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Are old films HD on blu ray

mr_m_cox

Standard Member
Was just thinking how are old films HD.

Obviously newer films and tv shows are shot on HD cameras which take Full HD images in the first place, these are then burnt to bluray to create the HD blu ray releases. Simplistic explination I know.

So how do old films work, they are not shot in HD so I guess each frame is streched to create a 1080 picture. Why does this not lower the quality as the image is streched? I dont get it. Surely old films are not Full HD but just in 1080 resolution.

Any explinations are more than welcome.
 

captainarchive

Distinguished Member
I'm sure someone will be able to give you the proper answer but film has a very high resolution so anything shot on film has the potential to be 'HD'
 

nwgarratt

Distinguished Member
35mm film has much higher resolution than HD so films regardless of their age are actually converted down 1080p. If 2160p existed they would be downscaled to that.
 

mr_m_cox

Standard Member
Thats interesting, so maybe old films, and by old I mean 1950's onward were shot on what we now term HD cameras and downgraded for televisions.

Not sure i am convinved about it but intersting idea. I cant see how tech that was around that long ago has only just filtered into consumer products.

EDIT - That second post came in as I was typing, am now more convinced but still cant see quite fully accept that
 
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kempez

Well-known Member
Google is your friend :)

filmschoolonline said:
Film is analog so there are no real "pixels." However, based on converted measures, a 35mm frame has 3 to 12 million pixels, depending on the stock, lens, and shooting conditions. An HD frame has 2 million pixels, measured using 1920 x 1080 scan lines. With this difference, 35mm appears vastly superior to HD.
Source

There are loads of articles out there, just google it :)
 

nwgarratt

Distinguished Member
The earliest blu ray film I have seen is The Adventures of Robin Hood from 1937 and is one of the best looking discs ever.

35mm is not HD (it surpasses it) HD cameras are digital.
 

mr_m_cox

Standard Member
Thanks for all the replies. So I guess it is all down to recording and playback kit standards. Not the resoliution of the film itself
 

kempez

Well-known Member
Yep pretty much
 

captainarchive

Distinguished Member
The earliest blu ray film I have seen is The Adventures of Robin Hood from 1937 and is one of the best looking discs ever.

35mm is not HD (it surpasses it) HD cameras are digital.
It makes me laugh when reviewing an older film, a reviewer writes 'you shouldn't expect the PQ to be as stunning as the latest blockbuster but for such an old movie it's really good'.
 
It makes me laugh when reviewing an older film, a reviewer writes 'you shouldn't expect the PQ to be as stunning as the latest blockbuster but for such an old movie it's really good'.

But the quote might be true in 2 years time...
 

mikegambit

Banned
2 things that bug me are reviewers saying how good a Bluray is "considering the age of the film" when its something from the 80's:rolleyes:

Are these reviewers really that clueless ? Obviously they are.

Secondly - and I expect we will hear it more and more from the uninformed is how old films on Bluray are a ripoff because " they were not made in HD":rolleyes:

You only have to look at The Day The Earth Stood Still from 1951 to see the HD quality - excellent.

And the 40+ year old Star Trek looked superb on HD DVD and I expect it to be just as good on May's Bluray release
 

Mark Botwright

Distinguished Member
It makes me laugh when reviewing an older film, a reviewer writes 'you shouldn't expect the PQ to be as stunning as the latest blockbuster but for such an old movie it's really good'.

This is generally said because of the problems regarding old film stock - dirt, scratches etc.
 
2 things that bug me are reviewers saying how good a Bluray is "considering the age of the film" when its something from the 80's:rolleyes:

There was a particular style of cinematography in the 80s which was very soft focus with diffuse light and many reviewers don't seem to understand that this wasn't the film stock or resolution, but a particular look cinematographers were after then. I just watched the Blu-ray of Body Heat and it looks just like the film looked when I first saw it in a cinema in 1982, but I've read many complaints that the film is a poor transfer because it has that look to it. Some people don't want to accept that films from different periods had different looks to them and they want to all look the same.

The oldest film I have on Blu-ray is Black Narcissus from 1946 and it looks as sharp and crisp as a modern film.
 
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bosque

Distinguished Member
The oldest film I have on Blu-ray is Black Narcissus from 1946 and it looks as sharp and crisp as a modern film.

Can it really look as good as (say) Fincher's Zodiac ? there must be some wear and tear on the print which would render it (though still great looking) not quite as good as a new print. Do we want older films to look like modern films, as Todd says 1980s movies had a particular "look", as did 70s and 60s movies.
 
Can it really look as good as (say) Fincher's Zodiac ? there must be some wear and tear on the print which would render it (though still great looking) not quite as good as a new print. Do we want older films to look like modern films, as Todd says 1980s movies had a particular "look", as did 70s and 60s movies.

I didn't notice any wear and tear. Blu-ray transfer wasn't are rarely done from prinnts, they use the negative. I'm sure some additional digital restauration work took place, I've seen the film several times in the cinema and it has never looked this good.

