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Explaining the shoddy OOT treatment in public

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Here is a list of typical arguments coming from various people, who try to brandmark us as spoiled kids, and the apropriate answers to them. Taken from IMDB:

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Claim: The Laserdisc masters is the way how the OOT looked in theatres back then.

Answer: Absolutely not. The original trilogy was released to theaters in 35mm and 70mm film formats. A standard 35mm film copy can hold as much picture information as a HDTV image. 35mm negatives or 1st generation copies can even yield 3 times the resolution. If someone would request an OOT release which matches the theatrical experience, one would have to request at least a HDTV transfer. No to mention those people, who saw the 70mm release of Star Wars back then...

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Claim: The negatives of the OOT were destroyed, so the Laserdisc master is the only high quality source left to make a DVD.

Answer: It is true that the negatives were recut during the process of making the 1997 SE. However, several 35mm copies of the OOT still survived, from which a very good looking transfer could be made which would easily surpass the old Laserdisc transfer. Lucas himself claims that he has a Technicolor dye transfer print os STAR WARS (high qwuality prints which are very durable) which has been used as a colour reference when they restored the original faded negatives.

Proof: The Empire of Dreams documentary contains several unaltered scenes from the OOT. Like the whole documentary, those scenes are presented anamorphically and look much better than the Laserdisc masters. The actual OOT release will look worse than the extra materials on the 2004 SE. Period.

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Claim: Every 35mm copy of Star Wars is unuseable now, since it has faded very badly.

Anwer: Film is mostly dying due to wrong storage (air humidity, temepreature). There are a lot of institutions (like the BFI) and private collectors around the world, who have dedicated themselves to the preservation of original Film elements by storing them properly, being old flammable and explosive nitrate BW films or films shot on relatively modern film stock like Star Wars. Several sources have already announced they have excellent quality 35mm copies of the OOT in their possesion. GL himself has a super durable technicolor dye transfer print of Star Wars.

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Claim: It would cost a fortune to make a new transfer from surviving film elements.

Answer: No, It is standard procedure for every DVD studio nowadays to make fresh digital transfers from 35mm film prints. Lucasfilm and 20th Century Fox have all the equipment to make a good release. Fox has a high reputation to release film classics in excellent quality (like Alien), even those films which are nowhere as important as Star Wars.

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Claim: But in the end, it is just about them being non-anamorphic. Luckily, as a 4:3 TV user, the non anamorphic issue does not bother me.

Answer: You forget that the 1993 masters were made using now obsolete telecine equipment (a technique to transfer film to analogue video), compared to modern digital film scanners, which yield a much better clarity, contrast and colour rendering than the equipment used in the first half of the nineties. Films are nowadays stored as high resolution digital files on workstations as a standard process, the 1993 master used for the Laserdiscs and sadly for the 2006(!) DVD´s is just an analogue NTSC resolution D1 master tape. Since this tape is more than sufficient for a VHS and laserdisc Transfer (these are also analogue formats, NOT digital), the master will show all its flaws on a modern digital video format like DVD, and introduce new flaws like compression artifatcs which are not present on the Laserdiscs. Bottom line: the master will show all its weaknesses, even on 4:3 TV´s.

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Claim: We should be grateful that Lucas is doing his fans a favour and release the OOT, no matter what quality comes out. The Goodwill counts.

Answer: It was not Lucas Goodwill to bring us the OOT. It was the continuing protests of fans and the numerous attempts from fans to preserve the OOT on DVD´s themselves using VHS or Laserdisc sources which changed his mind. The primary aim for this DVD release is to destroy the commercial market for the fan made preservations, which were sold by bootleggers for very high prices on Ebay. Keep that in mind if you try to bring on this "George is so good, be grateful!" argument, since it is only an understandable decision made by a business man. If George would really listen to his fans, and understand their dedication and love for his films, he would have released the OOT in proper DVD quality, rather than just Laserdisc transfers which hardly surpass the fan preservations (since they come from the same source). Further he is forcing OOT fans to buy the 2004 SE with the OOT and charges a lot of money for this release.

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Claim: But no matter what comes out, it will surely look better than the fan preservations.

