Why do so many HD movies look so bad - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 12-11-2006, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Recorded a few HD movies from like HBO, Showtime, etc. etc. None of them really look that good. I mean they are horrible looking if you compare them to Discovery HD or a HD-DVD. So are some of these movies not really HD? Example, I watched Flightplan again, it was to grainy to be really high def. Narnia looked good but not as good as from a standard DVD player. Are they really not high def movies but a conversion or something? Haven't seen a really good quality high def movie on my cable since I got high def. The only ones that look good are discovery, the NFL games, PBS HD, INHD, etc.

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post #2 of 18 Old 12-11-2006, 10:33 AM
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Live events like the football games, and most of the material on DSCHD is 60fps, films are 24fps. That's the main reason why the non-film shows have more "pop" when you watch them.
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post #3 of 18 Old 12-11-2006, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDLIVE
Live events like the football games, and most of the material on DSCHD is 60fps, films are 24fps. That's the main reason why the non-film shows have more "pop" when you watch them.
I guess that explains why CSI and Lost, both shot on 35mm film, have been cited as some of the very best HD available. Besides the OP was comparing to a DVD player.

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Originally Posted by WilliamR
Haven't seen a really good quality high def movie on my cable since I got high def. The only ones that look good are discovery, the NFL games, PBS HD, INHD, etc.
Please give more information such as who your cable company is and where, what kind of display, STB, etc.
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post #4 of 18 Old 12-11-2006, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD
I guess that explains why CSI and Lost, both shot on 35mm film, have been cited as some of the very best HD available. Besides the OP was comparing to a DVD player.

Please give more information such as who your cable company is and where, what kind of display, STB, etc.
Time Warner, Northeast Ohio, new 60" Pioneer Plasma.

Lost, Heroes, House, etc. all look STUNNING. Its only movies on the so called HD movie channels. Again, Narnia wasn't to bad, but better on a standard DVD player. Flightplan was down right grainy.

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post #5 of 18 Old 12-11-2006, 03:34 PM
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Besides the basic difference in the nature of film based HD & video as noted above, theatrical released films often take quite a bit of artistic liberty with lighting & color.

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post #6 of 18 Old 12-11-2006, 04:00 PM
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A file like Minority Report is a good example. It was filed with a "grainy" look on purpose. Or the Matrix with it's greenish hue and grainyness. It's what directors do.

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post #7 of 18 Old 12-11-2006, 04:24 PM
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Also, don't forget that all movies on the HD channels are not being broadcast from HD "masters". Some are still upconverts. And the cropping of OAR to 1.78:1 from HBO and others doesn't always help either. The HD video vs 24fps film has nothing to do with the quality variance.

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post #8 of 18 Old 12-11-2006, 04:33 PM
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Case in point: my wife and I went with another couple today to see The Nativity.

Although I got into the story quickly, I did notice at first that the colors looked "muted" and the image was't very sharp. I also notice some, um, "silk screen effect" from the projection screen. Anyway, the point is, if I had stumbled upon this movie on TV not having seen it in a theater first, I would have said, "Boy, this sure doesn't look HD. It seems soft and the colors don't 'pop' ".
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post #9 of 18 Old 12-11-2006, 06:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamR
Time Warner, Northeast Ohio, new 60" Pioneer Plasma.

Lost, Heroes, House, etc. all look STUNNING. Its only movies on the so called HD movie channels. Again, Narnia wasn't to bad, but better on a standard DVD player. Flightplan was down right grainy.
This shows that film and the 24P (or 25P) frame rate can create great HD.

The elements for feature transfer can vary, especially on older movies. They most often come from an InterPositive (IP), which is usually second generation film. In the classic film process the IP is created by contact printing from the edited cut and spliced OCN (original camera negative), and is also color corrected (timed) at this stage. The cut feature OCN is typically not used for transfer because of the risk. Feature theatrical prints can be down four or more generations (OCN> IP> IN> print), and are used for transfer if there's no other choice. Television shows are typically transferred from the uncut OCN, and the editing is done electronically. The newer DI (digital intermediary) process is similar except the end result is intended for theatrical presentation and is usually recorded back to film.

