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Another Glaring Example of how worthless SUPERBIT is [Archive] - DVD Talk Forum
 
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View Full Version : Another Glaring Example of how worthless SUPERBIT is


chanster
10-31-03, 04:56 PM
DVD Talk says that "Riverdance" Superbit looks like crap. I wonder why Sony uses their Superbit name on a POS video quality movie. Just another example of how ridicoulous SuperBit is!

http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=8095

Do not watch this DVD hoping for great picture quality; in fact, even setting your sights for "acceptable" will result in a disappointment. To begin with, while the transfer is widescreen, it is not anamorphically enhanced, even though the case claims that it is. It gets worse, though: Riverdance just has a lousy transfer, period.

From DVD Talk's Review

victant
10-31-03, 05:11 PM
In my experience, the whole Superbit thing is either a hit or miss. I personally enjoyed the SB version of Fifth Element, though many of the other titles are just not worth upgrading.

Thanks for pointing this specific title out, btw! :up:

BlackBeauty92
10-31-03, 05:17 PM
NOT anamorphic?!?!? WTF Sony?

:D

Pants
10-31-03, 05:56 PM
A non-anamorphic superbit has got to be the most rediculous thing I've ever seen

Johnny Zhivago
10-31-03, 06:21 PM
I'll take the Pepsi challenge with a Das Boot Superbit vs the flipper version any day of the week. Ditto Lawrence Of Arabia Superbit vs the LE.

Granted, some Superbits are questionable in their need and/or improvement (based on your gear) and the choice of movies is suspect at best (I own 4 Superbits from the entire line), but to write them <i>all</i> off as worthless is wrong...

Non-anamorphic though? That's a little radiculos, Superbit or not.

JimRochester
10-31-03, 08:07 PM
Haven't upgraded any to Superbit. Never heard enough to convice me they were far superior.

oris45623
10-31-03, 08:24 PM
i have five, and three of the five push my system to the max sound wise. two of the five just look great, although some dvds that i have can blow superbit out of the water anyday Saving Private Ryan DTS. Gladiator. The Haunting DTS. just to name a few

DVD Polizei
10-31-03, 08:44 PM
You can only make a video track as good as the source. If you have an excellent video source, you can boost the quality a little. However, with an inferior track, it just gets worse because you are magnifying the problem.

That said, I think Superbit is crap. :D

BizRodian
10-31-03, 09:18 PM
Superbit is just marketing speil. It's like "special edition" or "platinum edition"

People who think Superbits are incredible... I just don't understand. I once heard someone say they wanted Gladiator in Superbit. Uhh.. why? the picture is wonderful on the two disc set, and the second disc has TONS of extras. Basically this person was saying they want to pay more money to lose an extra disc of extras.

lesterlong
10-31-03, 10:59 PM
Originally posted by Johnny Zhivago
I'll take the Pepsi challenge with a Das Boot Superbit vs the flipper version any day of the week. .....

That's a bold statement. :)

DonnachaOne
10-31-03, 11:09 PM
Originally posted by BizRodian
Superbit is just marketing speil. It's like "special edition" or "platinum edition"

People who think Superbits are incredible... I just don't understand. I once heard someone say they wanted Gladiator in Superbit. Uhh.. why? the picture is wonderful on the two disc set, and the second disc has TONS of extras. Basically this person was saying they want to pay more money to lose an extra disc of extras.
I'm sure most people here share your sentiments, me being one of them - regardless, a Superbit update of a deserving title is often good news, if the release warrants an upgrade.

PS England has a Gladiator Superbit... :)

BlackBeauty92
11-01-03, 01:29 AM
there are people that care to have extras & decent picture/sound quality & there are others who concern more on picture/sound quality more than anything... i fell in the middle but lean towards the last qualification

i got few SuperBits (7 to be exact) & most of the time i can see the difference (better) in picture quality even on my 27" HDTV... i can only imagine much better quality differences on bigger HDTV system
BUT i can really feel the difference in sound quality on SuperBits (thanx to DTS)... maybe not much, but its there
specially in action movies like Air Force One, Bad Boys ( :drool: ), Desperado, Fifth Element....

Columbia Star/Sony regular (or Special Edition) DVDs tend to have a rather skimpy extras anyway... so, i don't mind sacrificing 'em for better picture/sound quality

that just my take :)

Jackskeleton
11-01-03, 01:50 AM
Just give me a damn two disc and I'll be happy.

shanester
11-01-03, 05:59 AM
Some Superbits are better than the their original release. Bad Boys,Lawrence Of Arabia and Das Boot (the DTS track at least) are noticably superior

DavidH
11-01-03, 10:10 AM
Every Superbit I have bought shows a noticable difference.

