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Why are some classic films still in SD?


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#1 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 02:55 AM

Oops, I mean "IN". Can't edit titles.

 

Saw "Little Women" (1994) the other night on I think TCM, stunning HD presentation, pristine 5.1 audio. Absolutely breathtaking. Then tonight the mega-classic "Meet Me in St. Louis" and it was in SD! Awful blurry mess. So the question is, how does TCM that takes image so seriously not be able to score an HD transfer from the original 35mm print of a film classic like that?? You see this see-saw battle between SD and HD transfers of classic film presentations all the time. Is it possible that "Meet Me in St. Louis" no longer exists on 35mm and they had to strike a digital copy from an old 16mm (made-for-TV broadcast) print? It did look about the same resolution as those BBC period films shot in 16mm originally and then transferred to digital.

 

It is amazing how claustrophobic 4:3 makes you after watching mainly 16:9 even if it is original format.


Edited by Maruuk, 24 December 2013 - 02:57 AM.


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#2 OFFLINE   MysteryMan

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 03:58 AM

"Meet Me In St. Louis" was released on Blu-ray on 13 December 11 and received good reviews. Are you sure you were tuned to TCM HD and not TCM SD? 


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#3 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 05:35 AM

I thought so but I did record it on my external DVR which I just added TCM to on the guide so perhaps I messed up and didn't check the "HD" channel. Gotta check on that. But you're right, of course MMISL has to be available in HD.


Edited by Maruuk, 24 December 2013 - 05:35 AM.


#4 OFFLINE   MysteryMan

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 06:06 AM

You have a second opportunity. TCM is broadcasting "Meet Me In St. Louis" this morning at 09:15. 


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#5 OFFLINE   dpeters11

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 08:29 AM

Even in HD it should be close to 4:3. Academy Ratio was 1.375:1.



#6 OFFLINE   gov

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 08:40 AM

I've heard the rights to the music can be quite the tussle in some of these potential DVD and Blu-ray releases.

 

Also, some older titles might need considerable TLC in restoring the film elements and that can be expensive.  The commercial potential of the film would be a factor in deciding if it merited a considerable $$$ outlay in producing a quality blu-ray.



#7 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 09:19 AM

The commercial potential of the film would be a factor in deciding if it merited a considerable $$$ outlay in producing a quality blu-ray.

Since, as MysteryMan pointed out, the Blu-ray debuted two years ago, that would seem to be a moot point.

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#8 OFFLINE   gov

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 09:58 AM

Thread title is 'why are SOME classic films still SD' and I was addressing why SOME films are still SD.

 

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#9 OFFLINE   MysteryMan

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 10:15 AM

Warner Bros. put a lot of effort in releasing "Meet Me In St. Louis" on Blu-ray. Sold as a DigiBook it comes with two discs, 1 BD, 1 CD. It's original aspect ratio was slightly altered from 1.37:1 to 1.36:1 and has a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. Keep in mind TCM started broadcasting in HD upconverted to 1080i in 2009 because initial programming was not available in HD and was upconverted from SD. 


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#10 OFFLINE   Drucifer

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 03:28 PM

I watch a lot of old serial mystery movies made in the 30's. I don't now how I would take their conversion to HD. Because that soft focus of SD is part of their charm.


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#11 OFFLINE   KyL416

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Posted 24 December 2013 - 04:27 PM

I watch a lot of old serial mystery movies made in the 30's. I don't now how I would take their conversion to HD. Because that soft focus of SD is part of their charm.

And of course some things were never meant to be seen in HD. i.e. Special effects that took advantage of the fact that SD wouldn't see the wiring used for stunts and pyrotechnics or cases where for budgeting they didn't make the highest quality of sets so things like paint blotches, nails and joints would be visible.

As for networks, just because something was remastered for Bluray doesn't mean they have the ability to air it. Some content owners and studios charge higher for HD versions since it needs to be converted to a format that's compatible with the control with things like closed captioning data intact. In some cases the station has to pay a company to recaption the entire thing because the timing changed as a result of things like the replacement of the classic logos with the one of the current studio or distributor that holds the rights, additions of lost scenes for special editions, and improvements in the conversion of 24 fps film to 29.97 fps television changing the runtime.

Edited by KyL416, 24 December 2013 - 04:31 PM.


#12 OFFLINE   Maruuk

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 03:08 AM

I researched it and I was on TCM-HD. They showed it in SD perhaps for the technical/legal reasons Kyle mentioned above. It was in original 4:3 format as I was expecting (technically 1.37:1) and just about at DVD resolution. Oddly in another forum from 2 years ago some guy was listing MMISL as one of the films TCM was definitely showing in HD back then. Go figure.

