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Thursday, July 28, 2005

HD = My-eyes-have-gone-to-heaven Wow!

QuickTime H.264
As a movie buff, the next closest thing to watching movies for free is watching movie trailers. And thanks to the good folks at Apple, I can download and watch movie trailers for free. And not just those of blockbusters, but independent and foreign flicks too. I swear I saw the trailer for "Kung Fu Hustle" once.

Anyway, with the new QuickTime 7, Apple introduced the industry-standard H.264 codec. It's the video compression/decompression ("codec") format for up-and-coming high definition ("HD") television. (As of this writing, the Mac version of QuickTime 7 is out, while the Windows version is a preview release. I think there should be H.264-compatible players for Linux out there.)

If you don't care about such technical terms, then just watch any of the trailers in Apple's HD gallery. I downloaded the "Batman Begins" and "Fantastic Four" trailers. And this evening, I watched the "Batman Begins" one.

Holy friggin' cow! From the first second, when the words "Warner Bros." appears, you know that this is The Good Stuff™. Compared to the non-HD version (which uses the more widely used Sorenson codec), the images displayed are crystal clear. How clear? I could see non-pixelated (i.e. non-blurry):
  • strands of eyelashes
  • snowflakes
  • fire sparks
  • rock patterns on prison walls
You have to see it for yourself to experience the difference. It is that... wow!

The downside is that the HD-version is about seven times larger than the standard version (I downloaded the better 1080p HD, which doesn't seem to be available anymore). And a super-powerful computer is required to play the trailers smoothly.

("1080p" means that the video's frame height is 1080 pixels. By comparison, the frame height of VCD/MPEG-1 is 240 pixels, and 540 pixels for DVD/MPEG-2 (for NTSC format).)

I also have the "Fantastic Four" 720p HD trailer, but somehow, the "wow" factor just wasn't as great as the "Batman Begins" 1080p HD trailer. It's still sharper than the non-HD trailer, but the crystal clarity of 720p cannot match that of 1080p.

For now, I'll probably continue to save my videos to non-HD formats because the source material (i.e. footage from my camcorder) isn't meant for HD, akin to pouring new wine into old skins.

But, wow! HD! It's the wave of the future!


Technorati tags: QuickTime, HD, movie trailers


Chin said...

How do you download the movie? It only opens in a new window...then slowly download into the QT viewer of the new window.

sassyjan said...

where to download movie? i oso want!!

Yuhui said...

chin: Yup, the movie will open in QuickTime player outside of your browser. Remember: the file size is HUGE!

sassyjan: Click on the "HD Gallery" link in my entry for all of he goodies.

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