TomOpus
11-01-03, 10:17 AM
Originally posted by chanster
Just another example of how ridicoulous SuperBit is! Actually, I think it's another example of how ridiculous Columbia is with some of their choices for a SuperBit release.

I have 4 SBs and I'm happy with 'em.

Gyno Rhino
11-01-03, 10:43 AM
Originally posted by DavidH
Every Superbit I have bought shows a noticable difference.

The problem is that those transfers should have been included on the discs originally.

And with most Superbits, there IS still quite a bit of free space on the disc that could be filled with extras. But that would ruin their marketing scheme, wouldn't it?

Coral
11-01-03, 12:09 PM
Originally posted by Gyno Rhino
The problem is that those transfers should have been included on the discs originally.

And with most Superbits, there IS still quite a bit of free space on the disc that could be filled with extras. But that would ruin their marketing scheme, wouldn't it?

Yep... when the original release is sabatoged to not look as good as it could - the Superbit will have to look better.

I think I'll stick to releases from other studios who do it right the first time with better transfers than the Superbits, and for a cheaper price too.

Marketing Scam all the way.

BizRodian
11-01-03, 12:42 PM
The problem is that those transfers should have been included on the discs originally.

And with most Superbits, there IS still quite a bit of free space on the disc that could be filled with extras. But that would ruin their marketing scheme, wouldn't it?

Exactly.

It's all a marketing scheme. It has nothing to do with if you care more about extras or not. I personally do not. I'll buy the Lawrance of Arabia superbit over the other titles because of it's superior picture quality... it's just the people who want Superbits I don't understand. Why want a Superbit? why not want a nice 2 disc set with extras on one disc and a nice commentary, DTS, Dolby, and kick ass picture on the other.

Michael Corvin
11-01-03, 01:04 PM
Desperado! Of course I haven't seen the latest re-re-re-re-release for comparison, but damn the SB looks FINE!

DavidH
11-01-03, 01:20 PM
The problem is that those transfers should have been included on the discs originally.
And with most Superbits, there IS still quite a bit of free space on the disc that could be filled with extras. But that would ruin their marketing scheme, wouldn't it?

If there is so much space left over, why are SBs looking better? Some have said they aren't applying the filter which allows more detail to be seen. This may be the case; I don't think anyone knows for certain. I am glad some space is left over on the disc to be on the safe side.

Yes, marketing is involved. But, it's no different that any other studio - every studio is releasing and re-releasing multiple versions of DVDs - which I am glad - some movies really need it (obviously, pre-2000 releases in particular).

But, to counter Columbia's marketing strategy, I NO LONGER purchase any of their movies until the Superbit version comes out.
If they would release both versions, or make "Deluxe" Superbits from the beginning, they would be getting my buck sooner. But, since virtually any movie from them that is a blockbuster, classic, or has a good transfer will become a Superbit, I will just wait. They aren't going to play me with it anymore.

Gyno Rhino
11-01-03, 01:23 PM
You obviously have no idea how DVDs work, let alone what a SUPERBIT actually is.

DavidH
11-01-03, 01:24 PM
Are you talking to me?

NaturalMystic79
11-02-03, 10:26 PM
Bought my first Superbit a couple days ago, Bram Stoker's Dracula. Watched the entire film tonight and I am quite disappointed with it. The 5.1 DTS sound is pretty solid and uses the surrounds well, but the transfer is awful. Full of grain and lacks alot of detail. I was expecting something fantastic and was let down. Compression wasn't really much of a problem but I could see some speckles on the print every now and then. Some of the day scenes looked decent, but I'm very unimpressed with the picture overall. Hopefully not all Superbit titles are as lackluster as the Dracula one. I wouldn't even be able to count the number of Non-Superbit DVDs that blow away this one in terms of picture and sound. I was about to buy Das Boot Superbit but now I am reconsidering.

Bill Geiger
11-02-03, 11:46 PM
I never noticed any grain on the Dracula SB.... guess I'll have to do a double check....

Giles
11-02-03, 11:59 PM
I havent noticed any problems with Dracula either, in my opinion the SB looks alot more like film than video (and that's a positive comment by the way).

BizRodian
11-03-03, 12:06 AM
But that's the whole point we're trying to make... Superbit isn't a process, it isn't a special thing on Superbit has. It's just a high quality transfer (and that's missing on some titles!) Anyone can make a high quality transfer. But when it's slapped with the Superbit title and it has no extras? it's considered amazing.

NaturalMystic79
11-03-03, 01:03 AM
The blacks on Dracula just do not look solid and deep. Looks very murky and SLIGHTLY grainy and hazy. No real heavy grain anywhere on the print, but many of the scenes aren't very "dead on" blacks. Perhaps you're right, as it may be part of the movie to make it look like film rather than a video. Overall the picture is good, but nothing spectacular or reference quality. Something about the picture doesn't seem right. My television is properly calibrated with component video, by the way.

