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Question about import HD DVDs

Old 02-06-08, 08:18 PM
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Question about import HD DVDs

I figured someone on here has ordered some imports. I have seen pics online of foreign HD DVDs like The Elephant Man, Mulholland Drive, and The Fog. In these pics the title of the movie on the spine is written from the bottom up, instead of from the top to bottom like all movies we have here are. Is it really like the pics? I really wanted to get The Elephant Man and Mulholland Drive sometime. and was curious.
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Old 02-06-08, 08:24 PM
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That is correct. You know them Europeans, always want to be different.
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Old 02-06-08, 08:29 PM
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Just a note, Mulholland Dr and The Elephant Man suffer from pitch problems.
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Old 02-06-08, 09:00 PM
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I've only seen that on German and some French releases.
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Old 02-06-08, 09:09 PM
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I actually turn my art upside on my imports to the spines read the same way as my domestic discs.
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Old 02-06-08, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by vcuram
Just a note, Mulholland Dr and The Elephant Man suffer from pitch problems.

Pitch problems? What exactly do you mean? Could you explain?
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Old 02-06-08, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by PopcornTreeCt
I've only seen that on German and some French releases.
Assuming you are referring to the spine thing and not the pitch problem, my Spanish import of Underworld Evolution also has the backwards spine.
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Old 02-06-08, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Parasol Stars
Pitch problems? What exactly do you mean? Could you explain?
Some European releases like the above mentioned titles have a higher audio pitch than they should for some odd reason (similar to PAL speedup) that makes everyone's voices sound a bit higher than normal. Some people may not notice, but I'm quite sensitive to it so I avoid titles like these.
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Old 02-06-08, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Parasol Stars
Pitch problems? What exactly do you mean? Could you explain?
The soundtracks sound like they are pitched up about 4-6% For the musically inclined, it would be about a semitone.

The net result is actors' voices sound like they've taken a small hit of helium, and music is of course pitched up as well.

Some people aren't as sensitive to pitch and may not notice this. Others (like me), it would drive up a wall.

What's weird is, film-sourced PAL DVD's have a reason to be pitched up - they are playing at 25 frames per second instead of 24, so the runtime will be shorter and things are running faster. (Someone please correct me if I am wrong).

With HD DVD, PAL is a non-issue - there is no NTSC or PAL. Further, the runtimes of these films are correct and not sped up. So for this pitch issue to happen, it's almost as if someone took the pitched up soundtrack, and then stretched it time-wise to fit the normal runtime.

There was an AVS thread that had audio clips comparing Total Recall and Basic Instinct. I would think most people would hear the difference listening to them back to back.

The issue seems to have been isolated to a number of Studio Canal titles in France, which in turn were used for re-issues in the UK.
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Old 02-06-08, 11:32 PM
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I never considered importing DVD's before but this format war will likely result in me importing a few BD's before it's over. Almost Famous is one of my favorite movies, but I am not going to cave in on that one yet.

If Warner somehow manages to wind up with the documentaries that are on the US HD-DVD release of Zodiac: Director's Cut, that will more than likely be the point of no return for me. So I guess we'll find out in April, huh?
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Old 02-07-08, 12:28 AM
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I have a number of Pathe French discs (SDVD) and they usually put their titles the opposite way -- Warner-France, Pathe, Wilde Side, Gaumont, etc.

Spanish SDVDs are the same as the French: Warner--Spain, Filmax, SONY, etc -- all reversed.

Italian discs are mixed -- Ripley Home Video, O1 Distribution, Mikado go the same way as US discs. Minerva on the other hand go with the French.

Greek discs are the same way as US discs (New Star).

Scandinavian discs -- Sandrew, Scanbox, etc...they all go with the US design.

German discs are also mixed -- Galileo Multimedia and EuroVideo go from the bottom up while Epix-Video and most of the other big players go the US way.

The Brits as expected copy the US model.

And so forth....

Pro-B
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Old 02-07-08, 12:33 AM
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My one HD DVD import (The Graduate) plays and sounds great. No pitch that I can tell.
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Old 02-07-08, 02:57 AM
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bunkaroo gave a great explanation of the problem. I owned Elephant Man and Mulholland Dr and definitely noticed the problem right away. The only other French import I own is The Graduate, and as Gizmo said, it's perfect. I also have the German release of Tideland and it's fine as well.
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Old 02-07-08, 08:08 AM
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Good information on the pitch problems. Be sure to read the relevant threads on which specific titles suffer from this problem.

I know that MD is one of them. FWIW, I own Reservoir Dogs and Brotherhood of the Wolf which do not.
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Old 02-07-08, 09:12 AM
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That's interesting about The Graduate, because I had heard it did have the problem. I don't like the film enough to buy an import of it, so I haven't heard it personally.
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Old 02-07-08, 08:06 PM
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could this be a case-by-case experience? I dont have this problem with my Elephant Man HD.
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Old 02-08-08, 05:22 AM
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Only some HD DVDs from Studio Canal suffer from pitch problems.

So, don't expect all imports to have this problem. German, Spanish, UK, etc. releases don't suffer from pitch problems. And also not all French titles.
Some people don't even hear the problem, because it's really a slight problem.
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Old 02-08-08, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by pkde
Only some HD DVDs from Studio Canal suffer from pitch problems.

So, don't expect all imports to have this problem. German, Spanish, UK, etc. releases don't suffer from pitch problems. And also not all French titles.
Some people don't even hear the problem, because it's really a slight problem.
It's not a "slight" problem to those who have pitch sensitive hearing.

Last edited by bunkaroo; 02-08-08 at 02:02 PM.
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Old 02-08-08, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by True_Story1011
could this be a case-by-case experience? I dont have this problem with my Elephant Man HD.
Pitch on The Elephant Man is definitely high. Listen to Anthony Hopkins' voice.
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