Why do some DVD's look better than others???

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dave Marx, Aug 4, 2002.

  1. Dave Marx

    Dave Marx Stunt Coordinator

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    I am no DVD expert, but I bought a nice prog-scan SONY DVD player with my HDTV...connected through component inputs. Why do some DVD's look crisper and cleaner than others? I am curious...shouldn't they ALL look the same quality? Is it simply in the remastering and conversion over from film? I bought the U2: ELEVATION BOSTON TOUR DVD and it takes up the entire screen...and looks AMAZING. Then, I watched BOOGIE NIGHTS, widescreen and it just doesn't look as crisp. It almost seems that the more a movie takes up the screen, the better it looks. Is this common, or is it just the particular DVD I am watching?

    I guess I just feel that since I bought a prog-scan DVD player, I expect ALL the DVD's I watch to be of amazing quality. Perhaps I am being unrealistic. Does anyone own a prog-scan DVD player and been thrilled with how some movies look and very dissapointed in how some others look?
     
  2. Justin Ward

    Justin Ward Supporting Actor

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    Well I am a newbie but this is what I think is the case. Just because a movie is on DVD does mean the quality will be great, just that it is possible. So if the source is crap the DVD will look like crap. Here is an analogy: you have two versions of a song. One is an mp3 rip at 320kb/s and the other is an mp3 at 32kb/s(uggh). You then convert them both to wav and burn them. They should both sound great right? They are both CD-audio right. Well no, the file sourced from the higher quality file will sound better.
     
  3. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    The larger image has more visual impact to your brain, and since the crisp picture takes up the whole screen it seems better, but it's actually the same

    Also, most concerts are shot on video, and therefore don't get the stylized look that films carrry
     
  4. Dave Marx

    Dave Marx Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok, but what about the difference between DVD quality in widescreen to widescreen? One movie in widescreen sometimes doesn't look as crisp as another. I am not talking older movies either. Why do some newer movies just not get transferred to DVD as crisply? Doesn't seem to make sense to me...
     
  5. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I suspect you're not making enough allowances for differences in the source materials. Not all films are meant to look "crisp"; many are meant to look the opposite (obvious examples are Saving Private Ryan, parts of Three Kings, Minority Report when it hits DVD).
    BTW, this is a 16:9 HDTV, right?
    M.
     
  6. Dave Marx

    Dave Marx Stunt Coordinator

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    No, this is not a 16X9 HDTV. It's the Sony 53" 4:3 HDTV. I am not sure why this would make much of a difference in quality, except that the image in widescreen does not take up the whole screen, of course. I get the black bars at the top and bottom. The image is not stretched, if that's what you're inferring.

    The "Boogie Nights" DVD I have is indeed the Platinum edition, but the first one that was released (not the 2nd one, with the additional materials). The image quality is so-so, especially when compared to "Gladiator", which is also in widescreen and much more crisp. I watched the widescreen version of "Talented Mr. Ripley", which actually takes up most of the screen. It really seems to me that the DVD's that take up most of the screen on my HDTV have a much clearer resolution. Movies like "Boogie Nights" don't look all that impressive. Some scenes look a little washed-out and fuzzy.
     
  7. GregoryM

    GregoryM Agent

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    The quality of the source material and the care taken during dvd production can make a big difference. The first time I watched the Bridge on the River Kwai dvd, I was hugely disappointed with the picture quality when the movie first started up--the colors were washed out, it was too soft, and it was filled with pops, scratches, and tears. I was ready to return it in disgust. Then the opening credits ended, and the movie proper began, and it was awesome quality for a 45 year old movie. Most of the movie is taken from meticulously restored elements, but the credit sequence wasn't restored, so it looks like a forty year old print.
    The quality of the print from which the dvd master was taken will make a huge difference in the quality of the dvd image. The Se7en dvd was mastered from the original negative, which is something that is never done for fear of damaging it, but the director, David Fincher, personally supervised the dvd transfer and insisted on it because there were no prints available that were free of performance blemishes. He then had the digital master color corrected to make scenes that didn't come out exactly the way he wanted them to look on film look just right on the dvd. The dvd looks fantastic.
    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was transferred from a mediocre print that had a significant amount of performance wear on it (scratches, dirt, tears, etc.), and it shows. The Superbit release then used the same digital master, but at a higher bit rate, resulting in a slightly clearer, sharper transfer of a flawed print.
    Care taken during dvd production makes a big difference also. Take the Hitchcock movie Notorious. There are any number of companies (Laserlight, Goodtimes) that release large numbers of public domain movies without any cleanup or enhancement of any kind. The look like local channel late movie prints--dismal. Notorious from one of these companies will look terrible. Anchor Bay takes quite a bit more care with its releases. They're bare bones most of the time, but tend to look pretty good. The Anchor Bay release of Notorious looks pretty good. Criterion is the elite among third party dvd producers; their Notorious is noticeably better than even the Anchor Bay, mostly because they take pride in being the company that produces the best possible version of a movie on dvd.
    When you display anamorphic widescreen movies that are 1.77:1 or wider on a 4:3 tv, you lose 1/3 of the resolution, thus they won't look as sharp as on a 16:9 tv. Boogie Nights (first release) looks wonderful on my 16:9; you're getting a third fewer lines on your 4:3, which may be part of the reason why it looks a little fuzzy. (This is assuming you aren't doing the anamorphic squeeze, which I assume you aren't based on your OP)
     
  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  9. Sihan Goi

    Sihan Goi Second Unit

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    Yup, definitely not every movie is supposed to look crisp. Movies that usually look crisp are of the sci-fi genre. I have The Matrix, The Fifth Element, Blade, Blade 2, and recently Resident Evil and they all look remarkably crisp. I'd imagine DVDs such as X-Men should look crisp and clean too. I've also recently seen The Others on DVD and it has a really soft, warm and fuzzy picture quality to it that I didn't really like. Most people won't associate this kind of picture quality to "DVD quality", but I guess that's just a common misconception. It still is a fantastic and really scary movie with a great track that kept my hairs standing up during the scary moments.
     
  10. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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  11. Dave Marx

    Dave Marx Stunt Coordinator

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    Gregory, Michael and co., thanks for the responses. I have tweaked with the settings on my DVD player and the picture looks a lot sharper and well defined.

    HOWEVER, I am noticing a problem with the lighting on my DVD's (see new thread). Basically, there are odd patches of light appearing throughout many scenes...and strangest of all..they are extending beyond the boundaries of the black bars in widescreen format. Sometimes there is a streak of light that goes well off the bars. Sometimes it's just a dull light image coming from the picture. Very odd. And a little distracting. Would be interested to hear your thoughts on this. Anyone else experienced this? Is this normal? Or a problem inherent with DVD's or my player??
     
  12. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Particular disc or all discs? That sounds like a player issue to me.

    What player and what TV using what type of connection?
     
  13. Dave Marx

    Dave Marx Stunt Coordinator

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    John, it doesn't seem to happen in every movie. I played "Boogie Nights" and I don't see any odd lighting issues. I played "Gladiator" and I sometimes see a hazy light glow extending below the black bars in the widescreen format (particularly in night scenes where a little light is present in the frame). It looks like a reflection of some sort. Sometimes I also see what looks like a curve of light...also like a reflection...in the middle or near the bottom of the screen. Keep in mind, I am watching in a totally dark room.

    I am watching a 53" SONY HDTV, connected to a Sony Prog-Scan DVD player with component outputs.
     

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