Answer: It could be, but only hardly, since Laserdiscs are high quality analogue video formats, which can represnet the qualities of the original analogue video source quite accurately. However, you forget something: rumours are out that the OOT is going to be released on a DVD-5, along with other materials like game demos, which take up Space on the DVD. Fan preservationists however can digitize the Laserdisc source material, and compress it so that it takes the WHOLE place of a DVD 9,minimizing compression artifacts and retaining as much information of the analogue source as possible.
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Good post, but this last one has a problem:

"Fan preservationists however can digitize the source material, and compress it so that it takes the WHOLE place of a DVD 9,minimizing compression artifacts and retaining as much information of the analogue source as piossible."

If there are compression artifacts from putting it on DVD-5, they are going to remain there if we put it on DVD-9. We can't "undo" the artifacts simply by "recompressing" the films, because too much material has already been lost due to lossy compression. In fact, we are more likely to add more compression artifacts in doing so, since the master file (the original MPEG), has already been compressed once. It would be like taking a 128kb MP3 and recompressing it to 256kb. It really isn't going to sound much better than the original. Now, if we had the original video, or for the sake of this analogy, the original CD, then a new file compressed to the higher bitrate will be of much better quality.
MeBeJedi: Sadly, I believe the prequels are beyond repair.
JediRandy: They're certainly beyond any repair you're capable of making.


MeBeJedi: You aren't one of us.
Go-Mer-Tonic: I can't say I find that very disappointing.


JediRandy: I won't suck as much as a fan edit.
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Originally posted by: MeBeJedi
Good post, but this last one has a problem:

"Fan preservationists however can digitize the source material, and compress it so that it takes the WHOLE place of a DVD 9,minimizing compression artifacts and retaining as much information of the analogue source as piossible."

If there are compression artifacts from putting it on DVD-5, they are going to remain there if we put it on DVD-9. We can't "undo" the artifacts simply by "recompressing" the films, because too much material has already been lost due to lossy compression.


I see, it should be more specific, and refer to the Laserdiscs as the sources to digitize. Laserdiscs or the original master tapes do not suffer from digital compression. I´m going to change this.

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What really sucks is trying to explain the whole thing to anyone in the outside world. Come September, it's going to be hard to come off as anything but bitter nerds. "No, this IS the version I want, but anamorphic blah blah". It just sounds so lame. We're going to be easy to dismiss.
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Yeah, I have a friend who works at FYE who keeps coming to me asking me to explain this new set so he'll know how to describe it to pre-ordering customers. And I can never explain it to be brief. And I'm always wavering in between bitterly negative and disgruntly positive.

There is no lingerie in space…

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don’t exist… then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks… and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming… Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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Possibly the best way to frame the argument is to ask how they would feel if another movie they loved was treated so badly. Imagine the outcry if the only version of Gone With the Wind the public could ever see again was this!
originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Originally posted by: Vigo - It was not Lucas Goodwill to bring us the OOT. It was the continuing protests of fans and the numerous attempts from fans to preserve the OOT on DVD´s themselves using VHS or Laserdisc sources which changed his mind. The primary aim for this DVD release is to destroy the commercial market for the fan made preservations, which were sold by bootleggers for very high prices on Ebay. Keep that in mind if you try to bring on this "George is so good, be grateful!" argument, since it is only an understandable decision made by a business man.


An excellent summation! I didn't grasp this aspect until I read it here!

Thank you, Vigo!

I shall add this to emails I send out to explain my (our!) standpoint.

We must fight the September Release!!
Don't you call me a mindless philosopher...!
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All good points, Vigo.

BTW, you say the laserdisc masters are analog, while THX says they're digital- who's right??


Anyhow....
What we need to do between now and Sept 12th is just to keep bombarding Lucasfilm with emails, phone calls and faxes. There's 2 months left to go- we may still be able to make a difference.

If you haven't sent your emails out yet, remember to make them brief and polite- yet firm.