 

The audio just seemed like the usual original crappy mono. Glad they didn't try to torture it into 5.1 which is what I hear they did on the Blu-Ray and DVD.

 

I do know when TCM was making its transition to HD they did broadcast a lot of films in SD/4:3 or upconvert to 16:9/SD. I figured by now though that everything would be 1080i. TCM has been criticized for being a low-bandwidth HD-Lite channel producing a soft image.

 

It is interesting how there's HD and there's HD. "Little Women" was astonishingly crisp the other night--(not sure of the channel) and tonight the Midnight Mass from the Vatican on NBC was awesome--it looked 1080p!


Edited by Maruuk, 25 December 2013 - 03:09 AM.


#13 OFFLINE   MysteryMan

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 05:39 AM

Maruuk, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track on the Blu-ray version of "Meet Me In St. Louis" isn't tortured. Surround activity is regulated to the score while dialogue and effects are anchored to the front channels giving the viewer a very pleasant listening experience.


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#14 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 11:43 AM

Thread title is 'why are SOME classic films still SD' and I was addressing why SOME films are still SD.

Leaving the specifics of the OP still to be answered.

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#15 OFFLINE   SayWhat?

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 11:48 AM

People are always complaining about prices going up, yet they keep asking companies to spend money on things that aren't really necessary.


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#16 OFFLINE   dpeters11

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 03:58 PM

And of course some things were never meant to be seen in HD. i.e. Special effects that took advantage of the fact that SD wouldn't see the wiring used for stunts and pyrotechnics or cases where for budgeting they didn't make the highest quality of sets so things like paint blotches, nails and joints would be visible.

As for networks, just because something was remastered for Bluray doesn't mean they have the ability to air it. Some content owners and studios charge higher for HD versions since it needs to be converted to a format that's compatible with the control with things like closed captioning data intact. In some cases the station has to pay a company to recaption the entire thing because the timing changed as a result of things like the replacement of the classic logos with the one of the current studio or distributor that holds the rights, additions of lost scenes for special editions, and improvements in the conversion of 24 fps film to 29.97 fps television changing the runtime.


True, but Metropolis and The General look fantastic in HD. With Metropolis, some scenes look better than others, but the ones that don't look as good, we're lucky to have them at all so it's fine. Converting to HD isn't as bad as say colorization.


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#17 OFFLINE   TomCat

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 07:52 PM

...improvements in the conversion of 24 fps film to 29.97 fps television changing the runtime.

 

That should not change the run time. Typically 24 fps content is pulled down 3:2, making it 60 fields or 30 frames per second for 1080i, or 60 frames per second for 720p. That does not change the run time. Then, it goes from 60 to 59.94 or from 30 to 29.97, and that is done using drop frame technique which discards frames every couple of minutes or so to keep the run time the same. These are old mature technologies, tried and true, and there really are no improvements available. Why? because they work just fine.


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#18 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 08:19 PM

And of course some things were never meant to be seen in HD. i.e. Special effects that took advantage of the fact that SD wouldn't see the wiring used for stunts and pyrotechnics or cases where for budgeting they didn't make the highest quality of sets so things like paint blotches, nails and joints would be visible.

As for networks, just because something was remastered for Bluray doesn't mean they have the ability to air it. Some content owners and studios charge higher for HD versions since it needs to be converted to a format that's compatible with the control with things like closed captioning data intact. In some cases the station has to pay a company to recaption the entire thing because the timing changed as a result of things like the replacement of the classic logos with the one of the current studio or distributor that holds the rights, additions of lost scenes for special editions, and improvements in the conversion of 24 fps film to 29.97 fps television changing the runtime.


I'm where did you hear they have to redo logos? You mean the screen bugs? That's not part of the source material in the first place.

And I've never heard of converting causing runtime changes for the length of a show. That just doesn't even make sense for the reason just posted above.

As for cc, that's a good question and likely plays into it though almost all blu rays are also ccd but I'm bit sure if they make that part of the master it not.

The cost is the big thing. First to do conversion and then as you said studios charging more for Hi Definition version.

#19 OFFLINE   dpeters11

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 08:48 PM

I'm thinking he means like studio logos like the MGM lion etc, some versions may be longer than others.


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#20 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 25 December 2013 - 11:22 PM

And those logos never need to be changed.




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