The New PQ Tier thread for Blu-Ray - Discussion - Page 730 - AVS Forum
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post #21871 of 21896 Old 09-05-2014, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
So what Tier is the Lake in?
With a name like Lake SUPERIOR...and with the color often being BLUE...what Tier should it be in?

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post #21872 of 21896 Old 09-05-2014, 11:37 PM
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Ruby Sparks

recommendation: Tier 2.5*

This BD is a couple of years old by now, released by 20th Century Fox. It is a rather middle-of-the-road looking film with relatively simple cinematography. The AVC encoding is completely transparent to the digital intermediate. I was a little surprised to find it was shot using the Arri Alexa digital camera, I could have sworn it was shot on actual film. Its excellent contrast is never challenged too greatly, though some of the finer detail is limited at times.

Ruby Sparks is not a flashy visual experience but comes delivered in pleasant 1080P resolution lacking the kind of depth and micro-detail necessary for the higher tiers.


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post #21873 of 21896 Old 09-06-2014, 03:10 PM
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Odd Thomas

recommendation: Tier 2.25*

By all rights this superficially impressive picture quality should land in Tier One. Despite some minor banding due to a deficient AVC video encode provided by Image Entertainment on a BD-25, this is a vivid 1080P presentation with excellent clarity and outstanding sharpness. The saturated color palette has lush colors and perfect contrast. Without the following problem, I could have seen ranking this disc near the top of Tier One.

Are you waiting for the punchline on why I assigned Odd Thomas to Tier 2.25? I haven't seen a transfer on BD this completely filtered in several years. The entire movie has been filtered, leaving it devoid of high-frequency content and detail. The waxy skin and plastic faces are the most noticeable results of this filtering. It greatly devalues the inherent detail found in 1080P video.


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post #21874 of 21896 Old 09-06-2014, 09:15 PM
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Man of Tai Chi

recommendation: Tier 0* (bottom 1/3)

A beautiful scope presentation from director Keanu Reeves. I never imagined I would need to write those words. Man of Tai Chi is a visually extravagant martial arts film released last December on Blu-ray, by Starz. The picture is crystal clear, rendering everything as sharply as possible. It has superior detail in every frame and possesses superb depth.

The opening scene is a little rocky with its black levels, crushing the slightest amount of shadow delineation. Starz is distributing this film for the Weinstein Company, throwing it out on a BD-25. That does lead to sightings of macroblocking in two shots. I think another studio with better compression standards might have pushed this movie even higher in Tier 0!

This is definitely must-watch demo material for martial arts enthusiasts.
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post #21875 of 21896 Old 09-12-2014, 05:54 PM
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Having seen a string of recent WB television releases, I'll review them all at once.

Supernatural: Season Nine

recommendation: Tier 2.5*

The Vampire Diaries: Season Five

recommendation: Tier 2.5*

The Originals: Season One

recommendation: Tier 2.25*

Person of Interest: Season Three

recommendation: Tier 3.0*

All these sets share a lot in common, having been distributed by WB in the past two weeks. Three on them air on the CW network. They share very similar technical specifications, as WB has authored them all in AVC at fairly pedestrian bitrates. While four BD-50s sound like a lot, space can quickly get consumed by 22 hour-long episodes. There is too much banding and macroblocking to ignore, especially in the darker scenes. A fifth disc would have made a lot of sense if picture quality was an overriding concern. Television productions often lack the kind of consistency required for higher Tiers, and these programs are no exception.

What stands out most are the black levels in Vampire Diaries and mushy detail in Person of Interest. VD has a muted palette with crushing problems to its black levels, hurting visibility and shadow detail. Person of Interest looks to have been filtered, showing mushy detail and a bit of softness for modern video. It also employs a lot of CGI, more so than even the other shows.

All the programs look rather good in better exterior and daylit scenes, highlighted by vivid definition and a startlingly clean presentation.


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post #21876 of 21896 Old 09-13-2014, 08:00 PM
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Pawn Shop Chronicles

recommendation: Tier 0* (.6)

Pristine picture quality, terrible movie. Incredible definition and texture, highlighted by impressive depth. If I had to cite anything that was less than exemplary, the brightness is oddly flat in a couple of scenes. We are talking artifact-free digital clarity, unheard of just a few years ago.

Starz/Anchor Bay provides a sufficient AVC video encode for the ultra-vivid video. It is simply so clean and immaculately shot that the lower compression parameters never have a chance to introduce problems. I did not expect this type of pure video quality when I popped the disc in, nothing indicated videophile status about it.


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post #21877 of 21896 Old 09-14-2014, 06:06 AM
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OCULUS

Someone asked about it so here it is...

This was decent horror movie with an interesting concept that could have been done much better IMO.

