Ultra HD 4K Blu Ray runs only at 2K. Do What?!

In Blog, Video Killed the Radio Star by Chad AlexanderLeave a Comment

Let me make sure I’m doing this right:

Ok cool!

Here’s a bit of trivia for today… did you guys know that there are several different resolutions of your favorite films? Jesse (our ridiculously awesome Resident) actually sparked this conversation. 🙂

For example, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 Ultra HD (UHD) 4K Blu Ray runs only at 2K. Do What?!

Why is that?! A number of reasons may be a culprit:

  1. Lazy Conversion. Studios ‘upconvert’ the most cost-effective and nearby source file of the movie. In this case, this would be the Guardians Vol 2 Blu-Ray. And guess what? Most consumers will buy the highest format available without realizing what’s really being sold to them.
  2. Restoration is a Pain. Sometimes movies are converted from a VHS/DVD rip because restoring the footage is not cost-effective. Movies were originally never meant to be for home video use…and back in the VHS days, consumers wanted quantity of time over quality (look up the Betamax vs. VHS war). Big blockbusters get around this issue because they can pay for the restoration of original footage while gaining back the cost of Blu-Ray/DVD sales. Otherwise, the cost to get professionals to restore original film makes it undoable.
  3. The Nolan Complex. Christopher Nolan has a habit of filming certain “epic” scenes in IMAX 70 MM film stock. If you see the movie change from letterbox to full screen and then back, you’re probably watching something like The Dark Knight or Interstellar. This can be jarring and is not necessarily a fault of the footage itself.
  4. Rights issues. So, streaming is awesome. Hulu, Amazon, Netflix. All good stuff. However, licensing can kill your resolution of a movie. Usually, when Netflix buys a license to show a movie, they will most likely buy the rights to the DVD version. This is for expediency, is more likely available than a remastered Blu-Ray of the film, it’s already in the native 1080 format, and other various reasons. Once again, usually comes down to money.

Most likely… GOTG Vol 2 suffers from Lazy Conversion. Disney rolling in the Marvel dough, yo!

There are only a few instances where the original Laserdisc/DVD versions are the best. For example, Terminator 2 pops into mind. When remastered for Blu-Ray, color correction made the film less of reds and greys and more blues and oranges to better represent the colors in nature. If you want proof, here’s an informative article on color correction.

To me, it’s like George Lucas going back into Star Wars and making Special Editions. Or, Blade Runner being re-edited. I would rather see the original intent. Because that’s all a film is… a culmination and expression of our time. Making it updated just… cheapens it.

Other various charts and hobnob that show I know way too much about nothing:

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TL;DR: Check out this website before you buy a UHD Blu-Ray.

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