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Comparing R1 to R2 Discs - An Example

Discussion in 'Movie Forum' started by Jenz, Apr 16, 2001.

  1. Jenz

    Jenz
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    Every so often I get a flood of emails asking why I'm saying a particular R1 DVD is better than the equivalent R2 DVD.

    The assumption on the emailer is often that because R2 is PAL and carries additional lines of resolution it should therefore be better. More lines being able to carry more detail.

    However this is often not the case. There are various reasons why a R1 DVD can be superior to a R2.

    The first and perhaps most common example is that the R1 disc may be created direct from the original negatives of the film. The equivalent R2 may however be created from an Interpositive or Internegative resulting in a slightly diluted print in terms of clarity.

    The second and worst approach is to use an NTSC Master and create a new PAL Master from it. This results in an even worse picture. The large spread dislike of R2 PAL The Abyss would indicate that something along these lines may have been done.

    Finally (and perhaps worst of all) some discs may be created from non-film prints. There's a certain Disc Producer who creates their R2 DVDs from imported Laserdisc, resulting it consistently bad releases that are no good in any shape or form. They can though be created extremely cheaply.

    The most common quotes occur across the major titles, and often the examples are not strictly correct. Unless you've done a true A/B comparison then you're not seeing the accurate picture.

    Here is one everyone can try:

    Buy yourself a copy of The Fifth Element on both R1 & R2. Many sites will categorically state that the R2 Anamorphic version is bound[/i] to be better...

    Play the film from the start paying close attention to the ways in which:

    a) the volume of dirt on the R2 is immediately in your face throughout particularly on the desert long shots, and all over the planet surface.

    b) When the Donkey walks from right to left carrying the young boy pay close attention to the sheer lack of detail on the Donkey's hind leg on the R2. This isn't because of crushed white levels, alter contrast and brightness to try and bring out the detail... it's just not there.

    c) similarly take a look at the robes of the three boys as they are set in the entrance. The R1 clearly shows the textures and folds on the whites and creams. The R2 does not.

    d) When the scene appears looking at the entrance from the inside note the extensive artefacts around the R2 doorway that are not present on the R1.

    And so the list goes on.

    I'm not suggestion that R1 wins on every title, no far from it. What I'm suggesting is that you should be aware that each disc has to be treated differently and questioned. Make sure you read proper A/B comparisons to get the proper picture <sic!>.

    Regards Neil.
     
  2. Confucius

    Confucius
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    Be prepared to repeat this, or at the very least provide a link to this, on regular occasions in the future.

    An excellent piece.
     
  3. Stuart Wright

    Stuart Wright
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    I'm going to add it to the FAQ unless there are any objections.
     
  4. spenceruk

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    One of the biggest problems is finding direct R1 and R2 comparisons. I don't mind which region I buy but I try to research thoroughly before parting with my money and all I want is the best version (ie. vision and sound; NOT necessarily loads of extras!!!) I can get. One would think that that would be the PAL anamorphic version but as The Fifth Element proves that is not always the case! Any chance of HCC Online setting up a direct comparison database? What do others think?
     
  5. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    This also accurately represents my views as well. I now have two Fifth Element copies. I agree R1 is tons better than region 2 but it is getting expensive...... This is where many of us need help.
     
  6. Jenz

    Jenz
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    and herein lies the problem.

    Everytime I do a comparison review you are normally talking of two copies, three if you include R4 as well.

    No one site is likely to be able to justify that and of course no PR company is going to help you if they believe they are up against other regions.

    Regards Neil.
     
  7. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    What about a subscription service? Say £10 -£15 a year to get just this info?

    What do people think? Yeh or Neh
     
  8. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Agree with all your points except this one. Original Neg is never scanned for video mastering. Any video mastering is taken off either an interpos or more rarely an interneg (not much point really but the difference between the two would no way in hell be visible on a video res 4:2:2 master and I even doubt you'd see it on hi-def.

    Even digital intermediate mastering when the entire film is scanned on a spirit datacine (most likely) is more likely to come off an interpos/neg stage not camera neg. The only instances where you would scan the original neg is for digital post-production such as VFX work or digital intermediate colour retiming (O brother for example) Where you ideally require the full dynamic range of the original neg.

    From what I've seen the MPEG2 authoring houses in the UK are a bit off the pace in comparisson to the stateside ones.
     
  9. Jenz

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    Sorry should have qualified that statement as:
    Original Negatives may be used to create new Interpositive to then onwards create DVD. Whereas an old Interpositive may be used in another region.

    Hong Kong Legends for example always make a new Interpositive from the Original Negatives rather than use the extremely poor Interpositives from Hong Kong.

    My main point is that the Masters used are not always the same so the results are not always the same. Budget also plays a large part with the R1 versions often having a higher budget.
     
  10. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    Fair enough
     
  11. spenceruk

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    Yeh
     
  12. Richard Harnwell

    Richard Harnwell
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    <STRONG>
    Yeh!

    [ 17-04-2001: Message edited by: Richard Harnwell ]
     

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