The New PQ Tier thread for Blu-Ray - Discussion - Page 727 - AVS Forum
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post #21781 of 21965 Old 08-18-2014, 06:55 AM
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Transcendence

I found this movie and bluray to be forgettable on all levels. Aside from maybe one or two interesting shots there is nothing all that visually compelling here.

By today's standards the PQ overall is average at best. Shot on film rather than digital, the subtle yet always present level of film grain provided a pleasant overall feel. Generally speaking the majority of shots showed good clarity and sharpness but there was also plenty of softness in some shots, particularly darker scenes. The color pallet was limited but overall tended towards blue. I didn't see any abnormalities with the transfer.

The big problem with this Blu is black crush. The deepest black levels are very good but to fault. Shadow detail is poor and in some dark scenes almost non existent. Dark areas of the screen became an indistinguishable blob of blackness. The movie also was rather dim overall. Brightly lit day scenes looked good but for me this issue was bad enough to be distracting through much of the movie.

I may be ranking it a tad generously here but...

Ranking- 2.75

Viewed on Panasonic 60" ST60 from a distance of 6.5 feet.
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post #21782 of 21965 Old 08-18-2014, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by wattheF View Post
Divergent

Overall this is a good yet inconsistent offering from Lionsgate. I found the movie itself to be entertaining.

Aside from a couple fleeting soft shots, Divergent offers up a picture with very good detail and clarity with almost zero "film grain". There were some nice looking long distance landscape shots. Most closeups are sharp with a satisfying and realistic texture. This was also helped by the overall neutral, however limited, color pallet that lead to natural looking skin tones. Contrast was subtle yet satisfying.

This was the case for most of the outdoor and indoor daylight scenes, which leads me to the negatives. There are two major issues holding back the PQ of this Blu.
Firstly, black levels. They range from mediocre to below average. On all dark scences blacks looked murky and washed out with lost shadow details. This also lead to a picture lacking in depth and punch at times.

The other issue is color banding! It's severe in a few scenes. This is unacceptable in my opinion. I also thought I may have seen some minor artifacting of some kind in a couple dark scenes.

I found these issues to be distracting and they can't be overlooked. They knock what could have been a solid mid tier Tier 1 blu down a notch (at least).
EDIT* I am changing my original ranking of 2.75 and upping it a bit to 2.50. This is based on the fact that although black levels are not good at least shadow details Were retained in most scenes.(In contrast to a recent viewing of Transcendence, which had very deep black levels but at the cost off lost shadow detail). I have decided that if I really had to sacrifice one for the other I would prefer raised black levels with maintained shadow details over black crush.

Ranking- 2.50
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post #21783 of 21965 Old 08-18-2014, 01:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wattheF View Post
I have decided that if I really had to sacrifice one for the other I would prefer raised black levels with maintained shadow details over black crush.
I totally agree on this. My BenQ doesn't have the deepest blacks, so I'd far prefer seeing things in shadows than for everything to be crushed (which just exacerbates the grayish blacks of the projector).

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post #21784 of 21965 Old 08-18-2014, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by wattheF View Post
Transcendence

I found this movie and bluray to be forgettable on all levels. Aside from maybe one or two interesting shots there is nothing all that visually compelling here.

By today's standards the PQ overall is average at best. Shot on film rather than digital, the subtle yet always present level of film grain provided a pleasant overall feel. Generally speaking the majority of shots showed good clarity and sharpness but there was also plenty of softness in some shots, particularly darker scenes. The color pallet was limited but overall tended towards blue. I didn't see any abnormalities with the transfer.

The big problem with this Blu is black crush. The deepest black levels are very good but to fault. Shadow detail is poor and in some dark scenes almost non existent. Dark areas of the screen became an indistinguishable blob of blackness. The movie also was rather dim overall. Brightly lit day scenes looked good but for me this issue was bad enough to be distracting through much of the movie.

I may be ranking it a tad generously here but...

Ranking- 2.75

Viewed on Panasonic 60" ST60 from a distance of 6.5 feet.
Whoa! 2.75 seems a bit harsh, but I do concur with you regarding the black crush. I emphasized the same thing in my review. But I also thought (and said) that the daytime, outdoor scenes, which were plentiful, were very good and bordered the two top tiers. I went with a 2.0 rating and Phantom gave it a 1.75. It will be interesting to see what others have to say; that is, if others are inclined to see this movie and then chime in.

