Winchesters in Blu-ray? Whoa! [Long pause of stunned silence.] Give me a sec. I need to wipe the drool off my chin.
Anyway, when it came time to do my yearly pre-order with Amazon, I struggled over ordering my first ever Blu-ray set for Supernatural. I wasn't convinced Blu-ray quality compared to broadcast HD would be all that mesmerizing and worth the cost difference over the standard DVDs. I previously bought season one of Chuck on Blu-ray and the results were disappointing. After spending most of the summer debating, my über-techie husband made clear his preference for Blu-ray. Now that I've seen these disks, the hubby is made of win.
A casual viewer may not notice, but for a mega-fan like me who's watched these episodes numerous times and nitpicked every detail, the difference is mind-blowing. Naturally, since my left brain is as curious as the right, I had to know technically why these discs were so superior, especially when Chuck was less than impressive. What I found out is that Supernatural season four took a new adventurous leap in filming technology and the results are making them look pretty smart.
What’s a RED Camera?
The first three seasons of Supernatural were shot on 35mm film. In season four they switched to digital video and decided to go all out, breaking new ground in television cinematography by using the new cutting edge RED digital camera, which films in a digital 4K format. 4K is hardly popular, even though it offers by far the best resolution at 4096 x 2034. This format is four times greater than the 1080p HD standard. Many consider it to be the way of the future, thus Supernatural chose to stay ahead of the game.
Still, 4K is not widely accepted yet, especially in television (I'm still trying to find another show that uses it). Films are slow to adopt it because of distribution issues with movie houses which have to buy all new 4K digital projectors to support it. A lot of TV shows, including Chuck, still use 16mm film. The producers of The Shield recently refused to release their latest season on Blu-ray, stating that with Super 16 cinematography the quality would not be there. Others say it comes out fine, but after seeing what's possible with the Supernatural set, it isn't as good.