Is Excalibur the Worst for PQ in HD? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 38 Old 01-20-2007, 06:47 PM - Thread Starter
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My wife and I rented Excaliber on HD-DVD tonight from Blockbuster. I had always wanted to see this film, so this was the perfect night to check it out. However I am shocked at the PQ on this one.

I saw lots of macroblocking, lots of banding and lots of noise. I have seen many Upconverted DVD's that blow this one away.

At times it almost seemed like the colors were shifting from bright to dim etc. I also noticed a fair amount of film debris while watching this film.

Has anyone else had a similar viewing experience with this release?

~Josh

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post #2 of 38 Old 01-20-2007, 07:01 PM
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yup definitely one of the worst looking films on HD-DVD in my opinion.
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post #3 of 38 Old 01-20-2007, 07:05 PM
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I rented it on netflix and watched it yesterday, parts of it anyway. besides not looking too hot, something is wrong with this movie. It's a slow, slow movie, as slow as life itself. What a weird flick.

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post #4 of 38 Old 01-20-2007, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beatboy77 View Post

I saw lots of macroblocking, lots of banding and lots of noise. I have seen many Upconverted DVD's that blow this one away.

Needless to say, you haven't seen an sd copy of Excalibur upscaled that 'blows this one away'.

I never noticed any macro-blocking on my copy. As far as noise, the film can be quite grainy at times- especially noticeable during the early Uther segments.

It wasn't a huge upgrade over the now budget sd dvd, but it was an upgrade nonetheless.
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post #5 of 38 Old 01-20-2007, 07:36 PM
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Grainy in the low light scenes. Some of the brightly light, full sunshine scenes were fairly sharp. I saw no macroblocking. Enjoyed it esp the soundtrack with the Wagner and also Orff's Carmin Burana - O Fortuna. I wonder if John Boorman had a low budget back in 1981 to make this. Wasn't it a struggle for him to get it made?
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post #6 of 38 Old 01-20-2007, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beatboy77 View Post

My wife and I rented Excaliber on HD-DVD tonight from Blockbuster. I had always wanted to see this film, so this was the perfect night to check it out. However I am shocked at the PQ on this one.

I saw lots of macroblocking, lots of banding and lots of noise. I have seen many Upconverted DVD's that blow this one away.

At times it almost seemed like the colors were shifting from bright to dim etc. I also noticed a fair amount of film debris while watching this film.

Has anyone else had a similar viewing experience with this release?

~Josh


I have both an XA2 and Excalibur. I have 15 HD Titles and this by far plays the worst. I wonder why they released it as such., but the quality is less than desireable. It is the only Title I own that is this way. The XA2 upconverts the SD version so well, it's almost better, and is better in some ways, only its 4:3.

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post #7 of 38 Old 01-20-2007, 08:07 PM
 
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Did I watch the same disc? Mine looked pretty damn good. Once again someone makes a criticism without knowledge of what the director or cinematographer intended. But what really surprises me is that he commented on Excalibur being a bad transfer a couple of days ago in a different thread. So he rented tonight to confirm what he already knew?

In the Blu-ray Forum Thread "Sony Pictures Blu-Ray Problems??" He wrote the following on 1-17-07:

Quote:
Originally Posted by beatboy77 View Post

It is not new news that Sony's launch of Blu-ray was poor. So for Sony to be re-releasing the Fifth Element I feel shows another step in the right direction. It shows that they are now concentrating on quality vs. quantity. I also feel this will be a nice customer satisfaction gesture. I can only hope HD-DVD does this with some of their botched releases (Field of Dreams, Excalibur, The Breakfast Club, etc.).

I think what Sony is doing with its releases is releasing them strategically. As you can see right now there is a large amount of BD discs scheduled over the next 60 to 90 days. I think they will save many of their releases to fill in weeks where there may be a bit of a lull in releases from the other studios. I also think they will save the Spiderman Franchise for this upcoming Fall.

