The Descent - 2 different Blu-ray versions CONFIRMED (MPEG-2 vs AVC encoding) - Page 10 - AVS Forum
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post #271 of 793 Old 01-23-2009, 01:09 AM
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Thanks Whiggles. Can't wait to hear from an extremely discerning viewer. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Blu-ray : 340
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post #272 of 793 Old 01-23-2009, 07:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiggles View Post

My copy of the Australian release has just been shipped from DVDCrave. Once it arrives, I'll do a full resolution comparison between it and the US AVC edition.

Good news, looking forward to your impressions. I guess we need to change the thread tilte to "3 versions"

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post #273 of 793 Old 01-23-2009, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by General Kenobi View Post

Good news, looking forward to your impressions. I guess we need to change the thread tilte to "3 versions"

True, although at least the Australian disc isn't pretending to be the same one as the original US AVC version.
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post #274 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 06:02 AM
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My copy of the Australian release has just shown up. I don't want to say too much before I've done a proper in-depth examination and frame by frame comparison, but, based on viewing a few minutes' worth of it, I'm already confident that this version trounces even the mighty US AVC release in terms of overall detail.

And yes, I can confirm that it definitely uses the "UK DVD" colour timing rather than the more "naturalistic" look that is found on the US BD.
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post #275 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiggles View Post

My copy of the Australian release has just shown up. I don't want to say too much before I've done a proper in-depth examination and frame by frame comparison, but, based on viewing a few minutes' worth of it, I'm already confident that this version trounces even the mighty US AVC release in terms of overall detail.

And yes, I can confirm that it definitely uses the "UK DVD" colour timing rather than the more "naturalistic" look that is found on the US BD.

Damn, I may just have to pick one up to see for myself. I'm looking forward to your impressions. Can you confirm if it is region free?

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post #276 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by General Kenobi View Post

Damn, I may just have to pick one up to see for myself. I'm looking forward to your impressions. Can you confirm if it is region free?

Yep, definitely region free.

Screencaps are going to take a little longer than I anticipated. I normally take my captures in VirtualDub, but it's reacting very strangely to this disc. Basically, I'm having to go through the entire film sequentially, which as you can imagine takes ages. Hopefully I'll be able to post something tonight, though.
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post #277 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiggles View Post

My copy of the Australian release has just shown up. I don't want to say too much before I've done a proper in-depth examination and frame by frame comparison, but, based on viewing a few minutes' worth of it, I'm already confident that this version trounces even the mighty US AVC release in terms of overall detail.

And yes, I can confirm that it definitely uses the "UK DVD" colour timing rather than the more "naturalistic" look that is found on the US BD.

Interesting to read, Whiggles. I believe your glowing review of the US Blu-ray helped push me into upgrading some time back. Look forward to hearing your comments, although I don't think I'll be upgrading this one - the extras are the same (if they're in PAL I couldn't play them anyway) and I thought the US disc looked great, so right now it feels a bit frivolous for me personally to buy this one again.
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post #278 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 12:19 PM
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For $21 USD I think I'll have to take a look and compare as well. Now I'm curious

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post #279 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 01:23 PM
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Wow. I just got a used copy of the US Blu-Ray about a week ago for $10 and had not even watched it yet. Just popped it in my PS3 and it's the US AVC version.

Unfortunately, if the Australian version is superior I won't be able to watch it beings it's PAL. Guess I'll keep my US AVC.
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post #280 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bleddyn H Williams View Post

Interesting to read, Whiggles. I believe your glowing review of the US Blu-ray helped push me into upgrading some time back. Look forward to hearing your comments, although I don't think I'll be upgrading this one - the extras are the same (if they're in PAL I couldn't play them anyway) and I thought the US disc looked great, so right now it feels a bit frivolous for me personally to buy this one again.

I know - it shocked me too when I popped it in. I always assumed the US version was pretty much as good as the film could look, but it seems I was mistaken. All captures have been taken now and my opinions should follow before too long.
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post #281 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 01:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d34dl1n3r View Post

Wow. I just got a used copy of the US Blu-Ray about a week ago for $10 and had not even watched it yet. Just popped it in my PS3 and it's the US AVC version.

