The New PQ Tier thread for Blu-Ray - Discussion - Page 738 - AVS Forum
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post #22111 of 22132 Old 12-11-2014, 04:14 PM
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The Railway Man

Do-Blu scored the maximum 5 stars PQ for this disc.

It is indeed a robust HD presentation and throughout I was debating lower tier 0 against upper tier 1 - on the plus side: pin sharp focus and resolution with far reaching detail in many scenes. Skin tones appear natural and facial close ups were often first class. Less flaterring were some of the darker scenes- more than once, black levels seemed to drift off the mark causing contrast to suffer and slightly wash the image out. Because of this, I don't feel I can go with top tier, so will drop down to....

Tier 1.0
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post #22112 of 22132 Old 12-12-2014, 03:39 PM
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How to Train Your Dragon 2

Tier Recommendation: Tier 0, top third (obviously)


Wonderful details, great visuals, overall a pleasing image. Djoberg pretty much said everything that I would say, so his review for Tier 0 stands, just wanted to put in my impressions as well.

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post #22113 of 22132 Old 12-12-2014, 08:19 PM
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Ed Wood

recommendation: Tier 3.5*

Tim Burton's Ed Wood (1994) receives an adequate transfer for Blu-ray that doesn't provide a dramatic increase in resolution. The older film transfer definitely shows improvements in definition and clarity over DVD. The black-and-white film has sharp contrast and decent black levels in Hi-Def.

High-frequency detail is a bit middling, possibly a result of some light filtering. The mild grain structure looks fairly film-like, helped out by an AVC video encode beyond reproach. What isn't film-like by any stretch is the obvious ringing. This is a transfer riddled with halos of varying amplitude. I didn't expect Disney to do much with Ed Wood's transfer as a catalog title, and I was right. There is nice depth and the occasional sighting of solid dimensionality at 1080p resolution.

If one can live with its halos due to zealous sharpening, I think most fans will be satisfied by this very average presentation.
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post #22114 of 22132 Old 12-12-2014, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
This is a question for the regular 3-D viewers, but which version do you usually watch first? On a first viewing, the normal way or the film in 3-D? I don't watch enough 3-D content to give an answer. Has the 3-D version become the primary option?
Of course; 3D always takes precedence over 2D.
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post #22115 of 22132 Old 12-13-2014, 08:17 AM
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Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (50th Anniversary)

Recommendation: Tier 3.25*

This is a marginal improvement if any over the previous Rudolph in tier 3.5. Clarity and color abound in the presentation, fuzz and hair on the figures is on great display in every shot and colors pop. Not many scenes take place at night or in dark conditions but black levels are good and contrast is also well on display.

Unfortunately, PQ greatly suffers in the number of scratches and other surface imperfections seen throughout the presentation. The packaging touts this release as being "Digitally Remastered" but a little digital restoration to remove the surface damage would have probably raised Rudolph into the tier 2.0 range.
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post #22116 of 22132 Old 12-13-2014, 01:00 PM
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Thanks for the Rudolph review, Darth. I've heard they made minor color corrections, most notably to Yukon Cornelius' coat. I am very surprised no one has attempted to remake Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in CGI. Given the recent leaks, it looks like Sony needs movie ideas.
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post #22117 of 22132 Old 12-13-2014, 06:03 PM
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Nightbreed: Director's Cut

recommendation: Tier 3.0*

Another cherished Christmas classic gets its proper treatment. Merely checking if everyone is still paying attention. Shout Factory released Clive Barker's new director's cut this October. Long thought lost, years of searching rescued the film elements necessary to construct this fully-realized version of the film. The new film transfer from the original camera negative is very strong, a highly satisfying presentation for such an overlooked film. Shout Factory had to license the film from Warner Bros. This is certainly one of the better-looking film transfers handled by Shout Factory of late.

I was ready to place this BD in Tier Two after its first hour, it has excellent reproduction of the natural grain structure and is loaded with texture. The newish film scan has strong detail and definition, boasting appreciable Hi-Def clarity. The color grading is tasteful, fully saturating primary colors without unnaturally skewing flesh-tones. Keeping its placement in Tier Three is occasionally soft cinematography, particularly the female lead. Another factor is the less impressive second hour, as the movie's setting shifts to the bowels of Midian.

Shout Factory has employed a very strong AVC video encode, fully transparent to the new film transfer and faithfully replicating its heavy grain structure. There is a touch of sharpening in a couple of scenes but this transfer has not been filtered to any serious degree. The camera negative is in relatively good condition, the 1990 film is slightly less than immaculate. A couple of odd marks here and there, mostly attached to the scattered FX shots.
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post #22118 of 22132 Old 12-13-2014, 09:06 PM
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Raw Force a.k.a. Kung Fu Cannibals

recommendation: Tier 3.75*

Niche distributor Vinegar Syndrome released Raw Force in October. Claiming a 2K restoration from the original camera negative for this BD, the 1982 low-budget film looks as good as it ever will at 1080p resolution. It is a very competent film transfer, mostly limited by the native cinematography and some deterioration evident in the negative.

