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Blu-ray, resolution, and upscaling questions.


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ikillchicken



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
Posts: 7271
Location: Vancouver
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:39 am Reply with quote
Okay. Heres how I understand it. Please correct me if I've misunderstood anything:

Upscaling is taking an SD source and converting it to an HD resolution. This can be done by either: A) Playing an SD disk in/on a player/TV with an upscaling feature B) Buying a BD where they've already taken the SD source and upscaled it to an HD resolution. A pre-upscaled BD will (at least usually) look better than a DVD upscaled via your player. However, neither look as good as something from an actual native HD source. Now, anything analog can be remastered to create an actual native HD source. How it looks will depend on how the remaster is done but will generally look pretty great. The native source for anime produced digitally however will always be limited to whatever resolution it was produced at. Anything beyond that will simply be an upscale which, again, may still be an improvement over SD but won't look as good as native HD.

So okay. If all that is correct, let me get to my questions:

I understand that generally most post-2000 anime is digital. Is there any way to find out whether a specific show is analog or digital though? Also, for shows that are digital, is there any way to find out what resolution it was produced at? If not, is there at least a general rule of thumb? Also, what about more recent shows? At this point, is everything produced in HD? And is anything produced at 1080? Also, putting aside the source, are BDs (the final product, be it upscaled or otherwise) in 1080? Or are a lot in 720? I see a lot of stuff online listed as "Japanese BD rips" and they're 720. I also (sometimes) see a 1080 version listed for those same shows though. If the BDs are 720 then where do the 1080 versions come from? Are they just upscales somebody has made?

Thanks. I really appreciate your assistance.
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jsc315



Joined: 09 Aug 2004
Posts: 925
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 9:15 am Reply with quote
You are correct about upscaling. I will not be able to answer your question in full, but I do know here in the US an in general there is a standard for BD, and I'm almost positive that Anime is a bit different as very little is produced in 1080P at least for a series. From my basic knowledge majority of older anime that is on BD is upscaled at most to 720p. I've have not seen any series that was true HD, as in uncompressed audio and 1080p. It could be I just dont own any but I have never come across one myself.

Just to note that none of this is not 100%. The Majority of this is from my own testing of BD discs myself. So take that with what you will.
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superdry



Joined: 07 Jan 2012
Posts: 1309
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:06 am Reply with quote
I can try and answer your last two questions.

Regarding figuring out what resolution things are produced at:
One way to figure it out is to resize the video down and back up to 1080p until small details are not blurred out. Do remember that things can be produced at different resolution - background art could be done at 1080p while other things are rendered at a lower resolution.

Daiz wrote an informative article on CR releasing 1080p streams and that's where I get the info (I've seen other people use the same method): LINK Skip down to "Individual Show Analysis" to read the methodology.

Regarding 720p and 1080p rips:
Some people like to encode all things at 720p to save on bandwidth/space. Other times, it's been determined (what I mentioned previously or possibly through other means) that the video quality of a HD show (not talking about shows upscaled from SD source) isn't too hot in 1080p on the BD, so the time it takes to encode 1080p and the space it takes up is not worth it - so you'll generally only see 720p encodes for such shows (JC Staff stuff comes to mind)

So, 1080p rips exist because that the resolution you get when you rip a BD. 720p is just downscaled encodes.
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jsc315



Joined: 09 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:43 pm Reply with quote
To be fair rips are not a accurate way of measuring. They have a lot of lost data in files like that. You're more then likely will not notice it but lossy data is extremely inaccurate. In it's disc form there is a lot more data and detail even in 720p then in a rip. your loosing near 1/3rd if not more when your looking at a rip. I know I'm being snobbish here but when it comes to this kind of stuff There is a huge difference even if the eye cant see it.
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potatochobit
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Joined: 26 Aug 2009
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:47 pm Reply with quote
720P is the minimum for widescreen HD.

your anime fan sub rips are usually at this resolution because it saves bandwidth. a 720P file runs about 350mb, where as a 1080p file will hit 1GB or more.

now, all physical Blu-ray are 1080P
however, that does not guarantee the video source was

when blu-ray's first came out this was something you had to worry about like with AIR on blu-ray, the opening is HD but the rest of the show was not. In the current market, it is nothing to be concerned about unless you are buying a blu-ray of an old show. A physical blu-ray will look better than anything you can stream or any fansub encode.
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superdry



Joined: 07 Jan 2012
Posts: 1309
PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:57 pm Reply with quote
potatochobit wrote:
A physical blu-ray will look better than anything you can stream or any fansub encode.


Encoding will lose quality (lossy compression unless you want to encode a lossless format like Lagarith. Luckily h.264 has excellent compression algorithms), but an encoder can filter the video to give subjectively better picture quality or fix issues present in the original source (chromatic aberration in the Lagrange BDs or the Dragon Crisis BDs that were waaaaaaay too bright).
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walw6pK4Alo



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:52 pm Reply with quote
Finding out if a BD of a digital anime is worth it really depends on each individual release. Some are decent, some are horrible, and all you can really do is read all of the information you can find beforehand and hopefully come across screenshot comparisons. For analog anime, there's also problems of comparisons releasing BDs from laserdisc masters, and those will obviously look horrendous, like Master Keaton and 3x3 Eyes. There's no blanket coverage saying a BD from any time period will be safe.
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ikillchicken



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
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Location: Vancouver
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 4:17 am Reply with quote
Okay. Thanks again to everyone for their help. If I understand you guys correctly...

-Blurays are all 1080p (but the source may not be).
-What I see online doesn't really mean anything. That just depends on encoding.
-There isn't really any simple way to know what resolution shows were produced at short of looking every individual show.

