Do you know your Telecine from your Telesync? Do you wonder what all those odd letters are doing in the file names while browsing about Piratebay? Well, read on. This information is availible all over the internet and this is yet another unoriginal and comprehensive writeup. But it’s all in line with the rest of the posts here, and the idea here is to keep all the useful stuff in one place. So let’s start by having a look at the common movie download terminology.
If you don’t want to read through all of this I totally understand you, so I’ll sum the important stuff up for you in a one-liner:
R1/2 Retail > DVDRip > R5 Retail > DVDScr > Telecine > Telesync > Cam
Alright, now that’s dealt with – wall of text incoming – brace yourself. Think of it as an encyclopedia for download lingo, and scroll to whatever strikes your fancy (or boggles your mind).
CAM. This is a theater rip most likely done with a digital video camera. CAMs are also likely to be done under less than ideal conditions where the camera may shake. Other common problems is placement and the whole thing might be captured from an angle, usually angular subtexts is a dead giveaway. Sound is another issue, which is taken by the onboard mic on the camera, which means it also captures the sound of the audience. Adding all of these factors together usually makes for quite poor picture and sound quality. Only go down this road if you truly are desperate.
TELESYNC (TS). This is actually the same as a CAM, with the exception that the sound is captured from an external audio source (an audio jack in the cahir for instance). Some TELESYNCs are filmed in an empty theater with a professional camera, from the projection booth, giving better quality but it may vary drastically. A large number of TELESYNCs are just mislabeled CAMs.
TELECINE (TC). This is a machine that copies the film directly from the reels, and quality should be very good aswell as in the correct aspect ratio. However the machine is fairly expensive, making TELECINEs fairly uncommon.
R5 Retail. This is a basically a region 5 dvd rushed by the major movie studios in an effort to prevent pirated telecines. Region 5 being Russia and Ukraine. Most of the telecines today are R5 Retail dvds. Because it is an early release competing with the pirates there is usually little or no time spent cleaning it up after the telecine process and so the quality is very similar to that of a dvd screener. Note that if you see the keyword LINE it means there was no english audio, but was synced with a direct english audio source.
SCREENER (SCR). A pre release VHS tape sent to rental stores for promotional use. Usually it is in 4:3 aspect ratio with the main drawback of a scrolling message on the bottom of the screen with copyright texts. Quality can range from excellent if done from a Master Copy, to very poor if done on an old VHS recorder. Most SCREENERs are then transferred to VCD format. Since VHS tapes are on a steady decline into oblivion we don’t much have to worry about all this though.
DVD Screener (DVDscr). Exactly the same as a VHS screener only made off a DVD, without any extras the DVD would contain. The scrolling message will be on the screen interrupting the viewing and in some cases even greyscale the whole sequence. Excvept for that quality should be excellent, usually in SVCD or XVid format.
WORKPRINT (WP). A WORKPRINT is a copy of the film that has not yet been finished. It can be missing entire scenes, all music, and quality can range from excellent to very poor.
PPV Rip. This is the Pay Per View rip, with the source being a television screen, likely that of a hotel room TV. It looks and compares exactly like a VHS Screener.
DDC Rip. Not unlike the PPV rip. This is a Digital Distribution Copy obtained from a downloadable movie site such as Netflix.
VHS Rip. Same as a DVDRip only transferred off a retail VHS, which means mainly XXX releases. Interesting trivia to mention at this point is probably that the VHS standard was only adopted worldwide because it was chosen over other alternatives by the Pornindustry. Had they chosen differently we would have had a different standard altogether.
DVD Rip. Simply a copy of the final released DVD. This may be a pre-release DVD, but in either case quality should be excellent. DVDrips are released in SVCD and DivX/XviD fomat.
BR Rip. An XviD encoded Blu-Ray release (meaning a 1080p rip in .mkv format). In proper english this means someone has ripped the file and encoded it in the XviD format, thus making it smaller and able to fit on a DVD.
BD Rip. Also an XviD encoded Blu-Ray release, but with a Blue-Ray disc as the source. This again is someone who has encoded the movie in the smaller Xvid format, but has used a proper Blu-Ray disc as the source instead of a file.
Both BRRips and BDRips are higher quality than the DVDScr, but usually released in 720p since conventional DivX (.avi) players don’t support higher resolutions in any case. The Xvid encoding will however allow anyone to burn HD-quality movies on regular DVD media. It should NOT be confused with true Blu-Ray rips however, which are in full 1080p resolution and usually in native or .mkv format.
TV Rip. A TV episode usually captured from a network using digital cable/satellite boxes. It might also be Pre-Air from satellite feeds sending the program around to networks a few days earlier. The keyword PDTV denotes being captured from digital TV PCI card for best results. VCD/SVCD/DivX/XviD formats are all supported by the TV scene. HDTV is a TVRip obtained through a HD box and a DSR is captured on a digital satellite.
DivX Re-Enc. Again this is a re-encode taken from its orignial source and made into a small DivX file. Generally this is not worth spending bandwidth on.
