The New PQ Tier thread for Blu-Ray - Discussion - Page 777 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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Blu-ray Software > The New PQ Tier thread for Blu-Ray - Discussion
Phantom Stranger's Avatar Phantom Stranger 11:03 PM 06-11-2016
Playing devil's advocate, the studios have gotten far more sophisticated at filtering in the past three or four years. Especially on new productions, where it's difficult for me to see at times, even when I know something has been doctored in post.

mweflen's Avatar mweflen 08:04 AM 06-12-2016
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
Playing devil's advocate, the studios have gotten far more sophisticated at filtering in the past three or four years. Especially on new productions, where it's difficult for me to see at times, even when I know something has been doctored in post.
I totally agree. Recent DNR/EE is light years ahead of DNR/EE from early in the format. I am willing to believe that SWE7 has been run through a computer filter or two. What I am saying is that it isn't evident or obtrusive. The results look very similar to what I saw in the theater.
Phantom Stranger's Avatar Phantom Stranger 10:29 AM 06-12-2016
Originally Posted by mweflen View Post
I totally agree. Recent DNR/EE is light years ahead of DNR/EE from early in the format. I am willing to believe that SWE7 has been run through a computer filter or two. What I am saying is that it isn't evident or obtrusive. The results look very similar to what I saw in the theater.
I'm sure the Blu-ray is a nigh perfect replication of how Star Wars: The Force Awakens appeared in movie theaters.

While I don't remember one way or the other about seeing edge enhancement on the Blu-ray, aliasing may have been introduced into some shots by extensive digital composites. It depends on what resolution everything was animated and created in, blended in with the raw principal shooting.
Phantom Stranger's Avatar Phantom Stranger 02:12 PM 06-13-2016
The Fruit of Grisaia: Complete Collection

recommendation: Tier 1.5*

This is one of those rare anime programs animated in 2.35:1. Considering the amount of dull backgrounds typically found at this production level, it's a smart move. Its direction takes full advantage of the scope frame, some thought has been applied to composition.

Released by Sentai Filmworks, there aren't noticeable compression issues. The 12 episodes are spread over two discs. There is enough eye candy in the saturated palette to mark it as Tier One.
rusky_g's Avatar rusky_g 01:29 PM 06-15-2016

Everest descends onto blu ray with an exquisite transfer worthy of the top tier due to its standout clarity and contrast, the latter being at its peak in the many base location shots. Elsewhere white landscapes are punctuated with the bright primaries of the crews 'snow wear' and close ups are abound with frost bitten stubble revealing minute detail. All of this wedged between an emotive storyline and engulfing soundtrack!

Tier 0.5
djoberg's Avatar djoberg 05:40 PM 06-18-2016

This one had "Star Power" (Anthony Hopkins, Al Pacino & Josh Duhamel) but that's about it! I was underwhelmed by the movie AND the PQ!!

This is not your typical release shot with the Arri Alexa, for it was FLAT and LACKED DETAIL in numerous scenes. I should add that SOFTNESS reared its ugly head intermittently, along with orange hues that wreaked havoc on flesh tones. Perhaps the only redeeming qualities were black levels and shadow details, but even there it was inconsistent resulting in some MURKINESS with accompanying LACK OF DEPTH.

Just to be fair, it did have its moments (in well-lit scenes and outdoor daytime scenes) where clarity rose to the occasion, along with solid primary colors, a fair amount of depth, and pleasing details.

I'm going with the bottom of Tier 2 and that may even be generous....

Tier Recommendation: 2.75*
djoberg's Avatar djoberg 07:59 PM 06-18-2016
The Forest

I'm happy to say this Blu fared much better than my last viewing! Daytime scenes were especially delightful, with excellent clarity and detail. Early on we are treated to shots of Tokyo at night and it bristles with details and awesome colors. Most of the film took place in the forest (duh!) below Mt. Fuji and it served up some mesmerizing texture in trees, foliage, a cave, a river, etc. Facial close-ups were also exemplary, with dozens of shots of the two leads (Natalie Dormer and Taylor Kinney).

