Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Torrent Movie Guide

When you search for a movie on torrents, you may come across many versions of the movie , with different qualities and formats. So if you're looking for a way to survive the technical jargon, The Below guide is for you.

This type of video was recorded by someone in a cinema with a camcorder and the audience can sometimes be heard or seen! The picture quality is usually OK but the sound is usually very bad and it is hard to make out speech. A mini tripod is sometimes used, but a lot of the time this wont be possible, so the camera may shake once in a while. Also seating placement isn't always idle, and it might be filmed from an angle. If cropped properly, this is hard to tell unless there's text on the screen, but a lot of times these are left with triangular borders on the top and bottom of the screen. Sound is taken from the onboard microphone of the camera, and especially in comedies, audience laughter can often be heard during the film. Due to these factors picture and sound quality are usually quite poor, but sometimes we're lucky, and the theater will be fairly empty and a fairly clear signal will be heard.

A telesync is the same spec as a CAM except it uses an external audio source (most likely an audio jack in the chair for hard of hearing people). A direct audio source does not ensure a good quality audio source, as a lot of background noise can interfere. A lot of the times a telesync is filmed in an empty cinema or from the projection booth with a professional camera, giving a better picture quality. Quality ranges drastically. A high percentage of Telesyncs are CAMs that have been mislabeled.

A telecine machine copies the film digitally from the reels. Sound and picture should be very good, but due to the equipment involved and cost telecines are fairly uncommon. Generally the film will be in correct aspect ratio, although 4:3 telecines have existed. A great example is the JURASSIC PARK 3 TC done last year. TC should not be confused with TimeCode , which is a visible counter on screen throughout the film.

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 (full screen) a/r, although letterboxed screeners are sometimes found. The main draw back is a "ticker" (a message that scrolls past at the bottom of the screen, with the copyright and anti-copy telephone number). Also, if the tape contains any serial numbers, or any other markings that could lead to the source of the tape, these will have to be blocked, usually with a black mark over the section. This is sometimes only for a few seconds, but unfortunately on some copies this will last for the entire film, and some can be quite big. Depending on the equipment used, screener quality can range from excellent if done from a MASTER copy, to very poor if done on an old VHS recorder thru poor capture equipment on a copied tape. Most screeners are transferred to VCD, but a few attempts at SVCD have occurred, some looking better than others.

Same premise as a screener, but transferred off a DVD. Usually letterbox , but without the extras that a DVD retail would contain. The ticker is not usually in the black bars, and will disrupt the viewing. If the ripper has any skill, a DVDscr should be very good. Usually transferred to SVCD or DivX/XviD. Sometimes the screen may turn Grayscale during the movie , and a message will be shown once in a while.

DVDRip -
A copy of the final released DVD. If possible this is released PRE retail again, should be excellent quality. DVDrips are released in SVCD and DivX/XviD.

VHSRip -
Transferred off a retail VHS, mainly skating/sports videos and XXX releases.

TVRip -
TV episode that is either from Network (capped using digital cable/satellite boxes are preferable) or PRE-AIR from satellite feeds sending the program around to networks a few days earlier. Some programs such as WWF Raw Is War contain extra parts, and the "dark matches" and camera/commentary tests are included on the rips. PDTV is capped from a digital TV PCI card, generally giving the best results, and groups tend to release in SVCD for these. VCD/SVCD/DivX/XviD rips are all supported by the TV scene.

A workprint is a copy of the film that has not been finished. It can be missing scenes, music, and quality can range from excellent to very poor. Some WPs are very different from the final print (Men In Black is missing all the aliens, and has actors in their places) and others can contain extra scenes (Jay and Silent Bob) . WPs can be nice additions to the collection once a good quality final has been obtained.

R5 (Region 5)
The R5 Line is a retail DVD from region 5. Region 5 consists of Eastern Europe (Former Soviet Union), Indian subcontinent, Africa, North Korea, and Mongolia. R5 releases differ from normal releases in that they are a direct Telecine transfer of the film without any of the image processing. They take the information from the DVD disc and sync it to an English version of the film, usually a previously released version. Which means that the sound often isn’t as good as DVDRips.

VCD is an mpeg1 based format, with a constant bitrate of 1150kbit at a resolution of 352x240 (NTCS). VCDs are generally used for lower quality transfers (CAM/TS/TC/Screener(VHS)/TVrip(analogue) in order to make smaller file sizes, and fit as much on a single disc as possible. Both VCDs and SVCDs are timed in minutes, rather than MB, so when looking at an mpeg, it may appear larger than the disc capacity, and in reality u can fit 74min on a CDR74.

SVCD is an mpeg2 based (same as DVD) which allows variable bit-rates of up to 2500kbits at a resolution of 480x480 (NTSC) which is then decompressed into a 4:3 aspect ratio when played back. Due to the variable bit-rate, the length you can fit on a single CDR is not fixed, but generally between 35-60 Mins are the most common. To get a better SVCD encode using variable bit-rates, it is important to use multiple "passes". this takes a lot longer, but the results are far clearer.

KVCD is a modification to the standard MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 GOP structure and Quantization Matrix. It allows you to put more than 120 minutes of video on a single 80 minute CD-R/CD-RW. The KVCDx3 template creates 528x480 (NTSC) and 528x576 (PAL) MPEG-1 variable bit rate video, from 64Kbps to 3,000Kbps. One of the other templates uses 352x240 (NTSC) or 352x288 (PAL), allowing up to ~360 minutes on a single 80 minute CD-R. You must burn the KVCD MPEG files as non-standard VCD or non-standard SVCD (depends on your player) with Nero or VCDEasy. The KDVD version of KVCD allows up to 6 hours Full D-1 720x480 on one DVD, or about 10 hours at Half D-1 352x480. Because KVCD and KDVD are not recognized "formats", the MPEG files created may or may not playback in your standalone DVD player.