I've already sent out my emails to the Lucasfilm group, but I may put in a phone call or two, as well.

lynne.hale@lucasfilm.com
jim.ward@lucasfilm.com
john.singh@lucasfilm.com
publicity@lucasfilm.com

Jim Ward
Senior Vice President
Lucasfilm Ltd.
5858 Lucas Valley Rd.
Nicasio, CA 94946

Phone: 415-662-1800
Fax: 415-448-2495

*Lynne Hale is director of communications at LFL, John Singh is manager of international publicity at LFL.

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Originally posted by: SilverWook
Possibly the best way to frame the argument is to ask how they would feel if another movie they loved was treated so badly. Imagine the outcry if the only version of Gone With the Wind the public could ever see again was this!


Ew! Why are people so stupid?

There is no lingerie in space…

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don’t exist… then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks… and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming… Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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Originally posted by: Gaffer Tape
Originally posted by: SilverWook
Possibly the best way to frame the argument is to ask how they would feel if another movie they loved was treated so badly. Imagine the outcry if the only version of Gone With the Wind the public could ever see again was this!


Ew! Why are people so stupid?


Yeah, cropping a full-frame movie to make it into a "widescreen" movie is just as stupid as cropping a widescreen movie to make it fit on a 4:3 TV.

You can also see how the Eastmancolor print has faded red, while the Technicolor example underneath (from the DVD) is still beautiful.

My signature pic is also an example of how Eastmancolor prints fade- it's a portion of a strip of a 1977 70mm print of Star Wars that I have......

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Thanks for the LucasFilm adresses, Mielr! Do you know what the roles of the three people are?

Ooooh! You have a 70mm print of Star Wars? Is the whole thing going too red, then? Can it be restored or is it done for?

EDIT: Ah, I've just spotted that Jim Ward is the Senior Vice-President! And the other two?
Don't you call me a mindless philosopher...!
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Originally posted by: Guy Caballero
What really sucks is trying to explain the whole thing to anyone in the outside world. Come September, it's going to be hard to come off as anything but bitter nerds. "No, this IS the version I want, but anamorphic blah blah". It just sounds so lame. We're going to be easy to dismiss.

I constantly hear that. Go over to the non-anamorrphic announcement at Ain't It Cool News. The bashing OOT fans get for complaining is unbelieveable. In a few years, when 16X9 T.V.s become the norm, this issue will come into sharper focus (no pun intended). It's just that people look and go "whiny fanboys." I'm very glad that the OOT is coming out on DVD, but if Hillside Cannibals and the other obscure B-movie rentals at Blockbuster can contain anamorphic widescreen and crisp 5.1 and 2.0 sound, why can't what are arguably the three most popular movies ever made in the version that many people seem to prefer?

The negatives of the OOT were destroyed, so the Laserdisc master is the only high quality source left to make a DVD.

Didn't Lucas attempt to destroy all of the original prints of the OOT to ensure that it "doesn't exist" and that the SEs are the only version available?

It would cost a fortune to make a new transfer from surviving film elements.

Lucasfilm Limited is a multi-billion dollar company which owns on the most popular and lucrative marketing franches in the world. Robert A. Harris, the noted film restorationist who restored Lawrence of Arabia, Vertigo, and Sparticus has volunteered his services. Quite frankly, there are a lot of people, like myself, who would pay quite a bit for a properly restored version of the OOT. It just seems like viable business to me. But I'm not in charge of a multi-billion dollar company, so I could be wrong.

But in the end, it is just about them being non-anamorphic. Luckily, as a 4:3 TV user, the non anamorphic issue does not bother me.


Now. But who knows? 16X9 T.V.s could become the norm in the future.

We should be grateful that Lucas is doing his fans a favour and release the OOT, no matter what quality comes out. The Goodwill counts.


Yes, and I am glad that it is being released, but I still think that there is vailidity to comlaining here.

Possibly the best way to frame the argument is to ask how they would feel if another movie they loved was treated so badly. Imagine the outcry if the only version of Gone With the Wind the public could ever see again was this!


Yes, but unfortunately, The Star Wars DVD situation is unlike any other because of the "The SEs are the movies. Period." side of the argument.

“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.”

Neil Postman, Amusing Ourselves to Death

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Claim: The Laserdisc masters is the way how the OOT looked in theatres back then.