A follow up question then:

Anyone know a good site for info on Japanese BDs? I know places that review R1 BDs but I'd really like to know if some of these Japanese BDs are a significant improvement or not.

superdry wrote:
potatochobit wrote:
A physical blu-ray will look better than anything you can stream or any fansub encode.


Encoding will lose quality (lossy compression unless you want to encode a lossless format like Lagarith. Luckily h.264 has excellent compression algorithms), but an encoder can filter the video to give subjectively better picture quality or fix issues present in the original source (chromatic aberration in the Lagrange BDs or the Dragon Crisis BDs that were waaaaaaay too bright).


So then encoding won't hurt quality if a lossless format is used? Can you elaborate on what that means? I see some high quality stuff listed as "lossless". Particularly a lot of the stuff listed as BD rips. Also, for lossy encodes, how much of a difference are we generally talking about? (I realize it will vary in specific cases). Am I getting something that looks significantly worse even with a ideally done encode? Or is it worse but only trivially so? (By the way, I'm referring to Japanese BDs here. Obviously if it were R1 BDs I'd just buy them).
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Polycell



Joined: 16 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 5:02 am Reply with quote
"Lossless" on a BD rip almost certainly refers to the audio(which will probably be FLAC unless the BD itself used a lossless codec). Lossless video is huge. Almost all rips are reecoded to throw away a substantial portion of the BD bit rate(the video typically gets filtered during the process to minimize apparent quality loss).
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jsc315



Joined: 09 Aug 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:38 am Reply with quote
Here in the US at least as the poster said above me that is refereed to audio. It's usually Dolbly True HD or DTS-HD Master Audio.

Here is a article for 2008 but still relevant to today about more in depths of what I'm talking about. http://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/products/articles/464956.html


Also just a small note Region 1 does include Japan when it comes to BD Smile
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varmintx



Joined: 31 Jul 2006
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Location: Covington, KY
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:02 am Reply with quote
jsc315 wrote:
Also just a small note Region 1 does include Japan when it comes to BD Smile
Just to clarify, Japan and NA do share the same blu-ray region code, but it's Region A; the numerical designations are for DVDs. Still, anyone looking to get a player that wants to import anime blu-rays should consider a region-free player anyway because of UK releases that NA doesn't have (like some Ghibli titles) and European sets that are cheaper specifically because they do not share the same region code (like Madoka).
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yuna49



Joined: 27 Aug 2008
Posts: 3022
PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:18 am Reply with quote
Since both the US and Japan are in Region "A" for Blu-rays, this raises significant problems for the Japanese industry which perennially fears reverse importation of cheaper foreign releases. That is almost certainly one reason that Aniplex of America prices shows like Madoka and Bakemonogatari at $10/episode in the US.

Or take the JP release of Usagi Drop on four separate BDs, totalling some $260 at amazon.co.jp for all eleven episodes. NISA's BD/DVD combo box sells for $52 at RightStuf.

Is there any evidence that the quality of a BD release in the US is significantly poorer than the equivalent release in JP? Do the American licensors use the same masters as the JP producers?
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superdry



Joined: 07 Jan 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:48 pm Reply with quote
ikillchicken wrote:

So then encoding won't hurt quality if a lossless format is used? Can you elaborate on what that means?


Technically yes, the quality won't be degraded as much compared to lossy compression. For video, lossless compression is usually only good for intermediate steps - not the final product due to ginormous file size.

Quote:

Also, for lossy encodes, how much of a difference are we generally talking about? (I realize it will vary in specific cases). Am I getting something that looks significantly worse even with a ideally done encode? Or is it worse but only trivially so? (By the way, I'm referring to Japanese BDs here. Obviously if it were R1 BDs I'd just buy them).


The quality of a compressed video can be negligible - of course it all depends on what settings are used, what format is used, etc.. Unless you really have a keen eye, you probably won't notice the difference looking at encoded "bd rips"
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walw6pK4Alo



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:23 pm Reply with quote
Yeah, if you're not downloading BDrips, all the talk of compression and 720p v. 1080p is irrelevant. The bottom line is that a BD should be superior over a DVD due to the compression format (h.264 over mpeg-2) and the massive spike in available bitrate. If we're talking a typical remastered movie from a film source, the raw data could be anywhere from 5 to 15 TB, and they're compressing that down to near 50GB for a BD and 8.5 (if they fill a dual-layer DVD).

Also, the year 2000 cut off is sort of the true line where digital takes over, but it bleeds both ways. Bubblegum Crisis 2040 and Silent Mobius TV are both digital, I believe, and then you still have some analog works in the early 2000s, but not many. The easiest give away is to just look at the color palette, early digital is limit, whereas something analog should present a much wider range of colors.
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ikillchicken



Joined: 12 Feb 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:09 pm Reply with quote
Ah okay. So to summarize once again, the "lossless" stuff is just audio. Basically nobody uses lossless video. That isn't really a big deal though because there isn't really a major noticable difference.

walw6pK4Alo wrote:
If we're talking a typical remastered movie from a film source, the raw data could be anywhere from 5 to 15 TB, and they're compressing that down to near 50GB for a BD and 8.5 (if they fill a dual-layer DVD).


So, just out of curiosity, you're saying that neither physical BDs or rips actually have lossless video? Both are heavily compressed?

jsc315 wrote:
Also just a small note Region 1 does include Japan when it comes to BD Smile


Yeah, I own a couple BD imports that I'm very happy with. Unfortunately though, between the completely prohibitive prices, frequent lack of subtitles and even more frequent lack of dubs, this really isn't an option for most shows.
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