There were quite a few instances of softness with murky blacks in some of the really dark, nighttime scenes. These were my only complaint, but enough to penalize the placement by a quarter of a tier or more.

Tier Recommendation: 1.5*
Phantom Stranger's Avatar Phantom Stranger 09:12 PM 06-18-2016
Go back a couple of months for my take on The Forest. I remember placing it somewhere in Tier 2. However, the video definitely had its stronger moments.

I actually enjoyed the movie, horror made for adults today is so tricky to pull off.
djoberg's Avatar djoberg 03:55 AM 06-19-2016
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
Go back a couple of months for my take on The Forest. I remember placing it somewhere in Tier 2. However, the video definitely had its stronger moments.

I actually enjoyed the movie, horror made for adults today is so tricky to pull off.
I just read your review. You placed it at 2.5 so we were a whole tier apart. I remember thinking throughout the first half (before most of the nighttime scenes in the forest began) that this is most definitely top Tier 1 material and then the dark, atmospheric scenes started up and I decided to drop it to 1.5, thinking it should probably go to 1.75. That's the lowest I would go.

I too enjoyed the movie (until the last 20 minutes or so). It was well done with some decent acting and it left enough to the imagination to satisfy me (again, until the last 20 minutes or so).
Phantom Stranger's Avatar Phantom Stranger 11:13 AM 06-20-2016
Originally Posted by reisb View Post
Did we have a rating for Straight Outta Compton?
Straight Outta Compton

recommendation: Tier 1.75*

Universal gives the lengthy unrated director's cut (running nearly three hours) a BD-50 in this steady presentation. Shot with the RED Epic Dragon camera, the video has crisp clarity in fairly sharp definition. Excellent black levels produce fine texture and shadow delineation. The scope cinematography isn't stunningly dramatic but opens up nicely in some shots. Depth and projection could be better for a new production.

This is a polished, technically sound transfer without intrusive processing, one that likely replicates the 2K digital intermediate with full immediacy. Fine detail is better than average but lacks the razor-sharp quality of better Tier One discs.

I simply couldn't go any higher with Staight Outta Compton's ranking despite the slick visuals. The picture quality has a nice, clean consistency but nothing in it that makes an extraordinary impact.
Phantom Stranger's Avatar Phantom Stranger 06:29 PM 06-21-2016
Stagecoach (1986)

recommendation: Tier 3.0*

The 1986 television movie starring the Highwaymen receives a fine presentation respecting its original broadcast. Presented at 1080P resolution in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio, Stagecoach offers moderately crisp clarity with adequate definition. The 95-minute main feature is encoded in AVC with sufficient parameters on a barebones BD-25. It has a solid contrast, average black levels, and better than expected sharpness from an unprocessed film transfer.

Olive Films has licensed Stagecoach from MGM for this release and the television production offers solid, steady cinematography. The level of detail and improvement in color reproduction indicate this is an authentic HD transfer struck from mostly clean film elements. It resembles a slightly older telecine job given the softer interiors with rougher grain structure.

The video offers decent grain reproduction with excellent color saturation. Aside from incidental dirt and debris, the elements are presented in nearly perfect shape. This is a nice, solid print with little wear or noticeable aging. A few darker interiors have been shot with rougher patches of spotty black levels.
djoberg's Avatar djoberg 09:29 PM 06-23-2016
London Has Fallen

The opening scene had my "jaw dropping to the floor" with razor-sharp clarity and mesmerizing details. Had this continued non-stop I can safely say I'd be nominating this for a place near the top quarter of Tier 0. I would say that the first half (of its 90 minute running time) was of this caliber, with the exception of some egregious color-grading in a couple of scenes where orange hues left everyone looking like they had just left the tanning salon (the kind with the orange spray). Facial close-ups were incredible with amazing texture in every actor, including the face that was "made for HD" (of course I'm referring to Morgan Freeman). Aerial shots of London revealed tons of details in city streets, buildings, cars, etc.

