DVD Standards and Definitions : Explain please

Discussion in 'DVD' started by GregAV, Nov 6, 2003.

  1. GregAV

    GregAV Agent

    Feb 21, 2003
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    *A friend without a HTF account asked me to post this for him*

    I have a few questions about DVDs and common phrases used to describe the content. At first the answers seemed straight forward, but then I realized how open to abuse they could be.

    First is there a governing body that controls and defines various phrases one might find the packaging of a DVD?

    Could someone attempt to define the following terms? These may seem a little silly but I have yet to locate a text book definition for the following terms. Specifically, anything sanctioned by any DVD authority. Are there any rules that need to be met to qualify for the following terms or is it just decided by the whim of a marketing department?

    Digitally Mastered

    Digitally Remastered


    Restore: This should be obvious. The original footage or audio has most likely been restored to its original quality or possibly enhanced further. Audio tracks may have been mixed up to Dolby Stereo or 5.1 surround.

    Digitally Mastered: This should mean that what is presented to you on the DVD has undergone a mastering process that involved digitization of the audio and video.

    Digital Remastered: I think this term may be getting confused with restored and was the source of my quandary. I have seen a few "digital remastered" titles on DVD that have turned out to be poorly compressed offerings taken right from the analog version (with no enhancements) and crammed onto a DVD.

    Any clarification on these terms would be appreciated.
  2. Derek Miner

    Derek Miner Screenwriter

    Feb 22, 1999
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    There is no official definition for any of those terms, and you're right, they are open to abuse. "Restored" is a particular word that gets thrown around a lot. I read about Disney's original laserdisc of "The Little Mermaid" proclaiming to be "restored," but what that meant was never really suggested.

    In an ideal world, "restored" should mean that the original materials for the film (particularly the negative) were rehabilitated and preserved so they can last for generations to come. "Restored" is often used in the case of a film that is enhanced or cleaned in the video realm, no matter what the condition of the original elements. And I'm sure there are some cases where "restored" is nothing but hype.
  3. Dan Rudolph

    Dan Rudolph Producer

    Dec 30, 2002
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    All DVDs are digitally mastered. That doesn't mean anything. I believe digital re-master should mean there was an earlier digital version, but it's been re-done.
  4. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

    Feb 24, 1999
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    These terms are meaningless in the manner in which they are applied in practice. And as Dan points out, all DVDs are "digitally mastered" by definition. I always found it humorous to see "digitally mastered" slapped on a CD package as well... [​IMG]
  5. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Lead Actor

    Jun 10, 2003
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    Real Name:
    Josh Steinberg
    "Digitally mastered," as has been pointed out, is a redundant phrase. DVDs are digital, all that means is that they recorded the film on to DVD. Not exactly a special feature.

    In theory, "digitally remastered" should mean a DVD reissue where the disc was reauthored, or somehow adjusted digitally.

    "Restored" should only be used when the FILM ITSELF has been saved from the ravages of time, and a new set of film elements has been created. A lot of DVDs claiming to be restored come from damaged film prints that have been cleaned up digitally for the DVD. That's great for DVD viewers, but most of the time, no work is done on the actual film itself, resulting on a film that's avaliable for viewing on DVD but not really usable as a theatrical film release.

    The worst part is when these terms get thrown around for no reason - sometimes you'll hear them slap "digitally restored" on a DVD release simply because it's the first time it's been on DVD.

    A DVD transfer, in a very basic sense, is the equivilent of a computer scanner's copy of an image. Let's say I have a photo that gets torn, and I scan the picture and use Photoshop to erase the tear. That results in a nice looking copy of the picture on my computer, but it's just that - a copy on my computer. Since nothing has been done to actually repair the damaged photo, the photo itself has not been restored in any way.

    Hope this helps.

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