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Five stars for the few minutes I could bear to watch, one for the transfer.
on 17 August 2014
I didn't get more that a few minutes into this before deciding to return it. Why? Because this is a documentary about the art of cinema - a subject that demands the best quality transfer. The blurb on the back cover even acknowledges this by boasting about the high definition transfers used... but what we get isn't even standard def, it's lower than that.
Why? Because this is a 4x3 transfer of a documentary that was made in widescreen...that is, it was transferred to DVD with old 4x3 tv screens in mind. The result is that when you play it on a modern TV, you get black bars at the sides to frame the 4x3 image, AND black bars at the top and bottom to frame the widescreen transfer within the 4x3 format. To make matter worse, many of the clips being discussed are in 4x3 so you get a SECOND set of vertical black bars at the sides when these clips are on screen. The net result is that you are watching an image in a window that takes up maybe 30 percent of your screen area. Yes, you can enlarge it, but all that does is reduce the resolution still further to the point where you may as well watch a YouTube video
It's bad enough that this disc was released in this form at a time when widescreen DVDs were already the standard, but to do it to a documentary that is about the art of cinema is compounding the felony absurdly. Watching a flat, blocky image while the narrator describes the beauty of what you're supposedly seeing is just ridiculous. Back it goes.