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Michael Bay says I Told You So

Posted by Dave Cowl on February 13, 2008 
Filed Under: Blu-ray, Format War, Studios



bay.thumbnail.jpgAnother fun read over at Home Media Magazine. It seems that Michael Bay has been enjoying the recent positive news for Blu-ray Disc.

In fact, it seems that Bay believes it is all over for HD DVD. “Blu-ray’s better, and I told everyone,” Bay said at the Visual Effects Society’s sixth annual award show, where he presented the award for animated character in a motion picture. “I was very vocal about it. I knew HD [DVD] was not going to make it.”

“Am I thrilled? It really wasn’t my fight, but remember what I said in the press? I was kind of saying HD [DVD]’s going to lose,” he said. “No one believed me.”

Bay personally supervises his Blu-ray transfers and says he loves his preferred format. “It’s just sharper,” he said. “It’s just [that] the tools are better. I just think it’s closer to what it should look like.”

Perhaps Bay has something more to be happy about – the rumours floating around right now from multiple sources hint at news that will transform the format war coming very soon, with some setting Friday Feb 15th as the day. Officials remain tight lipped.

Keep in mind that this is seriously in the realm of rumour and conjecture! There have been many times where these ‘days’ come and go with no news or excitement. Still it should be an interesting day, if only for the disc market share numbers for week ending Feb 10.

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19 Responses to “Michael Bay says I Told You So”

  1. Bigdmelt12 on February 13th, 2008 10:20 am

    haha, oh bay…they look the same…i bet him a million bux i could play both next to each other and he wouldnt be able to tell the difference

  2. Merrick97 on February 13th, 2008 10:31 am

    He has gone on record MANY times daying that Transformers looks better on blu. Apparently the blu version of Transformers has higher bitrates, which we will be seeing before too much longer.

    In otherwords, Im sure he’d take that bet.

  3. indadogghouse on February 13th, 2008 11:07 am

    Is there a blu version of Transformers?

    Mr. Bay is biased towards Blu so it goes to reason that he will say it looks better on Blu.

    If the same identical encoding is put on either format, I don’t see how you can tell the difference. The only difference would be in the playback hardware at that point, not the format.

    If blu has a higher bit rate, you can probably put that same encoding on red and there’d be no difference.

    His comments of it always looks better on Blu is unfounded. Maybe he “sharpens” the Blu version (which actually adds noise to the video), and to his eyes, it “looks” better, but there’s no technical merit to it.

    If you increased bit rates so that it totally fills up a 50GB Blu-Ray and grab 10 guys from the street, you may be able to convince a few guys that there is a difference by comparing a few scenes and looking at the background. I think we enthusiasts get too wrapped up in the numbers and forget the real deal, watching and enjoying the movie, not looking for artifacts in the sky.

    Anyway, higher bit rates is not necessarily a great thing.
    1) 50Mbps vs. 25Mbps, can you tell a difference? For a vast majority, no, so you was time and space encoding at the higher rate.
    2) Hardware may be more stressed to do higher bit rates so you may getting choppy video, or require more expensive hardware.

    And does Bay think he’s the only one that predicted Blu Ray would win? What an egocentric.

  4. Dave on February 13th, 2008 11:24 am

    So you think that HD Media should be encoded for the vast majority?

    BD hardware is designed to handle BD rates.

    Fact is, the better your equipment and larger your screen, the more likely you are to see the differences. Mr Bay no doubt has access to the best displays out there.

    Just because average Joe can’t see the difference on his $999 LCD HDTV, doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

    Personally I would prefer them to target the best displays, with the best possible transfers and encodes. If Average Joe can’t tell, it is not a problem. If high end home theatre owner can tell, then there is a problem…

    Which do you think spends more on movies (especially premium priced movies)? Average Joe or high end home theatre owner?

  5. DS2 on February 13th, 2008 12:26 pm

    There is no higher or more respectable statement on this planet than “I told you so.” If this doesn’t send the HD DVD fanboys home crying to mama, I don’t know what will.

