How do you feel about SuperBIT?

Old 04-23-03, 02:16 PM
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How do you feel about SuperBIT?

I just got a Progressive Scan DVD player and was wondering if the whole SuperBIT DVD thing was a hoax. Anyone own some SuperBIT DVD's and can honestly say that the video is THAT MUCH better? Or at least noticeable? Also supposedly the sound is better too right?...
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Old 04-23-03, 02:20 PM
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Old 04-23-03, 02:21 PM
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Old 04-23-03, 02:27 PM
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Jesus the time it took to copy and paste you could have:

A - Answered the question (OR)
B - Skipped the whole thing (so neither of us get annoyed)
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Old 04-23-03, 02:27 PM
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DAS BOOT the sound is excellent!!
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Old 04-23-03, 02:35 PM
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Originally posted by Swaqieu
Jesus the time it took to copy and paste you could have:

A - Answered the question (OR)
B - Skipped the whole thing (so neither of us get annoyed)
Is this better?

Quotes from

I just got my first Superbit titile 'The Fifth Element'. Comparisson against the original R1 DVD. (I also have the new R2 SE DVD, which has several issues and is far subpar IMO to both R1 versions.)

The SB version has a fair bit more horizontal detail in ALL scenes, but in SOME the difference is HUGE. There is no increase in vertical detail at all. The increase in horizontal resolution is NOT DIRECTLY due to the higher bitrate, but rater INDIRECTLY. Let me explain:

DVDs are usually slightly filtered to remove the highest frequencies, thus limiting the finest detail.

1) In the vertical dimension this is done to minimize interlace flicker artefacts on regular TVs. This wouldn't be necessary if DVDs where optimized for progressive output.

2) In the horizontal dimension its done to minimize aliasing artefacts in the DVD players output stage. Not all DVD players can fully resolve 6.75Mhz patterns, some show heavy aliasing if such frequencies are present.

But there is another, more important reason why filtering high frequency information (in both dimensions) is used: it reduce the ENTROPY (real information, detail) of the image. And the lower the entropy of the encoded material, the lower the MPEG bitrate can be, without yielding a considerable amount of compression artefacts.

Think of it like this. There is a consensus about a certain threshold of compression artefacts that you don't want to surpass. On the other hand, going far beyond this threshold isn't necessary, because there is a point of diminishing returns.

Now, if you encode your transfer and choose the bitrate in each scene in a way, that you are always reasonably above this artefact threshold, the result will be certain amount of space that you need (average bitrate * running time). If you simply don't have the space for this on the DVD (due to extras, single layer or whatever), you need to make a decision:

a) Either you save bitrate in several scenes, thus surpass the artefact threshold which results in visible MPEG blocking (esp. in darker scenes) and mosquito noise artefacts.This is obviously a bad choice, but if used carefully isn't too obvious, especially if you have your black-level calibrated properly, becaues blocking is most noticable in the lowest IRE levels, which are hardly distinguishable once calibrated.

b) Or you reduce the overall entropy of the image by filtering away the highest frequencies. Now, as mentioned above, a lower entropy means that you need less bitrate to achieve that same artefact threshold! So you can now lower the bitrate slightly in all scenes without introducing any blocking or mosquito noise, but get a slightly softer picture. Like so many things, its a tradeoff.

But, if you have the space available, like on the extra-less superbit titles, you can use the opposite reasoning. You can choose NOT to filter the content at all, leaving the original entropy intact. If you do so, you will need to raise the bitrate in most scenes to a higher level to achieve an artefact free image. If you have a full dual-layer disc to spare for a movie with not-too-long running time, you can even run the bitrate close to its possible maximum most of the time.

Col/Tri's transfers from day one used route b) to dodge compression artefacts. Their transfers are always slightly soft, never quite reaching the highest amount of achievable detail as Criterion's 'The Rock' , Warner's 'The Pledge' or Fox's 'X-Men'. On top of that, their encoder is said to be the most efficient, thus yielding the least amount of artefacts for a given bitrate. Combine these two issues and you will understand why Col/Tri transfers over the years constanty yielded among the least amount of compression artefacts. Compare early (1997-98) Warner transfers to Col/Tri and you will see what i mean.

Now, given the above, why in gods name would Columbia introduce 'Superbit' titles (which have higher bitrates) if their transfers are among the least compression artefact plagued off all? Easy: the higher bitrate allows them to open the throttle on detail while remaining their picky standards for compression artefacts. As easy as that.

At least thats what i hoped for in theory. But thats exactly what happened on Fifth Element SB. The horizontal resolution, that was filtered on the old transfer is now completely unfiltered, yielding the highest amount of detail possible on DVD, and indeed, it matches the magnificent transfer of 'The Rock' in this regard.

Edge Enhancement:
Probably to compensate for their slight filtered softness, Col/Tri transfers always show an unpleasing amount of edge enhancement. Read my EE guide if you want more info.

While i was quite certain (or at least hopefull) that Col/Tri would open the throttle on detail on their SB titles, the first thing that popped into my mind was "maybe they reduce the EE while they are at it!". Note that i tried to clarify in some recent threads that by simply increasing the bitrate, you don't affect the amount of EE artefacts at all. You decrease a different edge artefact called mosquito noise, but the trace-contoured halos that us videophiles hate so much, stay where they are.

But i am ULTRA happy to report that at least on the Fifth Element Superbit DVD, they did indeed reduce at least the horizontal EE a considerable amoung. Fifth Element never was one of the very strong EE contenders anyway, it was just a bit too much for the most picky souls like me.

A concrete analysis of the improvement is that the amplitude of the ringing stays the same, but the frequency increased by a fair amount, which means that the halos are less disturbing, because they are thinner.


Everything else:
The Fifth Element transfer has always been reference quality in every other aspect: Shadow detail, contrast delineation, black level, color tone and saturation. Perfect. And the new SB transfer does indeed inherent all these characteristics. In all these aspects they look almost identical.

I have read reviews where people found a difference in shadow detail, better colors (esp. in the faces) etc... Must be a psychological thing, because the measured difference is never more than 1-2%. Apart from the higher resolution and less compression artefacts in darker areas (remember Fifth Element was a single layer disc), the discs look basically completely alike. Print defects etc. are the same as well, so the same master was used.
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Old 04-23-03, 02:38 PM
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Seriously, please do a search. I understand that you're annoyed because you just want a straight answer, but others here are (probably) also annoyed because some topics come up so often.

Closing duplicate thread.
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