HD transfers of Academy ratio movies - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 06-30-2001, 08:54 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm a great fan of "classic" movies. One of the many joys of living in the NYC area is the availability of wonderful repertory cinemas like Film Forum (on Houston St.) and the Walter Reade Theater (at Lincoln Center). The launch of Turner Classic Movies in 1994 was a happy day in my home. Channels like TCM and American Movie Classics are well-appreciated here.

Almost all movies made before the early 1950s were filmed in a 4:3 aspect ratio. There's no reason I know why high-definition transfers can't be made of 35mm movies for which good sources exist, regardless of the aspect ratio in which they were filmed. You can stick anything you like within HD's 16:9 frame. In fact it's my understanding that essentially all DVD production nowadays originates with an HD transfer of the original film elements, whether or not the movie was originally composed for the wide screen.

I've seen very little written on this subject, and I've never seen a full-resolution HD program that wasn't in 16:9 or wider, not even once. Why not? There's a vast amount of high-quality 35mm film material out there, both movies and TV, produced during the whole of the last century. I, for one, would pay good money to subscribe to something like an HD version of TCM. I'd even be happy if the occasional "classic" movie on HBO or Showtime were shown in HD. But such films are always upconverts.

I realize it's still early days. But as the HD transition proceeds, I'd like to think we'll see some of this material unearthed and presented in HD. I want the "movie theater experience" in my home to encompass more than just movies made in the last few years.


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post #2 of 9 Old 06-30-2001, 12:11 PM
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Ron,

You read my mind.

When I sent in my donation to my local PBS station, which broadcasts a lot of older movies, I specifically requested they consider your idea.

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[This message has been edited by Ken H (edited 06-30-2001).]

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post #3 of 9 Old 06-30-2001, 12:52 PM
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Looking forward to the day that my DVD collection is as obsolete as my VHS tape collection became a few years back...

Um... maybe I should start renting until HD-DVD is out?
...Nah, they'll make a nice charity donation http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/eek.gif !



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post #4 of 9 Old 07-02-2001, 05:39 PM
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The unused black bars could be changed to "curtains" ala a real theater. Of course, they'd have to move a little to prevent burn-in.

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post #5 of 9 Old 07-03-2001, 04:45 AM
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That's definitely going to happen. I know there's been some experimenting with old t.v. shows, shot with film, being transferred to HD.

The original Star Trek series had a couple transfers made and reportedly looked unbelievable. However, shows recorded on tape won't fair all that well.

I'm really curious to see how a black and white film would look in HD. I'm waiting to see The Wizard of Oz, too.

It's going to take some time but I'm sure it will be worth the wait.
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post #6 of 9 Old 07-04-2001, 06:49 AM - Thread Starter
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The Wizard of Oz would be a perfect way to launch this service I'm imagining. A well-loved, extremely "classic" movie whose film elements have survived for over 60 years and that would look especially good in an HD transfer: who could complain about that?

Older TV series would also be welcome. I've occasionally read that, too--that episodes of shows like Cheers and the original Star Trek are being transferred to HD--but the context is always someone saying "I read" or "I heard."

Does anyone have anything more concrete, like a link to a press release or some such thing?

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post #7 of 9 Old 07-04-2001, 11:38 AM
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For what it's worth, I read someone like Marc Shuban (correct name?) actually saw an original Star Trek episode and a Next Generation episode transferred to HD. Whoever it was stated the STNG transfer looked "dated" due to being shot on tape while the original series, shot on film, looked fantastic.

I lost my hard drive a few months ago and lost a link to, I believe, "Marc Shuban's Monday Memo", which is where I read the first hand account. I'm sure someone will be able to provide the link and the correct name.

Still, the idea that they are transferring or gearing up to transfer certain shows and movies does make sense. There's an awful lot of OAR movies being shown now, DVD's doing OAR, Discovery doing 16:9, and the new HD Sports Network soon to be launched. Possibly even WRAL going satellite.

Looks like there's a real possibility there could be a bunch of HD stuff airing very close together. Once that happens, it would probably be worth transferring to HD since there will be a market.

Anyway, if I find the link, I'll post it.

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post #8 of 9 Old 07-05-2001, 05:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by rrg:
[i]I've occasionally read that, too--that episodes of shows like Cheers and the original Star Trek are being transferred to HD--but the context is always someone saying "I read" or "I heard."

Does anyone have anything more concrete, like a link to a press release or some such thing?

http://web-star.com/hdtv/cheersnewsrelease.html


Syndicator Paramount Domestic Television announced it will digitally restore and remaster its entire Cheers library. Billed as the most expensive restoration in television history, Paramount and Charles/Burrows/Charles Productions will share the cost of remastering all 275 episodes of the classic NBC series to meet HDTV broadcast standards. Cable network Nickelodeon acquired Cheers for a seven-year run that will begin this fall. The show remains cleared in broadcast syndication in 80 percent of the country.


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post #9 of 9 Old 07-08-2001, 07:18 AM
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I found the link to "Mark Shubin's Monday Memo":
http://www.digitaltelevision.com/mondaymemo/mlist/

Unfortunately, there is no search available for what Mark has talked about in the past, but, he really has addressed just about everything related to HD and digital. Including programming.

The nice thing is he separates fact from rumor and has a lot of first hand knowledge on this stuff.
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