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Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Sep 26, 2008.
This will undoubtedly move some Blu-Ray players.
All things considered, you'd think Nolan would have the muscle to say no pan and scan 4:3 release if he wanted to.
A blu-ray player isn't in my immediate future, so I'm really disappointed that WHV stacked the BD version with more extras than the 2-disc standard DVD version. I was hoping for something at least along the lines of the 2-disc Begins edition, where we had a lot of shorts touching on nearly every aspect of the film.
I know it's WHV's way of pushing consumers to blu-ray, but I don't like being punished for not having the means (or willingness to go into debt) to jump on the blu-ray bandwagon.
It is no more (or less) "punishing" than when one shops for a car with multiple trim levels--leather and a sunroof are nice, but not available on the "base model". SD DVD has become "the base model". Some companies (like some car manufacturers) put more "features" into their "base models" but it is standard marketing practice to entice people into the more upscale model by adding exclusive features. One can expect more of this kind of feature differentiation (not less) between SD DVD and BD as time goes on.
In this case, though (and I'm not saying I condone P&S), the IMAX scenes might look good. However, I have no idea if the IMAX scenes are included in that format in the SD DVD releases, so this potential "saving grace" may be nothing of the kind for the P&S version.
hollywoodinhidef.com has the actual press release and the 2-Disc Special Edition DVD includes the Gotham Uncovered documentary, the Gotham Tonight episodes (6), and the IMAX sequences(1:78.1) as special features on the second disc along with galleries for the poster art and production stills...
For the Blu-Ray, I think the question is whether Gotham Uncovered is a separate documentary as it is on the DVD or is it the Focus Points, and if so, can you view it as an In-Movie Experience...?
As I stated above, I understand why they're doing it. I just don't like it, and if I'm going to shell out the money for special edition anyway -giving WHV more money - it'd be nice to see all the extras.
The specially-filmed Imax sequences are presented as supplements on disc two of the "special edition" DVD, so I presume that the film as presented on disc one includes the entire movie in the standard 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Any word on whether the same is true for the Blu-ray? I seem to recall reading that the Imax sequences would be "opened up" to 16:9 for the Blu-ray version of the movie, but without the giant Imax screen, I'd prefer it retain the conventional 2:35 aspect ratio for the movie proper and save the Imax footage for the supplements.
I'd prefer to have both versions via seamless branching - that wouldn't be so hard for the SD or Blu-ray, would it?
The Bluray has the Imax scenes included in the film, it's possible it will have both. The dvd does not and, apparently, can not. Though I don't really know why.
That the Blu-ray version will have the Imax ratio-scenes incorporated into the film seems to be the popular wisdom, but what is the source of that information?
Also, I don't know where you heard that the DVD cannot include the Imax version of the film, but I'm quite certain that it's incorrect. There's no technical reason that different scenes can't be in different aspect ratios, and there are at least a few movies out there on DVD with multiple/changing aspect ratios.
Christopher Nolan confirmed the Blu would contain the Imax scenes, and that they would be framed at 1.78.1. I believe the marketing for it is pretty clear too, the bluray contains "IMAX framed sequences," the dvd has the IMAX scenes listed as special features included on the second disc.
I wouldn't think there's a technical reason they couldn't switch between aspect ratios on DVD either, but they still said that was the case. This was back just before the movie came out and they first addressed releasing the BluMAX version. The info should be tucked away somewhere in one of the TDK threads.
I wonder if they really mean all of the specially filmed IMAX sequences. For instance, just about every aerial shot in the film, including brief establishing shots of locations that were not otherwise part of larger action sequences, were shot with IMAX cameras and shown "full frame" on the IMAX prints.
They wouldn't even need branching. Just include a subtitle track that masks the top and bottom of the picture to 2.35:1 with thick black lines.
I suppose this would be better than nothing, bud I'd still prefer the video data to contain the actual 2.35:1 framing. For one thing, were the Imax scenes filmed such that the 2:35:1 frame was vertically centered within the larger Imax frame? And even if they were, the "subtitle mask" solution would mean that viewers of the 2.35:1 version would be unable to use actual subtitles. I think that DVD's subtitle feature should be reserved for actual subtitles (as well as captions and similar on-screen text, of course), and not gimmicky video features.
They wouldn't be if there was also a subtitle tracks containing both the black bars and the actual subtitles.
But yeah, just how the 2.35:1 frame is positioned in the larger IMAX frame could potentially be an issue.
That idea of using subtitles as IMAX masking bars to cut down on disc space (for having two versions of those sequences branched) is so wonderfully clever, I seriously doubt whoever is authoring the subtitles and whatnot would come up with that.
Seriously, that's a hell of a creative idea.
It's been done before. Pioneer's Bride of Re-Animator DVD includes a full-screen transfer, and optional widescreen masking via a subtitle track. Of course, the obvious problem with that approach is that it loses the additional resolution of a proper 16:9 transfer.
The Dark Knight would admittedly not suffer this problem if the Imax sequences were presented in 16:9, and the rest of the film masked to 2.35:1 within that the 16:9 frame. But, there are still a couple of issues to consider. As I said before, I don't know how the 2:35 versions of those scenes are framed within the larger 16:9 image.
Besides that, I don't think you could get the masking to work on both 4:3 and 16:9 monitors, because DVD players don't downsample subtitles like they do the rest of the image when displaying a 16:9 DVD on a 4:3 television. As a result, they're positioned differently with respect to the actual video image depending on the display ratio. This is why the video commentary on the Ghostbusters DVD, for example, requires the viewer to set his DVD player to 4:3. In 16:9, the subtitle overlay would have been distorted--it can only work in one ratio or the other.
Finally, it's generally a bad idea to appropriate standard features like subtitles for these kinds of "creative" uses. The DVD format's subtitle feature is meant to display captions and other text data in time with the video. If the disc author wants to include alternate versions of a scene, or multiple aspect ratios, that is what the alternate angle and seamless branching features are for. The Dark Knight is not a cheap budget title like Bride of Re-Animator. It is one of the most successful films of all-time, both critically and commercially. I think Warner can afford to do its home video release right.
Actually, I believe a single subtitle track can actually contain two different versions; one for 4:3 and one for 16:9 and the player will display whichever one is appropriate. So this shouldn't really be an issue.