11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Captivating documentary but WWII in HD? - not even SD quality!,
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This review is from: World War II: Lost Films (WWII in HD) [Blu-ray] [Region Free] (Blu-ray)
First the good points. I found the documentary extremely well put together. I liked the switching of the action between the different war stories which not only maintained interest but had you wanting to come back again soon to follow the thread. The use of graphics to provide strategic context, zooming into and out of the annotated map was excellent. As a result all 10 episodes were fast moving, informative and captivating. A lot of the reviewers have given a thorough and postive review on the subject matter and I would have given it 5 stars but for the following.
Where I felt extremely let down was by the intensive marketing of this documentary as HD with words such as "converted to HD with meticulous technique, WWII in HD provides a picture of World War II as it has never been seen before". That raised certain expectations which were subsequently proven to have been naive. The war footage was not even up to the quality expected of Standard Definition signal (575 picture lines in UK + 50 for flyback). A lot of it was more like VHS quality of approx 300 lines, or worse, and hence was very fuzzy.
The bonus feature about converting the film to HD explained the process. The film had been scanned at a 4 megapixel resolution for archiving - a resolution preumably chosen so that it ensures that the scanned version is as good as the original. It was then converted to HD resolution, 1920 x 1080 (approximately 2 megapixels) for use on the blu-ray disc. However, it is obvious that if the granularity of the original material is not good, then scanning at a higher resolution merely produces fuzzy images - which is what you get with varying degrees on all the war footage.
However, given that many scenes were horrific, the lack of clarity did make it more palatable - I do not know whether I would have been able to continue to watch some scenes in full HD clarity. So I guess my grievance is with the marketing people for, in my opinion, misleading people.
Do I recommend this documentary? - definitely, but it only needs to be the DVD version.
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Initial post: 17 Jun 2011 13:14:47 BDT
Larry VanDeSande says:
It was presented in high definition on American television when it premeired, thus the name World War II in HD. Nothing filmed in the 1930s and 1940s was HD, of course.
In reply to an earlier post on 12 Oct 2013 07:55:28 BDT
It's marketed as HD, but in fact, all they did was project the film onto a screen and then record the screened image using a RED digital camera at 4K resolution. What this means was the FILM WAS NOT SCANNED, so the resolution can only be as good as the projector used to project it onto a screen. To me this seems a spectacular waste of resources, that is, to collect all this wonderful film, and then duplicate it at such low resolution, and without being able to properly correct for contrast, saturation, flicker, or even clean up the images. The correct title for this series should be World War Two in digital format; bu then, who would buy that? It's not, repeat not, in HD, and that's too bad, because even a scanned 16mm image can, if properly processed, yield pin-sharp, stunning images. Don't both to buy.
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