SUPER BIT or SUPER BUST?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John P Grosskopf, Feb 28, 2002.

  1. John P Grosskopf

    John P Grosskopf Second Unit

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    http://www.dvdfile.com/news/views/ed...002/02_28.html
    At the above link, DVDfile.com has an editorial whose premise is that Sony's coming Deluxe Superbit releases are really not anything all that special.
    I'd like to invite other forum members to visit the DVDfile site, read the article, and post their thoughts and opinions on DVDfile's take of the Deluxe SUPERBITS as well as their own opinions of the situation.
    Personally, I'm pretty much in agreement with what they said, but also have a few things I'd like to add myself once a discussion gets going.
     
  2. GaryEA

    GaryEA Second Unit

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    Superbits, to me, are essentially bare bones editions. It's been a weak marketing tactic since it's announcement.

    If these Superbit Deluxe editions allegedly give the best of both worlds (film and extras), I think Columbia/Tri-Star should reevaluate all of their forthcoming releases and make them all of the highest quality, without the added hype and price.

    Gary
     
  3. PhilipW

    PhilipW Second Unit

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    I never really remember them being hyped for extras. All the hype was for extra picture quality and sound. Personally the only one I've bought is The Fifth Element and that was because I didn't have the original and the Superbit has a DTS option. It's been shown that the Superbit's do have a slightly better picture quality, however, you have to have a pretty good setup to notice this difference.

    As a marketing tool it is a bust. If you're like me and didn't have an original edition, don't watch too many extras and like DTS, then they're worth it if you don't pay full retail.
     
  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Peter M. Bracke is on the money!

    I have been saying this from the very

    first day I watched and compared SUPERBIT

    to normal DVDs.

    Superbits is a marketing ploy.

    You don't see other studios turning around

    and putting out their own Superbits titles.

    The reason is simple. Just about every new

    release from the other studios looks just as

    good as a Columbia Superbit title.

    In just about every normal Columbia DVD vs.

    Superbit DVD that I compared, I either saw

    no improvement or improvement that was nominal.

    If you took someone off the street and had

    them compare, I doubt they would see a difference.

    Hey, I love the folks over at Columbia Home

    Video, but I just can't endorse this SUPERBITS

    thing as being revolutionary.

    Peter Bracke raises some good points about

    Superbits looking better than their older

    counterparts because they have simply been

    remastered. I also agree with Mr. Bracke that

    EVERY title from Columbia deserves the same

    exact treatment from the getgo.
     
  5. LukeB

    LukeB Cinematographer

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    SuperBits were a SuperScam and a lame idea...Ron and Peter are on the money!
     
  6. LarryH

    LarryH Supporting Actor

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    If reports of MAR-only editions of To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday and others are true, maybe Columbia is downgrading their other product to make superbits more special. [​IMG]
     
  7. Matt Butler

    Matt Butler Screenwriter

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    Peter and Ron are right on the money!

    Its a marketing ploy. Ive seen Fox and Paramount put out great discs just like the superbits. And going to 2 disc SEs? Fight Club, Moulin Rouge, se7en anyone? I will say that the Fifth Element looks spectacular and Ill take a Superbit over a vanilla disc anyday but this is nothing new theyre coming up with.
     
  8. Martin Rendall

    Martin Rendall Screenwriter

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    Frankly, I don't care if it's a marketing ploy. As long as the movie is guaranteed to be top quality (in the case of something new) or better than a previous release (whether it be better compression, remastering, or added DTS), I'll be happy to own it. FYI: I currently own 2 Superbit titles.

    At least with the Superbit logo, you know you'll be getting a stunning movie in almost every regard. With the extras being added back in, they satisfy all the complainers about the lost added features. Why wouldn't they want to do that?

    Instead of complaining about marketing ploys, why not keep yourselves educated about each title's worth to you, and purchase accordingly. Marketing makes the world go around, and Superbit marketing is pretty low on my personal hate list.

