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Original Blu-Ray vs Remastered

Discussion in 'The Movies' started by cmtar, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. Mar 5, 2009 #1 of 12
    cmtar

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    Or old movies that are now sold as blu-ray have the same quality as current movies that are currently released in blu-ray.
     
  2. Mar 5, 2009 #2 of 12
    Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    I would say quick answer, no. Although obviously it can vary greatly.

    Today, movies are shot either directly digital or transferred to digital for editing. The film stocks we have today are much better than they used to be as well.

    I would not expect a film made before 2000 to have the same quality as a film made today. I take as comparison Blazing Saddles made in the early 1970s and Pirates of the Caribbean:Curse of the Black Pearl made in the 2000s. One is crystal clear with no sign of film grain, with dark blacks and sharp colors. The other is, by comparison, grainier and suffers from too much black in areas that should have modest saturation. I chose Blazing Saddles because it really didn't undergo a massive restoration effort, just a digital transfer.

    Now, in films that undergo a full restoration, you'll see better quality, but no amount of manipulation after the fact can put something in that was never there.
     
  3. Mar 5, 2009 #3 of 12
    cmtar

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    ok then let me ask you this, is there a point to buy old movies in blu-ray? Will it look any better than dvd?
     
  4. Mar 5, 2009 #4 of 12
    Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    Better is certainly up to you. I have rebought quite a few... my thing is, if they're under $20 and I want to keep them, I re-buy them.

    Cars and Pirates of the Caribbean are much much better. Those are recent movies.
    Casino was much better due to a recent remaster. Pretty Woman was not much better at all. Goodfellas was about the same on both, as was Top Gun. None of those were really remastered. While parts of The Untouchables were better, parts were a little worse.

    Young Frankenstein was actually worse in my opinion because it's very grainy, so grainy that it takes you away from the experience. It's supposed to be grainy, but to our eyes in 2009, it really comes out at you.

    2001:A Space Odyssey was not worse, really, but what happened was, you could really see the 1968-quality special effects for what they were. Backdrops looked painted, models looked like models. With the DVD you could imagine that they were more real.
     
  5. Mar 5, 2009 #5 of 12
    Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Too many variables to answer definitively here.

    Film has a much higher theoretical resolution than the current HD maximum (1920x1080). Routinely studios are able to get clean 4K (twice the HD resolution) from old 35mm film. The recent Baraka Blu ray was made from an 8K master that was made from the original 70mm film stock.

    Old film that has been taken care of and stored properly, if it has minimal scratches, can be very clean HD transfer. Some new film even gets scratches if not taken care of... so no guarantees a new film will look better than an old one just on that criteria alone.

    There are better film stock nowadays, and better cameras, and better techniques... so those things can make a modern film look better.

    New movies shot (not filmed) on digital videotape are typically even cleaner, unless the director wants a grainy or specific non-clean look.

    Bottom line... there's no reason to automatically assume an old film can't look nice in HD if the proper care is taken. I've seen some old films (Forbidden Planet comes to mind) that look really sharp in HD because the film was in good condition and care was taken in the restoration. By contrast, I've seen lots of complaints about new movie releases that didn't have the same care taken.
     
  6. Mar 5, 2009 #6 of 12
    paulman182

    paulman182 Hall Of Fame

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    As an example of how good old movies can look, has anyone watched "Winchester 73" from HDNet movies?
    I just started watching it this morning before work, and my goodness...what incredible detail in a b/w, non-widescreen movie from 1950.

    The outdoor scenes looked incredibly sharp, the indoor shots showed some grain as one would expect, since faster film stock was probably used for the interiors. But you could see "down to the grain" with no scratches or dirt visible at all.

    All in all, I am amazed that an HD version of a 60 year old movie can look so good.
     
  7. Mar 5, 2009 #7 of 12
    bdowell

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    Watch The Searchers or Robin Hood in HD (HD DVD, or Blu-ray if they've made it over to that format) and see what your opinion is of old stuff in Blu-ray vs. new stuff.

    As noted above, if the original film was taken care of, or was very carefully and lovingly restored, it can look stunning in Blu-ray (or the now dead HD DVD format). If the original film wasn't well cared for there's little -- short of a complete, painstaking, restoration -- that can be done to make it look better.

    As to grain in the images, some times the directors had the grain on purpose, other times they didn't and it was just part of the format. Either way the application of noise reduction techniques and other filtering that can, for some people's viewing, make things look better can also be seen by purists as having horribly distorted a film.

    For my tastes, I want the image that I get to as closely mimic the showing that the director would have wanted for his/her film. I don't want images that have been 'cleaned up' but in such cleaning have lost detail that should still be there.
     
  8. Mar 5, 2009 #8 of 12
    apexmi

    apexmi Godfather

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    For an example of how good an old movie can look in HD I would recommend a look at Casablanca on Blu-ray/HD-DVD (I have on HD-DVD but assume the Blu is just as good) :D
     
  9. Mar 5, 2009 #9 of 12
    Stewart Vernon

    Stewart Vernon Roving Reporter Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    The Searchers is another great example that I forgot when I was typing earlier. That movie looked great in HD.
     
  10. BattleZone

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    Another example: the movies "300" and "Sin City" are both full of digital effects, but the (same) director purposely added heavy "digital film grain" to both movies. Many people have wrongly thought that these were bad transfers, especially because you don't notice that grain as much on a lower-rez DVD, but it is there intentionally. These are both movies made within the last 5 years.

    The point is that film grain can't be used as the sole determining factor. Many "Noir" films have heavy film grain for artistic purposes, and would look very weird if you eliminated it. Movie directors spend a lot of energy to select just the right film for the look they are trying to achieve, and a whole lot of CPU cycles trying to match digital effects to look like film, in whatever form they're using.

    What really matters, as others have said, is the state of the film print used, and the quality of the transfer. Many DVD transfer "masters" were made at 1080, with the idea that the same master would then be usable for Blu-Ray, but in practice, those masters usually don't look very good. By today's standards, a Blu-Ray master needs to be 2k minimum, and ideally 4k (that's 4 times the vertical resolution of 1080) to give an acceptable image for a finalized Blu-Ray. This has caused studios to have to scrap many of their digital masters and pay for new ones.
     
  11. spartanstew

    spartanstew Dry as a bone DBSTalk Club

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    While the quality of Blu Ray varies from disc to disc, the Blu Ray version of a movie will always be better than it's SD counterpart.
     
  12. jtosa15

    jtosa15 New Member

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    Sin City and 300 were actually not directed by the same person.

    Also, 4K does not have 4 times the vertical resolution of 1080p/1080i. 1080p/1080i images have a vertical resolution of 1,080 pixels. But in the case of 4K, which can refer to several distinct film production and distribution resolution standards, the '4K' actually refers to the image's horizontal resolution of approximately 4,096 pixels.

    And I think the actual difference in resolution between 2K and 1080p is largely insignificant. Depending upon the aspect ratio, a lot of theatrical 2K content is actually distributed to theaters with only 1,080 lines of vertical resolution. And when you factor in resolution density, one could easily argue that watching 1080p content in a good home theater is actually better than seeing it projected digitally in an actual theater. The actual theater provides far fewer pixels per square inch than most modern home theaters do.
     

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