As far as PQ is concerned, I was rather surprised by how good it looked. For the most part the picture was sharp and clear with very good details. There were a few scenes that came of a bit softer. Contrast was just right and black levels were overall very good although they waivered here and there. Shadow details were just right. The color pallet seemed fairly neutral.

Overall Oculus has very strong PQ with no glaring issues but this movie didn't quite reach reference quality levels.

Ranking- 1.0

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post #21878 of 21896 Old 09-14-2014, 06:34 AM
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The Muppets: Most Wanted

Based on the first installment, which my kids own on bluray, I had pretty high expectations for the PQ in this movie. I felt the movie itself fell a bit flat, but as far as PQ goes it definitely lived up to my expectations.

Clarity and detail, although not the best I have seen, are still top notch. I don't recall even one soft shot. Excellent black levels and shadow details combined with perfect contrast lead to great depth. Color is rich with strong primaries. The pallet is neutral with very natural skin tones.

This movie, like the first, has a very pleasant and balanced feel with lifelike realism. It is actually improved in many areas.

Ranking- Tier 0 (somewhere just below the middle)

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post #21879 of 21896 Old 09-14-2014, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wattheF View Post
OCULUS

Someone asked about it so here it is...

This was decent horror movie with an interesting concept that could have been done much better IMO.

As far as PQ is concerned, I was rather surprised by how good it looked. For the most part the picture was sharp and clear with very good details. There were a few scenes that came of a bit softer. Contrast was just right and black levels were overall very good although they waivered here and there. Shadow details were just right. The color pallet seemed fairly neutral.

Overall Oculus has very strong PQ with no glaring issues but this movie didn't quite reach reference quality levels.

Ranking- 1.0
Thanks for the review!

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post #21880 of 21896 Old 09-14-2014, 10:12 AM
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The Muppets: Most Wanted


Ranking- Tier 0 (somewhere just below the middle)
Completely agree and good to know I wasn't been too generous, it really is excellent PQ wise.
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post #21881 of 21896 Old 09-15-2014, 09:20 AM
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Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Tier Recommendation: Tier 0

Well, like the theatrical presentation, The Winter Soldier is presented from its digital source without film grain. Every shot is clear and striking. The only issue that I saw at all was some slight digital noise during a couple of middle-light scenes. It was almost as if they knew how to get the cameras to handle dark scenes and obviously knew how to handle light scenes, but shots that were transitions (like the sunrise early in the film) just exhibited noise that seemed out of place in an otherwise spectacular presentation.

I also rarely listen at reference, but I turned things up for this one and wasn't disappointed at all.

Despite the couple minor instances of noise, the rest of the film is clear and bright and overall excellent, so I would put it in Tier 0.

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Currently watching on: BenQ W1070, 82" 1.0 Gain Screen, PS3, with Yamaha RX-V473, SVS PB-1000, a Def Tech CS-8040HD, and 4 Def Tech ProMonitor 800s.
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post #21882 of 21896 Old 09-15-2014, 12:41 PM
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The Deadly Duo

recommendation: Tier 2.5*

I had a very long analysis written for this BD that was eaten by the forum, so I will be brief. This is possibly the best vintage film transfer struck for a Shaw Brothers' film. Released in 2009 by Tokyo Shock, it looks beautiful with lovely color saturation and vivid fidelity.

Despite some limited filtering, the result is a new film transfer (well, it was new in 2009) with perfect color timing. It smokes most of the other Shaw Brothers' Blu-rays in terms of innate picture quality and represents a substantial improvement over DVD in all the critical areas.


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post #21883 of 21896 Old 09-16-2014, 08:45 AM
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My Tutor

recommendation: Tier 3.0*

The people behind niche label Scorpion Releasing have shown a rather good eye when choosing their Blu-ray releases, at least from the ones I have personally seen. My Tutor continues that trend, featuring a brand-new film transfer from a negative in impeccable condition once you get past the credits. The 1983 movie looks better than ever in 1080P, limited only by that era's film stocks and cinematography in Hi-Def.

There is a touch of sharpening and the transfer is overly bright for the early scenes, but overall possesses fine clarity in a pleasing, film-like presentation. This is a very solid catalog release of vintage film struck from the negative, resulting in excellent definition and granular texture. It puts to shame many of the dated transfers being released by bigger distributors from this era.


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post #21884 of 21896 Old 09-17-2014, 08:48 PM
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I'm finally back and the first thing I noticed when driving up to our house was my pre-ordered copy of Godzilla lying by our front door!! Has anyone seen it yet? I've read several reviews and EVERYONE is speaking highly of the PQ and speaking even higher of the AQ. Needless to say, I can't wait to see it. Perhaps I'll get to it tomorrow night.