    Martin.
     
  9. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    On my 55" calibrated RPTV the differences were not noticeable. On a 9" CRT setup (100" screen) the differences were quite obvious (to me). I think Superbit satisfies a niche market that few people (even most HTF members) are a part of.
     
  10. GaryEA

    GaryEA Second Unit

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    PhilipW said:

     
  11. Jon_W

    Jon_W Stunt Coordinator

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    The Superbit line is a marketing ploy and its as simple as that. However, so is every single other premium line of titles, so I can't see singling out Columbia. What about Dreamwork's limited edition of Saving Private Ryan . What about paramounts "Special Collector's Edition" of Forest Gump. Columiba is playing a marketing game, but hey no one has to buy them. I think the general concensus has been that the Superbit line does deliver on its promise of better picture quality, whether that is achieved through a special encoding process is debatable. If there is a consumer out there than a marketer is going to try to get him or her to buy their product.
     
  12. DanR

    DanR Supporting Actor

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    I still don't understand the animosity people have towards what CTHV has done; it's simply business (more specifically, branding). Perhaps the only valid point I see in Peter's quite pissy sounding argument is that some of the movies did receive new telecine transfers, thus voiding any direct comparison to the old version.

    Let it go folks. It's not like they're robbing you. CTHV has listened, and will be making more 2-disc sets which we are assured will be of high quality. If anything, people should be complaining about the quality of movies they are selecting as SuperBit DTS re-releases.

    CTHV has been producing some of the best DVDs out there since the beginning. More great ones are coming, including BlackHawk Down, SpiderMan, Men In Black II, etc, etc. This is going to be a great year for them.

    Regards,

    Dan
     
  13. Doug Schiller

    Doug Schiller Supporting Actor

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    The most important part of the DVD to me, and Peter alluded to it, is the transfer of the movie.

    I was very disappointed to find the one SB I bought, Dracula, used the exact same transfer as the original release. If I'm expected to rebuy a movie (I had traded my original anticpating a Criterion release), I want a new hi-def transfer struck in 2001-2, not 1997. Dracula looks great, but compare what Warner's did with the remastered JFK. It is like night and day. No super bit on that title, but I notice the improvement 10x over Dracula.

    So, I would vote to abandon the SB title or do a 100% remaster for home theater (including soundtrack).

    Doug
     
  14. Robert_eb

    Robert_eb Supporting Actor

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    I'll admit it, I fell victim to Columbia’s marketing. I sold my original reference quality Fifth Element DVD and purchased the Super bit version. While I appreciated the dts track, I didn't notice a difference in the picture from the earlier DVD. I also purchased the super bit version of Gattaca. I was going to buy the super bit dvd of Desperado but I started to smarten up, and realize that these are just an excuse to rack in more money. I do appreciate though, that they are making an attempt on focusing on picture and sound quality, but like it has been said before, that should be their primary focus of every DVD release, from every studio.
     
  15. John P Grosskopf

    John P Grosskopf Second Unit

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    If one accepts Sony's premise that "more bits = better picture and sound," my big problem with Superbit releases is that by Sony's own definition, these releases cannot be the best possible presentation of BOTH audio AND video for a given program because of the inclusion of DTS.



    [I am not dissing DTS as an audio format, so please don't make me get out the firesuit. Read on further to understand what I'm getting at.]



    I say this becasue a DVD with DTS must also carry a PCM or DD 2.0 soundtrack (as mandated by the DVD standard) to insure backward compatibility.



    For sake of argument, let's asuume Sony's premise above and that the program to be encoded has 5.1 audio.



    If the desire is to get the best possible picture, than a DVD would have a single DD 5.1 soundtrack (384KBS downmixable & to 2.0) to conserve as much space as possible for the picture portion of the program.