Unfortunately, if the Australian version is superior I won't be able to watch it beings it's PAL. Guess I'll keep my US AVC.

There are no PAL or NTSC BDs (well, sometimes you'll get PAL standard definition bonus features, but...). You should have no problems playing the Australian disc.
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post #282 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiggles View Post

I know - it shocked me too when I popped it in. I always assumed the US version was pretty much as good as the film could look, but it seems I was mistaken. All captures have been taken now and my opinions should follow before too long.

Glad to hear that. I knew it looked a lot better than the US MPEG-2 version, that's for sure. Looking forward to seeing your captures.

One question I have though: does your AUS blu-ray have 'HI-DEFINITION' with the icon logo at the bottom of the front cover and the Blu-ray itself labelled as 'The Descent Special Edition'? I ask because I read somewhere that there were two different versions of the AUS Blu-ray, though I think it highly unlikely. Every website seems to only show one version.
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post #283 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 02:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingkong650 View Post

Glad to hear that. I knew it looked a lot better than the US MPEG-2 version, that's for sure. Looking forward to seeing your captures.

One question I have though: does your AUS blu-ray have 'HI-DEFINITION' with the icon logo at the bottom of the front cover and the Blu-ray itself labelled as 'The Descent Special Edition'? I ask because I read somewhere that there were two different versions of the AUS Blu-ray, though I think it highly unlikely. Every website seems to only show one version.

Yeah, it has the "Hi-Definition" label at the bottom, and the disc itself says "Special Edition". I hadn't noticed it myself until you pointed it out, but I figure it's just a design goof.
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post #284 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiggles View Post

Yeah, it has the "Hi-Definition" label at the bottom, and the disc itself says "Special Edition". I hadn't noticed it myself until you pointed it out, but I figure it's just a design goof.

Cool. Thanks for clarifying that. Sounds like the guy that said there were two versions didn't know what he was talking about.
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post #285 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 02:24 PM
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Okay, screen captures follow. There are so many significant differences between the two versions that I ended up with a large number and struggled to cut it down to a reasonable amount. Eventually, I settled on 20 images for each, down from approximately 70 beforehand (!!). Hopefully these give you some idea of the improvements made with the Australian release.

It looks to me like the gamma of the US release is out of whack. It's not that noticeable when you have nothing to compare it to, but place it side by side with the AUS release and you can immediately see that everything looks overlit, with shadow detail crushed as a result. It's not just brighter, though: there are instances in which the entire colour palette has been altered, with the AUS disc often leaning towards a more stylised, saturated and contrasty look (although this is by no means consistent 100% of the time). I can't say with any certainty which of these two is "correct", but I do know that the colour palette exhibited in the AUS release is the same as that of the UK standard definition DVD release. Ultimately, I suppose it come down to personal preference, but, having now looked at both in high definition, the AUS version gets my vote.

It's worth pointing out that the chromatic aberration present in the US release (most noticeable during the credits) is completely absent from the AUS version. This, I believe, gives the AUS version the edge in terms of detail, although, to be fair, a lot of the perceived detail boost may in fact be coming from the more pronounced contrasts. The encoding is also slightly better on the AUS disc: the US version (the AVC version, that is, not the MPEG-2 re-release) was no slouch, but the AUS version seems to resolve the grain a little better. The fact that the gamma is no longer boosted also means that there is less visible grain in the darker sequences down in the caverns, which looked a little noise-like at times on the US disc.

The bottom line: I'm really glad I got this new version. I previously rated the US version in the top "tier" for image quality, but, having seen the AUS version, I now feel compelled to knock it down a peg. Previously, I thought the US disc was as good as it got: I now admit that this is clearly not the case, as the AUS version trumps it. Perhaps the overall difference in quality isn't night and day, but it's definitely slightly better in a technical sense, and looks much more striking to boot, thanks to the (IMO) superior colour palette.


