The New PQ Tier thread for Blu-Ray - Discussion - Page 798 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #23911 of 23936 Old 07-28-2017, 06:20 PM
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Actually, I Am...

recommendation: Tier 1.75*

Discotek Media, a fairly small anime distributor on Blu-ray, did a rather nice job with this 2015 television production. All twelve episodes of the complete series did land on a single BD-50, though there aren't any deleterious consequences for the smooth AVC video. This is rather simple, clean animation without a lot of motion, albeit in a colorful palette.

The presentation is technically flawless. There isn't an extraordinary amount of detail in the solidly colored backgrounds but character designs are given extra attention for consistency.

Newer anime productions on Blu-ray have a punchier contrast and more vibrant colors these days. 1080P resolution is often the intended production target for material of this nature. Their production budgets seem to be the limiting factor in where many of them end up ranked on the PQ Tiers.

Blu-ray Picture Quality Tiers (updated through July 13, 2017)
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post #23912 of 23936 Old 07-30-2017, 12:32 PM
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Pacific Rim

Oh dear lord what a movie!!! Absolutely one of the finest visual spectacles of the movie industry. A new 'beyond reference' title in my library. Easily among the cleanest and sharpest, pristine looking digital images I've seen. Filmed with Red Epic in 5K (2K DI and its on blu-ray 1080p anyway) but you could have actually fooled me into believing I was watching an 8K render of a movie. The CGI is world class, both the monsters and machines are really polished and well made, on par with something like Avatar. Also worthy of note; this movie is filmed in the 'correct' aspect ratio of 1.85:1. If you see my previous rankings of movies you'll see that I clearly favour movies shot in 1.85:1 over 2.35 or 2.39. I mean look at what I consider my previous top 5... Avatar (1.85), Life of Pi (1.85), Interstellar (IMAX 1.44, 1.85 BD), TDK:R (IMAX 1.44, 1.85) + a couple of disney movies in there. I don't know why but I've always preferred the picture quality with movies filmed in taller aspect ratios than the standard 21:9

best in class special effects, top of the line CGI, punchy infinite contrast images that give it a pseudo 3D 'pop' and 8K-esque sharpness to the image makes this not only blu tier, but also a top 5 reference disk. Maybe even top 3 for me personally.


Not just me who loves the look of this movie... Even though I merely experienced the 2K/SDR version I still think its tier 0(.10) material and I've heard other professionals claim that Pacific Rim on 4K/HDR-UHD is one of the best examples of best of the best picture quality to show off your new display.


Tier recommendation: 0 (top 3-5)

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post #23913 of 23936 Old 07-30-2017, 03:49 PM
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^^^^^^^^^^^^

I could have sworn that I reviewed the 4K version of Pacific Rim and that I placed it around the middle of Tier 0. But I just did a Search and it didn't show up. At any rate, I agree with everything you said about this title. It's most definitely one of the best 4K titles that I own (out of 32 titles).

On second thought, I purchased it a year ago so perhaps I didn't review it since I hadn't seen the 1080p release. Back then I thought it was "out of bounds" to include UHD/HDR releases.
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post #23914 of 23936 Old 07-30-2017, 06:11 PM
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I included UHD recommendations and scores when possible in the last update, placing them separately from the normal Blu-ray edition.

Devil's Domain

recommendation: Tier 2.0*

This recent indie horror production was filmed with RED cameras. Exteriors have that crisp definition and clarity we've come to expect, though interiors are softer in appearance. Some minor crushing in the deepest black levels keep this disc from Tier One.

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post #23915 of 23936 Old 08-01-2017, 09:06 PM
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The Circle

This was one of the most "natural-looking" movies I've seen in a very long time and I absolutely LOVED the PQ because of it! Of course in saying this I'm giving away the fact that it was VOID OF COLOR-GRADING, leaving the viewer with warm and vibrant colors and accurate flesh tones. Again, I loved it!