    Mr. Bay SHOULD delight in his ability to accurately predict the future, not only with regard to the format war, but also with the assured success of his future financial AND critical masterpieces “Transformers 2″ and “Pearl Harbor 2.”

    Kudos to you Mr. Bay. You truly set a shining example for us all to aspire to. Kudos.

  6. indadogghouse on February 13th, 2008 12:32 pm

    So you want Blu Ray to remain a niche market then and screw the average joe?
    Keep HD media a high priced item?
    How do you make money, target the mass or target the priviledged few? In the long run, I think you make more money targetting the mass public.

    I work a lot with visual acuity. It’s totally subjective. Never said there isn’t a difference, but on perceived differences, there is a difference, eh ;) ?

    There seems to be an argument here, but I’m not sure what it is?

    Anyway, yes I think HD media WILL be encoded for the vast majority, if studios and manufacturers are pushing for adoptation and future profits, otherwise it becomes another “LaserDisc”.

    When BR becomes adopted, you may get your wish and studios may put out the high bit rate versions in small quantity like the “Superbit” DVDs.

  7. Dave on February 13th, 2008 12:39 pm

    Can you explain why using the full bandwidth of Blu-ray Disc is some NOT good for the masses?

    It would seem to me that having the best image quality possible is actually good for everyone.

    You seem to think that somehow using the full bitrate of BD is expensive? Can you show me a single HD DVD that costs less than the same title on BD? I can’t see how it is more expensive…

    I would argue that higher bitrate actually allows you to get a great encode in less time – less tweaking needed – so it is actually more cost effective.

    In any case, you make money by targeting interested consumers with money to spend on your product. For emerging technologies, the early adopters are key.

  8. Victor D. on February 13th, 2008 1:02 pm

    If we’re all being honest with ourselves Blu’s success has very little to do with Bay’s assertions about why he thinks the format is better. Warner’s move to Blu was the tipping point in a relatively dead heat race. Yes, I know that Blu had a media and player lead thanks to the PS3 but this is on a very small base which may have proved insignificant had Warner sided with HD-DVD.

  9. Belard on February 13th, 2008 1:03 pm

    indadogghouse:

    Blu-Ray is a niche market? Theres about 20 different Blu-Ray players out there in the USA alone. There are 3 models of Blu-Ray PC burner drives that are on the market. HD-DVD has none.

    Until HD-DVD went full head to head against Blu, Toshiba has been lowering their prices. They aren’t selling $100~200 players because they love you… these are hail-mary tactics. Trying to get their numbers up to possibly rich critical mass. But that has past…

    Michael Bay is a bit of a hack directory, but he does have a great eye for EYE-CANDY… so for pop-corn films, he’s good for that (Pear Harbor doesn’t count – the crap couldn’t make up for the inaccurate visuals) and I would guess that he’s already hard at work on the blu-ray version of his movies. He can easily KNOW things that we don’t know.

    And back with “How do you make money, target the mass or target the priviledged few?” How does Toshiba make money by not only selling their players under-cost, but also 5~9movie give-aways? This war is why the prices for the media is high as well as the players. Blu camp kept their prices were they can still make a profit.

    More blue players = more blue media purchases = higher production runs = lower cost to consumer for players and media.

  10. Jonsson on February 13th, 2008 1:18 pm

    Hmmm, the rest of the world is touting HD material like mad but according to Mr. inadogghouse they are all wrong.

    More and more channels are transmitting HD material (at least 720p) even on fairly normal shows and even new broadcasts but according to Mr maddogghouse the average John Doe is so blind that he will not notice that his latest DVD simply doesn’t look as good as the news he is watching on “normal” telly.

    Yeah right !

  11. indadogghouse on February 13th, 2008 1:53 pm

    1) Using full bandwidth of BR NOT good for the masses? Best image quality NOT good for everyone?
    -Did I imply that somewhere? Didn’t mean too. Ignoring everything else, yes, highest bit rate would be best image quality and is GOOD.

