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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I watch Showtime HD the quality of the "upconverted" material

varies greatly. Some of the movies don't look any better than digital 480i

But some material, for example 'Stargate SGI' looks as good as the stuff

that is presented in 1080i. What gives with this? What exactly am I looking at on Showtime that is labeled "upconverted"?


Bob Wood
 

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As far as I know, upconverted means that the movie was just transfered to HD from a DVD. So, your getting 480i, 480p tops. I'm not quite sure about their series but I would assume its something similar.
 

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A DVD or D1 tape deck plugged into a $500,000 box that interpolates the images and somehow makes it look better.
 

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Robert-


Do a search on "upconvert" as both answers you received so far are totally wrong. It has been explained many times. Also search on the term digital betacam or digi beta and that should put you in the right threads for proper explanation.


Note- ragedogg69 and feldon23 both get an "F" in today's test on HDTV trivia question! :(
 

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I know what Digital Betacam is.


As far as upconverts, apparently you CAN polish a turd.
 

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Maybe you would like to explain who is using D1 or a DVD into a $500,000 upconverter for air?


Upconverters used by the broadcast industry price in the $70,000 to $100,000 range. D1 is rarely used as the first tape mastering in the telecine process for making the master for DVD pressing. D1 was more commonly used by animation houses for uncompressed component digital single frame recording.
 

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“Upconverted†is the word used to describe the process by which scan lines are artificially added to existing video footage that was not filmed in high definition so that they end up with 720p or 1080i scan lines as used in current HDTV formats. The artificially upconverted footage looks better than the typical analog broadcasts, but certainly does not have the same image quality as native HD material. “Upconverters†(sometimes called “line doublersâ€) essentially change standard interlaced 4:3 or 16:9 signals to 16:9 high definition, 720p or 1080i (also 480p) .


By the way, there are all sorts of “converters†on the market that manipulate existing video. Some add scan lines (upconverters), some convert HDTV to SD, standard definition (down converters), format converters change from one HDTV format to another, standards converters change analog to digital, aspect ratio converters change 4:3 to 16:9 wide screen, etc., etc. Some converters can perform more than one type of conversion.


But there is no substitute for the “real thing†...footage initially filmed with an HD camera. Almost all HDTV video shown today is subject to some conversion since the use of HD cameras is fairly new. HDNet (and someone correct me if I'm wrong) is currently the only network that has true HD production capability.
 

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Fred- Basic enough. You should ask David Bott to add this to the FAQ. There are so many threads that ask this same question over and over, it needs to be there. People just refuse to use the search when they have a question. Of course, I have to admit that we have so may people answering that many of the threads are loaded with inaccurate information. But since this is a common question, it needs to be in the FAQ don't you think?
 

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Quote:
Otiginally posted by Fred M


standards converters change analog to digital
Devices that change analog to digital are called A to D converters, standards converters change from one standard to another, for example, PAL to NTSC. Devices that convert composite to component are called decoders.
 

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David Bott (if you are out there) - you can add my explanation to the FAQ if you care to.
 

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spwace- That's right, maybe Fred went a bit overboard in the second paragraph for the FAQ. There are also, rather pricey aspect ratio converters for broadcast but from what I've seen these don't work as well as the name implies. Just stretch and crop like we see in the consumer stuff.


I have seen simple DVCAM upconverted to 1080i and I was really impressed at how well it compares to digital betacam and even HDTV 720P when "upconverted" to 1080i.
 

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Aww but Uncle Owen, I wanted to go into town to buy some power converters...
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Don Landis
D1 is rarely used as the first tape mastering in the telecine process for making the master for DVD pressing. D1 was more commonly used by animation houses for uncompressed component digital single frame recording.
Actually D1 tape is used exclusivily for telecine mastering. And many of us wish it would go away. It is an early digital format from 1987 and difficult to maintain interchange. There is no current developement on this format but Sony still sells their last model from 1992. The European market in fact will only accept D1 recordings. If the transfer in in HDTV, the SDTV version is always made to D1.


True, broadcasters do not use D1 to air. The networks all have a few machines as they have just about every tape format. But they mainly use it for graphics. All DBS PPV and cable networks, HBO, Showtime, Starz, play to air from compressed servers typically less than 10mbs for SD. They mostly load from Digital Betacam. The D1 telecine masters are kept in the studio vaults as a master to make distribution dubs from. In the USA, most movies are distributed today on Digital Betacam. Most DVD mastering is done from Digital Betacam as well. Some clients do demand using the origional D1 master but it's not very commen.
 

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Glimmie-


Then the guy from Cintel who told me that D5 is replacing D1 as the first mastering format today was wrong? Maybe he and I didn't communicate well as we were also talking about HDTV and I know D1 can't be in the loop for HDTV. If the run is for HDTV but for SD formats, is it (the film conversion run)done twice? Once for D5 and once for D1, or is the D1 made from the D5?

Thanks for clarifying this, I always trust what people like you and Mike tell us as you work with this stuff every day.
 

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Glimmie,

Sorry this is a bit off-topic.

But, where in that process does so called Edge Enhancement appear? The Telecine process? The D1 to Betacam transfer? the Betacam to broadcast or dvd transfer?

Thanks!
 

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Like Fred's explanation, too. But confused about the D-5/D-1 use. A while back CBS's Bob Ross indicated the D-5 format was a requirement for HDTV tapes received, but that Sony's HDCAM format (or others?) may enter the production loop earlier. Assume the servers Glimmie mentioned don't degrade the fidelity in storing D5 or D1 material. BTW, as always, it'd be nice if someone could list the resolution limits for all this stuff, assuming a 'maximum' MPEG-2 status after ATSC encoding for broadcast. Thought D5 was the highest fidelity (but not full-bandwidth 1.5-Gbps HDTV), and that the widely used Sony HDCAM recorder section filtered response above ~1440 pixels horizontal resolution. Wish we had a brief "code-on code-off" type chart summarizing all this also for the FAQ. -- John
 

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John- I don't believe D1 is in the loop for any HDTV program. This was a point, I believe, made by Glimmie to correct me as to "D1 Rarely used" to D1 always used but only in reference to DVD mastering. I have also asked Mike Most for his take on this. I don't work in this end of the business. It is a specialty. I only ask, like you, those that do. Sometimes even the answers from these industry experts can be confusing, especially when we get into practices that they may believe is either "always" or "never" done. Then along comes someone who is doing it that way.


What I do know is that D1 is an SD format and can't be used to master for HDTV. The question I have is whether D1 is never dubbed from a D5 in the film to tape process or do they always make a second pass for the master in HD and SD. I think it could be done either way but a second pass would be better.


Also, as of 5 months ago neither DirecTV nor DishNetwork were using servers in their HDTV channels. The HDTV was either inbound from the provider or D5 tape based. However, my buddy at DirecTV said they were looking at the server technology for HDTV as well. The PPV SD channels are all server based and the inbound tape format is digital betacam that they use to load up the server. Many cable companies are now server based for LO programming but these cable companies will often be set up to handle all tape analog formats, including VHS for loading up the server. I usually supply batacam SP but I know they also will accept 3/4U and VHS.
 

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Thanks Don. Guess it pays to read first, as you say. :) With different practices in the industry, can also see how tough it would be to summarize this into a neat chart. Perhaps you'd need a column to qualify every other column. -- John
 
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