Technically, the transfer sports a nice level of detail without extraneous video processing. The night scenes pose more challenges to the picture quality, exhibiting less clarity.
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post #22119 of 22132 Old 12-14-2014, 07:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
Thanks for the Rudolph review, Darth. I've heard they made minor color corrections, most notably to Yukon Cornelius' coat. I am very surprised no one has attempted to remake Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in CGI. Given the recent leaks, it looks like Sony needs movie ideas.
Cornelius' coat is blue throughout which, according to previous discussions on this board, is not the green color it is in the original elements.

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I find your lack of schadenfreude disturbing.

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post #22120 of 22132 Old 12-14-2014, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarthDoxie View Post
Cornelius' coat is blue throughout which, according to previous discussions on this board, is not the green color it is in the original elements.
The production team behind that first Blu-ray claimed Yukon's coat was green in the original film elements. It's hard to determine if they were being entirely truthful on that matter. It looks more like an overly modern teal tweak pushed the blue in his coat, as seen in the broadcasts and prior home video versions, towards turquoise. I think most Rudolph purists would want Yukon's coat looking blue, as on the new transfer.

The merchandise for Yukon over the decades has pointed to a blue coat...

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post #22121 of 22132 Old 12-14-2014, 03:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
I think most Rudolph purists would want Yukon's coat looking blue, as on the new transfer.
Wouldn't call myself a Rudolph purist but I too prefer the blue coat.

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I find your lack of schadenfreude disturbing.

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post #22122 of 22132 Old 12-15-2014, 10:59 PM
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House of Cards (Season 2)

After a three-day "binge" of 13 episodes, my opinion remains unchanged. This is, most definitely, Tier 0 material. During the first 5 minutes of the 1st episode there was a scene with terrible black levels, which had me thinking they had lowered the standards for Season 2. But as outdoor scenes appeared, along with well-lit interior shots, incredible depth, details and clarity reigned supreme. Black levels and shadow details were also exemplary. I had given the 1st Season a .66 placement and the 2nd Season gets the same vote. With the exception of some rare soft shots, this is a killer series that deserves a place on everyone's "demo shelf."

Tier Recommendation: Tier 0* (.66)

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post #22123 of 22132 Old 12-16-2014, 07:53 PM
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I am never very good at those kind of binges, Denny. I don't like watching more than a handful of episodes from the same show in a week.

Aria the Scarlet Ammo: Complete Series

recommendation: Tier 3.0*

Funimation did their best with this release, the animation itself is simply flat and less than impressive for the 2011 anime. The line-art is fairly simple and lacking detail, it reeks of being done on the cheap.
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post #22124 of 22132 Old 12-17-2014, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
I am never very good at those kind of binges, Denny. I don't like watching more than a handful of episodes from the same show in a week.
If a series is really good (as is the case with House of Cards), I have no problem watching several episodes in one sitting. I had three evenings free (my wife is babysitting grandchildren in the Twin Cities) and it was perfect for getting through the whole season.

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post #22125 of 22132 Old 12-17-2014, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djoberg View Post
Edge of Tomorrow

Here is yet another demo release, although in my first viewing I'm inclined to put it towards the bottom of Tier Gold. (I must confess that the nature of the film, with its "twists and turns" and fast-paced action scenes, demanded my attention to the point where I wasn't focusing on the PQ like I normally am. I promise to pay FULL attention to the PQ on my next viewing.)

Despite my "confession" above, I did see enough to draw some fair conclusions. DETAILS were far and away the best virtue on display, whether we're talking facial close-ups, clothing, weaponry, flying debris (in multiple explosions), etc. SHARPNESS came next, though I must say there were several instances of softness where depth also suffered. BLACK LEVELS were satisfying but there were a couple of dark scenes where they veered into the "gray zone" (in both the picture on and the top & bottom bars). FLESH TONES were good. COLORS were pleasing when primaries appeared, but the majority of the film features strong blue hues or de-saturated colors.

Having just watched Transformers: Age of Extinction, where EVERYTHING was nearly flawless and pure eye candy, I am compelled, in comparing the two, to drop this one a whole tier from that placement. In other words, I'm going with....

Tier Recommendation: 1.5*

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I agree with this ranking. I was hoping for Oblivion-like PQ but this falls short of that by a long way.
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post #22126 of 22132 Old 12-18-2014, 03:21 AM
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The Conjuring

The Conjuring creeps onto Blu-Ray with a solid, great looking HD presentation.

Sporting a grainless, digital yet filmic look, detail is lovely and crisp, showing excellent dimensionality, particularly in the brighter outdoor scenes. Fine object detail was often startling when called upon, one could make out every strand of 'Annabel's silvered hair, every leaf in foliage surrounding 'the' house.

That's not to say things looked worse during the film's many darker moments - they in fact look great, blacks seldom straying from being dark and inky, whilst not being of detriment to shadow detail. There was a couple of moments of crush, but nothing that rocked the boat too much. Contrast was often spot on, key to giving plenty of impact to the basement scenes which called for moody corners to remain darkened amongst the isolated glow of freshly struck matches.

All said and done, I have no issues ranking The Conjuring in upper Tier Gold. Recommended.

