred to the age of the actual films (when they were produced) not the TV and not the home video versions released on DVD. Jari completely misunderstood the original post, hence the off-kilter tone of the replies.

    And yes, all other things being equal an older film in hi-def is going to look better than an SD version of that film. As Paul noted there is far more detail in film than can reproduced by any home video system, so a higher resolution reproduction of a given film is going to show more detail than a lo-res one. Does a full color reproduction of the Mona Lisa in a $200 coffee table art book look better than a photo of the painting in your daily newspaper? [​IMG] Now it is true that the condition of the original is going to affect the final outcome, and the perceived quality, but in terms of basic image reproduction the higher res version is going to more faithfully reproduce the original. An art book picture of da Vinci's "The Last Supper" will show more cracks, fading and other damage much more clearly than one taken with a tourist's pocket camera, but that's because the painting really is cracked, fading and damage, and the better photograph captures more of the detail.

    As Paul also noted, all things almost never are equal, so how much of an improvement you see or how well a particular transfers to Blu Ray will vary.

    Regards,

    Joe
     
  11. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Yes he did, but he was referring to films, not TVs. Re-read the initial post.

    (Joe, I know you've already said this, but it's sandwiched between other points and . . . you know. [​IMG] ).

    M.
     
  12. Jari K

    Jari K Producer

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    Oh s**t, you´re right. Sorry, I simply misread the first post.. [​IMG]

    Yep, these fine people are correct. "Older films" look indeed great in HD and yes, usually "better than SD DVD".
     
  13. Douglas Monce

    Douglas Monce Producer

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    The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) Casablanca (1942) and Forbidden Planet (1956) are some examples of just how fantastic an old film can look in High Definition. There are details in these old films that are just not visible in standard definition. All 3 films were released on HD DVD but I don't think they have made it to blu-ray yet. Rio Bravo (1959) and The Searchers (1956) are both out on blu-ray and The Searchers in particular is stunning.

    As for TV shows, some as far back as the 1960s were protecting for 1.85:1. One good example of this is the two part episodes of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. which were shot with the intention of releasing them in theaters in Europe. (they were huge hits in the theater by the way) They did 2 or 3 of these a season.

    I remember reading a 1981 TV guide that talked about the shooting of The Fall Guy and that they were protecting for 1.85:1 because they were anticipating the coming of HDTV. (the Japanese were testing analog HDTV systems as early as 1979)

    However even today there are some shows that are NOT shot with widescreen in mind.

    Doug
     
  14. JargonJohn

    JargonJohn Auditioning

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    Wow, that's sad.

    And sorry for any confusion I may have caused. I'll be honest and say that I'm not all too knowledgable about this stuff. But I'm learning.
     
  15. Douglas Monce

    Douglas Monce Producer

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    Not at all it's a good question. There is a misconception that older films won't benefit from an HD presentation and asking these kinds of questions help to dispel those myths.

    Doug
     
  16. Adam Gregorich

    Owner

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    Scrubs [​IMG] 4x3 standard def. Hopefully that will change now that they are leaving NBC.
     
  17. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Even certain reality shows are still shot & composed for 4:3. For example, Survivor and The Amazing Race. But Survivor has announced the move to HD next season! [​IMG]

    As posted earlier by Cees, The Searchers (1956) looks unbelievably stunning in HD.
     
  18. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    Jari needed another cup of coffee. Or maybe a first cup?
     
  19. Matt Butler

    Matt Butler Screenwriter

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    I have a 16x9 1080i 47in Panny TV with Sony BD-301 running w component cables (If I knew then what I know now when I bought that TV!!)

    I have Warriors, Halloween, Dawn of the Dead, Bullitt, Superman and they all look amazing in Blu.

    Hope this helps
     
  20. Aaryn Chan

    Aaryn Chan Supporting Actor

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    A newbie question: What's the resolution of the theater screen? [​IMG] Will we one day have a better picture on TV than in the cinema?
     

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