Archive for March 6th, 2008

DVD quality on the plasma

Now that we got one of the best TVs in the market (tsk, tsk…), we can clearly see which DVDs are well-encoded and which ones are not. However, doing some tests last night, we found that the encoding is pretty consistent between most DVDs and what makes movies look good or not is another factor: film grain.

If you look carefully, film grain differs from frame to frame. And this gives a huge headache to the mpeg2 encoder, because such predictive algorithms rely heavily on the fact that picture doesn’t change much from frame to frame. Most movies are shot on film, and so DVD quality is lower of what *it could* be. And then we popped in the “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith” DVD in the player. The quality was near-HD. And the reason: it’s shot digitally. No film grain crap. The encoder had such an easier time to encode, that the quality was like, twice as good as in other movies.

I had already stated to JBQ that when the HD versions of the Star Wars prequel movies come out I would re-buy them, but seeing the kind of quality these DVDs have, I don’t think I can justify the $60. Especially when Star Wars was shot with 2k cameras, and so re-sizing to 1080p won’t yield that much of an advantage. We will definitely re-buy “Lord of the Rings” though. Its visual quality looked like grainy shite compared to Star Wars on DVD.

And speaking of Star Wars. No background blur, no DOF shots, no film grain. And yet, it looks cinematic. This just shows that the “movie look” is not 24p, it’s not even DOF, or film grain. It’s the lighting, sensor size and the lenses used that allow for greater dynamic range. Which means that trying to emulate the movie look with a stock $500 camera is POINTLESS. You can get close if you are extra-careful, but it won’t be the same.

Flash on the iPhone

Oh, shut up. Jobs says that Flash is too slow for the iPhone. Well, there a few problems with this statement:
1. Apple has the power to push Adobe to optimize Flash for ARM.
2. The iPhone is one of the fastest embedded devices in the market. When Nokia sells a 300 Mhz phone with full Flash support (not just Flash Lite), I don’t see why the iPhone can’t do so, especially when Youtube should be able to playback fast enough on the iPhone. Youtube is the No1 flash application that reviewers are testing when getting devices with full support, and iPhone’s CPU and accelerated drivers should be able to handle it fine.
3. This smells like a strategic problem, Apple not wanting to give in video support to Flash more than anything else.
4. …and look who’s talking. Has this guy used Quicktime on the PC? QT is extremely slow decoding on the PC. Maybe he should optimize his own shit first before taking aim at others.

Personally, I am waiting for full IM and Flash support on the iPhone. It’s the two features really missing. And I don’t take “no” for an answer.