Michael Corvin
11-03-03, 07:19 AM
The ones I have been impressed by:

Fifth Element
Desperado
Bad Boys

Robert George
11-03-03, 10:06 AM
Hopefully not all Superbit titles are as lackluster as the Dracula one. I wouldn't even be able to count the number of Non-Superbit DVDs that blow away this one in terms of picture and sound. I was about to buy Das Boot Superbit but now I am reconsidering.

The typical response of what is now the typical DVD buyer.

Any comparison of, in this case, the Superbit edition of Bram Stoker's Dracula to anything else except another video version of Bram Stoker's Dracula means exactly nothing. Every film is unique in its tones, textures, and lighting. Different films stocks, different cameras, different lenses, different filters, different people behind the camera, all bring something to the "look" of a film. Then add to that any number of variations in technique in the video transfer process and the mastering onto DVD. With all the variation, comapring even two movies that came out at the same time and from the same studio is useless.

If you want a useful comparison for the Superbit Bram Stoker's Dracula, compare it to the previous DVD release on a calibrated large screen system that is actually capable of resolving the often admittedly subtle differences between a Superbit mastering and a non-Superbit. Then, for some real fun, compare it to the previous two laserdisc releases, even the highly touted Criterion edition. You might have a greater appreciation of what Superbit is about.

Or not.

Robert George
11-03-03, 10:12 AM
Superbit isn't a process, it isn't a special thing on Superbit has. It's just a high quality transfer (and that's missing on some titles!)

Who told you that? Something you just assume?

matome
11-03-03, 01:04 PM
I've seen minor picture improvements on the few Superbit upgrades I did. I mostly get them for the DTS track if the film warrants it.

jough
11-03-03, 03:46 PM
Superbit is just a marketing name for giving the highest bitrate possible to the image.

That doesn't mean that some Superbits don't look great - just that there's nothing more special about a Superbit than there could be from other studios who devote much of the disc to image quality.

I mean, look at the Indiana Jones trilogy. All three films are movie-only and have fairly high bit rates and excellent pictures for the age of the films.

Meanwhile, the Adaptation Superbit had only a mediocre transfer for being such a new film. Lower average bit rate than the Indy movies.

Robert George
11-03-03, 06:14 PM
Superbit is just a marketing name for giving the highest bitrate possible to the image.

"Superbit" is indeed a registered trademark by Columbia Tristar Home Video, but the rest of your "definition" is inaccurate. Bit rate is only part of what Superbit is, and perhaps not even the biggest part.

Superbit mastering is different from the average DVD mastering in that there is less high frequency filtering enabling somewhat higher resolution and fine detail. This lack of filtering requires a higher bit rate to avoid aliasing and other compression related artifacts. Although there are some that believe a Superbit disc is simply the same as the previous non-Superbit mastering with a higher bit rate, that is in fact not true.

However, everyone is free to believe or disbelieve whatever they wish.

milo bloom
11-03-03, 11:08 PM
Robert, you seem to be taking it a little personally, and unnecessarily so.

I've always seen Superbit as a methodology, and not a separate technology. It simply has to be to still be able to be called a DVD according to the spec set forth by the DVD Forum.
I've no doubt any other studio could do the same thing, and market it as some sort of higher end product, and produce similar results (though as you pointed out earlier, no two films are exactly the same, the only way it could be compared objectively is to compare the same movie that changed studio hands. Though I suppose comparing films from the same cinematographer might give you some inkling. )

I think what gets under everybodys' skin (inluding mine) is that we're pretty sure that they could squeeze a commentary onto the feature disc without a noticeable difference, since so many other studios manage to do so and still have transfers that those in the know give high marks for quality. Strip off all the motion menus and forced ads that take up space, also any extraneous dub tracks. Then throw in a second disc for the extras, and you've got what DVD should be.

The only Superbit I've got is BS's Dracula. I didn't have the previous DVD, and I thought it would make a good companion to the Criterion LD (which I'll make DVDR's of someday and have a really bitchin' Superbit Deluxe ;) )

There's no other title that has appealed to me enough to pick up.

jough
11-03-03, 11:39 PM
The Punch-Drunk Love Superbit is very nice, and has a second disc of extras (such as they are).

davidh777
11-11-03, 12:49 PM
Originally posted by Robert George
Any comparison of, in this case, the Superbit edition of Bram Stoker's Dracula to anything else except another video version of Bram Stoker's Dracula means exactly nothing....

The original Riverdance NYC DVD was pretty fuzzy, perhaps because of the mystical mumbo jumbo aspect of the show. Can't blame Superbit for that.

