Is it just me, or does Star Wars 3 look poorer in HD?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Mark Kalzer, Jun 3, 2006.

  1. Mark Kalzer

    Mark Kalzer Second Unit

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    Revenge of the Sith has been playing twice today on The Movie Network in HD in Canada in it's OAR, and I understand it also played recently on HBO. Not sure if too many here caught it or if it was in OAR HD.

    What I find striking though is that compared to my own DVD, which I have watched on the same display, the image looks less real to me in the HD format.

    I've been down on the film on other message boards for the film's poor overly digital appearance, and I find looking at it in higher resolution, at a resolution close to what it was natively shot in, the actors look even less a part of the CGi sets.

    If anyone has played or watched an old computer game made back when full motion video was in its infancy, where real actors were used in front of computer generated sets, (but of lower quality then what can be done today) best example being 'Wing Commander III', it has that same kind of appearance. The real actors, in high detail stick out from the less detailed CGI sets.

    I almost think the higher resolution has made the film weaker. Any thoughts? Is it just another symptom of the abandoning of celluloid film by Lucas and the transition to competely digital filmmaking?
     
  2. Matt Thompson

    Matt Thompson Stunt Coordinator

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    In all honesty, I was hard-pressed to tell the difference between HBO HD's OAR broadcast and the upconverted disc.
     
  3. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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    I think you'll find a substantial difference in quality between cable/satellite HD feeds and prerecorded HD. OTA HD is generally better, but can also vary in quality from one region to another, and by the equipment being used.
     
  4. John Troutman

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    Not to mention that even cable/satellite HD feeds vary from provider to provider. I've seen comparisons screenshots from RotS from a few different cable companies, and there are some that are CLEARLY better than others. So if you thought it looked poorer in HD, it could very well just be your HD provider.

    But yeah, it'll be a good deal better on a prerecorded HD format - I doubt we'd see any macroblocking, for one.
     
  5. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    Mark,
    How is your DVD player hooked up to the display?
    How is the sat box hooked up?
    Is the display calibrated for each input?
     
  6. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

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    I have to say that the upconvert on the A1 looks stellar. I cancelled my HBO last year because their HD is a freaking JOKE!
     
  7. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Cinematographer

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    EPISODE III is one of the SD DVD's I've watched on the HD-A1, it looked *almost* like High Def. I haven't seen the HBO broadcast yet, I'll check it out later this week when it's rebroadcast.
     
  8. Mark Kalzer

    Mark Kalzer Second Unit

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    They are both rigged up pretty much the same, and I am positive that it has nothing to do with calibration.

    I suppose I did not make my issues clear enough. The actual picture quality itself wasn't weaker. Indeed I find HD to be superior in every regard, and I am definantly seeing a greater resolution here. I only find that with Star Wars and its almost gratuitous amounts of computer generated imagery behind its real actors, I find the actors look a lot less a part of that environment. Ewan McGreagor and Hayden stand out even more as not a part of that universe, and the actors in front of blue screen effect I found grating in the theatres, is present here. The minute details on their skin is more noticable, and it sticks out from the clean glossy look of all of the fake sets.

    Of course this is not as prevelant in SD DVD since there is less detail overall in the picture.

    I hope I have made it a little more clear for all.
     
  9. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    hmm, looked very good to me.
    oar too, rare for hbo.
     
  10. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    Much more clear (ha, ha).
    Your first post stated;
    "What I find striking though is that compared to my own DVD, which I have watched on the same display, the image looks less real to me in the HD format."
    I took that to mean detail & depth, two things that make 'video' more "real" to me. Your latest post, thank you, tells me it is the higher resolution of HD, that makes the CGI of Ep. III less real. BIG difference to me, so thanks for clarifying.
    I've got the sinking feeling that a lot of films will not be successful in making the transition to the home HiDef format. Maybe I should hang on to some of my lowly SD DVD titles!

