Video Formats

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CAM

A cam is a theater rip usually done with a digital video camera. A mini tripod is sometimes used, but a lot of the time this wont be possible, so the camera make shake. 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, 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.

TELESYNC (TS)

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, check the sample before downloading the full release. A high percentage of Telesyncs are CAMs that have been mislabeled.

TELECINE (TC)

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.

SCREENER (SCR)

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.

DVD-SCREENER (DVDscr)

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.

DVDRip

A copy of the final released DVD. If possible this is released PRE retail (for example, Star Wars episode 2) 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 (do not contain "dogs" but sometimes have flickers etc) 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.

WORKPRINT (WP)

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.

DivX Re-Enc

A DivX re-enc is a film that has been taken from its original VCD source, and re-encoded into a small DivX file. Most commonly found on file sharers, these are usually labeled something like Film.Name.Group(1of2) etc. Common groups are SMR and TND. These aren't really worth downloading, unless you're that unsure about a film u only want a 200mb copy of it. Generally avoid.

Watermarks

A lot of films come from Asian Silvers/PDVD (see below) and these are tagged by the people responsible. Usually with a letter/initials or a little logo, generally in one of the corners. Most famous are the "Z" "A" and "Globe" watermarks.

Asian Silvers / PDVD

These are films put out by eastern bootleggers, and these are usually bought by some groups to put out as their own. Silvers are very cheap and easily available in a lot of countries, and its easy to put out a release, which is why there are so many in the scene at the moment, mainly from smaller groups who don't last more than a few releases. PDVDs are the same thing pressed onto a DVD. They have removable subtitles, and the quality is usually better than the silvers. These are ripped like a normal DVD, but usually released as VCD.

FORMATS



VCD

VCD is an mpeg1 based format, with a constant bitrate of 1150kbit at a resolution of 352x240 (NTSC). 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

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.

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 appeared for sale. 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

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.

DVD-R

Is the recordable DVD solution that seems to be the most popular (out of DVD-RAM, DVD-R and DVD+R). it holds 4.7gb of data per side, and double sided discs are available, so discs can hold nearly 10gb in some circumstances. SVCD mpeg2 images must be converted before they can be burnt to DVD-R and played successfully. DVD>DVDR copies are possible, but sometimes extras/languages have to be removed to stick within the available 4.7gb.

MiniDVD

MiniDVD/cDVD is the same format as DVD but on a standard CDR/CDRW. Because of the high resolution/bit-rates, its only possible to fit about 18-21 mins of footage per disc, and the format is only compatible with a few players.


* DivX, Xvid

MPEG-4 release standards are set in the so-called TDX rules. The generally accepted TDX2002 ruleset requires movie releases to contain a DivX 3.11 or Xvid encoded video stream with an MP3 or AC3 encoded audio stream in an AVI container file. Movies are released in one, two or three 700 MB files, so that they can be easily stored on CD-R. Two or four TV show episodes usually share one CD, hence 175 or 350 MB releases are common. 233 MB (3 episodes per CD) are rare but not forbidden, and are often used for high-resolution rips of animated 30-minute programs.[1]

The introduction of HDTV and the availability of high definition source material has recently resulted in the release of video files that exceed the maximum allowed resolution by the TDX rules (which anticipated DVD-Video rips as the ultimate source). Due to a missing standard these releases follow different rules. They are usually tagged as HR HDTV and use half the resolution of 1080i (960 x 540 px, vertically cropped to 528 or 544 px). Some releases also use a resolution of 1024 x 576 px to provide a proper aspect ratio of 16:9. A doubling of file sizes is common with HR HDTV releases.

