Is It Just Me...? - #2 - Dylan Snyder Blog -
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Is It Just Me...? - #2

Alright, time for another one of these.  This post was inspired by an experience I had yesterday.  As many of you know, Star Trek was released Tuesday on DVD and Blu-Ray.  Having adored the movie in theaters (I saw it about eight times), I immediately went out and purchased the DVD version of the film. 


The next day, I went over to my friends house to chill and play a little Modern Warfare.  Not long into this "chill sesh", I mentioned that I had bought Star Trek, and brought it with me.  Since he hadn't seen it in theaters, he was more than willing to watch it.  His PS3 being the closest movie playing device to us, we popped in the movie and hit play.  It only took a few seconds for me to realize that something was terribly, terribly wrong.  The film quality was definitely "better", I guess is the word, but it was moving altogether too quickly and smoothly.  Those may sound like good traits, but I assure you this was different.

Then I remembered an event a couple of years back, before I owned a PS3, at Best Buy.  We were shopping for some cheap DVD's, and I noticed a PS3 playing a screener on a loop.  This screener was showing off a demonstration of Blu-Ray quality in comparison to regular DVD's.  While it certainly looked cleaner and brighter, the action on screen moved a little too fast.  This was especially noticeable in the presence of the redular DVD running right next to it.  It wasn't normal, and gave the film the appearance of the unedited dailies that directors receive at the end of every filming day.


At the time I didn't realize what the technical problem was, but after the Star Trek event, I finally figured it out.  Video games are generally run at a speed of 60 frames per second.  Movies, after they have been edited and tweaked, run at 24 frames per second.  As one can tell when watching movies, the movements of the characters on screen are significantly slower and less "Home video" than those of real life, and why, even if you've just bought an extremely expensive film camera, the initial quality will feel a bit home made.

What was happening the other night was, the PS3, while it is a Blu-Ray player, is also a game system, and as such, was running Star Trek at 60 frames per second.  Couple that with the fact that the PS3 removes some of the darkness and "mistyness" of the film, and you have something that just doesn't look right.  While my friend was still able to enjoy the film, I found the entire experience distracting and disappointing.  Has anyone else noticed this sort of thing, or is it just me?

Also, does it bother anyone else that these Blu-Ray demonstrations clearly exaggerate and enhance the bluriness of regular DVD's?  If your product is really that great, let it speak for itself.

  • I'm living in the past, myself, and I say DVDs are just fine with me.  And for that matter, so are "regular" TVs.  People go on and on about how clear the Blu-Rays are and how much better it looks.  Sure, it looks fancier, but DVDs are still perfectly fine.  And I do mean PERFECTly fine.

    I guess I'm just a hater, though.

  • I'm right there with you, not a fan of Blu-Ray or HD.  They aren't nearly as critical as people seem to think they are.

  • Also, Blu-Ray most certainly hasn't caught on like they expected it to.  Definitely not the last word on how to see a movie.

  • I watch both BlueRay and DVD's on my ps3 and on my Panasonic BlueRay Player. Did you ever stop to think that its one of the quality differences between DVD and BlueRay. Its all the same no matter what player it is in. I know that from personal experience.

  • I watched it again in a regular DVD player, and it played/looked fine, as I had seen it in the theater.  The PS3 version seemed sped up and overly defined, which is a result again of running it at 60 frames per second.  I've taken plenty of film classes and made plenty of films.  That's why I recognized the problem.  I figured it was just a setting on his PS3, but we couldn't find a way to change it.

  • I remember when Blu-ray was supposed to make movies more interactive and add that extra special camera angle, or allow you to record your own commentary for friends to view.  It seems all that is out now because producers don't want production costs to rise because they have to provide another angle or create a whole new movie to show off special features.  Mind you it would be all on one disc.  Its seems now the only argument is that Blu-ray will look better than DVD depending on what kind of tv you have, what kind of player you have and what movie you get.

  • Kind of like the whole "Your HD tv is only really HD with the right cables".  I gave up trying to enhance my picture long ago, and just stick with what works consistently and easily.

  • Mod

    I haven't really noticed a difference in the play speed. But the picture is a little to clear sometime's. I've really got no complaint's.

  • Fair enough - I'm glad things are working out well for you.  I certainly don't "want" things to be like this, it was just made more significant because I found out why it was doing it.  It doesn't end here.  I'm going to mess with his PS3's settings to see if that really is the problem.  If so, then everything is fine.  If not, I just won't watch DVD's on his or my PS3 anymore.  No biggie.  Still enjoy some of the games.

  • I am telling you its not the ps3 its blueray players. Even when you put normal dvd's in them they are upscaled and that includes running at a faster frame rate.

  • Right, and so that increased frame rate ruins the movie for me.  It's not a big deal or anything (I do own a regular DVD player), it's just that up until this point, I hadn't realized exactly why Blu-Ray looked like that.  I couldn't put my finger on what the problem was.  Now that I have, I can adapt to avoid the problem again.

    Technically it is the PS3, since the PS3 is also a Blu-Ray player.  I just assumed it was only Blu-Ray discs that played like that, and that regular DVD's wouldn't be upscaled when played (I had never tried watching something that I knew was a normal DVD in a Blu-Ray player.)

  • It might also depend on your TV. I saw some of transformers on Bluray on an HD flatscreen TV. Holy moly, it looked amazing.

  • Stupid PS3's.

  • @Wampa

    That's entirely possible, actually.  I would have been more than ok with the cleanliness of the image, had the playback speed been what it's meant to be.  I'm still looking into it.  This investigation is ongoing!

  • If dvd's play at 24 fps and the blu-ray was playing at 60 fps, it would be less than half the original running time. ie. a 2 hour movie would be less than 1 hour.

  • That's interesting. Is Blu-Ray not all it's set out to be? I think it might just not be.

    Probably why there is hardly any difference in graphics with 360 and PS3 games even though PS3 claims that it has better graphics. Sometimes PS3 games look slightly better but in some instantces, some 360 games look better than the PS3 versions.

  • @ AllTheCookies.  Thats part of why its a different format. When they shoot the movie it captures more frames, and they cut them out for the dvd....downscaleing.

    @ Legend.  The xbox 360 now has 1080p, at least newer models do. This puts both systems on the same level graphically. The difference then comes in the cpu. Which the ps3 has a huge advantage with. It is able to render way more polygons and particle effects adding to realism and more detail in the games....making better graphics lol. A good example of this in good use, and entirely impossible for the 360 is Uncharted 2.

  • True the ps3 in fact can play all the 360 games because

    is way powerfull but in multiplataform games

    is cheaper build games in 360 format and then convert it

    to ps3, this way you can't see the full capacity of the

    ps3.  But like uncharted 2 being only for ps3 you can see

    the change.