Media Production Mentoring

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Online Video and Peter

I just watched "Spider-Man 3" for the second time. This time it was on DVD, the first time it was streamed from some Asian country. The first time I was ambivalent toward the film, this time I liked it. And it mostly confirmed something I've been thinking for a while now: Video online can give you a skewed view of a film, and I don't just mean because of compression.

I first noticed this when I tried watching "Transformers" online. I couldn't do it. I wasn't into the film, I found it annoying, and the whole thing felt lame. Recently someone lent me a copy of the DVD, and I really enjoyed the flick. What had changed? What's the difference between a high quality and low-quality movie experience?

It's hard to say, especially since I've seen many things online and enjoyed them a lot. Probably most notably was "Heroes", which my brother and I have watched exclusively online. We both really like the show, and have blast watching it together on my computer over his week long breaks from school.

Peter Parker Petrelli

well, they looked similar to me.

Back on topic. One of the main differences is quality. "Heroes" from NBC is a rather nice image, but you miss out on a lot of the special effects when a movie is coming across the globe in a compressed video stream. This, combined with a small video window from Asian, makes it harder to get into the film and stay with it.

Does this mean that it's not a good idea to watch pirated movies online?

It depends. A movie about characters, such as the remake of "Alfie", could easily be as enjoyable in a descent video stream. But special effect pictures need to be at a high resolution, or you miss the point of the movie. If the Mammoths aren't huge so you don't feel them rumble past you, you're not really seeing the movie.

Does this have any application for Blu-Ray and the whole "HD" move? Perhaps, but I don't think so. At least, not yet. DVDs--especially upconverted, I hear--have a great image quality that takes some serious home theater theatre to beat. So, until we're strapped in with an awesome screen, sweet speakers, and some theatre seats (the last of which is the only of those that I have) High Def is going to have to wait.

Don't be too Blu.

~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor

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