Phantom Menace video observations

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Shayne Lebrun, Oct 10, 2001.

  1. Shayne Lebrun

    Shayne Lebrun Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 1999
    Messages:
    1,086
    Likes Received:
    0
    So I'm one of the blessed who has the DVD early. Watching it on me non-anamorphic DVD I notice tons and tons of aliasing artifacts. Real notable; when Anakin's taking out his podracer, watch the lines that it's being dragged by. One example of many.
    But that got me thinking. The aliasing was only on the CGI stuff, reminded me alot of Starship Troopers. Same effect; the ships have a lot of stair-stepping when they move diagnoally across the screen. But the NON cgi stuff, was fine. For example, the Naboo Royal ship thingy is flying over a forest; the forest is fine, but the ship is aliased.
    Now, my setup is a HTPC; I've a DXR3 card. So I switch the display over to my monitor, which the player goes into anamorphic mode for, popped it fullscreen, and sure enough, no aliasing. Looks great.
    Now it's a fact that MPEG-2 encoding doesn't deal well with geometrically straight lines; and such things don't exist in nature. I can therefore conclude that the aliasing you see is because the CGI is too detailed; there is a black line on the ship, and that's that. There's no fading, no blending; the ship has an edge, and that's that. So when it's compressed, you get a stair step. This makes sense, when you think that one of the anti-aliasing tricks that's popular is to render a scene several times, then put them all together, so instead of getting
    0
    0
    0
    0
    0
    you might get
    0
    o0
    o0o
    o0oo
    oo0oo
    oo0ooo
    which, when viewed at pixel size, gives you the gradiation between object and not-object that nature tends to produce.
    Also, you get the problem that the CGI was probably done at film speed, which means you don't get the motion blur inherent to film; again, it doesn't look right, and doesn't leave a lot of 'analog' to cover up such things.
    I'm going to try the same scene on me laptop tomorrow; I've got WinDVD and the Intervideo decoder built in. Both software. I can post screen caps if y'all would like.
    But the long and short is, the aliasing appears to be a downconversion artifact that is made worse by the high level of 'difficult to encode, then difficult to downconvert' elements in this film.
     
  2. MaxY

    MaxY Guest

  3. Lou Sytsma

    Lou Sytsma Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 1998
    Messages:
    5,851
    Likes Received:
    351
    Real Name:
    Lou Sytsma
    Shayne can you email me where you got it - I'm in the TO area.
    ------------------
    Every man is my superior, in that I may learn from him.
    MyHTSetup
    [Edited last by Lou Sytsma on October 11, 2001 at 05:13 AM]
     
  4. Todd N

    Todd N Extra

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 1999
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    I just got mine today.
    I noticed that there was more artifacting in the restored scenes (mainly in CGI areas, as you said) than anywhere else. Did you notice it, or is it me?
    Peace...
    One
    ------------------
    Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining!
     
  5. Shayne Lebrun

    Shayne Lebrun Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 1999
    Messages:
    1,086
    Likes Received:
    0
    As I said, I'm using a PC setup; it's a DXR3 aka Hollywood+. Pretty good at downconverting.
     
  6. MaxY

    MaxY Guest

  7. richard plumb

    richard plumb Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 1999
    Messages:
    109
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't have this disc yet, so I am not commenting directly on your observations.
    But I would have thought that an outfit as experienced as ILM would be using motion blur on their CGI. Software can simulate the motion blur effect you get from an object moving across an open apeture.
     
  8. Todd N

    Todd N Extra

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 1999
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    There is also an area, in the supplements, during the "The Beginning" documentary, when George Lucas and the crew are watching the first cut of the film,and when the theater goes dark, the artifacts are out of control.
    Peace...
    One
    ------------------
    Don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining!
     
  9. Brian Lawrence

    Brian Lawrence Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 1998
    Messages:
    3,634
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Brian
    I have heard many complaints about ringing from edge enhancement, While I did notice it at times I feel that some of the complaints have been overly exaggerating the problem, Yes this transfer should not have EE at all but this is not nearly as bad as STARGATE or DIE HARD III . But I did have another problem that may or may not be the result of EE. I found the whole transfer to have a slight glittery artificial look to it, Nothing severe, but worth noting.
    As far as the softness in many of the scenes, Well I feel that is the problem of the film itself, Phantom Menace was in my opinion the ugliest looking STAR WARS film yet. I suspect the softness and often muted pastel colors where the result of so much cgi being used. The image just does not seem natural at all, nor did it at the theaters. With so much cgi and green screen work being done, I suspect the director of photography never had much of a chance to work with actual lighting.
    [Edited last by Brian Lawrence on October 12, 2001 at 11:04 AM]
     