These are basically VCD/SVCD that don't obey the "rules". They are both capable of much higher resolutions and bit-rates, but it all depends on the player to whether the disc can be played. X(S)VCD are total non-standards, and are usually for home-ripping by people who don't intend to release them.

DivX / XviD -
DivX is a format designed for multimedia platforms. It uses two codecs, one low motion, one high motion. most older films were encoded in low motion only, and they have problems with high motion too. A method known as SBC (Smart Bit-rate Control) was developed which switches codecs at the encoding stage, making a much better print. The format is Ana orphic and the bit-rate/resolution are interchangeable. Due to the higher processing power required, and the different codecs for playback, its unlikely we'll see a DVD player capable of play DivX for quite a while, if at all. There have been players in development which are supposedly capable, but nothing has ever arisen. The majority of PROPER DivX rips (not Re-Encs) are taken from DVDs, and generally up to 2hours in good quality is possible per disc. Various codecs exist, most popular being the original Divx3.11a and the new XviD codecs.

CVD is a combination of VCD and SVCD formats, and is generally supported by a majority of DVD players. It supports MPEG2 bit-rates of SVCD, but uses a resolution of 352x480(ntsc) as the horizontal resolution is generally less important. Currently no groups release in CVD.

DiVA is a powerful MPEG-1/MPEG-2 video converter for Mac OS X 10.2 or later. It uses QuickTime, MPEG, MOV, SMP, AltiVec, YUV, Cocoa, Quartz, XML and other amazingly great acronyms and buzzwords. It's also fast, high quality, and integrates extremely well with 3ivx D4 4.5, allowing it to perform automated 2-pass encoding with 3ivx

Dolby Digital, AC3, AC-3-
Dolby Digital, or AC-3, is the common version containing up to 6 total channels of sound, with 5 channels for normal-range speakers (Right front, Center, Left Front, Right Rear and Left Rear) and one channel for the LFE, or subwoofer. The Dolby Digital format supports Mono and Stereo usages as well.

Digital Theater Systems Digital Sound. A product of DTS, Inc., DTS is a multichannel audio compression format similar to Dolby Digital used in DVD-video discs, DVD-audio, 5.1 channel audio CDs, and some movie theaters. DTS differs from Dolby Digital in that it generally uses higher data rates and many have the opinion that DTS is better quality. DTS can only be on a DVD-video disc if accompanied by a Dolby Digital or LPCM track (for North America) or mpeg audio and LPCM (European Community) to ensure compatibility, because DVD players are only required to decode those standards in those regions.

AVC, H.264, H264-
H.264, MPEG-4 Part 10, or AVC, for Advanced Video Coding, is a digital video codec standard which is noted for achieving very high data compression. It was written by the ITU-T Video Coding Experts Group (VCEG) together with the ISO/IEC Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) as the product of a collective partnership effort known as the Joint Video Team (JVT). The ITU-T H.264 standard and the ISO/IEC MPEG-4 Part 10 standard (formally, ISO/IEC 14496-10) are technically identical. The final drafting work on the first version of the standard was completed in May of 2003.

High Definition Formats

High Definition TV is high-resolution digital television combined with Dolby Digital surround sound (AC-3). HDTV is the highest DTV resolution in the new set of standards. This combination creates a stunning image with stunning sound. HDTV requires new production and transmission equipment at the HDTV stations, as well as new television equipment for reception by the consumer. The higher resolution picture is the main selling point for HDTV. Imagine 720 or 1080 lines of resolution compared to the 525 lines people are used to in the United States (or the 625 lines in Europe) -- it's a huge difference!
Of the 18 DTV formats, six are HDTV formats, five of which are based on progressive scanning and one on interlaced scanning. Of the remaining formats, eight are SDTV (four wide-screen formats with 16:9 aspect ratios, and four conventional formats with 4:3 aspect ratios), and the remaining four are video graphics array (VGA) formats. Stations are free to choose which formats to broadcast.

The formats used in HDTV are:

720p - 1280x720 pixels progressive
1080i - 1920x1080 pixels interlaced
1080p - 1920x1080 pixels progressive

1080i is the shorthand name for a category of video modes. The number 1080 stands for 1080 lines of vertical resolution, while the letter i stands for interlaced or non-progressive scan. 1080i is considered to be an HDTV video mode. The term usually assumes a widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9, implying a horizontal resolution of 1920 pixels and a frame resolution of 1920 × 1080 or about 2.07 million pixels, and a field resolution of 1920 × 1080 / 2 (because it's interlaced) or about 1.04 million pixels. The field rate (not the frame rate) in hertz can be either implied by the context or specified after the letter i. The two field rates in common use are 50 and 60 Hz, with the former (1080i50) generally being used in traditional PAL and SECAM countries (Europe, Australia, much of Asia, Africa), the latter (1080i60) in traditional NTSC countries (e.g. United States, Canada and Japan). Both variants can be transported by both major digital television formats, ATSC and DVB.

1080p is the shorthand name for a category of video modes. The number 1080 represents 1,080 lines of vertical resolution[1], while the letter p stands for progressive scan or non-interlaced. 1080p is considered an HDTV video mode. The term usually assumes a widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9, implying a horizontal (display) resolution of 1920 dots across and a frame resolution of 1920 × 1080 or over two million pixels. The frame rate in hertz can be either implied by the context or specified after the letter p (such as 1080p30, meaning 30 frames per second).

720p is the shorthand name for a category of HDTV video modes. The number 720 stands for 720 lines of vertical display resolution, while the letter p stands for progressive scan or non-interlaced.