Showtime: Why is their HDTV content nearly empty & full of upconverted broadcasts?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Matt_Stevens, Jul 30, 2001.

  1. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    The only HDTV channel to get actual 2.35 content in true 2.35:1 and their schedule is nearly empty, filled with mostly upconverted 480i crap! Why?
    I have a 47" Panasonic HDTV due next week and am seriously thinking about a DISH 6000, but I don't want to pay for cropped HBO. Is SHOWTIME getting worse, because I once heard they had a lot of 1080i content.
    Thanks
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  2. MaxY

    MaxY Guest

    Showtime may not have has much True HD but when they do HD they do it right.
    Most of their older movies are still shown as upconverted 4x3 but most of their new and especially bigger name movies are shown in HD OAR and DD 5.1 if there is a 5.1 track avalable.
    They are not getting worse.
    HBO crops to 16x9 most everything. Croping in my opinon is worse then Pan & Sacning to 16x9 because it just cuts the sides until it fills up the screen top to bottom with no attempt to scan back and forth and follow the action. At least that is what I think they are doing.
    Well Even though HBO does that they do seem to be getting Hd transfers of most of what they put on with the exceptions being their own made for TV series like Sex in the City, Arlis and Six Feet Under.
    The croping is not awful for 1:85 movies. They do use DD 5.1 sometimes and have been better about it lately. I use a Big Dish to get it and I have heard some of the mini dish users complain that they don't get the DD 5.1, even on shows I know were 5.1 through the big dish.
    So yeah Showtime does it right but they are not doing as much of it, they seem to focus their HD on mostly big name recent movies.
    Max
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  3. PerryD

    PerryD Supporting Actor

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    Here is a fairly comprehensive list of all the movies (64 total) that Showtime has shown in High Definition over the past year. I would guess that the total only increases at around 2 per month on the average.
    200 Cigarettes
    3 Strikes
    Angela's Ashes
    At First Sight
    Being John Malcovich
    Black Mask
    Bringing Out the Dead
    Dead Man on Campus
    Dirty Work
    Disturbing Behavior
    Double Jeopardy
    Election
    Enslavement: Fanny Kemble
    Flawless
    General's Daughter
    Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai
    Harlan County War
    Inspector 2: Shred of Evidence
    Just the Ticket
    Knock Off
    Limey
    Locked In Silence
    Mission: Impossible 2
    Mod Squad
    Movers and Shakers
    Next Best Thing
    Night at the Roxbury
    Ninth Gate
    Noriega: God's Favorite
    One Kill
    Out-of-Towners
    Payback
    Possessed
    Rage: Carrie 2
    Rated X
    Ronin
    Rugrats Movie
    Rules of Engagement
    Runaway Bride
    Simple Plan
    Sister Mary Explains It All
    Sleepy Hollow
    Snake Eyes
    Snow Day
    South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
    Species II
    Star Trek: Insurrection
    Stigmata
    Stir of Echoes
    Supernova
    Superstar
    Talented Mr. Ripley
    Tea With Mussolini
    Teaching Mrs. Tingle
    Terms of Endearment
    The Wood
    Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her
    Thomas Crown Affair
    Truman Show
    Varian's War
    Varsity Blues
    Walter and Henry
    Who Killed Atlanta's Children
    World Is Not Enough
    There is also another 125 movies that were shown upconverted over the same time which I am not listing. So, in total, Showtime showed 189 different movies in widescreen (I think always OAR) in the past year. Keep in mind that HBO generally does something like 60 different movies each month.
     
  4. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    Wow. A lot of really terrible films in that list. Dirty Work? There were very few good ones listed (Rules Of Engagement, Sleepy Hollow are two). Ouch.
    So HBO just zooms in the HD suignal? They are not actually securing open matted transfers of 2.35:1 Super35 films like PERFECT STORM? If they are just cropping them, then that is pathetic. The Full Frame version would be better!
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  5. Jim Ferguson

    Jim Ferguson Stunt Coordinator

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    Many of the Super35 movies on HBO, including The Matrix, American Beauty, The X-Files etc. are done mainly by opening up the matte at the top or bottom of the image. Some image is cropped at the sides, but not as much as with anamorphic scope pictures.
    It's still wrong. American Beauty looked horrible this way. There was a huge amount of dead space at the bottom of the frame.
     
  6. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    I'd rather have dead space, which I can mat off, then have the sides chopped off. That's for damn sure.
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  7. Michael St. Clair

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  8. MaxY

    MaxY Guest

    Matt,
    You really can't use Mattes to restore a Super 35mm movie that has been made 16x9 by opening up the mattes. As Michael pointed out lots of times the Spec Effects shots are done in 2:35 without anything to open up.
    It could actually result in some scenes being double cropped.
    Max
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  9. Matt_Stevens

    Matt_Stevens Supporting Actor

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    Nearly every Super35 2.35:1 film has the FX shots done at 1.85:1. The Matrix, Gladiator, ID4, and Titanic all have numerous 1.85:1 composed FX shots and that is becoming common place (because of HDTV?). Typicaly, the shots that are not are done in 70mm.
    Either way, HBO still sucks.
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  10. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    Is it SHOWTIME that is to blame for the meager amount/selection of true HD, or are they doing all they can with what the studios will give them? Aren't the studios kind of stingy with their product these days, waiting for the new digital copy protection schemes to take hold? Or waiting for more of a market to develop before investing in doing more HD transfers (although you would think all newer movies would have this anyway)?
     
  11. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    Is it my imagination, or is there almost zero worthwhile HDTV content out there? I've been dithering about getting a STB but HBO crops, Showtime's got nothing I want to see that I don't already have on DVD.....when are we ever going to see something worth having HDTV for? I'm not convinced, not at all. [​IMG]
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  12. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    They show Stargate SG-1 in HD, or so I'm told by a friend with HD-Showtime
     
  13. Abdul Jalib

    Abdul Jalib Stunt Coordinator

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  14. MaxY

    MaxY Guest

    Yep SG 1 is an Upconvert. It does look good but it does not Look True HD good. It is also put out with DD 5.1 which does sound good as well.
    As for seeing the difference between an Upconvert and True HD...
    HBO Aired some eps of the Sopranos in 16x9 upconverted form and they too looked good but last season when they moved to true HD boy did it really look good. No DD 5.1 for the Sopranos yet. (Well on DVD but not HBO HD at least)
    Max
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