They do not want to make the mistake Universal made with HD-DVD and release a large amount of their best titles immediately. Essentially Universal has releases most of its modern hits already. Sure they still have Jurassic Park, Jaws, BTTF, etc., but I doubt we will see those anytime soon. By doing what Universal has done, you have the problem you have now with HD-DVD, essentially no new releases. They blew through their catalog quickly and now have to wait to put out other titles. Sony's/BDA's strategy is to have a constant flow of quality movies coming out week over week.

This war is like a marathon in a way. HD-DVD sprinted out of the gate and is now low on energy and Blu-ray limped out of the gate, reached a nice pace and is maintaining that pace. It's the classic tortoise and the hare situation. It's all a strategy.

~Josh

Is there anything objective about this guy? Someone truly neutral without an agenda would never have written the passage above. Yes, Beatboy77 could have been reporting what he read or heard but it supports a track record of trolling the HD DVD threads. If his behavior isn't trolling I don't know what is.

DVDTown's review of Excalibur:

Quote:


Reviewed by John J. Puccio:

Now, we have the HD-DVD in 1080 resolution, and again one can see noticeable improvement in sharpness and color, although perhaps not so great an improvement as in other HD-DVD releases, and certainly not the improvement one saw in the SD DVD over videotape. The HD-DVD's widescreen picture commendably fills a 1.78:1 television screen, and, yes, the colors are even more natural than before. Indeed, on direct comparison, the regular SD edition's hues seem more blurred and more garish, faces, for instance, appearing too orangish. However, even though the HD color is better, its greater definition makes the film's original print grain more noticeable than before, and given that most of the film's scenes are quite dark, visible print grain is inevitable. I must also add that there were a couple of brief moments when the image appeared to jitter a tad. It was almost indiscernible, but I'd swear it was present and repeatable. Fortunately, it should not be a concern to any viewer who isn't looking for it, and it passes so quickly it is not worth fretting over.

Understand, Boorman set out to make a dark and gritty film (these were the Dark Ages, after all). He sets most of his picture at night or inside dark castles or dark forests. Boorman meant "Excalibur" as a kind of medieval film noir. He was not after a pristine, crystal-clear look. So, as a result of the director's intent and perhaps the effects of time, "Excalibur" does not display the best-looking HD-DVD picture quality on disc, not by a long shot, but, as I've said, it probably comes pretty close to representing the film's original print, and that's what any good video reproduction should do.

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post #8 of 38 Old 01-20-2007, 08:29 PM
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You mean as often as you frequent this board and research high definition media, you DIDN'T know that Excalibur was a sub-par PQ disc? Hmm. . .

Okay . . . I'll choose a link for you. Let's see. . . Okay, this one . . .

Excalibur Review

If you like movies with horses running around with good PQ, I would recommend maybe. . . Seabiscuit.
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post #9 of 38 Old 01-20-2007, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ricwhite View Post

You mean as often as you frequent this board and research high definition media, you DIDN'T know that Excalibur was a sub-par PQ disc? Hmm. . .

Okay . . . I'll choose a link for you. Let's see. . . Okay, this one . . .

Excalibur Review

Thanks for the link!! No, I have never seen this one discussed on AVS. We rented it by chance anyway. My friend who lives in Reno, Nevada called last night and he had mentioned that we should rent it if it was in any of the HD formats.

I however thought it was the worst I have seen in PQ in HD. I thought the audio was fine for a movie of its age though. I also thought the storyline was quite boring. Oh well. Next week we will rent The Sting if it is available.

~Josh

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post #10 of 38 Old 01-20-2007, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beatboy77 View Post

Thanks for the link!! No, I have never seen this one discussed on AVS. We rented it by chance anyway. My friend who lives in Reno, Nevada called last night and he had mentioned that we should rent it if it was in any of the HD formats.

I however thought it was the worst I have seen in PQ in HD. I thought the audio was fine for a movie of its age though. I also thought the storyline was quite boring. Oh well. Next week we will rent The Sting if it is available.