Now a word about the "last half." It took place at NIGHT with many shots taking place in very low-lit interiors. The PQ was truly a mixed bag. Some shots had fairly good black levels and shadow details but an equal number of shots became quite murky that resulted in a lack of details and depth. Digital noise also reared its ugly head at times.

I always find these hard to rate. I would love to at least give this a high placement in Tier 1, but conscience dictates a lower ranking due to the negatives just enumerated. My vote goes for...

Tier Recommendation: 1.5*
Phantom Stranger's Avatar Phantom Stranger 09:39 PM 06-25-2016
If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium

recommendation: Tier 3.75*

Olive Films offers a serviceable presentation for the 1969 comedy starring Suzanne Pleshette with a mildly satisfying film transfer. Licensed from MGM and likely using their provided HD master, the 98-minute main feature is shown at its intended 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Included on a BD-25, the video is encoded in adequate AVC compression with few overt artifacts. While some may find the video fairly dull and soft by current Blu-ray standards, this is a legitimate film transfer struck in Hi-Def resolution from stable elements.

The 1080P video has decent clarity and definition for an older catalog presentation. The dated telecine transfer leans toward the soft side with hints of halos, though ringing is kept to a minimum. The film elements are in solid, if dull, shape. There isn’t much to complain about in terms of print defects, though color saturation would be improved in a new film scan of the same elements. Was this master for MGM struck during the DVD era? That is possible.
djoberg's Avatar djoberg 08:32 PM 06-28-2016
10 Cloverfield Lane

This was a well-acted film that kept my attention throughout...and the excellent PQ was the "frosting on the cake!"

This will NOT be found on anyone's "reference shelf" (Tier 0), but I would easily find a spot for it on my "demo shelf" (Tier 1). Superb clarity (especially in well-lit scenes)...finely-rendered details (in facial close-ups, furniture, the walls of the bunker, clothing, etc.) flesh tones...appreciable depth (again, especially in well-lit scenes)...stellar black levels (check out the shot of a lit up gas station enveloped by the nighttime sky)...and pleasing, natural colors. All outdoor, daytime shots were pure eye candy.

There were a few hiccups...fleeting instances of noise in dimly-lit scenes...some obvious judder during a scene where the camera was panning the female lead's bunker bedroom...and a couple of shots where blacks faltered a tad and bordered on murkiness.

Tier Recommendation: 1.5*

PS The audio ROCKED!
Phantom Stranger's Avatar Phantom Stranger 11:25 PM 06-30-2016
Bodyguards and Assassins

recommendation: Tier 1.75*

Distributor Shout Factory provides a consistent, polished presentation for Bodyguards and Assassins. Clarity and definition make this 1080P video a stand-out on Blu-ray for film-based Hong Kong movies. Fine detail is excellent in close-ups, showing a completely unfiltered transfer with razor-sharp definition.

The sharp, solid 2.35:1 presentation falls short of reference quality video.
TitusTroy's Avatar TitusTroy 09:22 PM 07-03-2016
anybody seen Kung Fu Panda 3 yet?...looking forward to people's opinions on the video quality...DreamWorks best titles (How to Train your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda etc) are right up there with Pixar as far as reference image quality
Phantom Stranger's Avatar Phantom Stranger 09:50 PM 07-03-2016
I haven't seen Kung Fu Panda 3 but hopefully someone else on the thread has seen it. I'm sure it's near the top, the Kung Fu Panda series always has brilliant colors.
Phantom Stranger's Avatar Phantom Stranger 11:33 AM 07-04-2016
The Crimson Cult (a.k.a. Curse of the Crimson Altar)

recommendation: Tier 2.25*

This Blu-ray is a strong catalog presentation of the Christopher Lee movie. Kino Lorber has licensed the MGM film and secured a film-like transfer with excellent definition and crisp colors. The elements are in superb condition with no significant wear.

