Picture quality for DVD "extras"

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by John Larrabee, Jul 2, 2003.

  1. I recently picked up a copy of SINGIN' IN THE RAIN on DVD and was astounded at
    the picture quality. It's almost TOO good -- the sharpness and vivid colors
    make it possible to see the heavy makeup on the actors (especially Kelly), as
    well as every seam and paint nick on the sets. It's hard to complain about
    something done so well, however.

    Then I popped in the "Bonus Materials" disc, which features two documentaries
    (one on Arthur Freed, the other on the making of the film). Here, the clips
    shown from SITR, as well as other MGM-Freed musicals, were blurry and grainy
    with either washed-out or over-saturated colors. I've noticed this on other
    discs with extra features -- the clips shown from the featured film on the disc
    never match the quality of the film itself.

    Can't the makers of the extra features use the remastered versions of the films
    for their own documentaries? Is there some copyright tangle with the
    remastered versions that prevents them from doing this?

    John Larrabee
    Co-founder: Laurel & Hardy Central

    (To respond via e-mail, remove "nixspam")

    "Exit, pursued by a bear"
    John Larrabee, Jul 2, 2003
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  2. John Larrabee

    Mark Spatny Guest

    Source of movie is film tape.

    What, exactly, is "film tape?"
    The source of the documentaries is often betacam (not betamax), Digital
    Betacam, or even 1" video tape, depending on when it was created.

    The real reason for the differences is that the actual movie transfer is
    being made from a very carefully crafted master, usually HD, which has
    been transferred from the original negative, painstakingly color
    corrected, and had the scratches, dirt, and slices taken out by highly
    skilled digital effects artists.

    In general, the special features on DVDs, such as "making of"
    documentaries, etc., are usually made for publicity before the movie
    opens, which means they don't benefit from having the nice color
    corrected movie transfer. They are usually made with 1-light dailies on
    video tape created during production.

    Deleted scenes are sometimes from 1-light dailies on video tape, or
    sometimes even outputs from Avid edtiting workstations, which suffer
    from a great deal of compression. Neither of those will give the same
    quality viewing experience as a good color corrected transfer from the
    original negative.

    There are two reasons they don't go back and replace that material with
    footage that looks as good as the movie:
    1) It is a hugely expensive process.
    2) The original negative for deleted scenes, etc, is often not
    Mark Spatny, Jul 2, 2003
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