US (Lions Gate):


AUS (Icon):



US (Lions Gate):


AUS (Icon):



US (Lions Gate):


AUS (Icon):



US (Lions Gate):


AUS (Icon):



US (Lions Gate):


AUS (Icon):



US (Lions Gate):


AUS (Icon):



US (Lions Gate):


AUS (Icon):



US (Lions Gate):


AUS (Icon):



US (Lions Gate):


AUS (Icon):



US (Lions Gate):


AUS (Icon):



US (Lions Gate):


AUS (Icon):



US (Lions Gate):


AUS (Icon):



US (Lions Gate):


AUS (Icon):



US (Lions Gate):


AUS (Icon):



US (Lions Gate):


AUS (Icon):



US (Lions Gate):


AUS (Icon):



US (Lions Gate):
http://whiggles.landofwhimsy.com/com...tus17large.jpg * SPOILER WARNING *

AUS (Icon):
http://whiggles.landofwhimsy.com/com...aus17large.jpg * SPOILER WARNING *


US (Lions Gate):


AUS (Icon):



US (Lions Gate):


AUS (Icon):



US (Lions Gate):
http://whiggles.landofwhimsy.com/com...tus20large.jpg * SPOILER WARNING *

AUS (Icon):
http://whiggles.landofwhimsy.com/com...aus20large.jpg * SPOILER WARNING *
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post #286 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 02:30 PM
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Thanks for clarifying the NTSC/PAL thing. I know PAL dvd's won't play in my US PS3, but I had no idea that PAL blu-rays would.
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post #287 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d34dl1n3r View Post

Thanks for clarifying the NTSC/PAL thing. I know PAL dvd's won't play in my US PS3, but I had no idea that PAL blu-rays would.

That's because there are no PAL Blu-rays.
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post #288 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 02:40 PM
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They boosted the contrast on the AUS too much. I think it's too much. Check out the interior of the cave with the red. It's oversaturated, to me there's less detail. I prefer the more natural colors of the US version. Otherwise they look identical to me.

Has anyone listened to the commentary. That one shot of her covered in blood would make more sense when it's lit so you can see all the wear. But on the OZ version she just looks like she was playing in mud. My 2 cents anyway.

BTW - what the hell is that white speck on the landscape shot from the icon BD? It's on the left side in the sky. I don't think it's a star.

Ridiculous codec tier sig gone. Still AVC/24bit lossless fanboy.

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post #289 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 02:52 PM
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I'll have to agree 100% with shadowrage & will be keeping my US AVC. The colors are definitely oversaturated & the contrast is overdone to the point of much less detail.

It also appears that the Aus version is less consistant in PQ. Looking at the pics the US version seems the same throughout, while the Aus version seems to fluctuate. Maybe it's just me, but some of the Aus screens DO look better & more natural...but overall the US version is constant in its picture.
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post #290 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 03:01 PM
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Just curious, but is "natural" really the ultimate goal for you guys? The stylisation is clearly intentional, and in my opinion at least it looks vastly preferable to the comparatively flat and washed-out US version. I'm also slightly surprised you haven't commented on the obvious improvements in the compression on the AUS disc.
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post #291 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 03:10 PM
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I guess as natural as the director intended. I do agree that the US version looks washed out, but at the same time the Aus version is overly saturated & lacks detail. For me personally, I'd rather keep the detail.

If there was a happy medium between the two I'd take it in a heartbeat, as I'm sure anyone would.

Edit: One good comparison in where the US certainly looks better to me is the 'group photo'. The US is evenly lit in the entire picture, and in the Au it looks like they have a spotlight on the people. It looks strange to me. But like I said, there are also images in which I prefer the Aus version much more. It's a give and take thing.
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post #292 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 03:37 PM
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Okay, here are some mouseover comparisons of Whiggles's shots. The original image is from the US AVC version Blu-ray, the mouseover changes it to the AUS Blu-ray:

Comparison 1

Comparison 2

Comparison 3

Comparison 4

Comparison 5

Comparison 6

Comparison 7

Comparison 8

Comparison 9

Comparison 10

Comparison 11

Comparison 12

Comparison 13

Comparison 14

Comparison 15

Comparison 16

*spoiler warning* Comparison 17

Comparison 18

Comparison 19

*spoiler warning* Comparison 20

It seems that in comparison 3 and 11, the AUS version has more image on the top, bottom, left and right that has been cut in the US AVC version.
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post #293 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 03:39 PM
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Whiggles - Thank you for taking so much of your time to share this with everyone here.