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post #21785 of 21965 Old 08-18-2014, 02:38 PM
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There were definite issues in several scenes of Transcendence. As I said in my review, it was a visual disappointment for noted cinematographer Wally Pfister's first movie as a director. I thought its best bits were cribbed from The Lawnmower Man.
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post #21786 of 21965 Old 08-18-2014, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by djoberg View Post
Whoa! 2.75 seems a bit harsh, but I do concur with you regarding the black crush. I emphasized the same thing in my review. But I also thought (and said) that the daytime, outdoor scenes, which were plentiful, were very good and bordered the two top tiers. I went with a 2.0 rating and Phantom gave it a 1.75. It will be interesting to see what others have to say; that is, if others are inclined to see this movie and then chime in.
You are probably right that I am being a bit harsh. Maybe I am too focused on the negatives and that overwhelmed it's positives for me, but I really just didn't find anything about its PQ excellent or even great. It's top ranking aside from its issues would have been a 1.75. I docked a full point for the aweful black crush. you could say that is a bit harsh but if I am feeling nice it would still be a 2.50.
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post #21787 of 21965 Old 08-18-2014, 04:04 PM
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^^^^^^

I guess you weren't as impressed as I was with the daytime scenes. That's okay, for there will always be a *subjective* nature (based on several factors, including one's display, seating position, distance from display, and even the viewer's own set of EYES) involved in placing these Blu-rays, which will inevitably cause divergent opinions. I have noticed that you are very consistent in your reviews, as well as honest. I respect that and couldn't ask for anything more.

Using the word "divergent" reminds me of how I've been trying, in vain, to rent Divergence at our local video store. They purchased several Blu-rays to rent out, but they have all been gone the three times that I've visited the store.

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post #21788 of 21965 Old 08-18-2014, 07:49 PM
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^^^^^^

I guess you weren't as impressed as I was with the daytime scenes. That's okay, for there will always be a *subjective* nature (based on several factors, including one's display, seating position, distance from display, and even the viewer's own set of EYES) involved in placing these Blu-rays, which will inevitably cause divergent opinions. I have noticed that you are very consistent in your reviews, as well as honest. I respect that and couldn't ask for anything more.

Using the word "divergent" reminds me of how I've been trying, in vain, to rent Divergence at our local video store. They purchased several Blu-rays to rent out, but they have all been gone the three times that I've visited the store.
Thanks. I do try to be consistent and balanced in my reviews. I don't often sugarcoat things in anything I do. Sometimes differences in opinion do come into play though.
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post #21789 of 21965 Old 08-19-2014, 10:24 PM
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What this thread needs is another Need for Speed review ;-)
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post #21790 of 21965 Old 08-20-2014, 12:34 PM
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What this thread needs is another Need for Speed review ;-)
I just rented a copy this afternoon Russ. I'll be watching it later today or sometime tomorrow.

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post #21791 of 21965 Old 08-20-2014, 02:07 PM
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I just rented a copy this afternoon Russ. I'll be watching it later today or sometime tomorrow.
Excellent - Kuro will enjoy the blacks and the SVS will enjoy the cars
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post #21792 of 21965 Old 08-20-2014, 03:03 PM
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A Serious Man

Just call me a "Johnny-Come-Lately," for I wasn't able to rent this when it came out a few years ago but thanks to a real *friend* (who lent me a copy) I was able to view it this afternoon. I'm an avid fan of anything by the Coen Brothers so I've wanted to see this for a very long time, and especially with the rave reviews this received in the PQ department.

I was a bit letdown with the movie itself, though it was still quite "watchable." But I was not at all disappointed in the PQ department. It was a very CLEAN, SHARP and DETAILED Blu-ray with excellent BLACK LEVELS and SHADOW DETAILS. It currently resides in Tier 0 at approximately .33. It holds up very well for being a few years old, but I would be inclined to drop it a smidgen (due to a less-than-stellar start, where the first 6-7 minutes had well below average PQ) to the following ranking....

Tier Recommendation: Tier 0 (.66)

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post #21793 of 21965 Old 08-20-2014, 03:04 PM
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Excellent - Kuro will enjoy the blacks and the SVS will enjoy the cars
Sounds good Russ! I'm pumped to watch it and hope to see it later tonight.

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post #21794 of 21965 Old 08-20-2014, 06:14 PM
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300:Rise of an Empire

Regardless of the fact that this movie is not without its issues (namely lack of plot and character development), I was thoroughly entertained, and enjoyed every minute of it.

300:Rise of an Empire bluray is a highly stylized visual feast. There are some really impressive scenes/shots in this movie with good use of CGI and creative cinematography. Most shots are sharp with very good clarity, but softness does pop up from time to time. The stark gray/black color scheme with splashes of gold hue and other color (often blood red), and cranked up contrast (that make some of the whites look blown out) may not be everyone's cup of tea. Although shadow detail is only average, the black levels are excellent.
When done right (as is the case in many scenes) the combination of these elements provides a very dynamic, even captivating image. Too bad the PQ wasn't a bit more consistent.