    2) I think that using full bitrate of BD is expensive. Show me HDDVD costs less than BD.
    -How did HDDVD get into this?
    I think encoding at a higher bitrate would be more expensive since it would take longer to encode onto the disk (time=money) and possibly require more tweaking of the encode parameters (fixed bitrate). Thus, it would mean more money to the consumer. This may not be the case, would need to ask an authoring group. Just a guess on my part. This would apply to HDDVD, BR, whatever. Higher bit rate=more data=more time to burn data on disk.

    Again, I also contend that higher bit rates also mean higher end hardware required. Higher bit rates mean more data to read=more data to process=more time to process which means faster hardware to process=more money.

    As an example, you can do an experiment on your computer with various codecs, from uncompressed to very compressed. Copy this to a CD or DVD and play it back.
    Somethings to notice:
    1) Some codecs take longer to encode then others.
    2) At higher bit rates, it takes even longer.
    3) If you play back the higher bit rate videos, particularly the uncompressed version, the video may become choppy unless you have a real high end computer.

    So the thing is, to get the best, you need the best which requires the most (money).

    If this is the path, then I guess you can make money by charging a premium and making huge profits on a per sale basis vs. making small profits on a per sale basis but making it up in quantity.

    However, I don’t see this happening, so a decision is made to target the mass, and the question is asked, at what point, does the vast majority perceive a difference? If you can satisfy 50% of the early adopter enthusiast, then you’ll probably satisfy the mass.

    Again, for the minority who want to spend the extra bucks, there would be BR Superbit, just the movie and audio at the highest bit rates.

  12. indadogghouse on February 13th, 2008 2:02 pm

    @Jonsson,
    “Hmmm, the rest of the world is touting HD material like mad but according to Mr. inadogghouse they are all wrong.”

    What? Wrong about what? Did I say HD is bad or wrong? I was talking to Dave about HD bit rates.

    “More and more channels are transmitting HD material (at least 720p) even on fairly normal shows and even new broadcasts but according to Mr maddogghouse the average John Doe is so blind that he will not notice that his latest DVD simply doesn’t look as good as the news he is watching on “normal” telly.”

    What? Again? I’m comparing HD bit rates. I’m asking can you tell a difference between a 1080p 25Mbps image vs. a 1080p 50Mbps, and I’m saying a vast majority won’t. What does DVD vs HD telly have to do with this?

  13. Belard on February 13th, 2008 2:06 pm

    But Blu-Ray players are already speced to play at a high bit-rate standard.

    Blu-ray Disc movies the maximum transfer rate is 48 Mbit/s. All playes must be able to handle that much data.

  14. indadogghouse on February 13th, 2008 2:25 pm

    @Belard
    “Blu-Ray is a niche market? Theres about 20 different Blu-Ray players out there in the USA alone. There are 3 models of Blu-Ray PC burner drives that are on the market. HD-DVD has none.”

    Don’t know if I’m coming across wrong here, but I don’t care about the format war, I’m lucky enough to be able watch movies on both HDDVD and BR. I don’t care who wins.

    Okay, now that’s out of the way. Didn’t know there were that many BR players around. Maybe niche is the wrong word. Maybe small market is better. So how many BR players, including PS3 are in the US? Let’s say 4M. How many households? $120M. 4/120= 1/30= 3%, will you agree that’s small? I don’t want to talk about the PC world that’s another topic. 3% I think is being optimistic as well. BR is in the early adopter stage, to get out of it, it needs help and the proper strategy.

    “More blue players = more blue media purchases = higher production runs = lower cost to consumer for players and media.”

    True, if you can get more purchases. I posted this in another article in here.
    1) To buy a BR player, you first need an HDTV. 30% of US households have an HDTV.
    2) To buy a BR player, you must know what HD is. 20% of HDTV owners have HD content.

    I think BR has more to work on to get adoptation.

    So no matter what else is going on, format war, bit rates, it is of little consequence (IMHO) since you need to deal with with 1) and 2) about, regardless.

    Hmm, sorry for getting so off topic. This should be about Michael Bay, eh?

    I’ve never seen a picture of him, he’s weird looking…

  15. Dave Cowl on February 13th, 2008 7:43 pm

    @indadogghouse

    I think I understand your perspective now – sorry for the misunderstanding.

    Ok, simply put the higher bitrate does not cost more to encode. The ‘extra bits’ that need to be written to the disc is negligible in the encode time.