There was exceptional clarity and depth in many scenes, especially exterior shots. Indoor shots were very good too, but softness did intrude at times and along with it a loss of depth and details. Speaking of details, they were topnotch, including many facial close-ups of leading actors, but not limited to them (foliage, clothing, furniture, etc. also benefited from finely-rendered details).

Black levels were exquisite in 95% of its 100 minute running time, along with beautiful shadow details. There was also a fine layer of grain in many shots and with the exception of one scene (where it was quite heavy and could be mistaken for "noise"), it gave the viewer the coveted "filmic-look" with enhanced details.

Tier Recommendation: 1.25*

PS I could see others dropping this down closer to the bottom of Tier Gold, but again it was such a welcome relief to see a natural picture that "looked extremely good" without boosted contrast or some other form post-processing, that I felt it deserved a spot near the top.

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post #23916 of 23936 Old 08-02-2017, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djoberg View Post
The Circle

This was one of the most "natural-looking" movies I've seen in a very long time and I absolutely LOVED the PQ because of it! Of course in saying this I'm giving away the fact that it was VOID OF COLOR-GRADING, leaving the viewer with warm and vibrant colors and accurate flesh tones. Again, I loved it!

There was exceptional clarity and depth in many scenes, especially exterior shots. Indoor shots were very good too, but softness did intrude at times and along with it a loss of depth and details. Speaking of details, they were topnotch, including many facial close-ups of leading actors, but not limited to them (foliage, clothing, furniture, etc. also benefited from finely-rendered details).

Black levels were exquisite in 95% of its 100 minute running time, along with beautiful shadow details. There was also a fine layer of grain in many shots and with the exception of one scene (where it was quite heavy and could be mistaken for "noise"), it gave the viewer the coveted "filmic-look" with enhanced details.

Tier Recommendation: 1.25*

PS I could see others dropping this down closer to the bottom of Tier Gold, but again it was such a welcome relief to see a natural picture that "looked extremely good" without boosted contrast or some other form post-processing, that I felt it deserved a spot near the top.
Intriguing. Can't help but wonder what influence the 4k master DI, assuming IMDB is accurate, using 6k and 5k REDraw recordings contributed to the PQ. Assume you're detailing a 1080P Blu-ray, viewed on your 4k Sony set. Looks like a comparison with a true-4k disc, start to home screen, should be better yet--and supposedly measurable to compare the actual resolution between similar fine detals from the two disc formats when using a test disc with multiburst patterns. Reads like the woman protagonist shouldn't have participated in the "experiment."-- John
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post #23917 of 23936 Old 08-02-2017, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Mason View Post
Intriguing. Can't help but wonder what influence the 4k master DI, assuming IMDB is accurate, using 6k and 5k REDraw recordings contributed to the PQ. Assume you're detailing a 1080P Blu-ray, viewed on your 4k Sony set. Looks like a comparison with a true-4k disc, start to home screen, should be better yet--and supposedly measurable to compare the actual resolution between similar fine detals from the two disc formats when using a test disc with multiburst patterns. Reads like the woman protagonist shouldn't have participated in the "experiment."-- John
John, this was indeed a 1080p Blu-ray (which I rented from Redbox). I actually looked it up on Amazon and so far there is NO 4K version. I read the same about the cameras they used and I do believe that does contribute to the final (down-scaled) resolution.

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post #23918 of 23936 Old 08-04-2017, 11:38 AM
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The Hippopotamus

recommendation: Tier 1.25*

You are forgiven if you think this movie is a nature documentary. Independent distributor Lightyear Entertainment released this acerbic English comedy in a Blu-ray edition with very strong picture quality. Filmed at a swanky English estate in the countryside with the Arri Alexa camera, there is a lot of gorgeous outdoor scenery in lush detail.

The technical aspects of this presentation are nigh perfect, completely replicating the digital intermediate in splendid fashion. If I had been feeling more generous it's not impossible that The Hippopotamus could have placed in Tier 0.