I leave (once again!) on another trip early Monday morning so I'm hoping to at least see Godzilla and, if I'm lucky, one more on Friday night (we have company coming for Saturday and most of Sunday).

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post #21885 of 21896 Old 09-17-2014, 11:24 PM
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The video on Godzilla is somewhat controversial from what I gather, there are complaints the picture is overly dark. It's not at the top of my priority list, so others will have to chime-in with their opinions. I have not seen it except in screencaps. Someone will have to do something about your trips, it is interfering with your reviewing duties for the thread.

HAL The Movie

recommendation: Tier 1.5*

HAL is a very recent animated feature, fairly brief at 60-minutes long. The animation is quite detailed with very fine line art, far better than most television productions. The actual picture quality lies somewhere between Tier 1.5 and Tier 1.75, color saturation is more realistically rendered than most modern animation and looks a touch flat. I went with the higher Tier since anime distributor Funimation licked their banding problems with HAL, generously encoding it at much higher parameters than their normal bit-starved discs.


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post #21886 of 21896 Old 09-18-2014, 12:29 AM
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^^^ I indeed found Godzilla a bit dark at times but will let those with better black levels than I chime in other wise the grayscale and color pallet used were very nice.
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post #21887 of 21896 Old 09-18-2014, 06:47 AM
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^^^ I indeed found Godzilla a bit dark at times but will let those with better black levels than I chime in other wise the grayscale and color pallet used were very nice.
Most of the reviews mentioned that the movie became increasingly dark, but they also mentioned that the black levels weren't murky or crushed and that shadow details were excellent. I'm hoping my KURO is up to the challenge, for the general consensus was that this movie fares much better on a very large screen (with a projector).

So, how did you like the audio? The *expert* reviewers are singing its praises, with some saying it's the best audio track this year. They also say that it will give our subs a good workout.
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post #21888 of 21896 Old 09-18-2014, 07:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
The video on Godzilla is somewhat controversial from what I gather, there are complaints the picture is overly dark. It's not at the top of my priority list, so others will have to chime-in with their opinions. I have not seen it except in screencaps. Someone will have to do something about your trips, it is interfering with your reviewing duties for the thread.
Most of the complaints about the picture being overly dark is coming from moviegoers, I believe. Reviewers on sites like DVDTalk, HiDef Digest and Blu-ray.com say that there is still very good details and texture in the dark scenes.

I've been travelling more than usual this year. Next week I'll be gone all week and then I should be at home for a good length of time, though my wife and I may make a trip out east (Philadelphia) in November, and if we do we may be gone 2-3 weeks. Starting in December though I'll be a "couch potato" with lots of time for catching up on Blu-rays. You may be wishing I would take another trip by January or February!

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post #21889 of 21896 Old 09-18-2014, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by djoberg View Post
Most of the reviews mentioned that the movie became increasingly dark, but they also mentioned that the black levels weren't murky or crushed and that shadow details were excellent. I'm hoping my KURO is up to the challenge, for the general consensus was that this movie fares much better on a very large screen (with a projector).

So, how did you like the audio? The *expert* reviewers are singing its praises, with some saying it's the best audio track this year. They also say that it will give our subs a good workout.
Looking forward to your thoughts once viewed on the Kuro . as for the audio I liked it , not the best of the year but defiantly has its own strong merits (think Pacific Rim) its extremely dynamic and loud
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post #21890 of 21896 Old 09-18-2014, 09:12 PM
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Godzilla (2014)

Okay, I'll be honest....I wish I were writing a review for an "audio thread" right now instead of a "PQ thread." But this is the Blu-ray PQ thread so I must focus on what I "saw" and not on what I "heard." What I saw wasn't all that impressive (in spite of the "experts" singing its praises). It wasn't bad, by any means, but the black levels were NOT what I was expecting. The very first dark scene was telling...with somewhat murky blacks in the film and with dark gray bars instead of the coveted deep black bars that literally disappear into the bezel. This was duplicated in many of the dark scenes, especially in the second half. Shadow details were so-so in these scenes, but again, they weren't what I expected based on glowing reviews that I had read. One could describe many of the darker scenes as "gritty" and "soft." This was, no doubt, the director's choice, but it doesn't translate into the EYE CANDY that is coveted by many that frequent this thread.

On a positive note, the first half fared much better (especially in its brighter, daytime scenes), with accurate flesh tones, demo-worthy details, pleasing colors, and strong contrast. But even in these scenes I didn't see the sharpness and clarity that I expect in current Blu-ray transfers. I truly thought I'd be watching a demo-worthy title, and perhaps even a contender for the reference tier, but in good conscience I can only go as high as...

