A cam is a theater rip usually done with a digital video camera. A mini tripod is sometimes used, but a lot of the time this wont be possible, so the camera make shake. Also seating placement isn't always idle, and it might be filmed from an angle. If cropped properly, this is hard to tell unless there's text on the screen, but a lot of times these are left with triangular borders on the top and bottom of the screen. Sound is taken from the onboard microphone of the camera, and especially in comedies, laughter can often be heard during the film. Due to these factors picture and sound quality are usually quite poor, but sometimes we're lucky, and the theater will be fairly empty and a fairly clear signal will be heard.
A pre VHS tape, sent to rental stores, and various other places for promotional use. A screener is supplied on a VHS tape, and is usually in a 4:3 (full screen) a/r, although letterboxed screeners are sometimes found. The main draw back is a "ticker" (a message that scrolls past at the bottom of the screen, with the copyright and anti-copy telephone number). Also, if the tape contains any serial numbers, or any other markings that could lead to the source of the tape, these will have to be blocked, usually with a black mark over the section. This is sometimes only for a few seconds, but unfortunately on some copies this will last for the entire film, and some can be quite big. Depending on the equipment used, screener quality can range from excellent if done from a MASTER copy, to very poor if done on an old VHS recorder thru poor capture equipment on a copied tape. Most screeners are transferred to VCD, but a few attempts at SVCD have occurred, some looking better than others.
Same premise as a screener, but transferred off a DVD. Usually letterbox , but without the extras that a DVD retail would contain. The ticker is not usually in the black bars, and will disrupt the viewing. If the ripper has any skill, a DVDscr should be very good. Usually transferred to SVCD or DivX/XviD.
A copy of the final released DVD. If possible this is released PRE retail (for example, Star Wars episode 2) again, should be excellent quality. DVDrips are released in SVCD and DivX/XviD.
A workprint is a copy of the film that has not been finished. It can be missing scenes, music, and quality can range from excellent to very poor. Some WPs are very different from the final print (Men In Black is missing all the aliens, and has actors in their places) and others can contain extra scenes (Jay and Silent Bob) . WPs can be nice additions to the collection once a good quality final has been obtained.
VCD is an mpeg1 based format, with a constant bitrate of 1150kbit at a resolution of 352x240 (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. Both VCDs and SVCDs are timed in minutes, rather than MB, so when looking at an mpeg, it may appear larger than the disc capacity, and in reality u can fit 74min on a CDR74.
SVCD is an mpeg2 based (same as DVD) which allows variable bit-rates of up to 2500kbits at a resolution of 480x480 (NTSC) which is then decompressed into a 4:3 aspect ratio when played back. Due to the variable bit-rate, the length you can fit on a single CDR is not fixed, but generally between 35-60 Mins are the most common. To get a better SVCD encode using variable bit-rates, it is important to use multiple "passes". this takes a lot longer, but the results are far clearer.
DivX / XviD
XviD & DivX are the most commonly used codecs for encoding movies. DivX used to be the most popular, until it went from open source to a corporation that bought the rights & started charging for it (although the crack can easily be obtained for the DivX encoder, most people have switched to XviD, not only because it is open source, but also because it is superior in many ways). In the last year or so, many stand-alone DVD players have been released that are capable of playing DivX/XviD movies (even on CDRs), which has made this the most popular form of encoding. The majority of XviD/DivX rips are taken from DVDs, and are generally in as good quality as possible that can fit on one 700MB CDR disc, which is why most XviD/DivX movies are almost exactly 700MB, so they can be burnt onto a CDR & played in these new DVD players (which can be purchased just about anywhere for as little as $30-$40 USD). Various codecs exist, the most popular at the moment being the new XviD 1.2 codec. DivX encoded movies will definitely play on these new DVD players, & it only takes a little simple tweaking by the ripper to ensure XviDs will play on them as well, but it is therefore not guaranteed. (If you want to learn more about XviD/DivX encoding so you can make your own DVDrips, just visit doom9.org)
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