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post #23919 of 23936 Old 08-04-2017, 08:10 PM
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Ghost in the Shell (4K version)

Overall, I was impressed with this UHD/HDR release, but I highly doubt it will ever be nominated for Tier 0. It was a "mixed bag," with very good primary colors (when they rose to the occasion, that is), accurate flesh tones, and finely-rendered details. But it lacked in depth, softness crept in from time to time (especially during heavy CGI shots), and black levels were somewhat disappointing (though they had their moments in some night scenes with some satisfying shadow details). I was hoping, after seeing the trailer, that I would be mesmerized by the "neon lights" (which were plentiful!), but they ended up being quite soft and distracting.

The highlight of this movie, in terms of PQ, was Scarlet Johansson. Whether they zoomed in on her face, her hair, or her various outfits, they never lacked for detail or brilliant colors (I really loved her jet-black suit....that's where the black levels really came alive). Thankfully she was in almost every scene so I can still recommend a Tier Gold placement, albeit one towards the bottom.

Tier Recommendation: 1.75*

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post #23920 of 23936 Old 08-05-2017, 09:36 AM
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^^^^^^^^^^^^

When I mentioned in my review above that softness crept in during CGI shots, I should have also added that there was also a slight "haze" in many scenes, which also gave it a soft look. No doubt the director intended it to be that way, but as far as PQ goes it robs the viewer of "sharpness" and "clarity." Yet even with these "gripes," there were still very good details of the female (and male) leads, and aerial views of "Hong Kong" were surprisingly good.

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post #23921 of 23936 Old 08-06-2017, 10:51 AM
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Bad Day at Black Rock

recommendation: Tier 3.0*

Good restoration from Warner Archive; scanned at 2k, color corrected, and given a high bit-rate. Clarity is generally good but leaning on the soft side, film grain is nice and even throughout. The color palette is muted as you would expect from film set in a desert town but punches of color are sprinkled throughout. Black levels and contrast are consistent.

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post #23922 of 23936 Old 08-06-2017, 03:29 PM
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Dumb & Dumber

If you recall, I had picked this title up along with The Mask a few weeks ago. I was expecting this to have similar PQ as The Mask, but I was pleasantly surprised that it was noticeably sharper and more detailed. The colors were also more PUNCHY. Having said that, the first two minutes of the opening scene (when he drives his limousine alongside a beautiful girl) were UGLY, with very heavy grain/noise and incredible softness. But after that scene it sharpened up considerably, though there were times when softness and heavy grain reared their ugly heads for brief moments. If you're a fan of Jim Carrey's earlier films, you would be happy with this one. It's not "reference" or "demo" material, but it should be deserving of a spot on the top of Tier Bronze.

Tier Recommendation: 3.0 or 3.25*

PS I had given The Mask a 3.75 placement.

PPS I have ordered another Jim Carrey DOUBLE FEATURE (the Ace Ventura releases) and will watch them sometime after I return home in the middle of August.

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post #23923 of 23936 Old 08-06-2017, 05:09 PM
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The Black Room

recommendation: Tier 2.5*

This independent horror film from Cleopatra Films has average picture quality at best for a new release. There is nothing terribly wrong with the flat presentation but this is not superior HD in 2017. A few scattered scenes have sub-par definition and contain some noise in darker interiors.

In better news, the transfer is unfiltered like most independent productions with generous detail in close-ups.

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post #23924 of 23936 Old 08-07-2017, 03:19 AM
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Originally Posted by djoberg View Post
^^^^^^^^^^^^

I could have sworn that I reviewed the 4K version of Pacific Rim and that I placed it around the middle of Tier 0. But I just did a Search and it didn't show up. At any rate, I agree with everything you said about this title. It's most definitely one of the best 4K titles that I own (out of 32 titles).

On second thought, I purchased it a year ago so perhaps I didn't review it since I hadn't seen the 1080p release. Back then I thought it was "out of bounds" to include UHD/HDR releases.