    In fact, the less bits that you have available to you as an encoder, the more difficult it is to maintain quality. So if a tricky scene needs a little tweaking at 35 Mbps, it would need a LOT of tweaking at 20 Mbps and may never look good at 15 Mbps no matter how much time you spend on it. While this depends on tools etc, it is a general truth for lossy encoding like VC-1 and AVC (and MPEG2).

    It is kinda like buying dinner – the more money you have to spend the better your dinner will be – though if you have the time to work on it you can get a good dinner for less money :D

    So in short the higher bitrate on the encoding side is a good thing.

    On the playback side, you would be correct that the playback hardware needs to support the bitrate. In this case higher bitrate does mean more power needed to decode.

    Interestingly enough, while HD DVD needs less horse power conceptually, often the decoder chips used in HD DVD have also been used in BD players – meaning that they don’t make chips that are spec’ed specifically for the lower bitrate of HD DVD – it makes more sense to make a chip that is capable of both and hit both and other markets resulting in higher overall volume for the chips.

    Once you are casting it in silicon, the extra flops needed for the extra bitrate are not very significant…

  16. indadogghouse on February 14th, 2008 7:23 am

    Dave,
    I can’t argue with you on what you presented, yet! ;oP.

    However, assuming everything you state is accurate, why aren’t BR movies, at least the exclusive ones utilizing a higher bit rate and using the full 50GB capacity?

    Isn’t the encoding done just once to build a “master” disc and then the rest of the time is spent in making copies?

    Are 50GB discs much more expensive?

  17. Dave Cowl on February 14th, 2008 9:20 am

    The encoding is done only once … well, at least once it is finalised it does not need to be repeated.

    As for the capacity thing, there are a number of (possible) reasons that they don’t ‘fill’ the disc.

    First is that the point of diminishing returns is reached. If your dinner costs $35, and is everything you need, there is no need to spend the whole $50.

    Sony have also stated that they will encode with a view to all markets, and as such will leave enough capacity for the multiple audio tracks needed for a Euro release of a given title. Thus the US release may not fill the disc.

    Lastly, there has been some discussion of whether using the whole capacity of a BD50 reduces the yield, with the idea that the outside of the disc is more likely to have errors so it is best to not use it.

    In any case, movies that don’t run so long and have fewer extras would not fill the disc even if they use the highest possible bitrate – bitrate is really the key parameter, rather than capacity when it comes to video quality.

    Just for reference, Transformers used 20.5 Mbps or so for the HD DVD. BDs are usually over 25 Mbps, some into the mid 30′s for average bitrate.

    That said, the key for a clean encode is peak bitrate – ie, the ability to get a lot of bits for a critical scene in the short term. It is the lower peak bitrate for HD DVD that most people have issue with…

  18. Dave Cowl on February 14th, 2008 9:20 am

    Oh yeah, 50GB discs are more expensive, though last I heard from an insider, they are not as expensive as HD DVD Combo discs.

  19. Blue_On_Blue on February 19th, 2008 11:19 pm

    If Michael Bay would state specific facts on why he believes that Blu-Ray is better than HD-DVD, I would appreciate that he be a tad bit more specific.

    Saying that Blu-Ray is much “sharper” is pure uttered nonsense! This guy really needs to shut up if he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    Anyway… it would be nice if the FCC look into claims of ˝ billion dollars buy out by Sony for Warner’s exclusive support of Blu-ray. If you ask me, it really sounds like a high-tech mafia dealing to me.

    Additionally, I won’t jump on Blu-Ray in a heartbeat just because Blu-Ray won by Sony’s underhanded, under-the-table dealings. I will wait until the prices come down and that a decent BR machine comes out – not any of their mediocre players that are out there with BD 1.0 and without DTS-MA 7.1 decoding.

    So, if all you Blu-Ray backers out there think that those who had preferred HD-DVD will jump on the bandwagon so quickly; you have long, long, long wait. Will I continue buying HD-DVD movies? Hell yeah! Will I continue to buy an additional HD-DVD player? You’re darn right!!!

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