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How Do They Make HD Content From A Non HD Source (TV and Movies)????

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How Do They Make HD Content From A Non HD Source (TV and Movies)????

Old 01-31-07, 09:02 PM
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How Do They Make HD Content From A Non HD Source (TV and Movies)????

Could somebody explain to me how they make HD content from a non HD source? I recently watched Casablanca and was absolutely amazed at the image quality! Wow! how they make non HD sources into HD? How can they take a 20+ year old, low budget movie like Caddyshack and make it look so good on INHD?

How can Voom's Monsters HD channel show all HD content from movies that are so old? Do they just run the original footage through a computer and clean it up? Whats the process? Do they just take the original source and run it through a super upconverting DVD player? How long does it take to make a non HD movie into a HD movie? Is content that is shown on HD cable the same used on HD and Blu Ray DVD's?

I would LOVE some answers to these burning questions.
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Old 01-31-07, 09:05 PM
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They don't. Casablanca and Caddyshack were shot on film, which has a higher resolution than HD video.
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Old 01-31-07, 09:11 PM
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Yep, the film used even decades ago was still higher resolution than the consumer technology we have today.
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Old 01-31-07, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by DthRdrX
Yep, the film used even decades ago was still higher resolution than the consumer technology we have today.
Wow really? Not to sound like a complete noob, but I honestly didn't know that. Thanks for the info. Why does it not look that great then?

So whats resolution of film? Like HD content (1080i) does it have a number like 4000i LOL.

So could somebody explain how they take Casablanca and turn higher resolution material (film) to HD? I don't quite get that. Whats the process? Can anybody do it?
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Old 01-31-07, 10:02 PM
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I'm definitely not an expert on the subject, but film is like your regular old camera (35mm), as HD is like a digital camera (different megapixel amounts, etc.). As for the transformation process, I'm not sure.
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Old 01-31-07, 10:10 PM
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I could be wrong but I've read film is something like 4096p.
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Old 01-31-07, 10:16 PM
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They take a digital photograph of each frame. There are additional steps after that, like processing of the image, audio synching, and compression, but scanning the frames is basically how they get film to video.
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Old 01-31-07, 10:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Drexl
They take a digital photograph of each frame. There are additional steps after that, like processing of the image, audio synching, and compression, but scanning the frames is basically how they get film to video.
This is great info thanks!

How long does the process take normally?
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Old 01-31-07, 10:25 PM
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Film is easy, it already has a very high resolution. The tough thing would be to turn something like an old TV show shot on video into an HD format.
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Old 01-31-07, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Mercury&Solace
This is great info thanks!

How long does the process take normally?
I really don't know.
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Old 01-31-07, 11:10 PM
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Honestly, when you think about it , it's really quite amazing that you are just NOW see'ing these classic films as they are suppose to be (or at least closer to what they're suppose to be).
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Old 01-31-07, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by LivingINClip
Honestly, when you think about it , it's really quite amazing that you are just NOW see'ing these classic films as they are suppose to be (or at least closer to what they're suppose to be).
^Definitely.

Film is easy, it already has a very high resolution. The tough thing would be to turn something like an old TV show shot on video into an HD format.
Do you know what that process is?

I remember hearing about NBC showing a HD episode of Miami Vice a while back on channel 5, I always wondered how they took something that old and made it into HD. I missed the episode, but I hear it looked really good.
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Old 02-01-07, 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Mercury&Solace
Do you know what that process is?

I remember hearing about NBC showing a HD episode of Miami Vice a while back on channel 5, I always wondered how they took something that old and made it into HD. I missed the episode, but I hear it looked really good.
If all the actual source material was shot via standard definition video... there really wouldn't be a way to convert to "real" HD quality. You could probably do some digital restoration & color correction which could make things look much better - but you can't add information that was never there in the first place.

I think most TV shows are primarily shot on film as well though. Ironically, much older (pre-1980) shows are done entirely on film. (I imagine because video wasn't a major medium at the time.) A good example is the new HD update of Star Trek : The Original Series.

Shows from the 1980's & 90's often had the finishing steps done in SD video though, and those are problem. To continue with the Star Trek example, in Star Trek - The Next Generation, the cast interaction was shot on film, but the special effects done in SD video. As a result, ST:TNG is harder to transfer to HD than ST:TOS. It could still be done... but the studio would have to go back to the original film, and redo all the finishing effects in HD.

Last edited by obispo21; 02-01-07 at 12:36 AM.
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Old 02-01-07, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Mercury&Solace
Wow really? Not to sound like a complete noob, but I honestly didn't know that. Thanks for the info. Why does it not look that great then?

