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First HD Episode of South Park Exclusive to Xbox 360

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First HD Episode of South Park Exclusive to Xbox 360

Old 03-04-07, 06:42 PM
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First HD Episode of South Park Exclusive to Xbox 360

From Wired:

Tune in to the adventures of Butters every week? Wait until you see him in HD.

Wired News has learned that on Tuesday, March 6, Microsoft and Viacom will release the first-ever high-definition episode of the Comedy Central series South Park exclusively on Xbox Live Marketplace.

For the first two weeks of availability, all Xbox Live members will be able to download the episode, titled "Good Times With Weapons," for free.

Additionally, from March 20 through April 3, Best Buy will offer free HD-DVD discs featuring the episode with any purchase of an Xbox 360 console, or the HD-DVD add-on player.

South Park's eleventh season begins Wednesday at 10 PM on Comedy Central; new episodes will appear on Xbox Live Marketplace the following week.
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Old 03-04-07, 07:20 PM
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So they're just doing HD versions for Xbox live? Comedy Central certainly isn't in HD.
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Old 03-04-07, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by digitalfreaknyc
So they're just doing HD versions for Xbox live? Comedy Central certainly isn't in HD.
I know since last year they've been working to convert all previous episodes of South Park to HD. My guess is that Comedy Central will be going HD at some point, or Paramount will be releasing them in HD on the two new formats. Or both.
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Old 03-04-07, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by lotsofdvds
I know since last year they've been working to convert all previous episodes of South Park to HD. My guess is that Comedy Central will be going HD at some point, or Paramount will be releasing them in HD on the two new formats. Or both.
What did they originate on?!

Can you have HD animated 4x3 material?

I'm a bit confused here.
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Old 03-04-07, 07:39 PM
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You would re-produce the image the same way all 4x3 images should be shown for HD broadcast. It would be contain pillarboxing on the left and right sides of the image. (See The Adventures Of Robin Hood for reference.)

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Old 03-04-07, 08:13 PM
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Kinda tech filled, but here's an article about the HD conversion of South Park, from digitalcontentproducer.com:

For years, Comedy Central's South Park has been produced at Los Angeles-based South Park Studios. Today, the production team uses an Autodesk Maya-integrated digital workflow of 3D-modeled, animated, and rendered files slapped together in Apple Final Cut Pro.

Recently, producers pondered the possibility of moving production into the HD world, and so, they conducted some experiments last summer.

“We did two-and-a-half months worth of test renders to figure out the conversion stages it would take to update past South Park episodes to current HD formats,” says J.J. Franzen, South Park Studios' technology supervisor. “We mainly checked to see the overall manpower and time it would take to rebuild backgrounds and reanimate scenes that were originally created 4:3, up to a 16:9 format.”

Tests completed, Franzen burned multiple DVDs of the final footage, but the Final Cut Pro timeline and individual media clips were offlined to a 1.6TB FireWire drive for storage, and there, near disaster struck — the drive crashed. “We were in a panic state,” Franzen recalls.

Franzen shipped the drive to the Digital Arts Division of DriveSavers in Novato, Calif., where file recovery was supervised by John Christopher, DriveSavers' senior data recovery engineer. He warns that drive crashes such as this one are growing increasingly common, especially at small facilities with packed pipelines, stressful deadlines, and limited backup capabilities.

To recover South Park's files, the team at DriveSavers used proprietary hardware and software to create a clone disk mirroring each of the four original hard drive mechanisms in the 1.6TB drive. One of the four had significant media damage that required several rebuilds and cloning — work done inside DriveSaver's Class 100 cleanroom, a pristine, climate-controlled facility that eliminates the risk of air contaminant particles entering the hard drive's internal mechanism. The process was completed in a week, with all files resurrected.
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Old 03-04-07, 08:32 PM
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Awesome article. Thank you.

So I guess they're pulling a reverse-Pixar.

Taking 4x3 and making it 16x9.
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Old 03-04-07, 08:42 PM
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Insane.