Asian Silvers & PDVD. Asians apparently have to do things differently, and cheap, and by massproduction. After all Asia is the Mecka of bootleggers. Silvers are just that, cheap and early releases and PDVDs are the same thing only pressed onto a bootleg DVD. You may come across this as a PDVD rip, which usually has removable subtitles and better quality than the silvers.
Watermarks. Also something very common in the eastern bootlegging industry, tagging by the people responsible. Usually with a initials or a little logo, generally in one of the corners. Horrible practice, and in my opinion counter-intuitive to bootlegging in the first place. Guaranteed to ruin a perfectly good rip. There are faitly good filters for VirtulDub that can remove this kind of thing, but however you look at it the information behind the watermark is lost and must be recreated using image processing (to varying degrees of success).
Moving on to different encoding formats. These are not by far everything, but the ones you’ll most likely come across.
VCD. Video CD is an mpeg1 based format, with a constant bitrate of 1150 kbit at a resolution of 352 x 240 (NTCS). VCDs are generally used for lower quality transfers (CAM/TS/TC/Screener(VHS)/TVrip(analogue) in order to make smaller file sizes, and fit as much on a single disc as possible.
SVCD. Super Video CD is mpeg2 based (same as DVD) which allows variable bit-rates of up to 2500 kbits at a resolution of 480 x 480 (NTSC). All that is then decompressed into a 4:3 aspect ratio during playback.
XVCD & XSVCD. These are basically VCD and SVCD that don’t obey the “rules”. They are both capable of much higher resolutions and bit-rates, however it all comes down to the player and whether the disc can be played or not. X(S)VCD are totally non-standard, and usually for home-ripping by people who don’t intend to release them.
DivX & XviD. These are the most commonly used codecs for encoding movies. DivX used to the popular one until it went corporate and they started charging for their services, which all culminated in most people switching to XviD saying byebye to DivX. Funny that. In any case XviD is the better codec, in addition to being open source. Many modern DVD players are capable of playing both these formats which has made this the most popular form of encoding.
x264. This is a software library for encoding H.264/MPEG-4 AVC video streams. Just this year MPEG LA decided to keep H.264 encoding free of charge, meaning it will likely gain in popularity even more.
DVDR. This is the recordable DVD solution that seems to be the most popular (out of DVD-RAM, DVD-R and DVD+R). It holds 4.7 GB of data per side, and double sided discs are available. SVCD mpeg2 images must be converted before they can be burnt to DVD-R and played successfully. DVD to DVDR copies are possible, but sometimes extras/languages have to be removed to keep within the available 4.7 GB limit.
Just like scurvvy seadogs speak with an accent, throw sentances like shiver’me’timbers and say Savvy so does the pirate scene in the bootlegging business have their own lingo. And you’ll see the legacy of that in almost every filename out there. Here’s a short intro to the various tags in the scene.
PROPER. Due to scene rules (yes, honour among thieves and so on) whoever releases the first Telesync of a movie has won the race, the prestige and all that. However, while rushing a release quality might suffer. Another group might think they have a better quality release, but being too late they will be duped for releasing it. They’ll release it under the PROPER tag. It is a very subjective tag, and arguments will obviously ensue. Some groups release PROPERs just out of desperation to still be in the race. Whatever the cause a reaseon for the PROPER should be included in the .nfo file.
SUBBED. Basically means the release has hardcoded subtexts, in whatever language. Personally this annoys me to no end, and most things today seems to have hardcoded Dutch subtitles. I’d watch out for this tag, it can really ruin your day. If a release was subbed in the past a new UNSUBBED tagged release may follow.
Remove hardcoded subs with VirtualDub and the MSU Subtitle Remover filter. This will work to varying degrees of success since there is no pixel information behind the subtitles and it has to be reconstructed using image processing, and well… some educated guesswork.
LIMITED. Not limited edition but meaning the movie had a limited theater run, generally opening in less than 250 theaters. Smaller films and art house releases may have this tag.
INTERNAL. There are lots of reasons for a group to release an INTERNAL. They won’t be duped, a low quality rip labeled INTERNAL won’t lower the reputation of the group, or due to the amount of rips already availible. INTERNALs won’t be availible on all sites, only the ones affiliated with the group. Sometimes it may trickle down Usenet depending on title and popularity.
STV. Straight To Video, meaning the movie was never released in theaters. Alot of sites do not allow such releases and so it is a fairly uncommon tag.
WS for widescreen (letterbox) and FS for fullscreen.
RECODE. A recode is a previously released version, usually filtered through TMPGenc/VirtualDub to remove subtitles, fix color, and so on. While they may look better, it is usually frowned upon by the scene since groups are expected to have thrir own sources.
REPACK. If a group releases a bad rip they will release a REPACK that fixes the problems.
NUKED. A film can be nuked for various reasons. Individual sites will nuke for breaking their rules (such as “No Telesyncs”) but if the film has something extremely wrong with it, like no soundtrack for 20mins, CD2 is incorrect, etc, then a global nuke will occur and people trading it across sites will lose their credits. Nuked films can still reach other sources such as Usenet. It is usually a good idea to check up why it was nuked in the first place, or avoid it altogether.
DUPE. So I did mentioned DUPEed alot and here’s what that’s all about. If something exists already there is no reason for it to exist again, thus it is a DUPE. Meaning it will be removed.