Other Studios & Manufacturers: Please DO NOT support Warner Bros' HD-DVD proposals!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dan Hitchman, Aug 20, 2002.

  1. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    I beseech you in the name of quality, do not succumb to Warner Brothers' wishes to rush a highly compressed, low bitrate HD-DVD format to market in response to D-VHS.
    As other threads and petitions have stated (even though there are some disagreements as to how HD-DVD should be presented) we will not accept a compromised product this time.
    Standard DVD, for all its success, is a compromised product spec. wise both in terms of video and audio space allocation, and to piggyback & cram HD video onto it would be a mistake.
    Those of us who have seen or have bought into properly calibrated HDTV systems will usually attest to the fact that we are and will be more demanding when it comes to ultimate picture and sound quality.
    If this product takes 3-5 years (for some, a lifetime of waiting... I should know) to be released I would hope it can best the benchmark set by D-VHS/D-Theater in terms of video and audio quality.
    Video: By besting D-VHS, I mean jumping right into full 1920 x 1080 (unfiltered) progressive scan support with lower compression ratios (no artifacting & pixelization with the ability to fully handle natural film grain, fast motion, and low light conditions) and better resolution detail (I do not mean edge enhancement!), color reproduction, grayscale, etc. By the time HD-DVD is out the door there will already be digital display products (front & rear projectors) that are capable of fully rendering 1920 x 1080p signals. Also, right off the bat D-VHS can reproduce 1080p @ 24 fps. All it needs is the source tape to do it. What I propose is that HD-DVD should do 1080p in 24 fps(most film) and 30 fps(most video and some film). 1080p programing can be downconverted in-player to any number of lower resolutions depending on the consumers' display device capabilities. Settings for various refresh rates would be nice as this would help eliminate the need for an outside digital scaler to dial in the proper resoluton and refresh rate for a particular TV.
    No heavy handed high frequency filtering (that robs the picture of fine detail) and no edge enhancement (it does exist, it is being applied, and it does look awful!) will be applied!
    Original aspect ratios 100% of the time. The era of pan& scan, cropping, and open matte transfers will be at an end. That was for the 20th Century, not the 21st.
    The ability to do 2.35:1 enhancement on films 2.0:1 and wider. This would either allow the entire 1920 x 1080 pixel count to be used on 2.35:1 ratio films (via digital anamorphic enhancement-- the same idea as 16x9 enhancement on today's DVDs) without wasting needed detail on black bars, or allow most of the 1920 x 1080 pixel count on 2.0:1 and 2.20:1 ratio films (2.35:1 enhancement plus slight windowboxing), and 2.55:1 and 2.76:1 ratio films (slight letterboxing). Quality, in-player digital downconversion can be applied to those with 1.78:1 ratio sets so that alaising, picture softening, and other problems associated with 16x9 downconversion on today's DVDs does not occur.
    I add this necessary feature because digital front projector users (which are growing in numbers due to ever lowering prices) are being neglected. With this 2.35:1 enhancement allowing all or most of the detail, brightness, and resolution of a 1.78:1 HD program, and a properly designed anamorphic lens attachment, an honest-to-God constant height/variable width home theater with 2.35:1 ratio screen can be attained. Filmmakers will be happy too that their wider ratio movies are not losing resolution or proper framing due to letterboxing practices of the past. It may not be a common place occurrence at the beginning, but at least the feature is there to be exploited.
    Audio: To best D-VHS and standard DVD-Audio in the audio department (these are HIGH DEFINITION discs we are proposing here), one primary track must be set aside for audiophile purposes. That would mean 1.0 to 8 channel discrete surround capabilities with LPCM resolutions of 24 bit/192 kHz on all channels with the ability to use those 8 channels in any configuration the filmmaker or music engineer chose (the eighth channel would be full range, not just bandwidth limited for LFE bass). Obviously, for most movie applications the 8 channel configuration would be the Lexicon Logic7 and THX standard practices of front three channel array, stereo side channel array, stereo rear channel array, and LFE .1 channel.
    MLP compressed or uncompressed depending on space requirements.
    Yes, I know 8 channel is rare RIGHT NOW, however that does not mean the capability should not be included in the specs. Limitations created by being short-sighted is not a good way to start. For instance, many a music engineer in the audiophile companies like Telarc, Chesky, DMP, etc. would love to be able to reproduce side and back wall venue acoustics in their recordings and are chaffing at the restriction of 6 channels on SACD and DVD-Audio currently. I've personally read many complaints that 5.1 was a lazy man's approach to high end audio (we have 5.1 for movies, so let's just go with that for SACD and DVD-Audio). I haven't even touched on the fact that there are movie sound engineers who feel 6 channel is a limitation as well.
    Also, consider the fact that Dolby Digital EX and DTS-ES matrixes are compromises made because of the inflexibility of the 6 channel theater standard currently applied to both commercial and consumer theaters. 6 channel has been around since the 1950's on roadshow releases, special venue formats, etc. Do we really have to continue this limited practice into the 21st century? With the ability of HD-DVD (also could be used for HD-DVD Audio) to carry 8 discrete channels of surround information (the maximum most home theaters can accommodate anyway) filmmakers have a choice to be able to either make special, tweaked near-field mixes for home theaters (this practice is going on more and more all the time) or create 8 channel masters and down convert them to DD EX and DTS ES for the theater, but have the master ready for tweaking to HD-DVD.
    You still have the flexibility to use 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 2.1, 4.1, 5.1 etc. etc. if need be without any one configuration having compromised fidelity.
    A DTS and/or DD track would be available for backwards compatibility.
    This is a general laundry list of features. Specifics on how to accomplish this I leave to capable engineers, and electronics/audio experts.
    However, I would assume two dual layered Blue-Ray discs would be the minimum storage medium you would want to use for maximum quality. Do not forget to consider other alternative high capacity disc types that could yield far better results and higher data storage.
    Thank you for your time and consideration.
    Dan Hitchman
     
