Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Just what did I download?

From here

If you've ever come across those movies available for download before they have actually made it to DVD and wondered how they did that, read on.

The lesser quality movies, not based on a shop bought DVD source come in various flavours, each one denoted by a few obscure letters. I'll explain what each stands for and what it means exactly.

A cam is the most common format you'll see with movies that have just come out in the theatre, they are created by sneaky people sneaking their sneaky digital cams into the cinema in a most sneaky way. Cams have a bad reputation and even if you haven't seen a cam version of a movie, you can imagine poor the quality is.

Some common problems with cams include seeing the audience bobbing about in front of the movie screen, having to put up with the sneaky cam man choosing a seat way off centre which creates a very skewed version of the movie and perhaps most annoying is the poor sound quality you can expect from a cam.

A telesync is pretty much the same as a cam, only the audio is lifted directly from a cleaner source. You can expect much better quality audio from a TS.

There are some differences in the video quality but it can be hard to know if you're downloading a CAM or a TS sometimes as mislabelling is rife. A TS is often created under better conditions than a cam but the difference is slight. A cam or TS are still at the bottom of the quality ladder.

A telecine machine copies the film digitally from the reels. Sound and picture should be very good, but due to the equipment involved, telecines are fairly uncommon.

A pre vhs tape, sent to rental stores, and various other places for promotional use. A screener is supplied on a vhs tape and is usually in a 4:3 (fullscreen) aspect ratio. The main draw back is a marque (a message that scrolls past at the bottom of the screen, with the copyright and anti-copy information)

Same premise as a screener, but transferred from DVD, comes without the extras that a DVD retail would contain. A DVDscr is usually transferred to SVCD or DivX/XviD formats.

Please note, this information is provided for educational purposes only. Your PC may burst into flames if you download a movie in one of the above formats, you have been warned! This article will self destruct in 5 seconds.

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