1.25
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post #22127 of 22132 Old 12-18-2014, 09:15 AM
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

Tier Recommendation: Tier 0


This film, while not quite the nostalgia fest I was hoping it would be, was strikingly presented with a bold, beautiful encode that showed no flaws. Deep blacks, crisp textures, and wonderful colors (when they were presented) all pleasantly transported me to the world of the turtles. Not the best film by any means, it's entirely not flawed enough to truly dislike it - mostly it gave off a "blah" feeling afterwards. I didn't hate it and some of the action pieces held up quite nicely, and as an A/V presentation it was top notch, so I recommend a rental at the least. Certain scenes may become demo material for those inclined to demo your systems.

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post #22128 of 22132 Old 12-18-2014, 01:11 PM
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Penny Dreadful: The Complete First Season

recommendation: Tier 1.25*

Penny Dreadful has razor-sharp picture quality, held back by its muted color palette and sinister shadows. There is more variance in its black levels than I normally see, ranging from inky perfection to a lighter shade of black. The Paramount Blu-ray set faithfully reproduces Showtime's broadcast version, rendering it with even more clarity and detail. It's a high-bitrate AVC video encode that should be spotless, though hints of minor banding creep into a few darker shots.

The overall video greatly reminded me of another Paramount BD, Showtime's Ray Donovan. That show has better contrast and a healthier color temperature, netting it a higher placement.
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post #22129 of 22132 Unread 12-19-2014, 07:12 PM
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If users were wondering about the next update, look for it to go up by New Year's Day. This will likely be the only update before Spring, so post any reviews or scores over the next ten days if you want them included in this update of the Picture Tiers.

Stonehearst Asylum

recommendation: Tier 2.25*

Millennium Entertainment's new release on Blu-ray starring Kate Beckinsale and Ben Kingsley is a solid entrant in Tier Two. Its respectable picture quality has better-than-average detail and a fair amount of sharpness. The brighter scenes exhibit outstanding depth and dimension, faltering only slightly in dimmer shots.

The transfer has been handled without extraneous processing, lacking overt ringing and filtering. The period piece does employ digital composite work for much of its foreboding locale, introducing a slightly digital sheen into the picture. The AVC video encode could have had better parameters, there are some hints of minor banding.
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Guardians of the Galaxy

Another LOOKER from Marvel! There were quite a few dark scenes early on where the black levels faltered slightly and the PQ came across as a bit flat and lacked details. But as the movie progressed blacks levels were stunning, especially shots of the galaxy. Colors REALLY popped in these scenes and depth/dimensionality was phenomenal. Daytime scenes on Xander were spectacular, with unbelievable clarity, depth, details, and colors.

There were most definitely a good number of Tier Blu scenes, but the early scenes alluded to above, along with a handful of scenes throughout where the CGI produced some softness, drops this down into Tier Gold. Our colleague fredxr2d2 had recommended 1.25 for the 3D version and my thinking is that the 2D version (which I watched) deserves a notch higher. So.....

Tier Recommendation: 1.0*

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post #22131 of 22132 Unread Yesterday, 09:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djoberg View Post
Guardians of the Galaxy

Another LOOKER from Marvel! There were quite a few dark scenes early on where the black levels faltered slightly and the PQ came across as a bit flat and lacked details. But as the movie progressed blacks levels were stunning, especially shots of the galaxy. Colors REALLY popped in these scenes and depth/dimensionality was phenomenal. Daytime scenes on Xander were spectacular, with unbelievable clarity, depth, details, and colors.

There were most definitely a good number of Tier Blu scenes, but the early scenes alluded to above, along with a handful of scenes throughout where the CGI produced some softness, drops this down into Tier Gold. Our colleague fredxr2d2 had recommended 1.25 for the 3D version and my thinking is that the 2D version (which I watched) deserves a notch higher. So.....

Tier Recommendation: 1.0*

Viewed from 7.5' using the equipment listed below....
You beat me by a couple of hours, I completely agree with your placement.

Guardians of the Galaxy

recommendation: Tier 1.0*

I would say its picture quality was stunningly consistent. The transfer itself is flawless, easily one of the better efforts seen on a recent blockbuster. What kept it out of Tier 0 was the lack of superior projection and dimensionality I tend to prefer in the best demo pieces. It was very close to earning the higher tier, I would not quibble with anyone placing Guardians in Tier 0's lower half.

I did think Guardians looked better than The Avengers.
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post #22132 of 22132 Unread Today, 06:36 AM
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On Her Majesty's Secret Service

recommendation: Tier 2.25*

This one-off appearance by George Lazenby as 007 upholds the quality of the other James Bond entries of the era. Consistently sharp and colorful, it only falters a little in the black levels. Details abound in fabrics, textures and hair. Closeups of the primary actors show facial details and pores in spades and flesh tones are naturally rendered. Diana Rigg is especially beautifully filmed, anyone who is a fan of hers should definitely own this one. Colors really pop too as there are a lot of ski jackets in the mountain scenes and they really stand out against the snow. Contrast and black levels are generally good but just not as consistent as the film's other qualities.

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