You CAN blame Superbit for converting a 1.78 anamorphic transfer to a 1.55 non-anamorphic. Perhaps they're following the "Warner rule" of non-anamorphic when it's under a certain aspect ratio, but who knows why they trimmed the picture in the first place.

The Superbit does look better, and the original disc was a crappy flipper with useless bonus features.

Josh H
11-11-03, 01:01 PM
Originally posted by Pants
A non-anamorphic superbit has got to be the most rediculous thing I've ever seen

No kidding.

I generally pass on these anyway. Only pick them up if I didn't own the original release so far. I never upgrade if the original is OAR, Anamorphic and DD 5.1 or DTS. I'm not an audio/videophile and buy DVDs mainly for movies, so slightly better picture and sound is nothing for me to re-buy a movie over. I'd rather buy a movie I don't already own.

slop101
11-11-03, 05:20 PM
Speaking of the Punch Drunk Love superbit - there's enough room left over on the movie disc to easily accomidate all the extras on the second disc - but then they couldn't call it a "Super-Bit", could they?

jough
11-12-03, 01:27 AM
I may upgrade to the "Lawrence of Arabia" Superbit, because the old version had many problems.

But I'll keep the old set for the excellent documentary that was for some reason left out of the SB release.

Bleddyn Williams
11-12-03, 09:33 AM
Superbit mastering is different from the average DVD mastering in that there is less high frequency filtering enabling somewhat higher resolution and fine detail. This lack of filtering requires a higher bit rate to avoid aliasing and other compression related artifacts. Although there are some that believe a Superbit disc is simply the same as the previous non-Superbit mastering with a higher bit rate, that is in fact not true.

Thanks for this, Robert - it may be the clearest description I've heard of what a Superbit disc is all about.

chanster
11-12-03, 11:49 AM
Superbit mastering is different from the average DVD mastering in that there is less high frequency filtering enabling somewhat higher resolution and fine detail. This lack of filtering requires a higher bit rate to avoid aliasing and other compression related artifacts. Although there are some that believe a Superbit disc is simply the same as the previous non-Superbit mastering with a higher bit rate, that is in fact not true.

If it is so different (I have my doubts) Why can't Sony do this for their regular releases instead of screwing the consumer? That is the fundamental question.

Nausicaa
11-12-03, 02:07 PM
I think it all depends on the particular setup you are using to view the DVDs. If you play a SuperBit title on a 30" Tube TV, yeah, you might not notice a difference in the video quality. In my case, using a 60" LCD HDTV, there is a huge difference in quality with almost every SuperBit DVD I have tried. The Desperado DVD looks steller, and is probably the best one I own. I also bought the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon SuperBit and noticed a slight increase in fine detail for the ornate wood carvings and Chinese artifacts that adorne every scene.

Holly E. Ordway
11-12-03, 02:38 PM
Originally posted by Nausicaa
I think it all depends on the particular setup you are using to view the DVDs. If you play a SuperBit title on a 30" Tube TV, yeah, you might not notice a difference in the video quality.
To a certain extent this is true, in the same way that it holds true for any discussion of the quality of a transfer - the better your set, the more you'll appreciate a better transfer.

However, I've also seen this argument used as a kind of elitist "Well, if you can't see the difference between a Superbit and a regular DVD, you don't have a good enough TV" argument, which is misleading.

I've watched all the Superbit titles I've reviewed on a 55" widescreen set, which should be more than sufficient to show up the improved picture. My general impression is that some of the Superbit titles do indeed have extremely good image quality; some are so-so; and some look like crap. In other words, they correspond to the bell curve of DVD transfers in general, which in my mind conflicts with the advertised image of Superbit as being, well, super-good.

Frankly, I have a lot more respect for the studios that just do really good transfers of their films without any extra fanfare!

milo bloom
11-12-03, 02:59 PM
Originally posted by chanster
If it is so different (I have my doubts) Why can't Sony do this for their regular releases instead of screwing the consumer? That is the fundamental question.

Because as it says, it uses a higher bit rate. If so that means less space for extras, and that's the main selling point for the average consumer.

Also, many people have pointed out that over the years, compression technology and techniques have improved by leaps and bounds over the years. I have no doubt that we will see the joining of these types of transfers and extras without the compression artifacts we may see nowadays.

Geminix
11-13-03, 09:59 AM
Originally posted by DavidH
Are you talking to me?
Wait... they're putting out a Taxi Driver superbit?!?!?!? :lol:

jough
11-15-03, 04:03 AM
I'd totally upgrade for a Taxi Driver Superbit.

DavidH
11-15-03, 11:05 AM
Wait... they're putting out a Taxi Driver superbit?!?!?!?

I was waiting for someone to notice that already. :)