The very thing that people love about Blu-ray could very well be the thing that people are going to hate. For the first time, home theaters are able to display every single, subtle detail of your favorite old films, as they've only been visible before in theaters. Part of that detail is film grain. And people are not happy.
Film grain is a natural product of the chemical process of developing the film. Different film stock, shooting techniques, lighting and more can accentuate or camouflage the grain. It's what makes film look like... well... film. In fact, it's been added to computer generated video to make it look more film-like. In theaters, that grain is expected. At home, it's not.
There are many steps involved in transferring film to video, and now that it's going to high-def video, even more steps are taken to make the transfer as clean and precise as possible. But, film grain is an inherent part of the process. Studios are faced with a dilemma: use computer processing to remove the "noise," or leave it alone. To remove the grain, some detail and texture is lost.
What would you prefer? A shiny clean film transfer, or an authentic reproduction of what the original film looked like, grit and grain included? Personally, I want my movies looking like they looked in the theater. Then again, I'm a whole-grain kinda person.—Leslie Shapiro
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