Originally Posted by Robert George
Okay, Swede, for just 30 seconds I'll accept the explanation that the master used for the BD is indeed less detailed than the master used for the HDTV broadcast and I will also make the leap of faith that these are, in fact, sourced from the same master.
Here's where the AVS logic takes you...
A. One of the largest and wealthiest media conglomerates in the world relegated one of their most prized assets to some bush league post house who then botched the transfer.
B. Typically professional and capable post house was given the project but upon seeing the master for the first film decided it was better to make the disc look worse than the master but left the other two films alone.
C. The HDTV caps and the BD caps are coming from completely different sources. The BD source having been approved by the Director and the Cinematographer and the HDTV source being completely unknown.
D. The HDTV master was oversharpened due to the fact that the additional processing and manipulation that takes place in the broadcast chain can result in some loss of fine detail.
E. The Blu-ray is an accurate reflection of the filmmaker approved master and the people on this and other forums that continue to second guess and insult not only the extremely talented professionals that transfer and master theatrical features into consumer video products, but the actual filmmakers that spend years of their lives to make these films are entitled to their opinions, worthless though they are.
A and B simply fly in the face of any sort of logic and C and D are possible, but still only speculation. That only leaves E as my choice as the most likely and most probable scenario.
It doesn't need to be that extreme and we don't need to consider this "botched" etc. for the HDTV encode to show more real, actual picture detail.
Firstly, the image detail gain in the HDTV encode is SLIGHT, very, very slight. Also, some of the comparison shots we've seen are from images that in the film are in-motion... they are not captures taken from still/stationary moments in the film. This means that even mild DNR might appear more destructive in the captures than it really appears in the moving scene to the eye (DNR removes the most detail during motion).
And finally, it's quite possible that the grain/noise in the original image was considered more of a problem than the very slight loss of fine detail from the DNR... so it's quite possible that trained WB techs, and even Jackson's own eyes, preferred this "clean" looking master to the (possibly) less-processed one used for the HDTV encode.
While the real visible improved image detail is apparent to me from the captures, I also consider the difference to be slight, and it's possible that the other improvements in the master used for the BD caused the powers that be to consider it an overall better image.
Naturally, what would have been the best choice would have been to have Lowry do their own proprietary clean-up to keep all of the detail possible while at the same time presenting the improvements the WB team were after. But again, the loss of detail between the HDTV encode and BD is slight, and if you knock out the scene with Gandalph's beard as he stands in front of that arched opening--which was an "in motion" scene from the film, the differences appear even less significant. Yes, they are there, but not night and day and the new disc doesn't have to be "botched" for the HDTV encode to indeed present a slight gain in image detail.