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Old November 27th, 2011, 10:24 AM   #1
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help me "reverse engineer" this problem?

I just watched a new DVD, "Page One" about the NY Times:

Page One: Inside the New York Times (2011) - IMDb

The PQ was generally OK, but the DVD includes a section of Additional Scenes (outtakes). Only these have incredible problems with stair-stepping. For example, the edge of a rectangular conference table, taken at about a 45 degree angle and from a few feet above, looks like the steps of an Egyptian pyramid.

Unless all these extra scenes just happened to be taken by a second unit with a really bad or poorly adjusted camera, and that's why they were considered outtakes, I can't understand why these particular shots would be so different. It's not like uncorrected color. What else could account for the difference?
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Old November 27th, 2011, 07:39 PM   #2
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Re: help me "reverse engineer" this problem?

How about a screen shot of the issue you are talking about?

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Old November 27th, 2011, 08:14 PM   #3
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Re: help me "reverse engineer" this problem?

I've seen this before on the special features sections of DVDs. I suspect these sections are much more highly compressed, or don't have the same level of care given to them to look good that the main movie would receive.

Just guessing, though.
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Old November 27th, 2011, 11:42 PM   #4
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Re: help me "reverse engineer" this problem?

A good thing to remember about any disc based storage medium is that it will have a fixed capacity.

Think of it as a "bit bucket."

When the disc (the bucket) is full, it's full.

So the "art" of compression is to fill that bucket up efficiently. The bucket has to hold the main program, but also has to hold the title graphics, the navigation code, and ancillary content like the "outtakes" material you're discussing.

It's very likely that when the producers were allocating the bucket - they sensibly used the majority of the capacity for the main program and rest of the necessary stuff, but when they got to the "outtakes, there wasn't a whole lot of capacity left, so they applied additional compression to fit as much of that content as possible into the room that was left.

That would be pretty common practice, IMO.
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Old November 28th, 2011, 06:37 AM   #5
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Re: help me "reverse engineer" this problem?

Unfortunately, I returned the DVD so I can't offer screen shots.

The difference in compression sounds reasonable. The doc was only 90 min, but there were a lot of "special features" and trailers.So maybe they made a creative judgement that the outtakes were the least important of the special features, because all the other types were OK.
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