Triple Track: Because You’ll Believe Anything

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.

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About Fenraven

Fenraven happily lives in south Florida, where it is really hot most of the year. Find him on Twitter, Google +, and Facebook by searching on 'fenraven'.
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8 Responses to Triple Track: Because You’ll Believe Anything

  1. diannegray says:

    That is annoying, Theo. I bought hubby a blu-ray player and he noticed the same thing (I, on the other hand, don’t really notice these things). You would think that the blu-ray would make the picture so much sharper, but if it was made before blu-ray (BBR – lol) then they’re just trying to fool us into paying more money…

    • I don’t think they should be allowed to call it blu-ray if it wasn’t actually filmed in that format. I do expect sharp. I do expect details and richness not present in standard DVDs.

      • Blu-ray isn’t a filming format though. It’s just a % resolution. It’s kinda like the “punch” preset in Lightroom. It only works with what you’ve got. If it was filmed in the 90’s, they can only amp the detail so much based on the screens. Take a photo you took in the 90’s and try to add detail and richness. It’s like that. Sad but true.

        • Thanks for that clarification.

          Photos I took ten or fifteen years ago don’t look nearly as good as those I took this year, because camera sensors have improved since then, meaning the detail they are capture of capturing has increased. The weird thing is, they look much the same straight out of the camera. It’s not until I post-process them that the differences become apparent. I have to say this, though: digital camera sensors haven’t improved as much as you’d think. What has improved are the programs I use to bring that detail out.

          The question remains: how can they legally call a movie like Jurassic Park blu-ray? ‘Cause it sure doesn’t look like it.

  2. Oh dear, that post totally mangled my name. Let’s see if it happens again.

    They can call it blu-ray if they up the resolution to blu-ray standard with a greater image density. It’ll still look like shit, you can only take an inferior image and sharpen it so much before it starts to pixelate into dust. And all “old” movies being transferred into blu-ray are going to have this problem. Like you said, camera sensors have improved since then and so have video cameras. The porting of older movies into blu-ray are a money grab by the studios. They may have sharpened up the images/audio but that’s about it. Don’t waste your money.

    Yes, the programs for photo dev have improved drastically. I got into photography just recently and thankfully Lightroom seems to be progressing along just as I am. I just can’t wrap my head around Photoshop. XD

    I bought your Phoenix book and finally read it the other night and LOVED it. I meant to say that in my last reply but got distracted. Sorry! It was fantastic. And from what I have read of your blog, you are local too. I live in Woodbury, we recently moved here after living on Summit Ave in St Paul for forever. (And Uptown, before that.) I feel like we’re on the moon out here through. Hahaha.

    • I’ve been playing in Photoshop for thirteen years. The learning curve is steep, but it’s definitely worth it.

      So glad to hear you liked Phoenix! I hope you’ll try my others now and let me know what you think.

      Did you move into one of those clone homes? You know, where if you’re drunk you can’t find your house ’cause they all look the same? ;/

      • seijikat says:

        Woohoo! Fixed my name so it appears normally now. I think my cat stepped on the keyboard there before or something.

        Have you tried Lightroom for photo editing? It’s amazing. It’s made by Adobe so it’s got some things like Photoshop but it’s so much easier to use for dummies like me.

        I downloaded some samples of your other books and plan on checking them out this week. Last year around this time I was complaining that it was so hard to find good books to read. Now I have 36 pages of samples of good looking things on my Kindle to get through. It is a good thing that I am a very fast reader! ^__^ I’m also delving into novel writing myself. I may have to hit you up for your editing skills if you are still available when I finally get something resembling a book in order. I’m a continuity editor so I’m good at that sort of thing [and drive my husband/friends up the wall when we watch tv/movies together because I point out every little continuity error that the studio didn’t bother to fix] but I suck at word editing. I also tend to ramble on and on as you can probably tell. XD

        Ahahah… the clone homes. We’re right on Powers lake so our neighborhood actually has a lot of personality but I totally know which ones you speak of. Hell, 99% of Woodbury is a giant beige monstrosity clone. I think it’s amusing and weird that everyone here only has those little white lap dogs. Different breeds of little lap dogs but they’re all white. I like lap dogs [I totally want to get a pug rescue] but I told my neighbors that we wanted to get a pit bull rescue and you should have seen the pearl clutching and hang wringing and OMG THE CHILDREN! I do miss being in the city, even if that city is sleepy old St Paul. My husband wants to move even further out, to Hudson, WI so he can get some land and put space between us and the neighbors. Woodbury was our sort of compromise.

        • I have Photoshop, so I don’t need Lightroom. 🙂

          I hope the samples you read prompt you to keep going! I know what you mean about pointing things out in a movie. I can no longer read a book without seeing everything wrong with it. Being an editor sort of ruined reading for me. It’s hard not to see the errors.

          Woodbury does nothing for me. It’s a sea of people. However, I love Hudson. You should have let your husband have his way. It’s a terrific river town, always has something going on, and the “historic downtown” is wonderful, especially in summer. Lots of cool shops and places to eat, and you can’t beat the park for a place to walk or sit and watch the river. There’s some sprawl, which is best to ignore, but old Hudson is wonderful. I would have loved living there, but my job as property manager keeps me in St Paul.

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