Another issue can be how the cable system passes the HD channel as they are known to "rate shape" which can degrade the PQ. Sat companies are sometimes worse as they are known to re-encode. This can explain why it occasionally looks better on a SD DVD, although another reason may be that it's a different transfer. Of course as noted above, sometimes the reason a film looks this way is because it's the intended look. Film grain, filters, muted colors, subdued lighting and other techniques are a way of creating a mood and adds a separation from immediacy for story telling, although looking from a technical standpoint it just looks like ways to degrade the image.
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post #10 of 18 Old 12-11-2006, 11:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamR
Narnia looked good but not as good as from a standard DVD player.

I have an Open Matte HD recording of Narnia from StarzHD. It is 1000X superior in PQ to the DVD.

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post #11 of 18 Old 12-12-2006, 05:00 AM
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post #12 of 18 Old 12-12-2006, 11:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TVOD
I guess that explains why CSI and Lost, both shot on 35mm film, have been cited as some of the very best HD available.
The frame rate is one difference, probably the most likely one for the OP since he referenced live sports, INHD and DiscoveryHD. Doesn't mean film can't look good as well, but IMO that was not the comparison being made here.

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Besides the OP was comparing to a DVD player.
One comparison was to standard DVD but most were to other HD channels, i.e.:

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Recorded a few HD movies from like HBO, Showtime, etc. etc. None of them really look that good. I mean they are horrible looking if you compare them to Discovery HD or a HD-DVD.
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post #13 of 18 Old 12-12-2006, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JDLIVE
The frame rate is one difference, probably the most likely one for the OP since he referenced live sports, INHD and DiscoveryHD. Doesn't mean film can't look good as well, but IMO that was not the comparison being made here.
That could be true for this poster. However in a recent poll of what was the best HD, the vast majority were 24 frame/sec programs. Even though I think some of the best video images I've seen have come from film transfers, I still believe that electronic imaging will replace film in the not so distant future for almost everything. 24P video is increasing in use.
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post #14 of 18 Old 12-12-2006, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Star56
I have an Open Matte HD recording of Narnia from StarzHD. It is 1000X superior in PQ to the DVD.
I thought the DVD looked terrible. It was too soft looking for my tastes.
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post #15 of 18 Old 12-12-2006, 12:08 PM
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We will have to be patient. TV has been very low resolution for so long that it is going to take time to make the transition.
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post #16 of 18 Old 12-12-2006, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Star56
I have an Open Matte HD recording of Narnia from StarzHD. It is 1000X superior in PQ to the DVD.
i'd been avoiding the Starz version of this because i had heard so many reports of it being badly cropped - i sit really open matte? what about the numerous FX shots?
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post #17 of 18 Old 12-12-2006, 01:25 PM
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Movies on the Voom channels often look very good to me, AND I KNOW THEY'RE DOWNREZZED. "Behind the Sun" is a recent example.
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post #18 of 18 Old 12-13-2006, 05:34 AM
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Believe sneals2000 has mentioned that some TV dramas in Japan are video taped at 60 fields per second, if I understood correctly. That would result in the same 'crispness' of many Discovery, INHD, PBS, documentaries/travelogues, compared to 24 fps filming/taping of most scripted dramas/comedies here. CBS's "The Young and the Restless" daytime soap, while heavily filtered, is 1080/60i taped.

Outlined some theories earlier why the 24p film look seems to be preferred for dramas, relating to the gap between frames supposedly allowing the imagination to work--besides the prestige of the 'film look' and still-remaining technical advantages. Also proposed, not too seriously ;-), that simultaneous 24p/60i filming/taping (or now taping/taping) be revived so 60i tapings of dramas could be used and 24p would be available for international marketing. (An early TV production system, used for the Jackie Gleason shows, permitted this simultaneous dual-format recording.)

While 24p availability is important for easy conversion to overseas TV formats, the newest format-conversion hardware now does a better job at modifying 1080/60i (1080i30) productions for other formats (or vice versa). The time lag between captured interlaced TV fields (half-frames), compared to all-at-once full-frame 'snapshots', complicates format conversions, making full progressive frames preferable. 1080/60p @148-MHz progressive-frame hardware use is just getting underway, still lacking complete systems for production, and requiring 3 Gbps, double the bit rate of standard HDTV. -- John
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