The latest TDX revision is TXD2005[2], but there's a rebuttal[3] against this revision, proving it to be flawed in several aspects. Higher resolutions are not allowed. More efficient formats such as AVC and AAC have not been adopted yet, but are still being pushed by some release groups. There are also considerations to replace the old proprietary AVI file format with a modern container such as MP4 or MKV that can include multiple audio streams, subtitles and DVD like menus. However few standalone DVD players support these formats yet, and cross-platform playback is an important consideration. Nonetheless the introduction of MPEG-4 playback capabilities in standalone DVD players was a result of the huge amount of TDX compliant movie material available on the internet.

* DVD-R

The scene requires DVD-Video releases to fit on a 4.7 GB DVD-R. Hence many released movies are not 1:1 copies of the retail DVDs. The latest standards revision is 2005.[4][5]

* SVCD[6]

Scene rules require the releasing group to spread SVCDs in BIN/CUE files, that fit on 700 MB CDs. One movie typically uses two CDs, although length may force the release to be a 3 or 4 CD release. Content source is typically analog, such as Cam, Telecine or telesync releases. Sometimes DVDSCR or even retail DVD is used as SVCD source. Advantage of SVCD is that you can play it on any standalone DVD player, but as XviD-capable players are taking over the market, SVCD is becoming slowly obsolete.

* VCD

Scene rules require the releasing group to spread VCDs in BIN/CUE files or MPG files, that fit on 700 MB CDs, although often the CD size is dictated by the length of the movie or video. One movie typically uses two CDs, although length may force the release to be a 3 or 4 CD release. Content source is typically analog, such as CAM, Telecine or Telesync releases, (Movies recorded by a camera in theatres, often with external audio sources) but is often DVD, DVDSCR, (DVD 'Screener,' a DVD distributed before a movie is available on retail DVD, they often contain watermarks, black and white scenes or scrolling messages, all inserted to discourage people from copying and distributing them on the scene). Because of its low quality, VCD releases are declining in favor of SVCD and XviD. VCDs are often larger than these higher quality files, making VCDs even less attractive.

TVRip. Video captured an analog capture card (coaxial/composite/s-video connection, some even done via VCR, 175, 350MB)
Usually not the best quality, not many shows released like this anymore.
Released in 175MB for 30min shows, 350MB for hour shows.


DSR. Digital stream(or satellite) rip, captured from a non standard definition digital source like satellite. (Tivo, PVR box, 175, 350MB)
Often very good quality, not as good as HD.
Released in 175MB for 30min shows, 350MB for hour shows.

HDTV (PDTV) rips are recorded from a high-definition television service, and are mostly very good quality. They are released in 512x384 if fullscreen, 640x352 if widescreen. (Tivo, PVR, Capture Software, 175-550MB)
Released in 175MB for 30min shows with 233MB being a higher definition version, 350MB for hour shows with 550MB being a higher definition version..

Even higher quality HDTV rips are recorded at 1280x720 (720p) (1.1GB-1hr)
And some, 1080P (1920x1080) (2.04GB-1hr)

R5

The R5 Line is a retail DVD from region 5. Region 5 consists of Eastern Europe (Former Soviet Union), Indian subcontinent, Africa, North Korea etc.

The name R5 refers to DVD Region 5, which includes the former Soviet Union, the Indian subcontinent, and much of Africa. In an effort to compete with movie piracy in these areas, the movie industry chose to create a new format for DVD releases that could be produced more quickly and less expensively than traditional DVD releases. R5 releases differ from normal releases in that they lack both the image post-processing and special features that are common on DVD releases. This allows the film to be released for sale at the same time that DVD Screeners are released. Since DVD Screeners are the chief source of high-quality pre-DVD release pirated movies (in comparison to cam or telesync, mostly), this allows the movie studios to beat the pirates to market. Bootlegged copies of these releases are often distributed on the Internet and in some cases, R5 DVDs may be released without an English audio track, requiring pirates to use the direct line audio from the film's theatrical release. In this case, the pirated release will be tagged with ".LINE" to distinguish it from a release with a DVD audio track.

For the last paragraphs, we have to thank to MaMMa from Addic7ed.com.

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