Monday, October 26, 2009

Bigger than Blu-Ray?

I'm back in the USA now, after a great visit to Finland. Surprisingly enough it was warmer in Finland than it was in Colorado for most of my visit. Now that I'm home I'm putting the finishing touches on various miscellaneous projects and trying to clean off my plate so I can focus on my new climbing film for most of the winter.

One thing I am exploring is the possibility of higher-quality viewing methods than DVD. While DVD's are great, they are still standard definition. Other technologies like Blu-Ray are emerging, but are costly to manufacture. One thing I would like to try to figure out is the possability of releasing my next film in a higher quality than blu-ray. I'm filming in 4K which is about 10 times higher resolution than the standard 720p HD. If I down-size the footage to 2K (2048 x 1024) I could potentially release the film via digital download in higher resolution (though, lesser bit-rate) than even Blu-Ray, and for a fraction of the cost. Plus, we dont have to use fossil fuels to manufacture and ship the discs all over the planet!

BUT, the playback systems have to be able to handle it. SOOOO.... that's where you come in, loyal blog reader.

Follow this link to download a sample of one possible release format:


Please download the file and open it on your system. Then play it back and watch carefully to see the quality. You'll need a recent version of Quicktime to open the file.

Then please reply here with your feedback. I'm particularly interested in one main thing: Can your system play the footage back smoothly, or does it skip frames and play back choppy?

Try it at a few sizes, try scrolling around, try it in full screen or loop mode, and let me know what you think! I'll give you a "Research and Development" credit in the film if you leave a reply for me with your results.




Michael Clark said...

Chuck -it played back just fine without any hiccups but the size is bigger than my monitor so I have to size it to the screen to play it back and see all of the frame. It downloaded fast, no problems there. I am on a MacPro that is pretty fast - and have the fastest internet connection available for individuals.

One thing I would say is that the greens were super saturated - which looked a bit off. Not sure if you are calibrating your monitor these days with an i1 Display 2 or something like that but you might want to invest in one if not.

Can't wait to see your new footage. Hope all is well amigo.

Flow Media by Simon Sticker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hey Chuck,
the playback is fine, also with jumping aroung in it. So no missing frames or something like that. But what seems to be a bigger issue is the quality as it looks a bit slushy and also flickering in the back (what might be in the flick anyway with the horizon far away...). Maybe downsized a bit more with higher bitrate could be an option?


Heikki said...

I just checked the clip on a 13" macbook and my desktop. Both played the clip fine framerate-wise, but the quality looked quite mushy. Too much compression I would say.

Lee said...

Hi Chuck. I have a 2007 Macbook Pro. On my 15 inch monitor it was full width which looked cool. I had a few other apps open as always. On first play, it was choppy. However on second play it ran silky smooth.

Lee Cujes

Situner said...

Hey Chuck,

I apparently am the only person on the planet still using a PC...

Gateway Laptop
Processor: AMD Athlon 2.10 GHz
4GB Ram.

I had no trouble with the playback and it ran smoothly even when skipping around.

I too experienced the wavyness in the background, but only because I was looking for it after reading the other comments.

Playing full screen, it looks pretty dang cool.

Could anyone with the capability try playing it from their computer through a high-def TV and see what results you get?

When watching climbing movies, I often like to do so with friends and huddling around the computer is not as easy to do.

Just don't have access to the TV or i'd try.

Hope this helps!


flouSH said...

hey chuck, i'm on a macbook pro late 2008 - so it's a pretty fast machine and there was no problem with your video.

anyhow i also noted the mushy quality and the over saturated (but lively) looking greens.

how much sense does it make to publish in a size the 'normal guy' doensn't have the monitor for? i think you're a bit before the time, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. the video would look amazing on the new 27" imac, for sure :D

cheers and good luck!
florian from germany

Asher SN said...

Howdy Chuck,
I too played the file on a pc, and my report is almost the exact same as everyone's. I noticed that the car looked fine but the clouds were slightly 'wavy'. I just wanted Matt to know he wasn't the only one with a pc.


matt said...

maHey Chuck,

My results were exactly in line with what Mike Clark wrote - including the greens etc... The storm clouds coming over the mountains looked great though! Hey, didn't you say that Nalle had Lamborghini? -I'm pretty sure the car in your film wasn't it.....

matt said...

maHey Chuck,

My results were exactly in line with what Mike Clark wrote - including the greens etc... The storm clouds coming over the mountains looked great though! Hey, didn't you say that Nalle had Lamborghini? -I'm pretty sure the car in your film wasn't it.....

WD said...

Plays fine! But Chuck were both using the same Computer, 8 Core Mac pro's with stupid amounts of ram and dual Graphics cards, so my vote doesn't really count.