The picture isn't without its technical issues. Partially due to the "look" that is achieved, it certainly isn't the cleanest picture. There seemed to be a higher than normal "noise" level. Based on the fact that I noticed this most in the brightest areas, I am thinking this may have something to do with the exaggerated contrast levels. There also may be some other processing going on, but I couldn't seem to pinpoint what it was.

In my opinion, these issues were not excessive and didn't detract much from the overall viewing experience.

Ranking: 1.50

Viewed on Panasonic 60" ST60 from a viewing distance of 6.5 feet.

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post #21795 of 21965 Old 08-20-2014, 08:27 PM
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That's My Man

recommendation: Tier 4.0*

Olive Films has dug deep into Paramount's vaults for this black-and-white film from 1947, starring a young Don Ameche. The press material indicates the film transfer was mastered from "archival film elements." It sports decent grain reproduction and preserves the intended 1.37 aspect ratio, though there are the occasional rough spots. This is not a pristine negative free of gate scratches and nicks. The archival film elements are largely unrestored, including a handful of scenes in fairly poor condition. The rest of the transfer is rather decent with fine clarity and a steady contrast. Some minor fluctuations in the black levels lead to early crushing, limiting shadow delineation.

Most interesting about this disc is that it restores That's My Man to its original length of 99 minutes. A much shorter version has circulated for decades. This is not an award-winning presentation by Olive Films but one that should satisfy interested film-lovers. There are no technical deficiencies with the 1080P presentation, Olive Films follows their standard practices with a competent AVC video encode that does not interfere with the film's fidelity.
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post #21796 of 21965 Old 08-20-2014, 09:06 PM
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Need For Speed

The credits are rolling and my heart is still pumping wildly after that adrenaline rush of a movie!! It may not win any Oscars, but it sure was a FUN RIDE!!!

And then add to that some of the best PQ I've seen this year and you most definitely have a winner! Russ said I was going to love the KURO levels....uh, I mean the "BLACK levels" (wait a minute, KURO means BLACK so I was right the first time ), and he wasn't kidding. They were phenomenal! Wait until you see the nighttime scenes of San Francisco...simply AMAZING (and the panoramic views of New York City at night weren't too shabby either!).

The CONTRAST was slightly spiked, giving the COLORS just the right boost, rivaling those in the Fast & Furious series! FLESH TONES were spot-on perfect! DEPTH was infinite in many scenes! SHARPNESS & CLARITY were off the charts in most scenes!!

Did I forget anything? Oh yeah, DETAILS were unbelievably mesmerizing...facial features, clothing, cars, foliage, city streets, and last, but not least, the panoramic views of the Pacific Coast Highway during the "race of races!"

My colleague Russ gave this a 1.0 and then, after some reflection, came to his senses and boosted it to Tier 0 (.65). I'm inclined to go even higher....

Tier Recommendation: Tier 0* (.5)

PS The audio ROCKED, especially the revving of engines as the races started. The surround action was stellar throughout!

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post #21797 of 21965 Old 08-20-2014, 09:10 PM
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It sounds like reference material. I did not have much interest in Need For Speed but now I might have to check it out.
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post #21798 of 21965 Old 08-20-2014, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djoberg View Post
Need For Speed

The credits are rolling and my heart is still pumping wildly after that adrenaline rush of a movie!! It may not win any Oscars, but it sure was a FUN RIDE!!!

And then add to that some of the best PQ I've seen this year and you most definitely have a winner! Russ said I was going to love the KURO levels....uh, I mean the "BLACK levels" (wait a minute, KURO means BLACK so I was right the first time ), and he wasn't kidding. They were phenomenal! Wait until you see the nighttime scenes of San Francisco...simply AMAZING (and the panoramic views of New York City at night weren't too shabby either!).

The CONTRAST was slightly spiked, giving the COLORS just the right boost, rivaling those in the Fast & Furious series! FLESH TONES were spot-on perfect! DEPTH was infinite in many scenes! SHARPNESS & CLARITY were off the charts in most scenes!!

Did I forget anything? Oh yeah, DETAILS were unbelievably mesmerizing...facial features, clothing, cars, foliage, city streets, and last, but not least, the panoramic views of the Pacific Coast Highway during the "race of races!"

My colleague Russ gave this a 1.0 and then, after some reflection, came to his senses and boosted it to Tier 0 (.65). I'm inclined to go even higher....

