North Face (Nordwand - 2008) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 01-31-2010, 01:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Just ordered this import from Video Universe (currently on backorder)....LOVE mountain climbing films....even 'Cliffhanger' (BD looks great). Looks like this German film just had its N. American theatrical debut this weekend (86% on R/T's!). Looks like the BD is a winner too (and it's CIH-friendly)....cannot wait...bluray was MADE for movies like this

Here's a couple of takes:
http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/North-...y-Review/4728/
http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film2/DVDRe...ce_blu-ray.htm

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post #2 of 9 Old 01-31-2010, 02:31 AM
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The colors are very natural in this film. I would almost say reference..
Unfortunately, the blacks doesnt look to good. I had to turn down the brightness button several steps to get a good picture.

But the story is really good. And the special effects are particulary good.
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post #3 of 9 Old 01-31-2010, 03:48 AM
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IMO this is one of the best German movies of recent years. Good story, great acting, terrific photography. I only know the German BD. It has very good image and audio quality, but is not well-suited for non-German speakers, since it has only German subtitles. But the UK version should be good.
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post #4 of 9 Old 01-31-2010, 07:29 PM
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My comments from the Picture Quality tier thread on the region-free U.K. Blu-ray...

North Face (UK import)

recommendation: Tier 1.75

Occasionally a movie surprises in crafting compelling human drama out of a subject which normally holds no interest for me. The subject here is mountaineering, specifically set in Germany in 1936, against the backdrop of nationalistic pride between Germany and Austria. A German language film that premiered in 2008, the region-free Blu-ray was released in the UK on April 27, 2009, by Metrodome Video. The 126-minute movie is encoded in AVC on a BD-25. The video encode averages 18.99 Mbps for the main feature. Occasionally spectacular in sheer visual quality and rarely poor, this is a fine transfer of a movie that easily lends itself to great visual landscapes.

Shot on varying cameras due to the constraints of filming on location in the Alps, the picture quality is a little schizophrenic in character. Exterior scenes at the base of the mountains are simply splendid in appearance. Wide, sweeping shots fill the screen with beautiful mountain imagery in perfect contrast and bold colors. The image exudes a sharpness that creates a great amount of depth and dimensionality, recalling other great-looking titles in the upper quarters of tier one. Important to note is the complete lack of any blown highlights, especially in the final acts, a critical requirement for a movie set in the sheer-white ice and snow fields of the Alps.

Interior scenes in the hotel, a regular setting, are a little different in appearance from the aerial footage and outdoor setups. Contrast is slightly heavier and black levels are very deep, leading to a slightly flatter appearance that on its own merits could be placed in tier 2.0 or 2.25. Interior shots also show a slight color tweaking that creates an unnatural hue in the flesh-tones. In these moments the actors consistently display a push toward yellowed skin in their faces. Black levels are quite good though, and it will test your display's ability to reproduce the inkiest blacks and superior shadow detail.

Digital post-processing is never evident in the transfer. The picture retains a healthy and fairly thick grain-structure throughout the film appropriate to the particular scene. There is absolutely no evidence of any temporal grain-filtering being applied, as high-frequency detail is excellent for the entire movie in all medium and close shots. The grain never tears or smears into a visible mess. A few select shots indicate a small amount of ringing that may or may not be the result of edge enhancement. My inclination is that the ringing, of fairly minor amplitude, is the result of the original photography. The master shows no degradation of any kind and is reminiscent of other new day-and-date releases on Blu-ray in that regard.

A combination of fog, snow and grain pose a small challenge to the video compression in the most difficult circumstances. For a fairly low-average bitrate encoding, it reproduces the grain fairly well with an absolute minimum of obvious artifacts. But a tiny bit of compression noise pops up during the brief scenes late in the movie with fairly thick weather conditions. A movie of this caliber deserves being released on a BD-50, where the encoding parameters could have been substantially increased to improve the encode's transparency to the master.

Hollywood does not typically make movies like this anymore with emotional depth and realistic characters. A ranking in tier 1.75 is a stretch for parts of the movie, but weighing the overall components together makes it a fair estimate. The short text interviews provided with the director and the cameraman who actually filmed the movie on the cliffs of the Alps are fascinating, and discuss the realities of shooting while climbing a mountain.

Watching on a 60 Pioneer KURO plasma at 1080p/24 from a PS3 (firmware 3.01) at a viewing distance of six feet.

BDInfo scan (courtesy of Kannisto):
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...9#post16377429
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post #5 of 9 Old 02-01-2010, 12:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Many thanks for your in-depth comments on the PQ, 'Phantom Stranger' !

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post #6 of 9 Old 02-08-2010, 08:34 PM
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I just received the UK version (Amazon.co.uk). Movie plays fine.

I am unable to play the video extras (PS3 - latest firmware):
Making North Face, Visual Effects of North Face, Deleted Scenes, Theatrical trailer, UK exclusive trailer.
Text extras work.

Has anyone had luck playing the extras?

Blu-ray.com review states: "Please note that the majority of the supplemental features listed below are in standard-def PAL. Therefore, you need to have a Blu-ray player that converts PAL-NTSC, or a multi-system TV set, in order to access them."
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post #7 of 9 Old 02-09-2010, 12:27 PM
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The German version is higher bit rate than UK version.
But German only (no English subtitles).
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post #8 of 9 Old 02-09-2010, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Albatross View Post

I just received the UK version (Amazon.co.uk). Movie plays fine.

I am unable to play the video extras (PS3 - latest firmware):
Making North Face, Visual Effects of North Face, Deleted Scenes, Theatrical trailer, UK exclusive trailer.
Text extras work.

Has anyone had luck playing the extras?

Blu-ray.com review states: "Please note that the majority of the supplemental features listed below are in standard-def PAL. Therefore, you need to have a Blu-ray player that converts PAL-NTSC, or a multi-system TV set, in order to access them."

That review is correct. There are a handful of American Blu-ray players that will handle the standard-definition PAL material on region-free imports without incident. The Region A PS3 is not one of them however, unless you want to import one from Hong Kong. I know at least certain Samsung models and both of Oppo's players have that capability in the U.S. I have been using a LG BD370 for that specific purpose.
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post #9 of 9 Old 02-09-2010, 04:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post

That review is correct. There are a handful of American Blu-ray players that will handle the standard-definition PAL material on region-free imports without incident. The Region A PS3 is not one of them however, unless you want to import one from Hong Kong. I know at least certain Samsung models and both of Oppo's players have that capability in the U.S. I have been using a LG BD370 for that specific purpose.

Thanks.
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