"Traffic" HD DVD is a blow-up of the NTSC DVD

You literally couldn't make it up, for the HD DVD of "Traffic", Universal have just taken a 480i master and stretched it up to 1080p.

Screen grabs thanks to Xylon from the AVS Forum.

NTSC DVD:
traffic_ntsc.png


"HD DVD":
traffic_hddvd.png


720p HDTV broadcast:
traffic_720p.png


(Pictures and more ranting here and here).

Now just in case you trusted most DVD reviewers, let's see what some of them said about this transfer. I'm really critical of most DVD reviews because a lot of them seem ill informed about the whole video transfer process. These only cement it:

HIGH DEF DIGEST - scored it 4/5
"Bottom line, this HD DVD transfer delivers. The source material is as good as the film stock allow, [sic] with no major defects visible such as print tears or distracting blemishes, though grain is intentionally excessive for much of the film.

[...]

Overall detail and depth to the image is about as good as can be expected. No, I was never blown away by the presentation as I've been with other HD DVD releases, but then I never anticipated otherwise."

DVD "AUTHORITY" - scored it 4.5/5
"Well, as it turns out it looks pretty darn good. The 1.85:1 HD transfer looks absolutely pristine in some scenes and rather "so-so" in others. As anyone who has seen the movie knows, the physical look of this movie is all over the map. The different hues vary according to which storyline they're following.

[...]

As expected, the detail level is what really stood out and I noticed some things that I hadn't really ever noticed before. Writing on signs in the background, you can tell the time on people's watches. I'm constantly amazed at how crystal clear HD DVD can be and "Traffic" is the latest example."

DVD TALK - scored it 3/5:
"The disc looks exactly like the film is meant to look, and it actually has some fascinating textures, but this just isn't the type of movie you buy for crystal clear HD image quality. While certain scenes show off the High-Def fairly well (primarily the blue-filtered Michael Douglas segments), on the whole there isn't much fine object detail or depth. Aside from some minor edge ringing in a few scenes, the disc represents the movie's intended style faithfully and I can't fault it for that, but most viewers will probably not find it a huge upgrade over standard DVD."

:rolleyes:
 

TrevorS

Active Member
Actually, if you read through that thread, it appears it wasn't Universal that did that. They apparently obtained the master from another outfit that had apparently aired it on HDTV. Supposedly, artificial sharpening was applied to make it look a little better than a straight upscale. In any case, it would seem the predecessor created the upscaled master, not Universal.

Of course, nothing is official yet regarding this issue and so it'll be interesting to see what eventually comes out.
 
Universal still allowed it to be released, though... and the reviewers still didn't seem to notice that they were watching something that had been upscaled.

The artificial sharpening made it look worse though, as artificial sharpening does.
 

TrevorS

Active Member
Universal still allowed it to be released, though... and the reviewers still didn't seem to notice that they were watching something that had been upscaled.

The artificial sharpening made it look worse though, as artificial sharpening does.

My point is that we don't actually know whether Universal was even aware of it. Similar in a way to when Warner sent several fltered 1080i masters for HD DVD release without apparently being aware of the problem.

That's one of the reasons I said it'll be interesting to see what eventually comes to light. :)
 

TrevorS

Active Member
Universal still allowed it to be released, though... and the reviewers still didn't seem to notice that they were watching something that had been upscaled.

The artificial sharpening made it look worse though, as artificial sharpening does.

Comparing the screenshots in the thread, the HD versions didn't look worse to me, they looked just a little more detailed (didn't look like an EE issue to me, if that's what you are thinking) -- but it's not something I would argue over. The posted photoshop "sharpened" upscaled SD screenshot looked essentially identical to the "HD" screenshot.

Yes, the reviewer's evaluations are interesting and possibly embarassing, but I wouldn't rush to "blame" anyone yet -- it's not clear what actually happened.
 

TrevorS

Active Member
Just a follow up. I see that as of April 8, this question has been picked up by Amir and so we'll see what he and his team eventually come up with.
 

lgans316

Distinguished Member
Really a Universal screw job !!!
 

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