Tier Recommendation: Tier 0* (.5)

PS The audio ROCKED, especially the revving of engines as the races started. The surround action was stellar throughout!

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Denny - your review has made my day - couldn't agree more with all what you said!
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post #21799 of 21965 Old 08-21-2014, 09:23 PM
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Divergent


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Divergent

Overall this is a good yet inconsistent offering from Lionsgate. I found the movie itself to be entertaining.

Aside from a couple fleeting soft shots, Divergent offers up a picture with very good detail and clarity with almost zero "film grain". There were some nice looking long distance landscape shots. Most closeups are sharp with a satisfying and realistic texture. This was also helped by the overall neutral, however limited, color pallet that lead to natural looking skin tones. Contrast was subtle yet satisfying.

This was the case for most of the outdoor and indoor daylight scenes, which leads me to the negatives. There are two major issues holding back the PQ of this Blu.
Firstly, black levels. They range from mediocre to below average. On all dark scences blacks looked murky and washed out with lost shadow details. This also lead to a picture lacking in depth and punch at times.

The other issue is color banding! It's severe in a few scenes. This is unacceptable in my opinion. I also thought I may have seen some minor artifacting of some kind in a couple dark scenes.

I found these issues to be distracting and they can't be overlooked. They knock what could have been a solid mid tier Tier 1 blu down a notch (at least).

Ranking- 2.75
I agree with much of this review (especially his comments about the inconsistency of this offering and the lackluster black levels), with two exceptions. He makes mention of "a couple of fleeting soft shots," where I saw MANY soft shots/blurry shots sprinkled throughout the 2+ hour running time. The other difference was his issue with "color banding" being "severe in a few scenes," for even though I noticed a couple of instances of banding they were NOT severe.

Again, we agree on most points, for at times there is "very good detail and clarity" with "some nice-looking long distance landscape shots." Close-ups were indeed "satisfying" with "realistic texture." The color palette was, for the most part, muted, though when primaries appeared one is rewarded with pleasing EYE CANDY. Most of these *virtues* could be seen in either bright, daytime shots or, if indoors, with plenty of light. A majority of nighttime shots or indoor shots with dim lighting resulted in the bad black levels referred to earlier, as well as the soft/blurry shots.

This is NOT a disc that I would use to convince one of the virtues of HD technology. That's not to say it's bad, or even one fit for one of the three lower tiers. But I must agree with my colleague that this is destined for Tier 2, though I would bump it up a notch or two....

Tier Recommendation: 2.25*

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post #21800 of 21965 Old 08-21-2014, 09:27 PM
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^^^^^

I realized after I sent this that wattheF had changed his placement from 2.75 to 2.50, so we are really close in our assessment. I must say that this was a rare outing for Lionsgate, which typically has excellent PQ. What surprised me the most was the inconsistency of this transfer; one minute it was sharp, detailed and offering appreciable depth; and the next minute it was soft and flat (though some detail was still to be seen in those shots). Again, this is NOT normal for a company like Lionsgate.

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post #21801 of 21965 Old 08-22-2014, 07:31 AM
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Djoberg and wattheF -- do you think the soft shots etc. are a result of the compression and encode on the disc or are they inherent to the photography? I'm thinking that that distinction will make it clear whether or not Lionsgate is to blame or if it was the DP to begin with.

P.S. Not all that personally interested in Divergent in particular, but thought it would be interesting to get your thoughts on the causes of poor performance for this very recent release.

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post #21802 of 21965 Old 08-22-2014, 07:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredxr2d2 View Post
Djoberg and wattheF -- do you think the soft shots etc. are a result of the compression and encode on the disc or are they inherent to the photography? I'm thinking that that distinction will make it clear whether or not Lionsgate is to blame or if it was the DP to begin with.

P.S. Not all that personally interested in Divergent in particular, but thought it would be interesting to get your thoughts on the causes of poor performance for this very recent release.
I would lean towards the encode itself. If it were simply the photography (and thus the Director's choice), there wouldn't be such inconsistency. It can go from sharp with considerable depth to soft and flat in seconds and in the same scene. This speaks to the encode and not the photography. The more I think about the softness, flatness and underwhelming black levels, the more I think I may have been too generous in my rating of 2.25.
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post #21803 of 21965 Old 08-22-2014, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fredxr2d2 View Post
Djoberg and wattheF -- do you think the soft shots etc. are a result of the compression and encode on the disc or are they inherent to the photography? I'm thinking that that distinction will make it clear whether or not Lionsgate is to blame or if it was the DP to begin with.