~Josh

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post #11 of 38 Old 01-20-2007, 08:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronSCH View Post

Did I watch the same disc? Mine looked pretty damn good. Once again someone makes a criticism without knowledge of what the director or cinematographer intended. But what really surprises me is that he commented on Excalibur being a bad transfer a couple of days ago in a different thread. So he rented tonight to confirm what he already knew? DVDTown's review of Excalibur:



Yes, Beatboy could have been reporting what he read or heard but it supports a track record of trolling the HD DVD threads. He spends his time trashing HD DVD and praises even the most flawed Blu-ray titles. I don't recall reading anything negative about Blu-ray coming from him. If his behavior isn't trolling I don't know what is.

That is not true. I have seen a few Blu-ray's as well which I did not care for, such as Rocky and House of the Flying Daggers. I was just surprised at the PQ of this release. This has absolutely nothing to do with trolling. Anyway the person who placed the link to the hidefdigest review kind of confirmed my experience. That reviewer gave it a 2/5 for PQ and a 2/5 for AQ. I disagree with the AQ score though.

I had seen bits and pieces of this film before at a local Bestbuy as they were playing it as a demo. It has since been replaced with Field of Dreams.

~Josh

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post #12 of 38 Old 01-20-2007, 08:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ricwhite View Post

Do NOT go to Vegas. Just a tip.

Sorry Ric, we go two or three times a year. Always stay at The Flamingo. I think my Wife and I are addicted to Las Vegas

~Josh

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post #13 of 38 Old 01-20-2007, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beatboy77 View Post

That is not true. I have seen a few Blu-ray's as well which I did not care for, such as Rocky and House of the Flying Daggers. I was just surprised at the PQ of this release. This has absolutely nothing to do with trolling. Anyway the person who placed the link to the hidefdigest review kind of confirmed my experience. That reviewer gave it a 2/5 for PQ and a 2/5 for AQ. I disagree with the AQ score though.

I had seen bits and pieces of this film before at a local Bestbuy as they were playing it as a demo. It has since been replaced with Field of Dreams.

~Josh

didn't you like Field of Dreams?

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ield+of+Dreams

Your only criticisms are that it had grain (which shouldn't be a complaint, but a compliment).

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post #14 of 38 Old 01-20-2007, 08:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beatboy77 View Post

Sorry Ric, we go two or three times a year. Always stay at The Flamingo. I think my Wife and I are addicted to Las Vegas

~Josh

So, your luck's better there, eh? Of all the HD DVDs to pick off the shelf, you choose the worst one. Well, okay. . . second to worst one. I'd give the nod to Guitarscape Planet I sent my copy to Jack Bauer. I think he can find a better use for it.
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post #15 of 38 Old 01-20-2007, 08:58 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forceflow View Post

didn't you like Field of Dreams?

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ield+of+Dreams

Your only criticisms are that it had grain (which shouldn't be a complaint, but a compliment).

Yeah, I didn't mind Field of Dreams as it is in my Top 10 favorite movies ever. Why would you think I disliked it?

~Josh

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post #16 of 38 Old 01-20-2007, 09:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ricwhite View Post

So, your luck's better there, eh? Of all the HD DVDs to pick off the shelf, you choose the worst one. Well, okay. . . second to worst one. I'd give the nod to Guitarscape Planet I sent my copy to Jack Bauer. I think he can find a better use for it.

Well the only reason we rented it was on the recommendation that the story was good. I have never seen the Guitarscape Planet disc, so I will avoid that one. I was just very surprised by Excalibur because it has a lot of scenes which could be breathtaking if restored/transfered properly. Out of an HD30/VC-1 disc I just expected a lot more. When this comes to Blu-ray I will be sure to avoid it.

~Josh

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post #17 of 38 Old 01-20-2007, 10:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beatboy77 View Post

Yeah, I didn't mind Field of Dreams as it is in my Top 10 favorite movies ever. Why would you think I disliked it?

~Josh


Originally Posted by beatboy77
Quote:
Originally Posted by beatboy77 View Post

It is not new news that Sony's launch of Blu-ray was poor. So for Sony to be re-releasing the Fifth Element I feel shows another step in the right direction. It shows that they are now concentrating on quality vs. quantity. I also feel this will be a nice customer satisfaction gesture. I can only hope HD-DVD does this with some of their botched releases (Field of Dreams, Excalibur, The Breakfast Club, etc.).

