Are the following DVD movies single (DVD-5) or dual layer (DVD-9)?

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by Joshua, Dec 29, 2003.

  1. Joshua

    Joshua Guest

    Below is a list of DVDs whose reviews I have checked and/or I have
    looked at the "DVD Details" in the IMDB and found conflicting
    information regarding whether these are single or dual layer.

    Please post if you know any of the following are incorrect:

    Barefoot in the Park - DVD-5
    Batteries Not Included - DVD-5
    Big Jake - DVD-5
    Cahill, US Marshall - DVD-9
    Chisum - DVD-9
    Comancheros, The - DVD-5
    Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles - DVD-5
    French Kiss - DVD-9
    Major League - DVD-9
    Man's Favorite Sport - DVD-5
    Mister Roberts - DVD-5
    Mr. Destiny - DVD-5
    Much Ado About Nothing (MGM) - DVD-5
    North to Alaska - DVD-9
    Oscar (Stallone) - DVD-5
    Return to Me - DVD-5
    Rio Lobo - DVD-5
    Simply Irresistible - DVD-5
    Sons of Katie Elder - DVD-5
    Teen Wolf/Teen Wolf Too - DVD-5
    Thrill of It All - DVD-5
    Truth About Cats and Dogs - DVD-5
    Undefeated, The - DVD-9
    Witness (Harrison Ford) - DVD-5

    If you wonder why I care, the answer is I prefer to spend my money on
    DVDs whose transfers show some effort, so I try to steer away from
    DVD-5 releases unless they are dirt cheap. I've recently been offended
    by some releases by studios such as Fox, Paramount, and Columbia
    issuing transfers on DVD-5 of movies that needed much higher bitrates
    because they wouldn't pay a little more for an extra layer. So they
    "cheap out" by selling a single layer release and usually charging
    full price like a normal dual-layer release while keeping the fact
    it's single layer as quiet as possible.

    For instance, I will buy the bare bones DVDs of the above John Wayne
    movies only if they are DVD-9 and have a high bit rate. Thanks.
    Joshua, Dec 29, 2003
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  2. Joshua

    John Howells Guest

    Incorrect - DVD-9

    John Howells
    John Howells, Dec 29, 2003
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  3. Joshua

    jayembee Guest

    By concentrating primarily (or solely) on how many layers a DVD has
    is, I think, a mistake. While bit-rate is an issue, I've seen DVDs
    with relatively lower bitrates that look better than some with
    relatively higher bitrates. The source used is, I think, the most
    important thing. A lousy source print transferred with an average
    birtate or 9.2 is still going to look like crap.

    -- jayembee
    jayembee, Dec 29, 2003
  4. While the source is always an important fact in determing the output
    quality, as crap in = crap out, if you have a flawless master print, let's
    say it was 28 Days Later and the print is a digital transfer, so theres no
    errors from encoding or transfering, yet. If we encode that to 4.8mbps and
    add an extra or two, and put it out on DVD-5, it won't look as good as if we
    encode that to 6.6mbps, add as many features as possible, and put it out on

    I've started to look at the actual bitrates (average) of movies that I own,
    and even the ones I rent, to see what companies consistently put out
    high-bitrate DVDs, and which put out far more low-bitrate ones than a
    company should. From my minute, and therefore unscientific and unreliable,
    sampling, I've found that New Line Cinema has put out more low-bitrates than
    they should, and that FOX & Paramount have put out the highest bitrates
    (recently, "The Hunted" has an average of about 6.6mbps, and "Fight Club"
    has one just under 6.1mbps, and thats a 140 min movie!). Of DVD-5 discs, I
    have seen 2 flippers that each side is DVD-5, one side is 16:9, the other
    4:3, from 1996 is "Fargo," but thats rather early, so I hope Polygram has
    grown up since then, and then Austin Powers 1 I have from New Line is a
    flipper just like Fargo. The widescreen version of both of those end up
    somewhere around 4.0mbps each (one is like 3.94, the other 4.06, with 4.06
    being Fargo).

    So, yes, source is important, but with good source, then bitrate is
    important. If it is a bad source, then there should be some restoration
    going on before they even think about turning it into an MPEG-2.

    I've actually seen a DVD, retail, that was produced on DVD-5, and the
    encoding was bad, not the source, but it was so obvious, I mean, there were
    actually artifacts on a retail DVD! I cant remember the title, I want to
    say The Bone Collector or Fallen, but I'm not sure.
    Anonymous Joe, Dec 31, 2003
  5. Joshua

    Joshua Guest

    I'd love to have a measure of the average bitrate on DVD reviews, but
    review sites generally do not list that. In fact, only a few review
    sites list the number of layers. With the absence of that information,
    I tend to make the assumption that dual layer DVDs will have a higher
    bitrate, especially on Paramount DVDs which are so often without

    For instance, I named off a bunch of John Wayne releases by Paramount
    and Fox with minimal extras. I couldn't find conclusive/consistent
    information if they were single or dual layer, so I'm not certain if I
    want to buy those. My opinion is if they are not going to provide
    extras, they should at least go at a high bit rate on a dual layer
    disc. If they cannot do that and release a featureless DVD-5 such as
    "Major League" whose transfer could've been improved by a higher
    bitrate (in my opinion), then they do not deserve to get my money.
    Unfortunately the studios are inconsistent.

    I appreciate your reply, Anonymous Joe, but from the couple other
    answers to my post it's pretty clear most people don't care about this
    issue, and I'm on my own in determining the layers and guessing the
    bitrate & quality. Unfortunately I find so many review sites praise
    the picture (probably because they may no longer receive free review
    copies if they trash a lot of them) that reading the "video" section
    of a technical review is not always useful.
    Joshua, Jan 4, 2004
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