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Blu-ray Conversion


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#1 of 15 OFFLINE   adrian1

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Posted December 10 2008 - 12:27 PM

I'm curious to know what the process is in converting a film from standard-def to high-def (Blu-ray)? An obvious example would be the new "Casablanca" release on Blu-ray. Any comments appreciated.

#2 of 15 OFFLINE   MielR

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Posted December 10 2008 - 03:17 PM

The blu-ray would have to come from a new hi-def film transfer, not a standard-def transfer used for a previous DVD release (unless the DVD also came from a hi-def source). In the case of Casablanca, I believe there was a hi-def transfer made for the last DVD release, so that same transfer was also used for the blu-ray, and since blu-ray has higher resolution than DVD, the blu-ray is able to make more of the tranfer's high resolution. They did a high-rez scan for the last Wizard Of Oz DVD release, so I'm sure that when the blu-ray comes out they'll use the same source. 35mm film IS hi-def, in fact I believe that it has something like 2 to 4 times more resolution than blu-ray is capable of (depending on the quality of the source material, I guess). Is that what you meant?
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#3 of 15 OFFLINE   adrian1

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Posted December 10 2008 - 03:29 PM

Thanks for the reply, that partially answers my question. What I'm curious about is what do they have to do to an older film (like "Casablanca") to bring it to Blu-ray, compared to the standard DVD? If I understand your comment about 35mm film already being hi-def, I would assume that the resolution is ALREADY there, and the Blu-ray technology merely allows us to see it. Am I correct? If so, why bother with standard-def at all? Unless it is still being made available while viewers transition to hi-def players & tvs.

#4 of 15 OFFLINE   MielR

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Posted December 10 2008 - 03:58 PM

I'm no expert- but I guess in preparation for transferring an old film like Casablanca to blu-ray, they'd first find the very best source materials (in a perfect world I suppose they'd make a new print from the original negative- IF it's available) then they do a 2k or 4k scan and do repairs on it digitally like dirt/scratch removal, etc. The resolution is 'already there' as you put it- it has to be because it can't be created. The final product is limited to the quality of the original which is why they want to start with the very best source material possible. Most people still don't have blu-ray players or even access to hi-def programming via cable/satellite so I guess that's why they still bother with standard-def DVDs. The most forward-thinking way to go is to make a hi-def transfer for a DVD, then just use that transfer for the blu-ray or HD broadcast when it's needed so that they don't have to go back and do it all over again. I suppose there will be a day when films on DVD will be phased out as blu-ray is more widely adopted (like what happened to VHS).
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#5 of 15 OFFLINE   Rocky F

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Posted December 10 2008 - 04:01 PM

Actually, to say that 35mm IS hi-def is a little misleading, film is a completely different medium than video, and doesn't really have "resolution" like video does. As MeilR said, it actually is capable of the quite a bit more information than even HD can handle. 35mm film hasn't really changed much in the last 100 years, so even old films such as Casablanca can easily be transferred to high-def. Film has to be transferred into a video format in order to be put on any home media, be it BluRay, DVD or even VHS. That leads directly into your follow up question, why bother with standard def? Well, obviously the main reason is that HD is a fairly recent development, so films have been being transferred to standard def video for decades. However for the last several years, Hollywood has been doing almost all transfers, of new films at least, to high def (at least at 1080p, there are actually even higher resolutions available) and the DVDs, and later BluRays are made from those transfers. Older films are being transferred to HD as well, but there are a lot of factors, other than just resolution, such as the shape of the print, that go into how well a film will look when it's transferred. There have actually been many threads discussing this here on HTF, and if you search for some of those, you can find a lot of much more technically knowledgable folks than me giving more detailed and accurate descriptions of the process.
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#6 of 15 OFFLINE   MielR

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Posted December 10 2008 - 04:17 PM

Yeah, check out some of Robert A. Harris' threads/posts (in this forum and in the SD-DVD film forum).
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#7 of 15 OFFLINE   MielR

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Posted December 13 2008 - 03:11 PM

Adrian, I saw this article and thought you'd find it interesting:

Lowry System
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#8 of 15 OFFLINE   bpickell

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Posted December 14 2008 - 05:58 AM

This is a pretty good topic: I would like to ask this: Is an old movie such as Casablanca really capable of having the same quality picture and sound as current releases of BluRay? I have been hesitating to buy the older releases just because of my mental block thinking that it can't possibly have the same quality.

#9 of 15 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted December 14 2008 - 06:02 AM

It won't look like Transformers but you're going to be able to see an upgrade from the DVD. As long as something was shot on film, it will look better on Blu-ray regardless of its age.

#10 of 15 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted December 14 2008 - 06:31 AM

To be honest, it may actually look better, if good source material is available; steady cameras, less post-production processing, and deliberately using grainier film to achieve a specific look. Remember: Just because DVD is the best you've ever seen a movie does not mean it's the best it's ever looked.
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#11 of 15 OFFLINE   RobertR

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Posted December 14 2008 - 10:11 AM

I don't know what your expectations are of a movie such as Casablanca, or what you mean by "the same quality picture and sound". As others have pointed out, the film has more information on it than Hidef, so the quality is not at all limited in that sense. But it's a black and white film shot in the Academy ratio, so of course you cannot expect it to look the "same" as a widescreen color release. Nor can you expect it to sound the same as a modern wide range multichannel soundtrack.

#12 of 15 OFFLINE   bpickell

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Posted December 14 2008 - 11:16 AM

I didn't actually mean specifically Casablanca, I just used that as an example since that is the example the OP used... Lets say a pre Blu movie that they make into a bluRay release such as The original Batman. Would it have the same quality video and sound as the New Batman release? I ask this because I have Full Metal Jacket on HDDVD and to be honest I can't tell much of a difference between that and a standard DVD.

#13 of 15 ONLINE   Wayne_j

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Posted December 14 2008 - 02:35 PM

Picture quality on old films could range from better than recent films to much worse. Audio Quality would probably be lower than recent films if only because sound recording equipment wasn't nearly as good as it is today. In the case of Casablanca, it looks better than many recent films because of masterful filming techniques and the lack of digital processing.

#14 of 15 OFFLINE   Jeff Gatie

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Posted December 15 2008 - 01:10 AM

Casablanca in high def is magnificent. The fine grain B&W is stunninglyl reproduced and the film has probably not been seen in this pristine a presentation since its debut. Please note that film has been around for a long time, especially black and white, and older films (if the stock is in good condition) can be as good (or better) than newer films when it comes to quality. Especially if you compare cheap 70's film stock to the outlandishly expensive 3 strip process used for The Wizard of Oz or other Technicolor films.

#15 of 15 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted December 15 2008 - 01:59 AM

Another factor with Black & White films is the gray scale. Normally it's dumbed down for SD in order to prevent color banding. But for HD they know the finer details won't be blurred together, so they don't need to dial it down. This is one of the reasons why Casablanca looks so much better in HD than SD - the tonality is simply much richer.

"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932





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