    Oh, and nothing against your video connections. I just wanted to take that out of the equation! ;-)
     
  11. Dave Moritz

    Dave Moritz Producer
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    I thought SW3 looked really good as well. And it was a real suprise that HBO played it in letterbox. I can't wait for SW 1-3 to be released on HD Blu-ray. And I was only using component input on my tv and not hdmi and it still looked great to me. Usually movies in HD on HBO on Cox Cable has its share of problems. And Starz HD and Universal HD looks alot better.
     
  12. Brent M

    Brent M Producer

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    Thank goodness I'm not the only one. I actually went as far as putting in the DVD while the HD feed was airing on HBO-HD last night and synching them up perfectly so I could switch back and forth. The DVD was running at 720p upconverted on my Pioneer Elite 59AVi and it looked almost exactly the same as the HD feed. I think it's a testament to just how good the PQ of the Episode III DVD is and how great standard def DVD can still look.
     
  13. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    Or, just maybe, now BAD broadcast HD is! ;-)

    Anyone think, 'a long time' in the future, the SW HD discs will only look as good as the HBO broadcast?
     
  14. Brent M

    Brent M Producer

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    I have no doubt that SW on Blu-Ray and/or HD-DVD will look better than the HBO-HD broadcast, but I still think the standard def DVD of Episode III looks absolutely stunning. I know a lot of people are ready to abandon regular DVD becuase of the new formats, but when I watch a well-mastered disc on my upconverting Elite player I'm still pretty damn impressed.
     
  15. Matt Leigh

    Matt Leigh Stunt Coordinator

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    If the display isn't calibrated right or the signal from the cable company is bad the live action elements will pop out overtop of the effects shots drastically. The Wing Commander analogy is what I'd expect to see if this was the case.
     
  16. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Interesting point though,

    that with some films with lots of CGI, the higher-res HD image might reveal the *discrepency* between the CGI and live-action charactes more clearly...and pull one out of the film.

    In theory this could make sense... though I'd still rather see the HD!

    But I have to ask, those who saw this digitally projected in theaters with no film in the path at all... that was *higher* resolution than what you'll see in 2.35:1 HD 16x9 bcs the theater used the whole 1080 for the 2.35:1 image area (versus the "letterboxed" HD signal in 16x9)...

    how did *that* image compare to what you see on the DVD? Did the digital projection in theaters look "worse" in the sense of the distracting CGI?
     
  17. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    David,

    When ROTS was in the theater, I viewed it four times with various friends, co-workers, and relatives. I saw it twice digitally projected at the two year old Rave Theater at the Patton Creek shopping center in Hoover, Alabama; and twice on film at the brand new Amstar 14 in Alabaster, Alabama.

    The Rave Theater has two 4k DLP digital projector exhibition halls; and I was fortunate enough to view ROTS on the larger of the two screens.

    Short and sweet: The digital presentation at the Rave was stunning and *much* better than the film presentation that I witnessed at the brand new Amstar 14 . Far from taking me out of the movie, every scene (even the much discussed balcony scene) seemed riveting. The film version of the movie seemed "flat" in comparison. For some reason, the acting seemed *more* impressive on the digital screen.

    The HBO HD broadcast that I witnessed over the weekend still didn't begin to approach the presentation of the movie that I was able to obtain in the digital theater. (In fact, in many scenes it seemed closer to the film version presentation!) We'll probably need ROTS on Blu-ray and/or HD-DVD mated to a 3-chip 1080p DLP projector in order to get close to the theatrical digital presentation.

    EDIT: You asked about a comparison to the current DVD. IMO, the current DVD, as projected via my Infocus 4805, comes closer to the experience that I had at the digital theater than the HBO HD broadcast. I know that sounds insane, but it's true.
     
  18. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Doesn't sound insane at all... HBO seems to have a way of overfiltering/compressing HD signal until they look worse than DVD...especially when those DVDs are "reference quality" and are being upscaled on the same system.

    Thanks for sharing!!!

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    When we saw Ep:III opening day at the NYC Ziegfeld in digital it was the most amazing image I had ever seen projected. The DVD upcoverted through my OPPO looks pretty damn good but nowhere near the image I saw opening day as far as detail.

    [​IMG] d
     

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