The film is presented in its intended 1.66:1 theatrical aspect ratio. The adequate AVC encode has a few stray artifacts but nothing that impacts the video's integrity. All in all, a pleasing vintage presentation with solid detail. This disc is definitely recommended for fans.
djoberg's Avatar djoberg 06:54 PM 07-04-2016
Originally Posted by TitusTroy View Post
anybody seen Kung Fu Panda 3 yet?...looking forward to people's opinions on the video quality...DreamWorks best titles (How to Train your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda etc) are right up there with Pixar as far as reference image quality
I bought it three days ago but my wife and I were gone until an hour ago....we leave for another trip in few days until next Tuesday so I'm not sure if I'll get to it or not.
Phantom Stranger's Avatar Phantom Stranger 07:59 PM 07-04-2016
Glasslip: The Complete Collection

recommendation: Tier 1.5*

I often come across sloppy, rushed animation viewing anime on Blu-ray. This is not the case with Glasslip's refined backgrounds. Some care has been taken with its art design to render a more realistic environment. The actual video offers myriad colors in full saturation and a number of splashy scenes with demo potential.

Sentai Filmworks spreads the entire season across two discs in a perfect technical transfer. Gone are the days when anime of this caliber was crudely presented at 1080P resolution. It's a cut above the standard fare we get with the recent deluge of anime Blu-rays.
Phantom Stranger's Avatar Phantom Stranger 09:37 PM 07-05-2016
Christmas In Connecticut

recommendation: Tier 3.75*

Do not let the Tier 3 score fool you, the 1945 comedy receives a fine black-and-white film transfer from restored elements.

WB offers up an excellent presentation from superb elements, newly scanned to bring out as much detail and definition possible. Black levels are crisp with fairly standard shadow delineation for the period's cinematography. While some softness is unavoidable and possible optical ringing comes into play, the 1080P video has its moments of sparkling clarity and sharpness.

As expected, the movie is properly shown at its native full-screen aspect ratio. The AVC video encode transparently replicates the movie's unfiltered grain structure.

And yes, I have been known to watch Christmas movies in July.
Phantom Stranger's Avatar Phantom Stranger 11:34 AM 07-15-2016
Vigilante Diaries

recommendation: Tier 1.0*

This is a new action movie shot on the 6K RED Dragon. The video has state-of-the-art detail and image density. I am being very conservative by placing it in Tier 1, this is probably Tier Zero material.

The only notable exceptions are a few action sequences.
Phantom Stranger's Avatar Phantom Stranger 06:14 PM 07-18-2016
The Lazarus Effect

recommendation: Tier 1.5*

A little surprised no one had covered this disc already for the PQ Tiers. Fox bestows a blemish-free presentation for this relatively recent horror movie in strong clarity. The video quality falls a tad short of demo material but offers impressive definition with unfiltered detail in most every scene. The close-ups with Olivia Wilde are astonishingly unfiltered with mesmerizing high-frequency content. She must not be as vain as some other A-list Hollywood actresses.

Just a few years ago this would have earned a Tier 1.0 score from me without blinking. It has utterly sharp dimensionality with near perfect black levels and contrast. Its lower score is merely a reflection of the increased videophile-quality competition being released on Blu-ray these days. Needless to say, the digital transfer is flawless and immaculate.
Phantom Stranger's Avatar Phantom Stranger 01:22 PM 07-22-2016
Bad Moon

recommendation: Tier 2.5*

The 1996 werewolf movie arrives on Blu-ray with a newish film transfer from pristine elements. This is a strong, film-like catalog presentation by Scream Factory. Licensed from Morgan Creek Productions, the film master appears to have been done by WB at some point.

The lighting on this film isn't the grim, dark affair most werewolf movies skew towards. This is bright, lively video with excellent clarity. I would certainly place it as one of the better looking transfers I've seen from a 90's production.
Phantom Stranger's Avatar Phantom Stranger 08:51 PM Yesterday

recommendation: Tier 2.0*

During the first act of this subversive Christmas movie, I was having to make up excuses for why Krampus shouldn't belong to Tier Zero. Its warm, rich, inviting picture quality sparkled in brilliant Christmas clarity. Some minor scrubbing applied to close-ups of Toni Collette was its only negative. Swimming in vibrant red and green colors, this was picture-perfect filmmaking.

