When 'Das Boot: Director's Cut' was released in Dezember 1997,
it was one of the few titles that was split over 2 sides due to
its running time of 210 minutes. Back then, dual layer technology
wasn't established as it is today, so both sides were single layer.
Today, Col/Tri decided to use 2 dual layer discs, to encode the
Superbit version. That way, they were able to increase the bitrate
like they do on their normal 1 disc SB titles. For a second, people
thought Col/Tri might try to cram the SB version on only 1 disc.
Thankfully, they didn't. Excellent choice.
The SB release uses the same transfer (film -> HD) as the original
release. So, as with all SB titles except Desperado, which is still
the only SB title i know of that actually also featured a new transfer,
the differences on the Das Boot SB are merely in the SB encoding
scheme. Read, more horizontal detail through different prefiltering,
plus less compression artefacts. At least on average, since there
are also always scenes in all SB titles, where the higher useable
bitrate isn't enough to cope with the increased horizontal detail
after the pre-filtering. Will try to post an example some day.
Anyway. Since Das Boot is a rather typical SB title, lets simply
proceed to the screenshots. General thoughts on the SB lineup, their
merits, the technical background etc, can be found in older SB reviews,
especially The Fifth Element and
Note: The SUPERBIT version is always the one at the TOP or the
LEFT of the image.
Nothing new here. No difference in vertical detail, but a fair
bit more horizontal detail, as expected. If you have trouble looking
for 'more horizontal detail' in shots like the one above, take a
look at the horizontal 'separation' of small vertical things. For
example the legs of the soldiers on the left. Or that vertical pipe
that is clearly visible on the SB (rightmost arrow), yet is blurred
on the regular version. Or the increased clarity of the red flag.
In this example, not only the increased horizontal detail is apparent...
the higher bitrate is capable of increasing the general detail definition
to quite some extend. To see this, take a look at the 2 faces below
the green arrow. Much better defined in the SB. Color separation
also much better of the top face, for example. Of course you can
also clearly see the normal higher horizontal detail in the columns
left and right of that face.
Grain is of course much more visible in the SB release due to less
filtering AND the higher bitrate. A lot of bitrate is needed to
properly encode grain, since it is nothing more than random noise,
often leading to bitrate starvation in the encoder. Both images
are merely mediocre MPEG approximations of the actual image. In
a grainy, detail, difficult frame like the above, the difference
to the actual uncompressed frame are huge. The SB image looks better,
since it is 'less mediocre' :-)