  2. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Comments, please!

    Dan
     
  3. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    There are few points I disagree with in your proposal. I think HD should offer the best possible presentation, not be geared for a compromised solution rushed to market. There is still plenty of money to be made on DVD without adding yet another format to the market at this time.Think it out and do HD right.
     
  4. Trace Downing

    Trace Downing Supporting Actor

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    Aren't you jumping the gun on judgement here? I kow that WB has tested a "low bitrate" HD-DVD using roughly the same technology, but I've yet to hear anything out of their camp, or anyone else's that "This is what we are going to do, and that's final!".

    This just slaps of more Warner bashing that's been too popular on this board for a couple of years now.

    Lighten up.
     
  5. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    I'm not bashing WB, however I am in complete and total disagreement with their proposals so far.

    Hopefully, there will far less compromising on HD-DVD than there was with the current DVD spec. Let's see: shall it be adequate picture or adequate sound? Can't have both, and sometimes it won't be either. In fact it'll really only be given enough room for lossy, highly compressed, non-audiophile soundtracks; a big step down from LD's uncompressed PCM tracks, but what the hey!

    If this format were geared for the more discerning home theater crowd and not to uneducated-about-audio/video masses and still have a pretty reasonable price (no more than $35 and maybe up to $40 for a top quality special edition-- studios have to remember that these small discs are far less expensive to duplicate than multiple 12" laserdiscs), since regular DVD's are usually shooting under that for mass consumption). However, at the prices I just mentioned the sound and picture quality must be the best it can be as I've listed in my first post above.

    Dan
     
  6. Andy_MT

    Andy_MT Second Unit

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    i can't see an issue here. the studios will have to go through us first to kick start the format (economics). if warner HD-DVD isn't acceptable quality, we won't buy it and the format won't take off. end of story.
     

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