Yes absolutely! I'll definitely get the UHDR disc once I've upgraded my entire ecosystem (UHDR player, HDMI cables, receiver etc... Everything but my TV is stone age tech now )

I rewatched AVATAR on my new OLED which of course is tier 0 reference material and while the CGI still blows my mind and the image is top 10 quality... Pacific Rim was just better. Top 5 for sure, even in the blu-ray version. so 4K res, 10 bit colour, P3 gamut and HDRto be added??? Woow
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post #23925 of 23936 Old 08-07-2017, 03:24 AM
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Sully

Didn't really expect much of this movie at all but I was pleasantly surprised with its image quality. Filmed with Arri 65 cameras with 6.5K raw / 4K DI the 1080p picture looked gorgeous and very sharp. Crystal clear image with lots of detail, especially the facial close ups.

Nothing really stands out or 'wows' me but it was overall very pleasant and no real flaws. Perhaps its biggest downfall is the cold/stale colour palette. That alone doesn't take away its gold status as this is another one of those '1080p that looks like 4K' movies.

Tier recommendation: 1.25*


Edit: Well looks like it wasn't a new entry after all, the movie has already been reviewed and is (correctly!) placed in the tier 1.25 section

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post #23926 of 23936 Old 08-09-2017, 02:18 AM
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Watched Allied yesterday, thought it looked very very good.

I especially liked the details in the uniforms / clothing with some excellent black levels / shadow details.

Overall also a very consistent sharp looking movie, Tier recommendation: 0
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post #23927 of 23936 Old 08-10-2017, 07:03 PM
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Third Man, The (StudioCanal)

recommendation: Tier 3.25*

Some of the close-up shots look really good but most everything else is rather bland. Black levels and contrast are even throughout but just nothing spectacular. Print damage is scant in a few shots and the transfer has a nice layer of fine grain.

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post #23928 of 23936 Old 08-11-2017, 08:01 AM
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Going in Style

Tier Recommendation Tier 1.0


The thing that helps Going in Style is all of the daylight shots. There doesn't appear to be any unnatural color grading and the primaries pop quite nicely (check out the blue in the bank and yellow of the tshirts later in the movie). Not too many darker shots, and most of those are indoors with yellow light (as you would expect). Can't quite say if the black levels are good - but I suspect they are as everything else looked right. Not a stunner to show off your system, but a solid great looking recent movie.

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post #23929 of 23936 Old 08-12-2017, 10:00 PM
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Effects

recommendation: Tier 5*

Effects supposedly has a 4K transfer. Looking closer, it's a 4K transfer of the only surviving print in existence of this forgotten 1980 horror production. That is a badly damaged 35mm blow-up print of a movie originally shot in 16mm. Think a poorly filmed grindhouse print with obvious film wear.

I didn't review Effects to slam it but everyone should understand what a bottom-of-the barrel Tier 5 disc looks like. Effects is it.

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post #23930 of 23936 Old 08-15-2017, 08:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post
Effects

recommendation: Tier 5*

Effects supposedly has a 4K transfer. Looking closer, it's a 4K transfer of the only surviving print in existence of this forgotten 1980 horror production. That is a badly damaged 35mm blow-up print of a movie originally shot in 16mm. Think a poorly filmed grindhouse print with obvious film wear.

I didn't review Effects to slam it but everyone should understand what a bottom-of-the barrel Tier 5 disc looks like. Effects is it.
Hahah, makes me want to see it just to see how bad a movie can be
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post #23931 of 23936 Old 08-15-2017, 11:10 AM
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Hahah, makes me want to see it just to see how bad a movie can be
Effects was a little known horror film made by associates of George Romero for an estimated budget below $60,000. Tom Savini is probably the most recognizable cast member in it. Due to distribution issues it was effectively a lost movie until Synapse Films put it out on DVD in the 2000s.

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post #23932 of 23936 Old 08-15-2017, 06:38 PM
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Batman: Mask of the Phantasm

recommendation: Tier 2.25*

The greatest Batman movie of them all? This 1993 animated movie finally hit Blu-ray last month from Warner Archive and the results are quite satisfying. Both the open-matte 4:3 presentation and the widescreen theatrical version have been included on a BD-50. Each runs 76 minutes, encoded in fully transparent AVC at fairly high bitrates.