I think the AUS is superior based on the photos. While I do agree that some of the scenes are inconsistent and there seems to be some over saturating the majority of the US version looks washed out in comparison and in many cases looks to be pushing yellows or something. I really want to see both on my on display instead of this crumby LCD monitor at work but based on the photos I would say the benefits of the AUS outweigh its faults and I think it would make for a more intense experience when watching the movie.

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post #294 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 04:15 PM
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Some of the Aus versions are just wrong if what I saw at the theater can be considered reference. On some of the other shots, however, it appears that the American release is wrong. This is... intriguing, to say the least. I'd ask a couple of my friends to take a look but they were both rather drunk when we saw this movie (I got to play sober cab).
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post #295 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 09:52 PM
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AUS BD looks to be the clear winner in most of the shots.

Blu-ray : 340
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post #296 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 10:49 PM
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I owned the UK PAL dvd and think that the US BD is just too damned bright. It's supposed to be dark, contrasty and stylized. helps with the atmosphere IMHO.

US (Lions Gate):


AUS (Icon):



US (Lions Gate):


AUS (Icon):




How long til' Mr. Lizardo chimes in to say that 99.9% of people watching these couldn't tell the difference...?

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post #297 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 11:05 PM
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The AUS looks better... Look at #17...the US is just bad..

Now I need to buy this again

Lex Luthor, Ruler of Australia, activate the machine!
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post #298 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 11:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d34dl1n3r View Post

I guess as natural as the director intended. I do agree that the US version looks washed out, but at the same time the Aus version is overly saturated & lacks detail. For me personally, I'd rather keep the detail.

In which case I suppose it comes down to the question of which version the director DID intend. I don't claim to have any insight into the inner workings of Neil Marshall's mind, except to point out that I've seen a number of releases of THE DESCENT from around the world (either in person or in the form of screenshots), and the US version is the ONLY edition to feature the "natural" colour palette. All the others look like the AUS version. The US release is therefore the odd one out, at least as far as I can see.

Quote:


Edit: One good comparison in where the US certainly looks better to me is the 'group photo'. The US is evenly lit in the entire picture, and in the Au it looks like they have a spotlight on the people. It looks strange to me. But like I said, there are also images in which I prefer the Aus version much more. It's a give and take thing.

It's funny, because I look at that group photo and think the exact opposite. To me, the even lighting on the US version looks very unnatural, almost as if someone had shone a floodlight in the general direction of the cabin, giving everything the same strong, flat tone. The scene in question takes place in the early morning, so in my opinion the colder, more contrasty look on the AUS disc is more appropriate, as well as more appealing on an aesthetic level.

Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
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post #299 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 11:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingkong650 View Post

Okay, here are some mouseover comparisons of Whiggles's shots. The original image is from the US AVC version Blu-ray, the mouseover changes it to the AUS Blu-ray:

Comparison 1

Comparison 2

Comparison 3

Comparison 4

Comparison 5

Comparison 6

Comparison 7

Comparison 8

Comparison 9

Comparison 10

Comparison 11

Comparison 12

Comparison 13

Comparison 14

Comparison 15

Comparison 16

Comparison 17

Comparison 18

Comparison 19

Comparison 20

It seems that in comparison 3 and 11, the AUS version has more image on the top, bottom, left and right that has been cut in the US AVC version.

Thanks for doing these. That's a big help in highlighting the differences. Looks like I didn't quite match the frames for Comparison 7 - damn.
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post #300 of 793 Old 01-30-2009, 11:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Mack View Post

I owned the UK PAL dvd and think that the US BD is just too damned bright. It's supposed to be dark, contrasty and stylized. helps with the atmosphere IMHO.

I think that's the crux of the issue for me. These people are down in an underground cavern with only limited light sources. It shouldn't look like everything's brightly and evenly lit.
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