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Home :: Archive :: 2007 :: February ::
Branagh Hamlet DVD Update
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 18.0097  Tuesday, 6 February 2007

[1] 	From: 	Ron Severdia <
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	Date: 	Friday, 2 Feb 2007 09:48:41 -0800
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0086 Branagh Hamlet DVD Update

[2] 	From: 	Ray Lischner <
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	Date: 	Friday, 02 Feb 2007 19:34:58 -0500
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0086 Branagh Hamlet DVD Update

[3] 	From: 	Gabriel Egan <
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	Date: 	Saturday, 3 Feb 2007 16:42:11 -0000
	Subj: 	Re: SHK 18.0086 Branagh Hamlet DVD Update


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Ron Severdia <
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Date: 		Friday, 2 Feb 2007 09:48:41 -0800
Subject: 18.0086 Branagh Hamlet DVD Update
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0086 Branagh Hamlet DVD Update


 >Tanya Gough wrote:
 >
 >>. . . at 4+ hours ("Ken Branagh's endless, uncut, four-hour Hamlet"
 >>- Blackadder V) there was a considerable amount of data to
 >>transfer and clean up. Oh, yes, and it's a 70mm film, so that's a  heck
 >>of a lot of pixels.
 >
 >The 70mm stock doesn't make a difference except that there's more
 >detail in the source, so for the same compression method the
 >digital output file will be bigger for any given number of pixels.
 >The number of pixels is set by the digital output format, not the
 >analogue input.
 >
 >However, by my rough calculation it's 6 times as many pixels when
 >done for High Definition or Blu-Ray video as when done for NTSC/
 >PAL. (About 2.1M pixels per frame instead of 0.35M.)
 >
 >All of which is only a preamble to asking if Tanya knows of plans
 >to put Shakespeare material in the new, higher definition formats.
 >Ever since I realized that to make a DVD from a feature film
 >involves discarding 95% of the image data, I've been conscious of
 >the loss.  I know I can't see the difference, but there's a principle.
 >
 >Gabriel Egan
 >
 >[Editor's Note: Gabriel's statement - "to make a DVD from a feature
 >film involves discarding 95% of the image data" - fascinates me.
 >Would he, Tanya, or someone else please explain? I was determined
 >not to buy a High Definition DVD player or players for my DVD-only
 >system with a 65" Mitsubishi DLP TV, Pioneer Elite DVD Player, and
 >Sony Home Theater System with an all-region Toshiba DVD player
 >thrown in. My DVD collection of Shakespeare titles is enormous, and
 >I cannot imagine buying them again in HD. As I said, this system is
 >only used to play DVDs; I simply don't watch television. -HMC]

That *can* be true. But that's like saying that since film is only 24fps 
and NTSC TV is 30 fps means that there's *more* image data in TV 
programs Also based on the pixels per frame calculation). It's true that 
a lot of information gets "tossed" when converting to digital (we live 
in an analogue world, right?) but it also depends on the source 
material. You also need to take into consideration what is actually 
perceptible with the human eye (but that's another discussion). There's 
a visceral aspect to 24fps and film (which is why so many digital video 
cameras try to emulate it) that they try to preserve in a digital 
transfer (the "Holy Grail" :)   ). So putting a specific percentage on 
this is not really possible since every film, size, frame rate, and 
process is unique in its own way, but 95% is way too high.

The 70mm film only makes a small difference when "cleaning" the film 
after a digital transfer, not when outputting the film to a DVD- 
compatible fileset. (or HD or Blue-Ray, as the case may be). I've heard 
this excuse repeated over that last year or two as a reason for 
delaying the Hamlet DVD and it's has such a minimal effect  over the 
process that it's a joke (we're talking about a question of  a 
week...maybe...). Anybody who works in digital video would laugh at this 
repeated excuse that it's been delayed so long for that reason.

Personally, I bought a Panasonic DVD player that does a very good job of 
upscaling regular DVDs to HD. More and more players are coming out with 
this function since there's such a huge existing base of people that 
have large DVD collections. But just like there are films on VHS that 
will probably never be transferred to DVD (because of no interest or 
cost), there will be movies that will never make it to HD- DVD or Blue-Ray.

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Ray Lischner <
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Date: 		Friday, 02 Feb 2007 19:34:58 -0500
Subject: 18.0086 Branagh Hamlet DVD Update
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0086 Branagh Hamlet DVD Update

 >Gabriel's statement - "to make a DVD from a feature film
 >involves discarding 95% of the image data" - fascinates me. Would he,
 >Tanya, or someone else please explain?

A DVD is typically 480x720 pixels per frame. The width can vary, but the 
number of scan lines is no more than 480. The High-Definition formats 
have up to 1080 scan lines; 1080x1920 being a typical size. Film has 
even higher resolution, not measured in scan lines or pixels, but the 
clarity of film degrades when projected on imperfect equipment. How 
often have we walked into the cinema and seen that the movie is not 
quite focused correctly?

On the other, other hand, DVDs (standard and high definition) compress 
the image, and the quality of the result depends on the care and quality 
of the compression process.

Two web sites that I think are helpful:
http://tinyurl.com/2yxmrs
http://tinyurl.com/26ln6m

Ray Lischner, author of Shakespeare for Dummies

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From: 		Gabriel Egan <
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Date: 		Saturday, 3 Feb 2007 16:42:11 -0000
Subject: 18.0086 Branagh Hamlet DVD Update
Comment: 	Re: SHK 18.0086 Branagh Hamlet DVD Update

Hardy wrote:

 >Gabriel's statement - "to make a DVD from
 >a feature film involves discarding 95% of the
 >image data" - fascinates me. Would he, Tanya, or someone else please 
explain?

It's difficult to quantify the data density of film stock and it varies 
with 'speed' (sensitivity to light), but the effective resolution of an 
average 35mm frame is 4-6 million pixels.

A frame of DVD-Video is around 0.35 million pixels, so in the transfer 
around 95% of the image is lost. The new high definition equipment 
(HDTV, HD-DVD, BluRay) shows 1 to 2 million pixels.  Playing your old 
DVDs on the new equipment will reveal their shortcomings.

Gabriel Egan

[Editor's Note: Gabriel, the next time you are in the Washington, D.C., 
area, get in touch with me and I will show you how awesome my system is 
without (HD-DVD, BluRay) but with my 1080p DLP HDTV. And I still haven't 
figured out how to hook up the HDMI connection so that I can still have 
the home theater surround sound. -HMC]

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