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Older movies onto bluray?

  1. Jan 8, 2010 #1

    Pengwuino

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    So I finally entered the 21st century and got a HDTV and blu-ray player :D. Now, my fascination with high definition can finally be unleashed! This brings me to a new problem however!

    I see that older movies are put on bluray now. Now, the thing i'm wondering is whether or not say, a movie from the earlier part of this decade or say, the mid 90's will have the same quality on bluray as a movie that was made last year. I got to thinking about it and I suppose it all depends on whether or not film quality has always been superior and having to compress it down to a VHS or DVD would be the only reason it would look bad.

    SO, question, if I went out and got... True Lies on bluray, would I be entering a magical world of high definition quality? Or would it just look a little better then dvd and so on and so forth?
     
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  3. Jan 8, 2010 #2

    Janus

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    Even "The Wizard of OZ" was shot an 35mm film, which has a higher resolution than a HD set. Even a TV broadcast at 720p is a lot better than what you would get on a DVD. So yes, it is the conversion to the 480 resolution that degrades the quality.

    Let's put it this way. I have a blu-ray of "2001: A Space Odyssey". In in the Scene where they show the pen floating in free-fall, You can actually see the small imperfections in the plate of glass they glued the pen to in order to film the effect.
     
  4. Jan 8, 2010 #3

    DaveC426913

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    I saw that and took note of it myself. And I'm pretty sure it was on (regular vanilla) TV (as opposed to in a theatre - the only two places I've ever seen 2001).

    But, point made.
     
  5. Jan 8, 2010 #4

    rcgldr

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    This somewhat depends on your HDTV. If you have a front or rear projection CRT based HDTV, which has a native 480p mode, standard definition DVD's actually look pretty good. If you have any type of digital TV, then the upconversion to pixel boundaries makes for a somewhat fuzzy picture with standard definition, and blu-ray will look much better on a digital TV.

    I'm not sure what a 35 mm print translates to, but it's hi-def or better, and the blu-ray quality would depend if the original master 35 mm film or a copy (as used in theaters) was used to generate the hi-def video as well as the equpment used to transfer the film to video. I don't know if any 70mm 24 fps film is converted to Blu-Ray. The best quality stuff originates from the 70mm 60fps IMAX films.

    Note that the early blu-ray titles weren't done very well, but this is different than older films converted to blu-ray in the last year or two.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2010
  6. Jan 8, 2010 #5

    jtbell

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    Older films shot on 35mm film definitely can take full advantage of Blu-ray resolution if they were shot well to begin with, and the transfer is done from the original negatives instead of from intermediate prints that were used to make duplicates for theaters.

    The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind look wonderful on Blu-ray, especially the color. I also have Casablanca on HD DVD, and I expect the Blu-ray looks just as crisp, although in black and white of course.

    Some even older silent films have started to appear on Blu-ray, e.g. Buster Keaton's The General, which I haven't seen yet.

    And then there are old TV shows which were originally shot on 35mm film. Right now I'm alternating between the original Star Trek and The Prisoner, both from the 1960s.
     
  7. Jan 9, 2010 #6

    Janus

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    I got my wife Gone With Wind for Christmas; We haven't watched it yet. I just recently got The Prisoner, but again, haven't had time to view it yet. I haven't gotten The original Star Trek, but one of local stations have been showing the episodes in HD.
     
  8. Jan 9, 2010 #7

    jtbell

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    That surprises me. The Star Trek original series remasterings were broadcast in syndication for three years, but as far as I've heard those were distributed only downconverted to SD, not in HD. There was some talk about them being distributed in HD the next time around, but that hasn't happened as far as I know.

    Instead, here at least, we're now getting Star Trek: The Next Generation, five nights a week, in SD of course. I just finished watching one, in fact. It's been an interesting experience for me, because this is my first real exposure to any of the other Star Trek series beyond the original one. I've gotten hooked on it.
     
  9. Jan 9, 2010 #8
    It's highly dependant on both the original movie film frame size as well as the lighting, and the film's speed.

    Several films from the 70s and even through the 90s appear highly grainy on DVD, yet How the West was Won is unbelievably detailed on bluray.
     
  10. Jan 9, 2010 #9

    jtbell

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    Of course, some films are deliberately grainy as a matter of artistic choice by the director or producer.
     
  11. Jan 9, 2010 #10

    Borek

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    My bet is that color is not property of HD in this case, but was achieved with better digital reprocessing.
     
  12. Jan 9, 2010 #11

    rcgldr

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    In the case of the Wizard of Oz, the master was made in 3 strip Technicolor, a process that uses dyes for the colors, which don't fade the way that standard color films do.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technicolor#Convincing_Hollywood
     
  13. Jan 9, 2010 #12

    Janus

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    It's definitely an HD broadcast( Or if it isn't, I can't imagine what the HD version would look like.)
    I've heard that it would be possible to release STTNG on blu-ray. The live footage was shot on 35mm as well as all of the model shots. However, it was edited and all the FX were composited in SD. So it would require re-editing in HD and redoing the FX.

    A write up I just read said that the only thing preventing it is whether Paramount thinks they could make enough money on HD syndication and blu-ray sales on it.
     
  14. Jan 9, 2010 #13

    mgb_phys

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    Mostly depends on the effort put into the transfer (and so on how many sales the DVD is likely to get), if you transfer from an original print or, even better - the negative, it should be excellent. Even 70s film stock has about twice the resolution of bluray

    But if it's a lower audience film they might have just transferred if from a TV copy on 3/4" video tape which has already had a lot of the dynamic range lost.
     
  15. Jan 10, 2010 #14

    DaveC426913

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    This drives me crazy.

    Photography has gone from hi-rez analog (chemical processing) to lo-rez digital (bubble jet).
    Music has gone from hi-rez digital (CDs) to lo-rez digital (mp3).
    And now films are going from hi-rez (35mm) to mid-rez (bluray)

    Is it just me or is this the first generation in history that is happily embracing a backwards slide in content-quality?
     
  16. Jan 10, 2010 #15

    jtbell

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    You left out the intermediate steps of VHS tape and standard DVD. :wink:

    It's more like we're digging ourselves out of a hole that we fell into.

    Actually, I think we really need to consider the home and theater environments separately. How many people had widescreen 35mm film theaters in their homes, before VHS tape came along?
     
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