All movies that were originally film are capable of being digitalized into 1080 resolution.
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Any movie could be transferred to a HD format. Movie film is a photograpghic format. It can be chopped up and digitized at whatever digital resolution is available.
The question is: "does it make economic sense for the owners of the film to release it in an HD format? How many incremetal sales will they get by spending the money required to release the film in HD?"
Another question might be:"does the general public really want older movies in HD once they see all of the defects that are now visible because of the enhanced resolution?" Heck, in The Martix from 1999 you can see the guide wires holding Reeves from falling onto the tracks in the subway scene. Would seeing all of the tricks actually take away from the movie experience?
All movies that were originally film have a higher resolution that 1080p, whether they are introduced in 1080 is up to the company that owns the rights to the movie. The actual quality of the copy is determined by the quality of the transfer as the original film quality is superior to 1080P. I would guess that if HD or Blue-ray become the standard, then yes all films will eventually be available in that format. Taking into account that the quality of the transfer just like in audio is in the hands of the engineer.
Some will be great and some will be inferior.
Just like they colorize many old B&W movies, they may someday try to computer re-engineer old movies to something sharper than it appeared originally. It may not be technologically available as we speak, but in a few years who knows. Might be the only choice if regular DVD is discontinued someday.
I am surprised they did not digitally remove the wires in that Matrix example..
Same for the cost. Digital effects use to be very expensive; now any Joe/Jane with a Apple PC can produce better effects than George Lucas could 5 years ago.
Some older films have already had hi-def transfers to HD DVD. I already watched the HD DVD version of Spartacus from Netflix. And one of the free HD DVDs available from Toshiba with the purchase of a player is Casablanca.
If there's one company that seems really committed to high-def digital, it's Universal. They have a really nice HD station, Universal HD, which shows really nice 1080 digital transfers of movies going back 15-20 years, plus the Northern Exposure series. Anything they show on that network means they've already done a high-rez digital transfer, and many if not all the films they show there are--or probably will be--available on HD DVD.
Universal has 129 HD DVDs available to date, and many of them are from 10-20 years ago, some vintage. To see them all, click here and click the [Next] button to flip through their offerings. So far everything from them that I've seen on the UHD channel or on HD DVD has looked really good. In the case of Spartacus, the limiting factor was the film grain itself, not the digital resolution.
majicjazz.....the problem isn't that they can't do a hi def transfer on all films, its that you can only bring up so much detail before the film's flaws show as well....if you try to remove those flaws you create pixles and smear....the source material is more limited as well. for years many of thepal releases have been nothing more than uploaded ntsc masters that were properly done. this will apply to most of the hi def stuff too. also there are no audio standards for hi def....using the dts logo requires no approval as long as the dlt(digital linnear tape)is hi def......a production curve has only begun.
I think the answer is quite simple.
They will be produced if the company thinks they can make money on it. And based on the music industry, companies make a lot of money selling consumers what they already own in a new "improved" format. Toss out that vinyl and buy a CD with no scratches and "perfect sound forever". Toss out those old VHS tapes and buy a DVD. Then toss out that DVD and buy a whatever.
As to which format, the company that owns the rights will choose the format they support. So, for example, a film owned by Sony will be Blu-Ray.
I concur with Elizabeth that hd dvd is not necessary to main stream. Hd dvd will have a nitch market like laser disc, sacd, dvd audio and s-vhs.
Lets face it, for the mainstream DVD is a solid format. I will suspect most people like myself fustrated of another format when most people did not convert to DVD till about 5 years ago. Now there telling us we need to do it again. And we have to spend $30 a film
At $4 or $5 dollars a DVD at blockbuster or a pawnshop used, I will be nuts to spend $30 for the same film. DVD on a quality player and well transfered movie looks stunning to my eyes. Thats the key, is a great player and Transfer.
I hope regular DVD stays king for a lot of years!
08-23-07: FreemandThat may be true for now, but I don't think it will stay that way.
For one thing, people are getting hip to better image quality in the home. DVD showed the public they could get a better picture than broadcast or cable. Look how DVD caught on and replaced VHS in a few years.
Second, the FCC intends to make HD the broadcast standard in a few years.
Third, if you want a cheap, std. def CRT-based TV these days, you almost have to go to a pawnshop to get it. Anywhere you go--Sam's Club, Wal-Mart, Circuit City, Sears, or Best Buy, you are bombarded with the look of 42" to 65" 1080p displays. The prices of hi-def are falling precipitously.
I bought my first new TV in 1982--it was a 19" mono Sylvania color TV for $479. Adjusted for inflation, that's $1050 in today's money, which will buy you any number of LCD, plasma, and RP DLP displays up to 50" or more.
Once people buy these and up their cable subscription for HD programming, they will be disappointed with what their DVDs look like. Where before DVD offered the best picture in the house, now it will be the worst.
By then, they'll be able to remedy the situation with a $250 Toshiba HD DVD player, or a sub $199 player from Wal-mart, (or they could choose Blu-ray) which will not only play hi-def DVDs that exceed the visual quality of cable HD, they'll also upconvert their present DVDs to make them watchable.
If they join Netflix, they'll be able to rent HD DVD or Blu-ray titles as soon as they're produced, at no additional cost to their membership.
Once they're hooked on the higher image quality (and really, who wouldn't be, once you get it in the house), how long do you think they'll choose to buy std. def DVDs over the hi-def versions just to save a few bucks? Historically, the buying public has embraced spending a little more to get better image or sound quality (assuming it's on a convenient, readily available format).
They did this with LP over 78, CD over LP, and DVD over VHS. Why not HD DVD or Blu-ray once they have the hardware in the house?
08-26-07: FreemandThat's basically what I was saying. The issue was whether HD DVD and/or Blu-Ray would ever get beyond the marginal status of SACD & DVD-A in audio. After 7 years of availability, the hi-res digital MUSIC formats are still marginal in the market.
I *do* think a hi-def format will eventually replace std-def DVD, because it is so much easier to distinguish a large-screen hi-def display in the market place from a garden-variety CRT. And the difference is desirable and affordable. So if everybody ends up adopting the hardware, won't they follow with the software?
Actually, a 5-year transition sounds about right.
Sure it just might take 5-10 years for a decent back log to become available.
Ocassionally I try to rent a classic from netflix and can't because it hasn't been transfered or there are problems with the rights to it. For example The African Queen from 1951 is arguably one of Bogart's best films although I had to get an import to watch it.