questionswhat's the scoop with older movies on blu-ray?

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The Searchers on blu-ray blew me away. Absolutely the best picture ever. Rocky Horror looks better than ever too.

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I watched 12 Angry Men on BluRay a week ago, and I was blown away. You wouldn't think a black and white film would translate well to a high-definition medium but I was suitably impressed. And I'm not easily impressed.

Woah, a blue car!

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@omnichad: And I forgot to mention. Ben Hur was shot on 65mm film. That can make the leap to Blu-Ray and then some.

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When in doubt, I always check with Blu-ray.com. They have reviews on most bluray releases, that go really in detail on the quality of the release.

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You should see Ben Hur in Blu-Ray (split across 2 discs!!!) on a good TV. Worth it. Crystal clear. There's a couple frames cut out that were too damaged to rescan clearly.

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Conversions can indeed be iffy. If a company handling the conversion knows what they are doing, they can make them look great. The same thing goes for audio. I can't remember what film it was, but there were 2 different bluray conversions I watched (one look atrocious and had hollow audio to the point where the studio hired another company to do another version).

@djp519, have you seen the HD broadcasts of Seinfeld? They look pretty good in 720p and I think I remember hearing that they are converting the series to bluray. Not sure what type of cameras they used, but they look great and have good surround sound audio.

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Popular mechanics did an article regarding this a few years ago. Its a good, short read

Their conclusion is that it can be iffy depending on how well the studio took care of their film and how good of a job they made transferring it to digital/ remastering the movie. But there is nothing inherent with old movies that make would make them poor quality on bluray as they are filmed in super high resolution.

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If the original footage was shot on film, as most movies are, then it can easily support the 1080p resolution. However, a lot of tv shows in the 80s and 90s were shot on videotape, so they are locked in to that lower resolution. It may be unconverted and enhanced, but it's not true 1080p. But older movies shot on film, those can be in true HD.

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I've wondered about this, and about how it applies to TV shows as well. Example: I'm watching TREME on DVD, and also have the first disc of the latest available season of Dexter, but on BluRay. TREME looks terrific on DVD, and I'll be curious to see whether Dexter looks even terrificer.

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The up-scaling on the older movies I've seen is pretty good...ghostbusters is a good example. My bluray player does a good job with making regular DVDs look prettier too. I think it's magic.