Anyhow, HD South Park? The broadcasts don't look the best, but the DVD's look amazing as is. I don't know how much better you can really get.
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Old 03-04-07, 09:00 PM
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Crap, no free HD episode for PS3 owners. Sounds cool, I may grab the HD DVD off of eBay where I am sure many will end up.
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Old 03-04-07, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by darkside
Crap, no free HD episode for PS3 owners. Sounds cool, I may grab the HD DVD off of eBay where I am sure many will end up.
As with most BB free stuff...just walk in and buy it with a DVD or something. It will ring up free and most employees won't know you had to buy a $200 item to get it.
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Old 03-04-07, 09:53 PM
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Not sure I really need to see South Park in HD, but hey, more power to 'em...
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Old 03-04-07, 11:00 PM
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Sorry, I am a huge South Park fan and this really just does not even thrill me. South Park and HD just don't seem to go together to me. I just do not see how HD will improve the product which is crude animation at best.
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Old 03-05-07, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by speedyray
Sorry, I am a huge South Park fan and this really just does not even thrill me. South Park and HD just don't seem to go together to me. I just do not see how HD will improve the product which is crude animation at best.
Crude animation done on cutting-edge technology?
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Old 03-05-07, 10:09 AM
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Will it be in 720? It seems that all the HD content on Live is in 720, and not 1080 - my TV can do 1080, but not 720.
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Old 03-05-07, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by DVD Josh
Crude animation done on cutting-edge technology?
I think what he means is the style is supposed to be crude. Like they bounce when they walk and rarely move their legs. The style mimics the original paper cut-outs they used in the beginning.

I am right with you speedyray. I don't see the need to do it. Kind of odd that they bother considering that ComedyCentral doesn't even broadcast in HD yet. I guess it can't hurt to be ahead of that curve though...
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Old 03-05-07, 10:27 AM
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If anything will move Comedy Central into HD, it's South Park. Not because it needs to be in HD, but because it's got enough clout to push Comedy Central into HD.
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Old 03-05-07, 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by rfduncan
I don't see the need to do it. Kind of odd that they bother considering that ComedyCentral doesn't even broadcast in HD yet.
There were TV shows shot in color before there were color TV broadcasts, and for the same exact reason, quite a few series over the past ten years were shot and/or mastered in high-def even though they've never been seen that way.
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Old 03-05-07, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by rfduncan
I think what he means is the style is supposed to be crude. Like they bounce when they walk and rarely move their legs. The style mimics the original paper cut-outs they used in the beginning.

I am right with you speedyray. I don't see the need to do it. Kind of odd that they bother considering that ComedyCentral doesn't even broadcast in HD yet. I guess it can't hurt to be ahead of that curve though...
Your right, I was referencing the style of animation not the technology. There is a change as the seasons go on, but they are still in the same style, just a crisper more clean version of that style. I own all the seasons and all kinds of other junk (shirts, slippers, trinkets, etc) and I see no reason to upgrade. They better really show something with this HD upgrade if they plan to make any money off of it because I think alot of people will be like me.
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Old 03-05-07, 11:06 AM
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Great news. Only thing that would have made it better would be if they started with the WoW episode.
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Old 03-05-07, 11:22 AM
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Really, this will be better just for the improvements in color alone.
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Old 03-08-07, 08:12 AM
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I don't see why it has to be 16:9, which causes them to have to recompose everything. It just won't be right as far as I'm concerned. They could re-render it at a higher resolution, but why change the aspect ratio?
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Old 03-08-07, 08:28 AM
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So it'll fill widescreen TVs without zooming or stretching. The episode looks incredible in HD.
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Old 03-08-07, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by lotsofdvds
So it'll fill widescreen TVs without zooming or stretching. The episode looks incredible in HD.
Who says the screen has to be filled? I understand why they're doing it, just as I understand why there are fullscreen DVDs. I just don't think it's the same show when in a different aspect ratio. If people accept this, they'll probably also accept cropping other 4:3 shows that can't be recomposed in the computer.
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Old 03-08-07, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Drexl
They could re-render it at a higher resolution, but why change the aspect ratio?
Because (1) most HDTV owners seem to be mortified when something that's not 1.78:1 is on their screens and (2) because they can.

Not the best answer, but...that's how it is.

Originally Posted by Drexl
If people accept this, they'll probably also accept cropping other 4:3 shows that can't be recomposed in the computer.
Judging by some of the vintage programming on HDNet and Universal HD, they already are.

I think you'll find much less of a fuss about TV shows being cropped/reformatted to 1.78:1 than movies. I guess they're just not taken as seriously. I'm not saying this is a good thing, but it's inevitable.
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Old 03-08-07, 09:52 AM
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But... but... it looks awesome.
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