Colors look rich and not over saturated, my screen is also calibrated if your wondering. I use the Pantone Pro i1 Extreme.

I did notice that the resolution isn't as high as I expected, Maybe a different clip where the Heat Rays don't interfere, making the image wobble?

Seems that the clip is playing well on everyones computer, maybe just bump up the bit rate? Maybe 2700? My 2006 Macbook can handle up to 3200 bits.

Also can I recommend that if you decide to do a download better than blu Ray, maybe have a option of a Disc Mount, so that if someone has a Blu Ray Burner, they could burn the Audio and Video TS files to a disc. But obviously it will be down sized to fit. Realistically do you need a better than blu ray download? I have a 52 inch 1920x1080 P Flat screen and a Blu Ray Player with HDMI Monster cables and optical Audio. I think for now Blur Ray quality is just fine.

jeguri said...

Works fine on my MacBook (2.2 GHz with 1900x external monitor)
But previously I have seen choppines in other clips especially on pans (more intensive to the computer as every pixel is changing?), so maybe a test with pan footage?

But the quality was not that good. I have seen better looking 1200x, so maybe the decreased bitrate eats away the benefit of added resolution. Anyways I would like to compare the same clip with 1200x resolution and the same file size.

Movecrafter said...

Thanks for the comments everyone. The reason I chose that particular clip is because almost everything in the frame is in focus, and the large amount of heat shimmer in the background would make this particular clip very hard for a compressor to handle, since they generally dont like complex detail and movement all over the screen.

I'm going to keep running tests here so stay tuned.

My big display here is 2560 x 1600 but I understand that that's maybe a little larger than average.

I'm leaning towards maybe offering two flavors of download, but that story may change over time.

Thanks again everyone!

Anonymous said...

Love the idea to push for higher resolution! Plays fine here on a variety of setups (i7 monster to older athlon dual core with mediocre video card).

I do question going over 1080p though... very, very few people will have the 30" monitor to gain the benefit of the extra pixels, while a large number of us will have 1080p HDTV's and monitors. I'd personally optimize for highest bitrate at 1080p.

I kept wishing my Pure DVD had the higher resolution of BluRay (or even 720p), so once again, I applaud the effort!

Anonymous said...

I open the file but not play the clip. Stuck on a screen with multiple windows of violet and green. Neither in loop mode or display a variety of formats. Is not he due?

AthletikSpesifik said...

It played smooth on my iMac...I too had to downsize it to fit properly on the screen.

It did look unusually green - maybe I'm being biased by some of the other posters, but...besides the green, the colors were great.

I thought the waviness was heat:-(

kt said...

Played fine on a Dell Latitude E6500 notebook, 2.66ghz, 2mb ram, with a ton of other apps open. Tried different sizes including on 22" external LCD monitor. Colors usually look washed out on my LCDs, but your video was really vibrant (which is maybe why others reported too green).

Real question, though: was that actually Nalle driving, or a stunt double?

Justin said...

Worked like a charm for me using my ~2yr old MacBookpro. The full size was too big for my screen but I'll be happy when I get the chance to link it up with a HD tv screen.

-G.i.AM said...

I thought those waves were just heat waves that the camera picked up... pretty sick I thought... Maybe being able to compare it to the higher bit rate would be helpful...

stom said...

Looks great to me! Running a quad 3.0ghz with 8gb RAM and nvidia quadro fx1700. Colours look good too if a little heavily saturated. I'm running a colour balanced monitor balanced using a Pantone Huey.

I would have reservations regarding going over 1080p as most screens are simply not high enough resolution yet!

I Would have loved to had PURE as an HD download. Looking forward to your next film!


Tom Slater

wade david said...

Chuck I did a little experiment. I took that Nelly Drive's clip and put it into compressor to see what video settings you used, I then grabbed one of these Blu-Ray disks here "Dark Knight" and converted it to the settings of your clip, I played it back in a .MKV file off of Quicktime and VLC players. The movie at 24.5 Gig's played very choppy, like it keep skipping sections, My video card can barely keep up! I have a 1 gig video card, 16 GB of ram on a 8 core mac and its skipping sections of the movie! what I'm trying to get at is, even if your considering doing a better than blu-ray download for your next flick, you might want to consider that with most people's laptops and desktop screen's and video cards, that the video might not play as well as a 10-15 sec. clip. I would suggest no bigger than a 10 GB file. Maybe do 5, 10, and 15 gb file downloads and charge a little extra for the higher GB's? But I think realistically most would Download the 5 GB file. Oh I did forget to mention that with the dark night, I tried MP4., MPEG4., and AVI, all files still did the skipping.

I hope this helps

Sang Fajar said...