There are screen caps here comparing several SD releases with the Blu-ray, check out the close up of the older nun in the Blu-ray version:

Black Narcissus - Jean Simmons
 

HugoFJH

Active Member
Anyone interested in the next couple of HD jumps should look up the article in HCC, being developed in Japan - 4k4k, 12 Megapixels ........but really requires a 100" wide screen to see the benefit , they are trying to develope a lossless compression good enough to make it feasable to transmit such a high quantity of data

4k2k should be transmittable in the next couple of years if I remember correctly which is the intermediate step after "HiDef tv" we currently have available through Sky and Freesat
 

Shaun666

Well-known Member
I just watched the Blu-ray of Body Heat and it looks just like the film looked when I first saw it in a cinema in 1982, but I've read many complaints that the film is a poor transfer because it has that look to it.

Not having a go but I'm always slightly suspicious when I hear people say "it looks just like it looked when I saw it at the cinema in ......"
I can hardly remember what I had for breakfast 2 days ago so you must have the most fantastic photographic memory to remember what a film looked like 27 years ago.
 

LanceR

Distinguished Member
Not having a go but I'm always slightly suspicious when I hear people say "it looks just like it looked when I saw it at the cinema in ......"
I can hardly remember what I had for breakfast 2 days ago so you must have the most fantastic photographic memory to remember what a film looked like 27 years ago.

In fairness I don't think it should be taken quite that literally. Maybe because it looks so good on Blu that reminds the poster of what it was like when he first saw it in the theatre.
 
Not having a go but I'm always slightly suspicious when I hear people say "it looks just like it looked when I saw it at the cinema in ......"
I can hardly remember what I had for breakfast 2 days ago so you must have the most fantastic photographic memory to remember what a film looked like 27 years ago.

I've seen Body Heat at the cinema several times over the years and I'm pretty confident that the Blu-ray is a good representation of the theatrical presentation. Also if you watch a Blu-ray on an HD projector 8 feet wide you come as close as you can of repeating the theatrical experience at home and it becomes very apparent what is and what isn't a good transfer.
 
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Not having a go but I'm always slightly suspicious when I hear people say "it looks just like it looked when I saw it at the cinema in ......"
I can hardly remember what I had for breakfast 2 days ago so you must have the most fantastic photographic memory to remember what a film looked like 27 years ago.

I'm suspicious too. I have a 50in TV with 1080i. A cinema has a huge screen 20-30ft with 4k approx. If somebody could move the projector up to a wall so that it was 50in (or 100in if you want to get the 4k to match 1080) it should be pretty amazing! I've had several types of projectors at home that all look a lot better when you shrink the picture down. The colours become brighter, the image becomes clearer, the blacks become blacker. A cinema screen always looks washed out when I watch a film at the cinema stretched so huge.
 
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HumanMedia

Active Member
Can it really look as good as (say) Fincher's Zodiac ? there must be some wear and tear on the print which would render it (though still great looking) not quite as good as a new print. Do we want older films to look like modern films, as Todd says 1980s movies had a particular "look", as did 70s and 60s movies.

Probably not a good example as Zodiac was shot and color graded to look like a film from the 1970's.
 

HumanMedia

Active Member
Was just thinking how are old films HD.

Obviously newer films and tv shows are shot on HD cameras which take Full HD images in the first place, these are then burnt to bluray to create the HD blu ray releases. Simplistic explination I know.

So how do old films work, they are not shot in HD so I guess each frame is streched to create a 1080 picture. Why does this not lower the quality as the image is streched? I dont get it. Surely old films are not Full HD but just in 1080 resolution.

Any explinations are more than welcome.

1080 is only the vertical resolution. In blu-ray the native frame size is in a 16:9 ratio, so the full frame is 1920x1080. Films are scanned in at whatever you set the scanner to. It could be 480, 576, 1080, 2K 4K etc. Confusingly 2K and 4K are the horizontal resolutions (2000x1125 and 4000x2250)

If the original film is 1.37:1 (or 'Academy ratio') (like the original Robin Hood) it will be encoded from whatever it was scanned at, to be 1480x1080 on blu-ray disc, with black bars down the sides. A film that is say cinescope ratio of 2.35.1 will be encoded to blu-ray at 1920x817 with black bars across the top and bottom.

Starting to make sense?
 

Pecker

Distinguished Member
Another thing to take into account is money.

If you get a James Bond film like Dr.No you'll find there's going to be a pretty big market for it, and that SKY (and other HD film broadcasters from across the planet) will pay a few bob for a HD master to broadcast.

So they'll have more money to restore the film, and more time to prepare the transfer (and time is money).

A film from the '80's may be far less popular, so there's less chance of money being spent on cleaning it up, researching for the best quality prints & originals, and creating a transfer.

Regarding 35mm film - whilst it is, as has been said, of far higher detail than HD, this is only at its peak. Some 35mm film used for a video transfer may be a 2nd generation print (or worse!), and could potentially have lower resolution than HD, but that applies equally to both old and new films.

The exceptions are brand new film, where a HD transfer will probably be made from the best possible source before it even hits the cinemas - and new-ish films where it's easier (and subsequently cheaper) to track down the original negatives, etc, than it would be for a 40 year old film.

Steve W
 

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