So whats resolution of film? Like HD content (1080i) does it have a number like 4000i LOL.

So could somebody explain how they take Casablanca and turn higher resolution material (film) to HD? I don't quite get that. Whats the process? Can anybody do it?
Wow, that was a nice guess. Film is *estimated* to have a line resolution equivalent of 4000. But it's not measured in the same way, so it's only an approximation.
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Old 02-01-07, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by DVD Josh
Wow, that was a nice guess. Film is *estimated* to have a line resolution equivalent of 4000. But it's not measured in the same way, so it's only an approximation.
The digital equivalent I believe is "mastered in 2K" or "mastered in 4K" meaning # of lines.

And I believe 70mm movies have much higher resolution... although I might be wrong.
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Old 02-01-07, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by The Bus
The digital equivalent I believe is "mastered in 2K" or "mastered in 4K" meaning # of lines.

And I believe 70mm movies have much higher resolution... although I might be wrong.
And I believe that "2k" is actually only 1920
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Old 02-01-07, 11:29 AM
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What a great question. I had the same burning issue for months. I can't wait for some of the epics like Dr. Zhivago and Larence of Arabia to come on HD. Wow.
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Old 02-01-07, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by obispo21
If all the actual source material was shot via standard definition video... there really wouldn't be a way to convert to "real" HD quality. You could probably do some digital restoration & color correction which could make things look much better - but you can't add information that was never there in the first place.

I think most TV shows are primarily shot on film as well though. Ironically, much older (pre-1980) shows are done entirely on film. (I imagine because video wasn't a major medium at the time.) A good example is the new HD update of Star Trek : The Original Series.

Shows from the 1980's & 90's often had the finishing steps done in SD video though, and those are problem. To continue with the Star Trek example, in Star Trek - The Next Generation, the cast interaction was shot on film, but the special effects done in SD video. As a result, ST:TNG is harder to transfer to HD than ST:TOS. It could still be done... but the studio would have to go back to the original film, and redo all the finishing effects in HD.

Great explanation thanks!

Wow, that was a nice guess. Film is *estimated* to have a line resolution equivalent of 4000. But it's not measured in the same way, so it's only an approximation.
The digital equivalent I believe is "mastered in 2K" or "mastered in 4K" meaning # of lines.
Great info once again.

So things on standard video would be much harder to master in HD. So something like The Blair Witch project would be tough to master in HD?

So when a studio remasters something for HD DVD or Blu Ray, and the transfer comes out like crap (See Christmas Vacation or Deer Hunter) is that the studio that dropped the ball and did a half ass job, or is the source material not that good? Whats usually the case?
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Old 02-01-07, 11:08 PM
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Some 70mm film stock can go as high as 10000 lines of equivalent resolution.
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Old 02-02-07, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Mercury&Solace
So things on standard video would be much harder to master in HD. So something like The Blair Witch project would be tough to master in HD?
Blair Witch Project was shot on a mix of 16mm film and Standard Definition video recorded on a cheap consumer camcorder. The 16mm footage could conceivably show an improvement in HD, but probably not a huge one. The film stock was very cheap, and it was shot to look dark and grainy. The video portions of the movie were not shot in HD and would show little to no improvement if upconverted to HD.

So when a studio remasters something for HD DVD or Blu Ray, and the transfer comes out like crap (See Christmas Vacation or Deer Hunter) is that the studio that dropped the ball and did a half ass job, or is the source material not that good? Whats usually the case?
Could be a combination of the two.

Keep in mind that the studios have been archiving HD masters for years. Every DVD edition is downconverted from an HD master. The HD DVD or Blu-ray is usually taken from that same master. Many times the quality of older masters is not up to current standards, as is the case with Christmas Vacation. It was a poor transfer when it was first made, and releasing it at HD resolution hasn't done much to improve it.

The Deer Hunter probably comes from weak source materials. The movie was made during the late 70s, and it was later discovered that film stocks from that era proved to be very unstable and deteriorated quickly. That's why many times you'll see transfers for very old movies (The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Searchers, etc.) that look much better than more "modern" films from the 70s like Deer Hunter or The Godfather.
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Old 02-02-07, 12:32 PM
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The mechanical process of converting film to digital is called "telecine" (pronounced "tel-LAH-sin-ee"). Here is everything you ever wanted to know about it. The transfer time is realtime (at least when I've had it done). So a 2 hour movie takes about that amount of time in the telecine booth.

However there is a lot of tweaking that goes on after the film is in the digital relm. This is where the differences in various transfers can be observed, given similar source material.
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