    DTS at full (1509KBS) or 1/2 bit rate (754KBS) takes up much more space than DD at either of its sampling rates (384 & 448KBS); PLUS it must include a DD2.0 or PCM soundtrack. This leaves any DVD with DTS at a disadvantage in the picture department (in comparrison to a DD only soundtrack DVD) by having less bit allocation space available for the picture.



    Thus, the the DD at 384KBS only DVD has a higher potential to offer the best picture quality for any DVD if all other factors are the same and it is assumed that more bits = better picture.



    The reverse is also true; maximizing audio quality means taking bits from the picture portion of the bit stream to increase audio quality. This is especially problematic with the inclusion of DTS soundtracks, but not as much so with DD, as DTS is hampered by its huge bit appetite and the DVD soundtrack standards requiring a backward compatible DD/PCM soundtrack.



    Given these factors, SUPERBIT titles can never deliver on BOTH the best potential video AND audio quality for a given release due to the compromises that must be made in these 2 areas.



    Am I advocating DD ausio only?...no.

    Am I saying DD is superior?...no.



    I am merely saying that the SUPERBIT concept is simply flawed, and needs to be looked by Sony (which is probably brought in the Deluxe line).
     
  16. PhilipW

    PhilipW Second Unit

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    To fully appreciate what they are trying to offer with the Superbit is you have to have a very highend front projection setup. People like me who have a 53" FPTV will not notice the difference as it is the horizontal resolution. If everyone had a setup like RAF, more people (videophiles) would see the difference.
    Bjoern Roy has screenshots on his website showing the difference between the Fifth Element original and Superbit.
    http://home.t-online.de/home/bjoern....in/Page_01.htm
    Hopefully he doesn't mind me posting his webpage. Mods if this is not appropriate please delete above paragraph.
     
  17. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Philip,

    That link is fine....in fact, it is

    quite informative. Bjoern did a great job.

    I can see the improvements in the Superbit

    version based on those pictures. I looked at

    the examples from "The Fifth Element". Just

    the space ship's windows being more clarified

    was enough to impress me.

    But this brings us back to Peter Bracke's

    point....

    Aren't these movies just being remastered?

    Sure, they are at a higher bitrate, but what

    else is being done different to these transfers

    than done originally?

    And, shouldn't ALL Columbia DVD releases

    deserve the same treatment?

    Just the fact that some of us notice a difference

    and some of us do not shows me that Superbits is

    nothing revolutionary. The average person off the

    street will probably not see an improvement if both

    versions were played side to side.

    The stuff coming out from Warner and Fox look

    just as good as any of the Superbits, and those

    studios aren't selling their DVDs under a gimmicky

    name.

    Look, it's to each his own. Columbia isn't

    forcing these titles on us. If it wasn't for the

    fact that the studio sent me several Superbit

    screeners, I would have never have bought a Superbit

    to replace an older title knowing what I know now.
     
  18. Jeff Whitford

    Jeff Whitford Screenwriter

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    I'd buy them if they were full bitrate DTS other wise its no sale.
     
  19. Heinz W

    Heinz W Second Unit

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    That's about it Ron. I would NEVER buy a SB version of a DVD I already own. However, if I don't already own it I'll get the SB version, like I did with The Fifth Element.
     
  20. Sutjahjo Ngaserin

    Sutjahjo Ngaserin Stunt Coordinator

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    Let the consumer decides.

    There are people who treasured the better quality videos and others that don't.

    Obviously most J6P will not bother, but for some, even a minor improvement is crucial to their additional enjoyment.

    A high-end friend once told me that he understands the diminishing return theory very well in high-end HiFi; that a US$5K system will sound much better than a US$500 system than a US$50K over a US$5K system. but he will be more than happy to pay the US$45K for the smaller improvement in quality.

    While I do not subscribe to the same phylosophy, I can understand him.

    In the case of the superbit titles which can cost below US$20.-, I suggest all consumers should welcome the choice given.

    Yes, I think the superbit edition is worth it!

    Jaw
     

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