Answer: Absolutely not. The original trilogy was released to theaters in 35mm and 70mm film formats. A standard 35mm film copy can hold as much picture information as a HDTV image. 35mm negatives or 1st generation copies can even yield 3 times the resolution. If someone would request an OOT release which matches the theatrical experience, one would have to request at least a HDTV transfer. No to mention those people, who saw the 70mm release of Star Wars back then...

This doesn't make any sense to me. The answer seems to go off on a tangent about HDTV when the claim makes no allusions to it at all. Of course the film looked better in the theater than on home video. To ask for an HD transfer of it is justified, but to me the claim is only referring to the version of the film, not its resolution.

My Projects:
[Holiday Special Hybrid DVD v2]
[X0 Project]
[Backstroke of the West DVD]
[ROTS Theatrical DVD]

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Originally posted by: auraloffalwaffle
Thanks for the LucasFilm adresses, Mielr! Do you know what the roles of the three people are?

Ooooh! You have a 70mm print of Star Wars? Is the whole thing going too red, then? Can it be restored or is it done for?

EDIT: Ah, I've just spotted that Jim Ward is the Senior Vice-President! And the other two?

No, unfortunately I don't have a whole 70mm print...I wish!!! I have some strips strips of film from a 70mm theatrical print, that I got on ebay a few years ago. I have about 4 or 5 different scenes, some have 7 or 8 frames, some are 3 or 4 frames, and yes, they're all faded red. They were like that when I bought them, but there were some really great scenes, so I wanted them anyway. I scanned one into my computer (the scene where Luke, Han and Chewie start walking down to receive their medals), and I tried to color-correct it (just for fun) it came out OK.

John Singh is manager of international publicity, Lynne Hale is director of communications (Sorry- I should have mentioned that before. I'll edit that post).


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How "OK" are we talking about here?

There is no lingerie in space…

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don’t exist… then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks… and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming… Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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Originally posted by: Gaffer Tape
How "OK" are we talking about here?

Not great, but OK. I have pretty primative photo-editing software, so it would probably be better with a more sophisticated program.

Are we allowed to post photos here? If not, I can put it up as my signature pic so you can see it.

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Yeah, you can post photos. I'm just curious to see what your average joe with home video-editing software can do with a horribly unusable piece of film, to further justify being angry at Lucas, the head of a corporation with state of the art equipment, could do with much better-quality prints, you know what I mean?

But especially since I've seen your signature pic, I'd love to be able to see just how far you've been able to get in restoring it. Sounds awesome!

There is no lingerie in space…

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don’t exist… then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks… and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming… Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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Originally posted by: Zion

This doesn't make any sense to me. The answer seems to go off on a tangent about HDTV when the claim makes no allusions to it at all. Of course the film looked better in the theater than on home video. To ask for an HD transfer of it is justified, but to me the claim is only referring to the version of the film, not its resolution.


Technically, since the original film version is analog, wouldn't even an HD transfer incorrectly represent some of the details?

Still, I think Vigo's point answers its attached question in the sense that an HDTV version would probably be the ultimate visual way to represent the original film quality at home.

"Now all Lucas has to do is make a cgi version of himself.  It will be better than the original and fit his original vision." - skyjedi2005

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Originally posted by: Tiptup
Originally posted by: Zion

This doesn't make any sense to me. The answer seems to go off on a tangent about HDTV when the claim makes no allusions to it at all. Of course the film looked better in the theater than on home video. To ask for an HD transfer of it is justified, but to me the claim is only referring to the version of the film, not its resolution.


Technically, since the original film version is analog, wouldn't even an HD transfer incorrectly represent some of the details?

Still, I think Vigo's point answers its attached question in the sense that an HDTV version would probably be the ultimate visual way to represent the original film quality at home.

Yes, unless you have a 35mm film projector and a print of the movie, a blu-ray or hd-dvd transfer of the film would be the best way to see a film at home. Only an HD source would come close to capturing all the resolution of 35mm film.

There probably would be some digitally-introduced artifacting, but there's not a lot that can be done about that. Film is analog, and doesn't have pixels, so whenever you're making something digital that didn't start out that way, there's going to be some distortion.