P.S. Not all that personally interested in Divergent in particular, but thought it would be interesting to get your thoughts on the causes of poor performance for this very recent release.
The softness is likely endemic to the principal photography, most modern video encoders don't purposely soften the transfer unless it is a conscious decision by the filmmakers in post. I've mentioned it in the past, but the banding is almost certainly a fault of Lionsgate's older AVC encoders. Their Blu-ray video encodes show a consistent pattern of undithered banding, common to the AVC hardware of a few years ago. Their authoring firm is using outdated software settings or older hardware. You don't see that type of banding anymore from the other major studios on new releases with sufficient compression parameters.
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post #21804 of 21965 Old 08-22-2014, 10:42 AM
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^^^^^^

Thanks Phantom for the info posted above. So, your thought about the "principal photography" being the cause for the softness begs the question, "Why would a camera, in this case the Arri Alexa, produce a sharp picture one second and a soft picture the next?"
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post #21805 of 21965 Old 08-22-2014, 10:46 AM
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I purchased a copy of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 yesterday and plan to watch it tonight or tomorrow. Many reviewers are calling it reference material and are giving it 5 Stars for both Video and Audio. Needless to say, I'm excited to see (and hear) it!!
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post #21806 of 21965 Old 08-22-2014, 10:55 AM
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I purchased a copy of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 yesterday and plan to watch it tonight or tomorrow. Many reviewers are calling it reference material and are giving it 5 Stars for both Video and Audio. Needless to say, I'm excited to see (and hear) it!!
I would love to see someone rank the new Disney catalog releases, including Hercules and Tarzan. Their secondary Blu-rays have received maddeningly inconsistent transfers, running the gamut from embarrassing to stellar work.
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post #21807 of 21965 Old 08-22-2014, 01:21 PM
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I would love to see someone rank the new Disney catalog releases, including Hercules and Tarzan. Their secondary Blu-rays have received maddeningly inconsistent transfers, running the gamut from embarrassing to stellar work.
Those titles don't exactly appeal to me, but if I get a string of rainy days and my other half goes to visit our daughters in Minneapolis, I may just give them a rent.

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post #21808 of 21965 Old 08-22-2014, 09:48 PM
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Djoberg and wattheF -- do you think the soft shots etc. are a result of the compression and encode on the disc or are they inherent to the photography? I'm thinking that that distinction will make it clear whether or not Lionsgate is to blame or if it was the DP to begin with.

P.S. Not all that personally interested in Divergent in particular, but thought it would be interesting to get your thoughts on the causes of poor performance for this very recent release.
I would lean towards the encode itself. If it were simply the photography (and thus the Director's choice), there wouldn't be such inconsistency. It can go from sharp with considerable depth to soft and flat in seconds and in the same scene. This speaks to the encode and not the photography. The more I think about the softness, flatness and underwhelming black levels, the more I think I may have been too generous in my rating of 2.25.
I would agree with Phantom on this. It seemed to me that the issue was inherent in the photography itself.
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post #21809 of 21965 Old 08-22-2014, 09:52 PM
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Need For Speed

The credits are rolling and my heart is still pumping wildly after that adrenaline rush of a movie!! It may not win any Oscars, but it sure was a FUN RIDE!!!

And then add to that some of the best PQ I've seen this year and you most definitely have a winner! Russ said I was going to love the KURO levels....uh, I mean the "BLACK levels" (wait a minute, KURO means BLACK so I was right the first time ), and he wasn't kidding. They were phenomenal! Wait until you see the nighttime scenes of San Francisco...simply AMAZING (and the panoramic views of New York City at night weren't too shabby either!).

The CONTRAST was slightly spiked, giving the COLORS just the right boost, rivaling those in the Fast & Furious series! FLESH TONES were spot-on perfect! DEPTH was infinite in many scenes! SHARPNESS & CLARITY were off the charts in most scenes!!

Did I forget anything? Oh yeah, DETAILS were unbelievably mesmerizing...facial features, clothing, cars, foliage, city streets, and last, but not least, the panoramic views of the Pacific Coast Highway during the "race of races!"

My colleague Russ gave this a 1.0 and then, after some reflection, came to his senses and boosted it to Tier 0 (.65). I'm inclined to go even higher....

Tier Recommendation: Tier 0* (.5)

PS The audio ROCKED, especially the revving of engines as the races started. The surround action was stellar throughout!

Viewed from 7.5' using the equipment listed below....
I totally agree. Need for Speed Audio and video= WOW! I would be inclined to rank it even a tick higher.

In fact the surround action may have been a bit too good. Think I blew out my tweeters

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post #21810 of 21965 Old 08-22-2014, 09:56 PM
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This new update (not sure if it's mobile version only) is so
S L O W...Also is anyone else have trouble getting the master list page to open?

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