Mask of the Phantasm was originally conceived as a television movie before WB decided it was good enough for a theatrical release. I recommend going with the open-matte 4:3 option when viewing the movie as I almost always do when animation is involved. The widescreen mattes add a slightly more cinematic feel but several scenes plainly operate better in the 4:3 presentation.

The black levels are great and the cel animation holds up very well in 1080P resolution, better than expected. There isn't quite the pop and depth of newer animation but the moody art deco backgrounds look better than ever in Gotham. The animation has a refreshing crispness to it I've never seen before from Mask of the Phantasm.

This is definitely a new HD transfer from the original elements. There are a few minor quirks leftover from the older cel animation that may have been removed in a lavish restoration, but it indicates the transfer hasn't been mindlessly filtered. The consistent clarity offers nice texture and definition for this kind of animated fare.

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post #23933 of 23936 Old 08-17-2017, 06:06 PM
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Sleepless

This was an "okay" action thriller, but you won't be grabbing this to show off your system. Having said that, it "may" find its way into Tier Gold, albeit at the bottom of the bin!

The first scene was at night and I was underwhelmed. The blacks were "murky" resulting in a soft and flat picture with little in the way of details. Thankfully the very next scene was bright with excellent clarity, details and depth. Most of the 90 minute running time featured decent colors, flesh tones, contrast, and depth, but there were scenes that duplicated that first scene. Close-ups of faces revealed finely-rendered texture and aerial views of Las Vegas (mostly nighttime shots) were also very good...they were definitely the "redeeming qualities" of what would have been a Tier Silver contender.

Tier Recommendation: 1.75*

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post #23934 of 23936 Old 08-17-2017, 08:29 PM
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Gifted

My wife and I just finished watching this better-than-average DRAMA. In addition to being a good movie, with excellent character development and acting, it had very pleasing PQ!

You've heard me sing the praises of movies before if they offer the "natural-look" (which includes natural colors free from over-saturation, color-grading or a muted palette) and this one had it in spades! It also featured good black levels, a strong contrast, accurate flesh tones, appreciable depth, and good clarity. This is not to say it's perfect, for there were sporadic SOFT shots resulting in a lack of detail and depth. Black levels also faltered in a few brief shots. But overall this is most definitely "demo-material" and my vote goes for....

Tier Recommendation: 1.5*

Sony XBR75X940D...Philips BDP 7501...Samsung BD-H5900...Toshiba HD-A30...Dish Hopper 3...Onkyo TX-NR717...Sony CDP-C725...Sennheiser HD 570...Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro...Roku Premiere Plus...Harmony One Remote

Cambridge Soundworks MC305 Fronts & Center...Cambridge Soundworks Ambiance Surrounds....SVS PC12-NSD
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post #23935 of 23936 Old Yesterday, 02:47 PM
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Strike the Blood: TV Series Collection

recommendation: Tier 1.75*

This anime release from small distributor Discotek Media receives a strong presentation on Blu-ray. A third disc would have been preferred but throwing both half-seasons together on two discs doesn't adversely impact the AVC's compression. The 1080P video has crisp, bold animation typical of recent anime series. There are no evident technical problems.

Strike the Blood has detailed character designs and better than normal background art.

Blu-ray Picture Quality Tiers (updated through July 13, 2017)
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post #23936 of 23936 Old Today, 11:01 AM
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Manchurian Candidate, The (Criterion)

recommendation: Tier 2.5*

Other than a few soft close-ups, the details are pretty good. Clothing, hair, and other textures are decently sharp. Black levels and contrast are well presented. The restoration and encoding have been nicely done with the retention of a nice layer of fine grain.

OPPO UDP-203 -- Denon 1613 -- BIC America F12 Sub -- SVS Prime LCR

I find your lack of schadenfreude disturbing.
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