For me, the first "ooooh" moment when I got my first HDTV was watching SportsCenter...and I don't even watch sports. Never before had I seen such a crisp, vibrant image in my life. It didn't look real. It looked more than real.
My second "ooooh" moment was exactly the opposite. I was watching a movie on something like HDnet. And I was worried for a moment—what were all those little spots on my television screen? I looked closer and realized that it was film grain. And then I absolutely knew that my TV had been a good "investment." But not all people feel like I do. And Hollywood is accommodating them for Blu-ray releases.
The Digital Bits reports that to accommodate for those
with no taste who hate film grain, studios are doing one of two things to back-catalog Blu-ray rereleases:
1. Sharpening film to death through copious Digital Noise Reduction
2. Simply not releasing especially grainy movies at all
Film grain is not a problem to be eliminated. While sometimes a production limitation altering decisions on film stock and lighting requirements, it's long been seen as another tool in a cinematographer's arsenal. And, ironically enough, it's important enough to the viewing experience that digital productions tend to add the stuff for theater release.
Part of what's amazing about new display and codec technologies is that the consumer can come closer than ever to re-creating the theater experience at home. When I saw film grain so clearly on my screen for the first time, I bought in to that truly incredible and empowering phenomenon, a sort of technological manifestation of divine marketing BS. And I realized that, no matter what better-than-HD technologies were around the corner, we were quickly approaching the point of diminishing returns. Our eyes would be bested by our displays. There'd be more information than we could see.
But if we destroy a by-product so intrinsically (and often artistically) linked to the film medium, our enjoyment of film will become said case of diminishing returns. So let's just not do that. [The Digital Bits via Gadget Lab]