Tier Recommendation: 2.0*

PS I feel compelled to add a word about the AUDIO. It ROCKED!! I was thoroughly impressed with the accuracy in each channel and the bass, though not as low as I would have liked, was loud and bone-chilling at times. If you have a decent 5.1/7.1 system you owe it to yourself to at least rent this for the audio track. You will NOT be disappointed (unless you are an extreme bass-head that refuses to listen to Blu-ray that are void of ULF ).

Viewed from 7.5' using the equipment listed below....
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post #21891 of 21896 Old Yesterday, 07:51 AM
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Well that is disappointing to say the least! Was hoping for Godzilla to be top 2 this year (along with HTTYD 2)

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post #21892 of 21896 Old Yesterday, 09:45 AM
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Well that is disappointing to say the least! Was hoping for Godzilla to be top 2 this year (along with HTTYD 2)
Again, it was "disappointing" to me because of the black levels. My KURO excels in that department IF the source material for black levels is good. When the source material isn't that good, I'm easily distracted, especially when the aspect ratio is 2.40:1. When that happens I'm fixated on the "gray bars."

The redeeming feature was the audio and if you're into that YOU WILL LOVE IT!!
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post #21893 of 21896 Old Yesterday, 11:18 AM
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The milky gray bars can definitely prove distracting on scope presentations with less than stellar black levels...unlike this BD.

Young Justice

recommendation: Tier 0 (bottom quarter)*

This recent Cartoon Network series looks shockingly great, far surpassing my own expectations based off its broadcast airing. It receives a top-notch Blu-ray presentation framed at 1.78:1, taken directly from the native digital animation. Released by Warner Archive in a limited edition issue, this is how modern animation should pop in 1080P resolution. Absolutely inky black levels, a gaudy color palette rich in saturation, and vivid character designs for the various superheroes, this is a fantastic-looking set collecting the entire first season of Young Justice.

There are nearly ten hours of 1080P content over the two BD-50s, a very tight fit. I would be lying if I claimed all ten hours were completely barren of banding, though the AVC video encode very rarely fails with the pristine digital animation. There are no other issues in the video encode or transfer, the series was natively animated at 1080P like other recent animated DC features.

This is certainly an impressive Blu-ray in terms of A/V quality and a strong recommendation for Tier 0.


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post #21894 of 21896 Old Yesterday, 06:50 PM
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Inside Llewyn Davis

recommendation: Tier 3.0*

One of the stranger-looking, new films I've seen in recent memory, the Coen Brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis has one of the most unusually processed transfers on Blu-ray. The cinematography attempts to make some kind of artistic statement, hoping to evoke imaginary melancholy from its Greenwich Village period setting. Its color grading has been drained of all warmth, resulting in a cold, dreary palette that can't be called anything but winter.

Sony skimps on the AVC video encode, hints of chroma noise are fairly prevalent in the earlier acts. This has a dark, nearly monochromatic aesthetic. Did the Coen Brothers want to shoot in black-and-white again and get rebuffed? There is a very uneasy sense of softness that pervades Inside Llewyn Davis, despite immense depth and focal projection. Also missing is any kind of superior high-frequency content, that level of detail is missing in action.


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post #21895 of 21896 Old Yesterday, 08:57 PM
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Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie on all levels. The picture quality on this bluray is fantastic throughout.
The picture is without major flaw and has zero grain. Clarity and details are some of the best I have seen in recent memory, particularly on midrange and close shots of people and faces. Contrast is very strong and black levels are generally excellent save for a couple indoor shots that had slightly murky blacks. Shadow detail is impressive. The color pallet is slightly subdued but still well balanced with punchy primaries when called upon. Skin tones appear natural.

There are a quite a few images in this movie that are stunning. A couple memorable shots may be some of my new faves.

As a side note the audio is also great.

If not for the black levels slipping on a couple occasions I would rank it even higher but still...

Ranking-TIER 0 (about .40)

Viewed on 60" Panasonic ST60 from a distance of 5.5 feet.
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post #21896 of 21896 Old Today, 02:22 PM
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Evil Dead (2013)

recommendation: Tier 2.5

I think Evil Dead's current rank in Tier 1.25 is awfully generous for a sped-up film with minor crushing problems. I won't disagree that a few select scenes possess incredible dimensionality and razor-sharp definition. Before the action gets ramped up, Evil Dead contains all the necessary attributes for a Tier One Blu-ray. It is later in the film that its inconsistency begins, using a variety of specialized VFX and camera tricks to heighten the atmosphere.

Everyone is welcome to their own personal formula when a movie has such a wide disparity between its best and worst-looking scenes. I tend to err on the lower side myself, which is how I came up with the middle of Tier Two.


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