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Join Date: Feb 2008
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Some thoughts on Ghostbusters that I made for the PQ tier thread.
recommendation: Tier 2.75
A comedy from 1984, this movie saw its premiere on Blu-ray just yesterday. The 105-minute film is encoded in AVC on a BD-50. The BDInfo scan reveals an average video bitrate of 23.51 Mbps for the main feature. Sony Pictures handles their own encoding in-house and the compression here is exemplary work, appearing transparent to the original source. Atypically, the resulting video bitrates vary little from the average video bitrate-figure, mostly hovering in the 24 Mbps range for the entire main feature. The heavy grain structure is easily reproduced without any macroblocking or questionable moments. Even the special effect shots produce no artifacting on close inspection.
While many catalog titles are thrown out on Blu-ray without much thought and care given to the master itself, I can report this is not the case on Ghostbusters. There is virtually no print damage to the image itself. I could count on one hand the rare appearances of stray specks and dirt. It really is a glorious film transfer that appears in all respects faithful to the original film source. Grain is definitely present and moves like it should in the picture. To my eyes there looks to be no use of digital noise reduction to remove grain and other high-frequency information. If it was used in moderation, I wish other studios would emulate what Sony has done on this transfer. It looks entirely faithful to a movie shot on film from the 1980's. That might displease some but it was the correct decision to leave the grain in the picture.
I do not believe any sharpening in post-production has been applied to this transfer. What some may characterize as small halos in amplitude might be in a few of the optical composite shots, but that looks to be a fundamental part of the picture that was a remnant of the techniques used to make those shots. Close inspection of the final scenes on top of the building possibly exhibits this tiny and hardly noticeable effect at standard viewing distances.
The picture is hard to pin down with the standard bromides for picture quality. Some scenes are soft in appearance due to the original photography. Black levels are average at best with a few scenes exhibiting wavy grain in the darkest moments that might be considered sub-par in quality. Viewers who prefer a hot, video look to their high-definition without visible grain should be warned. Grain is omnipresent, particularly early in the movie, which might distract some viewers. Resolution is strong though and superior to other films of similar vintage on Blu-ray such as Amadeus. It is easy to clearly see the somewhat rough skin of Bill Murray's face. The contrast looks improved over the prior dvd editions and is decent throughout the movie. Flesh tones look very good and appropriate. Colors in general are nicely balanced with even saturation. They do not pop off the screen like a Pixar movie, but look reasonably strong given the toned-down color scheme of the movie.
Ghostbusters is my second favorite comedy of all-time (coincidentally my favorite comedy of all-time also happened to be released yesterday) and I always have a little trepidation when a beloved catalog title is released on Blu-ray due to how other favorites have been handled in the past. After seeing this stunning transfer that appears completely faithful to the original film, my worries have been laid to rest for this movie. Sony has done a remarkable job on this BD and one that other studios should emulate on catalog titles. This disc is no eye candy but a solid looking release that merits an immediate purchase for fans. I have full confidence in stating we will never see a better looking Ghostbusters ever...on this format anyway. My final recommendation is for placement in tier 2.75.
Watching on a 60 Pioneer Kuro plasma at 1080p/24 fed by a PS3 (firmware 2.76) at a viewing distance of six feet.