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Producers Cite Challenges to Achieving Blu-ray Quality

A lot of high-definition film transfers produced for HD channels on television or for standard DVD still may not hold up to the stringent demands of Blu-ray Disc packaged content, according to a panel of producers at the recent Comic-Com International confab, which concluded last weekend in San Diego. Therefore, most film titles jumping to Blu-ray, they said, will require an upgraded form of restoration process to achieve a pristine-like result.

Older HD transfers (as well as the mixed effects of good old-fashioned film grain), which result in resolution below the threshold of 1080p, would likely require enhancements that were acceptable until Blu-ray came along. One producer went as far as to say that “a lot of movies were done in 1080i transfers. They are not acceptable,” according to published reports.

It was noted that “The Fifth Element,” the sci-fi thriller starring Bruce Willis, had been used as a “reference quality disc” until now, but had to be re-released on Blu-ray following a re-do of the master. As for removing some of the grain from certain older films, the producers warned that a side effect of removing grain is inadvertedly removing detail (or video “information”) too. Retaining some graininess also may be suitable for certain films such as classic war movies, some suggested, in order to retain as much of the end-result as possible that was first seen decades earlier by theater viewers.

According to stats from Home Media, Blu-ray’s market share of all video disc sales for the second week of July was 12 percent; the remaining 88 percent belonged to standard DVD.