I settled in last night with a blu-ray copy of Woman in Black starring Daniel Radcliffe. It froze, then skipped ahead. I frowned and decided to be patient. What had I missed? A little expository material? I could live with that.
A couple minutes later it froze again. Huh, not good. While I was considering what to do, the film started over. I stopped it, washed the disc, tried again.
Same thing happened: skip and freeze. Disgusted, I killed it. Then I went to Netflix and asked for a replacement. They are very nice about such things. They said they’d send a replacement asap.
Then I got to thinking: what if the problem lay with the player, not the film? I’d just upgraded the software. We all know this sometimes causes problems. So I dug around and found the last Pirates movie, one of the few I have in blu-ray.
It played just fine. Not only that, it looked like blu-ray. I could see every damn thread in Jack Sparrow’s jacket, every subtle color in his head scarf and leather hat. In other words, the detail was extraordinary. Isn’t that why we buy blu-ray? Clarity, depth, detail. The little I saw of the Woman in Black didn’t offer this, so why was it labeled blu-ray?
It made me wonder how much of the hype around blu-ray is just that: hype. Some months ago, Amazon was offering Jurassic Park on blu-ray. Who the hell wouldn’t want to see those dinosaurs in that kind of detail? I love that movie. Remember the part early on when the tour vehicles are sitting on the tracks? It’s raining, Goldblum is talking chaos theory… and there’s this quiet boom and you see ripples in a puddle. Very cool. So I bought it. And I was really disappointed. It looked like any ordinary DVD.
This makes me wonder: what is the criteria for claiming a film is blu-ray? That it will work in that player? Big deal. My old DVDs play just fine in the player but they look like old DVDs.
I googled “blu ray that doesn’t look like blu ray” and didn’t find anything, but I know I’m not imagining this. When a true blu-ray movie starts, I can tell instantly it’s the real thing. Up conversion works much the same way. In fact, it’s how I got interested in upgrading. A friend was up converting his old DVDs and they looked pretty darn good.
The detail and clarity of real blu-ray knocks me out. It’s like HDR photos; it’s all there. It’s just more gorgeous. More beautiful. The photographer in me drools over it.
So what am I on about? I’m tired of being lied to, taken advantage of. If you’re gonna label something, make sure the contents live up to it. I should have known Jurassic Park wouldn’t look as good as promised. It was filmed in 1993, years before blu-ray existed, so how the hell could it be blu-ray?
You fooled me once. You’re not fooling me again.
For those of you who like history and facts, check out the link.
By the way, the title of this post comes from an old SNL sketch. In case you didn’t know. 🙂
One final note before I wrap for the weekend. PLEASE, indie writers! Find good betas or hire an editor, because if I read one more badly edited self-published book, I’m gonna quit buying them. And I say this as a self-published author who doesn’t want to see my potential audience vanish because you aren’t offering a professional product.
There is nothing more disappointing than diving into what looks like an excellent story and then stumbling over bad editing. While I am probably a more critical reader than average, I’m pretty sure most people notice when tenses are wrong and commas are put in the wrong place or not used at all. I don’t like having to read sentences more than once to figure out what you mean.
Have we got that straight now? Good. By the way, I come highly recommended as an editor, so if you can afford me (and I’m cheap, just ask anyone), email me.
Okay, ’nuff said. Happy weekend, everyone! Party responsibly and see you back here Monday.