Film Quality vs DVD Quality - why does DVD look so much better?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Lou Sytsma, Aug 2, 2002.

  1. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    Someone clear this up for me?

    How is that I am constantly finding the picture quality of a DVD surpassing that of what I see in local theaters.

    Case in point - the LOTR DVD easily has a far better picture than anything I saw in the 4 different theatres I saw it in.

    Scenes are so much clearer on the DVD. The opening battle from the prologue, the detail in Moria, the Balrog etc all show with much greater clarity than the film counterpart.

    Isn't this going against the image superiority that a film print is supposed to have?

    Does it all come down to the fact the prints one sees in the theater suffer such a detail loss because I'm seeing a copy of the original?

    AOTC should look light years better than what I saw in the theater.
     
  2. Jesse Leonard

    Jesse Leonard Second Unit

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    Because in the theater, you are seeing a 35mm piece of film blown up to 100 feet or so. On DVD, you are seeing an image only blown up to a few feet. Blow the same DVD image up to 100 feet and then tell us how much better quality a DVD image is! [​IMG]
     
  3. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Because your theaters may not be very good, especially if they're turning down their bulb to make it last an extra 2 shows. Low bulb+Super35 equals crap

    The better reason is that film is 2000x2000 resolution. DVD is 720x480. So given that DVD has about a quarter of the resolution of film, if you make something smaller than the original, it will look sharper.
     
  4. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    Jeff I was aware of the bulb issue - should have mentioned it my post.

    Colour me pink:b but I always took the inference that comparing a film to a DVD was based on a theatrical presentation image size for film and a home based image for a DVD.

    Comparing the 2 images at the same size would obviously show the quality difference between the 2! :b :b Doh!
     
  5. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    [Insert Scooby-Doo noise of confusion here]

    I dunno what Jeff is trying to say here- but this direct statement isn't exactly correct. While making something smaller will make it appear sharper, this is true primarily at the same resolution. For example, a 2000x2000 resolution image projected to 10 foot wide will look much sharper than the same image projected to 100 feet wide.

    But 720x480 DVD won't look "sharper" than film. Heck, film should look significantly sharper than DVD (even progressive DVD) even up to 5 times the size.

    Again- I think Jeff meant to say that the difference in projected image size of a film vversus how you view DVD at home will cause DVD to appear a bit sharper, but the introduction of resolution figures in that same paragraph makes it sound like he was saying a 720x480 res image will be "sharper" than a 2000x2000 image because it is "smaller", when resolution has little to do directly with size.

    -Vince
     
  6. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I haven't seen the LOTR:FOTR disc yet, but I'm routinely struck by how much less detail I see on a DVD of a movie I saw in theaters. (The most recent example is The Royal Tenenbaums.)
    It's true that the source material for mastering DVDs (at least in a new film) will often be cleaner, and probably a generation or two closer to the original negative, than what you see in theaters. It'a also true that theatrical viewing conditions vary enormously. And don't forget the arsenal of tricks used in transferring and mastering DVDs that can make for the illusion of greater sharpness (notably, the dreaded "edge enhancement"). All of these factors may contribue to the impression that, with this or that particular title, the DVD looks "better" than the film. The objective fact remains, though, that DVD (and NTSC video generaly) has less resolution and far less color depth and variation than film.
    M.
     
  7. Chauncey_G

    Chauncey_G Second Unit

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    A lot of it depends on the theater and how old the print is when you see it. If your local theater isn't all that keen on taking proper care of their projection booths - meaning keeping it clean, proper projector maintenance, etc. - then screen presentation can suffer. It would also depend greatly whether you saw the film in it's opening weekend or caught it after it had been out a couple of months. As mentioned earlier, whatever they may be doing with their lamps would have a good deal to do with it also.
     
  8. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    A film frame is NOT 1:1!

    DVD simply looks "better" because it's downscaled. You can take an awful 10th generation VHS image and scale it down to the size of a postage stamp...it looks better, but there's less detail and information. If you were to take a DVD image and blow it up to the size of a regular theater image, it'll look like crap.

    LOTR isn't a good example anyways...it's supposed to have that grainy look to it.
     
  9. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    LOTR has hardly any grain at all that I can see.
     
  10. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    FOTRs producer Barrie M Osborne claims the DVD transfer is 90% digital, or semi digital if you will. They digitaly transfered the original camera negative and sourced the DVD transfer from that having edited it and colour timed it all digitaly.

    That route has effectively given us a 1st generation quality transfer. That's why it looks so pristine and clean of a lot of common grain seen in later generation film prints. He says Two Towers DVD transfer will be 100% digital sourced from the original camera negative.

    Dan
     
  11. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    Thanks for the info Dan. Is there a link to an article for those statements?

    I understand AOTC is going to be digitally sourced as well.
    Should make for an interesting result in the Picture Quality.

    Is the lower resolution of the DVD why the effects in FOTR DVD seem more seamless? They appear to be more realistic and better integrated into the picture. Problematic shots like Legolas on top of the Cave Troll look much better on the DVD.
     
  12. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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    From TheOneRing.net
    Osborne: The first version, the August release, is the theatrical experience. You'll see the movie that you saw in the theatre and you'll be able to own it or rent it, have it in your home. I must also say that the DVD quality, the quality of the images is impeccable. We scanned in our negatives so that most of the negative is digital negative. On film two we're going to do the entire film as a direct transfer from actual digital information.
    Dan
     
  13. Terrell

    Terrell Producer

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    Interesting! Thanks Dan. Had no idea any of the LOTR DVD were going to be digital trasnfers.
     
  14. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    The first post is interesting, because my quick review was that there was a disappointing lack of detail in the Moria scenes compared to what I remember seeing five times in the theater. Everything seems shrouded in darkness and shadow detail is quite lacking on the DVD, while I recall there being quite a lot visible on film. For instance, the orc archer as they cross the bridge of Khazad-Dum is nearly invisible on the DVD and I recall him quite clearly on the film.
     
  15. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

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    Thanks Dan.

    Interesting indeed Mark. My experience is the total opposite of yours. I see the Orc archers quite clearly. I also see much more detail in the dwarf city and in the skin of the Balrog. The opening prologue battle with the orcs falling off the cliff is way much clearer as well.
     
  16. Grant H

    Grant H Cinematographer

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    Does that mean Twin Towers is being shot digitally a la Episode II and III?
    If not, the Producers statement is very misleading at the end. A digital transfer from a film source is still from film, not digital information. It's nice that they're using the original negatives and scanning those, but aren't all video releases "digitally mastered" at some point? I understand these are equivalent of first generation, but can they really call them digital transfers when it's from an analog medium?
     
  17. Matt Pelham

    Matt Pelham Screenwriter

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    Does this mean The Two Towers would benefit from a DLP showing?
     
  18. Jeremy Conrad

    Jeremy Conrad Supporting Actor

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  19. Brook K

    Brook K Lead Actor

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    I saw a theater-sized blowup of the Criterion DVD of Shock Corridor at a film festival a couple of months ago. It looked awful. In any long shot the faces were just blotches and there were big artifacts all over the place. The ghosting was very bad.
    I've seen newer films on DVD blown up (X-Men, Me Myself and Irene) and they look better, but still nothing close to film.
     
  20. Dan Brecher

    Dan Brecher Producer

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