Here's my "experiment" with my piece of 70mm film, BTW. I can see now that I've added way too much cyan and green to cancel out the magenta, but it still looks a lot better than the "before" pic (top).

http://i28.photobucket.com/albums/c229/queen1970/rebelceremony.jpg

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That's pretty awesome. It seems that your before pic this time wasn't in nearly as bad a shape as the one you have shown in your sig. Have you tried working on that bit of film?

There is no lingerie in space…

C3PX said: Gaffer is like that hot girl in high school that you think you have a chance with even though she is way out of your league because she is sweet and not a stuck up bitch who pretends you don’t exist… then one day you spot her making out with some skinny twerp, only on second glance you realize it is the goth girl who always sits in the back of class; at that moment it dawns on you why she is never seen hanging off the arm of any of the jocks… and you realize, damn, she really is unobtainable after all. Not that that is going to stop you from dreaming… Only in this case, Gaffer is actually a guy.

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Originally posted by: Gaffer Tape
That's pretty awesome. It seems that your before pic this time wasn't in nearly as bad a shape as the one you have shown in your sig. Have you tried working on that bit of film?

No not yet. There seems to be much less color left in that one, maybe because it's a lighter scene (it's actually a lot lighter than in looks in my signature pic).

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Do you have higher resolution scans of this without jpeg compression? I was able to restore the colour completely back again in the ceremony pic (by directly working with the CMYK layers). If you view the CMY layers directly, you can clearly see what layers to how much degree have faded, and try to bring back each layer by hand adjusting brightness/contast in each layer.
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Originally posted by: Mielr
BTW, you say the laserdisc masters are analog, while THX says they're digital- who's right??
I am.
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Originally posted by: Zion
Claim: The Laserdisc masters is the way how the OOT looked in theatres back then.

Answer: Absolutely not. The original trilogy was released to theaters in 35mm and 70mm film formats. A standard 35mm film copy can hold as much picture information as a HDTV image. 35mm negatives or 1st generation copies can even yield 3 times the resolution. If someone would request an OOT release which matches the theatrical experience, one would have to request at least a HDTV transfer. No to mention those people, who saw the 70mm release of Star Wars back then...

This doesn't make any sense to me. The answer seems to go off on a tangent about HDTV when the claim makes no allusions to it at all. Of course the film looked better in the theater than on home video. To ask for an HD transfer of it is justified, but to me the claim is only referring to the version of the film, not its resolution.


Well, the claim states "The Laserdisc masters is the way how the OOT looked in theatres back then", which refers to the picture quality. Sorry if I didn´t make it clear enough, I´m no native english speaker, and have still flaws in my ability to express my exact thoughts. For technical skilled people, of course this claim doesn´t make sense. But there is a frightening large group of people out there, who honestly think that Star Wars was released in shoddy video quality in theaters, and have absolutely no technical knowledge about video and film formats. Those people keep repeating "But they are in the same quality as seen in theatres back then, so stop whining!". I´m always trying to restrain myself from getting too emotional when i´m confronted with such a large degree of ignorance.

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Originally posted by: Vigo
You forget that the 1993 masters were made using now obsolete telecine equipment (a technique to transfer film to analogue video), compared to modern digital film scanners, which yield a much better clarity, contrast and colour rendering than the equipment used in the first half of the nineties. Films are nowadays stored as high resolution digital files on workstations as a standard process, the 1993 master used for the Laserdiscs and sadly for the 2006(!) DVD´s is just an analogue NTSC resolution D1 master tape. Since this tape is more than sufficient for a VHS and laserdisc Transfer (these are also analogue formats, NOT digital), the master will show all its flaws on a modern digital video format like DVD, and introduce new flaws like compression artifatcs which are not present on the Laserdiscs. Bottom line: the master will show all its weaknesses, even on 4:3 TV´s.
The D1 master tapes are digital, not analogue. They have higher color resolution than DVD and equal pixel resolution to DVD. They will reproduce better on a modern digital video format like DVD than they did on VHS or Laserdisc. They will be no more prone to compression artifacts (which are inherent to the DVD format) than any other DVD transfer (in fact, compression artifacts will likely be less than they would be on an anamorphic DVD, which would contain more picture information and thus require more compression).