  10. Sean Patrick

    Sean Patrick Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 1999
    Messages:
    732
    Likes Received:
    0
    i noticed a lot of stairstepping and what i thought was EE on the silver ship when watching in 16:9 squeeze mode. some scenes seem tohave no EE, others seem riddled with it.
    one good scene to test - the SENATE SCENE. In the long hovering shots when you see dozens of the senate pods with alien inhabitants, the bright horizontal lights on the pods seem to have an unnatural edgey look, just like edge enhancement. i can see it on my relatively small set, i'd love to see some screen captures of this scene in particular. plus the rims of some people's hats have the same problem.
    otherwise i think it's a great looking disc.
     
  11. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2000
    Messages:
    5,540
    Likes Received:
    177
    I thought Phantom Menance looked excellent (though not perfect - I own an Panasonic RV80 and a Sony KP-61V80 TV).
    I own about 80 some DVDs and compared to some of my top transfers (Cast Away, Inpendence Day, etc.). I thought Phantom Menace was up there. My complaints of the film would be the grain and some ringing - although I thought these problems were minor.
    I think the colors, shadows, whites, darks, etc. were as good as any DVD.
    Overall, the movie looked a bit better than I was expecting after reading many of the reviews. I remember one Web site which gave the picture of the DVD a "B". I though that was too critical. I would probably give this DVD about an A- for picture. I was very happy.
     
  12. darrin

    darrin Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 1999
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    Finally, we have The Phantom Menace. What do we hear all
    over the net??? PEOPLE COMPLAINING!! There's EE in the
    picture?? SO WHAT! I looked at it yesterday and yes, all is
    not PERFECT but can somebody say the laserdisc looks better?
    NO! I think the picture looks VERY good and I am looking at
    it on a Hitachi Ultravision 50 inch rear screen. I have not
    yet hooked up my Runco 980 Ultra, so I will not comment on
    picture blown up. Why can't people just be happy with
    what they have? People were crying about Lucas not releasing
    it, and now he did. The picture looks BETTER then avarage.
    And we will now start to see the threads about how the sound
    sucks compared to the laserdisc. Guess what? I believe it!
    Laserdisc just sounds better, but this is not laserdisc.
    Does it sound bad??? No, actually IS SOUNDS AWESOME. Just
    enjoy the DVD instead of putting under the microscope, you
    won't be sorry.
     
  13. James Nguyen

    James Nguyen Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2001
    Messages:
    295
    Likes Received:
    0
    Darrin,
    I do not yet own this DVD and probably won't pick it up until some of the demand has died down, so I have yet to see it. But, irregardless of what movie we're talking about or what film we're talking about (George Lucas or not), the complaint is in quality control in the transferring process. Given that there are some excellent dvds out there without a hint of EE, it is obviously possible to do so. The anti-EE camp's premise is that if it can obviously be done so it should be done consistently to all discs. EE is something that an author doing the transfer has to opt into, it's a decision to be made. Purists don't want modifications of the original film. Period. End of story.
    I'm honestly not that sensitive to EE unless it's extreme, so I'm more muted on the topic, although in principal I agree with the fervent anti-EE crowd. The whole TPM issue is probably (again I haven't seen it) being blown a little bit out of proportion, but given the expecations that have been set by the creators of this film/DVD, any shortcomings were obviously going to be pointed out immediately, loudly, and by the most vocal segment of the HT crowd---the videophile purists. [​IMG]
     
  14. Brian Lawrence

    Brian Lawrence Producer

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 1998
    Messages:
    3,634
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Brian
    "Finally, we have The Phantom Menace. What do we hear all
    over the net??? PEOPLE COMPLAINING!! There's EE in the
    picture?? SO WHAT! I looked at it yesterday and yes, all is
    not PERFECT but can somebody say the laserdisc looks better?
    NO! I think the picture looks VERY good...."

    Lighten up man. Nobody in this thread is trashing the disc. Yes We are pointing out it's flaws but nobody's saying not to buy the thing.However I would not go so far as to say the picture looked VERY good, But would not say it was bad either. I took a rental copy home from the store, mostly to check out the new footage and extras. I scanned through parts of the film itself as I really did not feel like watching the movie again at that time. All in all the Video was average and acceptable, The 5.1 audio sounded fantastic. The LD does sound different and has more bass but I personally feel the dvd sounds better overall.
     

Share This Page