How do I know if a movie was recorded in HD or not? - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 01-13-2008, 03:19 PM
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Default How do I know if a movie was recorded in HD or not?

I am sure this has been asked before. Maybe someone could point me to the thread. I am new here and I read the FAQ and tried to find a thread regarding this but couldn't. So forgive me for posting something that's probably already been discussed here before.

I bought a Blu-Ray player this week and love it. But I am really only interested in purchasing movies that were originally recorded with HD Cameras. And it's quite confusing because all of these old movies are coming out now on BD but I know some of them weren't recorded in HD. For instance, it's great that I can get "Predator" in Blu-Ray. But I know damm well they didn't have HD cameras back in the 80s when that movie was made. So I guess I'm just getting an up-converted version of the regular DVD and maybe better audio. That's all cool but I am only interested if it's REALLY HD.

The problem is; how do I tell if a movie a few years ago was recorded in HD or not. Like I am pretty sure movies like "Predator" and "The Rock" were NOT. But maybe SpiderMan 1 was. I dunno. There has to be some easy way to find out, right?
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Old 01-13-2008, 03:53 PM
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OMG here we go.

First of all, ALL movies that are recorded using film, actual *film* (95% of movies), benefit from a high-def transfer. This is because film itself has a higher resolution/clarity than even 1080p high-def. This is why even older movies are released in high-definition. It isn't an "upconvert" at all. You are really getting a true high-def presentation. Any movie, no matter how old can look just as good as any new movie released this year. It all depends on the condition of the master.

Trust me, if all we were getting with older movies was an "upconvert
this website wouldn't exist. Neither would Blu-ray or HD DVD.

I recommend you rent The Searchers (1956) to get an example of just how great an older film can look with a high-def transfer. It looks just as good as anything put out today.
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Old 01-13-2008, 07:01 PM
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Yes...definately. THEN read some posts as to how bad some of the current movies actually DO look on Blu-Ray or HD-DVD. The movie companies are lazy...thats why some movies look as bad as they do. It really has nothing to do with age of the film.
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Old 01-13-2008, 08:27 PM
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But for what it's worth, 28 days later is about the only movie on either format that literally was show BELOw HI Definition, and I can testify, the BD looks exactly like the DVD.


I bought the BD, but I had never owned the DVD anyways, so it's alright. Hard to justify $30, but I had a gift card.
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Old 01-13-2008, 08:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Averry View Post
But for what it's worth, 28 days later is about the only movie on either format that literally was show BELOw HI Definition, and I can testify, the BD looks exactly like the DVD.


I bought the BD, but I had never owned the DVD anyways, so it's alright. Hard to justify $30, but I had a gift card.
28 Days Later is also probably the only major movie EVER to be recorded on Standard Definition cameras, it wasn't recorded on film, i don't recall the camera so you can't really blame it for having a bad transfer literally nothing will make it better but the audio is good and it has some extra features that the DVD doesn't have so imo it's worth it if you get it in a bogo

edit:Wikpediaed it, Canon XL1, here it is the very camera used to shoot this film
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Old 01-13-2008, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GamerGuyX View Post
OMG here we go.
Ok. Well forgive me for not knowing everything about film. I'm just a guy who likes to watch movies. If not having an extensive knowledge of film and how it works makes me disqualified for this forum, that's fine. I get it. I'll buzz off and leave this forum for the experts. One thing though; you might just let other newcomers know that ignorance of film is not accepted in this forum.

ANYWAY.... Sorry for being ignorant. But I just got the impression that older movies couldn't really be HD quality because I've had HD programming on TV for almost two years now and new TV shows and movies seem to come out looking just outstanding. But whenever they show "Terminator" or something in an HD channel like TNT-HD or something, it never comes out looking anywhere near what I would consider HD. And since I am a layperson, I just assumed that the reason these older movies never looked very good was because they were just regular DVDs that had been "up-converted" and then put on TV, supposedly as HD movies.

So from what I gather from the replies here, it doesn't matter when the film was made, all that matters is how well the original film condition is and how well someone handled the transfer? And then, of course, the only way of knowing how well all of this turned out is to;

a) Buy the movie and find out for myself

or

b) Read this forum before I ever buy a movie and see how well everyone else rated it?
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Old 01-13-2008, 09:22 PM
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My apologies for being so harsh. It just gets annoying when you deal with these exact issues on a daily basis (I'm not just referring to this forum).
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Old 01-13-2008, 10:38 PM
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35mm film, which is the standard film stock for all movies (with the exception of the huge 70mm films in the 60s and 70s), has an insane amount of detail to it. The resolution of 35mm film is equivalent to a 4k digital master, which is in the order of ~4000x4000 pixels. 1080p, which is found on BD/HD DVD discs, has a resolution of 1920x1080 or so.

The reason why 35mm film doesn't look so detailed at the theater is a result of the projector and the wear and tear on the print as it is shown. If you see a digitally projected film in a theater, which is a 2 or 4k print, it looks amazing.

In short- 35mm film has far more detail than HD offers. If you have a good print and do a good job with the transfer, the picture can look amazing, regardless of how old it is. 2001: A Space Odyssey has an incredible transfer and the movie was made in the 1960s.
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Old 01-13-2008, 10:40 PM
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Which is why MY POST about a more accurate rating system for hi-def discs is important and should be followed up on. In my opinion....
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Old 01-13-2008, 10:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLewis View Post

ANYWAY.... Sorry for being ignorant. But I just got the impression that older movies couldn't really be HD quality because I've had HD programming on TV for almost two years now and new TV shows and movies seem to come out looking just outstanding. But whenever they show "Terminator" or something in an HD channel like TNT-HD or something, it never comes out looking anywhere near what I would consider HD. And since I am a layperson, I just assumed that the reason these older movies never looked very good was because they were just regular DVDs that had been "up-converted" and then put on TV, supposedly as HD movies.

So from what I gather from the replies here, it doesn't matter when the film was made, all that matters is how well the original film condition is and how well someone handled the transfer? And then, of course, the only way of knowing how well all of this turned out is to;

a) Buy the movie and find out for myself

or

b) Read this forum before I ever buy a movie and see how well everyone else rated it?
HD movies on TV are compressed much more than a HDM release would. There's only so much bandwidth (data rate) for a channel. In other words, the file size of that HD TV movie is far smaller than the HDM version. I saw Cast Away on ABC-HD and thought it looked pretty good, compared to the DVD. That was a year ago or so. I rented the BD and it was far better. The 5.1 track on the broadcast version was very poor compared to the DTS-MA track on the BD. Some movies are upconverted and shown as HD. Most TV HD broadcasts are shown in 1.78:1 format regardless of the film's original aspect ratio, so this is something to note. I only watch movies that are in 1.85:1 format orignally, as it is not cropped. You would think that 1.85>1.78 would mean cropping but take my word when it does not.

Example:

Terminator is 1.85:1 (small bars on a 4x3 TV, no bars on a widescreen TV)
Terminator 2 is 2.35:1 (large bars on a 4x3, small bars on a widescreen TV)

As for transfers, it's best to read reviews before purchasing. You can avoid things like the 1st HDM release of Full Metal Jacket that way and get the Special Edition.
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