As you can see by my final score, Krampus changes greatly in setting and tone after a glorious looking first act. Universal does an adequate technical job with the transfer and encode, though some minor compression artifacts appear as Krampus makes his presence felt in the movie. The video swiftly changes from vivid color saturation to a darker aesthetic fairly quickly. That results in reduced definition and softened detail.

There isn't anything wrong per se with Krampus' picture quality. Events within the movie force a drastic change in tonality and visual quality. There is even a brief animated scene of average quality included.
djoberg's Avatar djoberg 05:36 AM Today
I thought I should chime in to let you know I'm still alive! I purchased Sony's Flagship LCD/LED (see my Signature below) and I've been so busy streaming 4K UHD movies and watching some of my Blu-ray collection (the Sony's up-scaler is probably the best on the market and so I'm seeing things I never saw before). I was playing around with "seating distance." I used to sit at 7.5' from my 60" KURO; I have settled on 8.5' for the 75" Sony. It really gives me a nice "cinematic" experience and also the ability to appreciate 4K (though it may be too close for some of the satellite broadcasts via Dish Network). I am determined to watch my copy of Kung Fu Panda 3 this afternoon or tonight, so I'll be writing a review shortly after.
Phantom Stranger's Avatar Phantom Stranger 12:07 PM Today
Congrats on the purchase, djoberg! 75 inches sounds huge and truly cinematic in scope. The displays seem to get bigger and thinner every year.

It will be interesting to hear from you how the best looking BDs turn out on your Sony. Its state-of-the-art 4K tech should make them look incredible.
djoberg's Avatar djoberg 06:12 PM Today
Kung Fu Panda 3


I just checked the ranking for Kung Fu Panda and Kung Fu Panda 2. They are ranked at #31 and #32. We've come a long way in animation technology since those two releases and I can safely say that Kung Fu Panda 3 will EASILY fall into the Top Ten in Tier Blu. The animation is STUNNING!!

This is my first review in almost a month so I plan to keep this very short. In short, the DETAILS/TEXTURE in this title are mesmerizing, especially, but not limited to, the FUR in the Pandas. Besides mesmerizing details, the SHARPNESS & CLARITY are striking, the COLORS are eye-popping, and the BLACKS are off-the-charts. As you may have heard, this 3rd installment doesn't live up to its two predecessors as far as the story goes, but those of us who like to have our jaws dropping to the floor won't this, or perhaps buy this (as I did) for the stellar PQ and give your eyes the sugar rush they crave!

Tier Recommendation: Tier 0* (easily somewhere in the Top Ten)
djoberg's Avatar djoberg 06:30 PM Today
I believe a word is in order about my new display. I have been writing reviews on this thread for many years using a Pioneer KURO Elite 60" plasma. I have always extolled its many virtues, including excellent black levels, amazing colors, and a very "natural-looking" picture. When I considered purchasing an LCD/LED display, I was quite skeptical, wondering if I would be sacrificing some or all of these virtues, for an LED has not been known (typically speaking) for its blacks or a natural-look. But I am thankful to say that the Sony 940D has exceeded my expectations, with deeper blacks (thanks to its Full Array Local Dimming), eye-popping colors, and a very pleasing natural-look much like that of a plasma.

I am NOT making this post to BOAST, but to assure you that any review that I submit will not be compromised by my new display. I should also say that with the Sony's competent up-scaler, it may even look better than my kURO did with some Blu-ray releases. And last, but not least, if there is someone out there that is looking for a larger display for a more "cinematic" experience with an affordable price (to be sure, it's not CHEAP, but it is much more competitive than any other high-end 75" tv), I highly recommend the Sony XBR75X940D. Its blacks will amaze you (especially when watching letter-boxed movies...the bars remain PITCH BLACK in every scene) and its off-axis-viewing is the best I've seen in the LCD/LED technology.
Tags: High Definition , Blu Ray Movies
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