Checking the quality of a movie means two different things: the literal quality of the copy you download, and the critical quality of the film itself. In this article we help you check both.
When you download movies from the web, you will be faced with a long list of confusing terms and acronyms about movie quality. Telecine, workprint, WEBDL and others what does it all mean? How can you ensure that you get the version of the movie you are watching that you want?
And what about other definitions of film quality? At the very least, you should always check the reviews of critics and moviegoers. This will help you avoid wasting time and bandwidth on downloading bad movies.
To learn more about how to check film quality. We’ll explain what all the terms mean, and then look at the best sites to check movie ratings.
Film Quality Rating
We start with the literal quality of movie downloads. We’ll work through the various formats in reverse order, starting with the worst quality and ending with the highest.
Depending on the site you use, this information can appear in several different places. It might be in the filename, in the adjacent information box, or in the NFO file (more on that later). Remember, you can often download an NFO file without downloading the entire movie if you can’t find the information elsewhere.
Workprint is a pre-release version of the film. This is similar to the first concept in this written term is not a finished product. You may encounter pre-dubbed sounds, placeholders, missing special effects, and other issues.
Camera quality refers to a copy of a film that has been made by someone by recording a screen in a cinema using a recording device. Copies are usually illegal and suffer from low quality. Avoid.
Like camera quality, telesync movies have been illegally shot in the theaters themselves. However, unlike camera quality, people use professional recording equipment to make recordings. Usually, the recording takes place in the projection booth.
The first semi-decent quality film format worth downloading is Telecine. They were made using old Telecine machines, which could produce digital copies of film from rolls of analog film. Movie quality is slightly worse than DVD thanks to low-quality source rolls.
DVDscr is short for DVD Screener. This is a copy of the DVD the studio sent for promotional purposes. Since this is a copy of the promotional DVD, it will not contain the usual DVD extras such as director cuts and extra scenes. May contain serial numbers, counters, and other information on the screen.
SDTV is a copy of a movie that has been made from TV footage. It is part of the broader TVRip category. Depending on where the recording was made, it will be in 576i (North and South America) or 480i (worldwide) resolution.
Now we move on to the ranking of the best film quality. DVD copies come in two forms, DVD-Rip and DVD-R.
A DVD-Rip is the final retail version of a film, but it won’t have all the extras you normally get on a DVD. The DVD-R version is a copy of the entire DVD; You will get extra. As a consequence of the additional material, DVD-R movie versions are often 5GB or more in size.
Copies of WEBDL movies have been ripped directly from streaming services or downloaded from online digital stores such as iTunes or Amazon.
To check the quality of a WEBDL movie before downloading it, pay attention to the resolution information that comes with it. There are four common WEBDL resolutions: 480p, 720p, 1080p, and 2160p. 480p and 720p are the most common.
As the name suggests, Blu-ray quality movies have been created from Blu-ray discs. Again, you will find several different resolutions. They are 480p, 576p, 720p, 1080p, and 2160p. Blu-ray movies in 480p, 576p, and 720p have been manually encoded to a lower resolution than the original source to make file sizes smaller.
Besides SDTV, HDTV is another movie quality format that falls under the TVRip umbrella. The source for HDTV movies is HD television. Most cable providers will broadcast in 1080p; However, many HDTV movies are encoded to 360p, 540p, or 720p, so they don’t fully download HD movies.
Raw-HD movie downloads use uncompressed HD footage. Resolution may vary, but the video is truly lossless. Raw-HD recordings usually come from a studio. Resolution indicators may sometimes accompany Raw-HD downloads. If there’s no resolution indicator, it’s often better to choose a different format to ensure you get a full HD movie download.
(NB: The exact wording and formatting of the film quality information will vary from site to site. Make sure you thoroughly research the site’s requirements for movie quality before downloading anything to avoid disappointment.)
Where to Check Movie Ratings
We now turn to the critical quality of the film. And in the world of movie ratings, there are three big sites worth checking out: Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes, and IMDb.
Metacritic rates each film out of 100 based on an aggregate of scores from dozens of other reviewers, websites, newspapers, and blogs. For each combined score, there is a info to the original review so you can read it in full. The scores are also categorized into positive, mixed, and negative. This gives you an easy way to tell if some outlier has affected the overall average.
Apart from critical reviews, Metacritic also has user reviews. When you click on a movie, you can give it a score of 1-10 with one click. Like critic reviews, you can see the average of all user scores.
Rotten Tomatoes uses a “Tomatometer” to tell you whether a movie is worth watching. When at least 60 percent of the reviews are positive, a film gets a red tomato and is considered “Fresh”. If the score falls below 60 percent, it will earn a green splash and a “Rotten” rating.
The highest award is “Certified Fresh”. A film is top rated when it scores above 75 percent and has at least five “Top Critics” reviews.
As with Metacritic, audience scores and reviews are also available.
Lastly, you should check IMDb. Values on IMDb are entirely user generated; each movie has a rating of 10. All you need to do to increase your rating is register on the site.
IMDb usually has the most audience reviews of the three sites, so you can be more confident that the average score you see represents the actual quality of the film.
Movie Metadata To Check
Ensuring you have a high-quality film is only half the battle. There are a lot of bits of movie metadata you need to pay attention to if you want to make sure you’re downloading the best version of the video for your needs:
- Date: The original release date of the film. Useful when it comes to remakes, trilogies and films of the same name.
- Languages: A list of which language audio tracks are available in the download.
- Subtitles: List of available subtitles in different languages.
- Genres: What categories are included in this film?
- JPG: Many movie downloads will include at least one JPG file. This is a screenshot of the movie and helps you make sure you grab the right file.
- NFO: An NFO file may contain some of the details we’ve discussed, as well as information about video bitrate, audio bitrate, codec, screen resolution, and more. You can often download the NFO file separately from the main movie file. You should do this if the resolution of the movie is not visible from the format information.
Beware of Film Piracy
As you should see from reading the article, many of the most common movie quality formats are found when downloading pirated material. It’s unlikely that you’ll find legitimate cam footage or WEBDL format, for example.
Remember, downloading pirated movies could get you in serious trouble with the authorities. You have been warned.