This was a quote from above in this thread. I haven't seen The Breakfast Club, but Field of Dreams was not a bad transfer (nothing like TFE and HOFD).

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post #18 of 38 Old 01-20-2007, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luismanrara View Post

I rented it on netflix and watched it yesterday, parts of it anyway. besides not looking too hot, something is wrong with this movie. It's a slow, slow movie, as slow as life itself. What a weird flick.

You have to be very interested in the King Arthur tales to like this movie. I happen to like it.

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post #19 of 38 Old 01-20-2007, 10:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forceflow View Post

Originally Posted by beatboy77


This was a quote from above in this thread. I haven't seen The Breakfast Club, but Field of Dreams was not a bad transfer (nothing like TFE and HOFD).

Evidently from your above post with quotes beatboy 77 thought Field of Dreams was a botched job.

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post #20 of 38 Old 01-20-2007, 11:06 PM
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Excaliber is an awesome movie. It's not slow at all. It's 'focused'.

But it IS weird. I like my Arthurian legends weird.
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post #21 of 38 Old 01-20-2007, 11:32 PM
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Actually I just bought Excalibur last weekend to replace the SD DVD copy which was lost. The SD DVD PQ was awful, worse than videotape. The HD-DVD is quite good. The film has a haze inherent to it, as well as a grainy quality which is not a DVD issue. It's just the way it was shot. No format will make this movie look crisp or 3D - it just wasnt shot that way. The cast in this movie is just crazy. Patrick Stewart, Gabriel Byrne, Helen Mirren are some of the big names, but the performances are all excellent. The soundtrack is phenomenal.
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post #22 of 38 Old 01-21-2007, 02:37 AM
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I saw this in the theater a couple of times when it was first released.

Yes, Boorman was working with a low-budget and had difficulty getting it into production.
Yes, the HD DVD looks very close to what we saw in the theaters.
Yes, it's much better than the SD DVD released years ago. (Parts of it look very good and overall I think it's fine, given the source material.)

When I watched it recently I tried to image what the experience would be like for someone who never read or heard of the King Arthur legends. I can see where a person might have problems understanding it and following it. There are so many stories about Arthur and his knights and yet the movie moves at a pretty good clip covering as much as it does. I only felt it bogged down somewhat in the last act when it focused too much on Percival and his quest. I would have loved to seen more of the quests of the other knights, but it was only a two hour movie. (Would make a killer HBO twelve part series if such a thing existed back then.)
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post #23 of 38 Old 01-21-2007, 02:56 AM
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Best movie ever made about King Arthur in my opinion.

Best line (paraphrased from memory):

Arthur - "Where is Evil in my Kingdom?"
Merlin - "Always where you least expect it"

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post #24 of 38 Old 01-21-2007, 05:18 AM
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Originally Posted by vmaxxer View Post

Best movie ever made about King Arthur in my opinion.

ditto. Easily too, I would add.
I greatly enjoyed the first viewing of this on HD. I was more entranced by the film than I ever recall being, even though I seen it dozens of times thru the years (including its original theatrical release).
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post #25 of 38 Old 01-21-2007, 05:32 AM
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No, it isn't the worst. It is from the 80s after all, so it is age rather than video quality. Granted, WB probably could have remastered it better, but then again, maybe they couldn't.

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post #26 of 38 Old 01-21-2007, 08:08 AM
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It never ceases to surprise me when someone finds a movie that is A.) Not to their individual taste; B.) Shot soft and grainy; and C.) Looks better than it ever has in any previous format; then starts a thread proclaiming it a bad transfer.

Not every movie has to look like a computer animation. In Excalibur the plot, characters, motivations and cinematography are all a bit murky by design. That's why I like it and can watch it often. It's a unique and IMHO fitting interpretation of the Arthurian legends with their mix of heroism, magic and treachery.

My only real complaint with the HD DVD is Bore-man's sleep-inducing commentary. Is there a Cliff Notes version to save me the torture of listening to him?
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post #27 of 38 Old 11-30-2007, 09:36 PM
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I had to go digging to find a good Excalibur thread.

I agree with many of the last posts that this is one of the best King Arthur movies, but it's mostly for those that have studied the official legend (le Morte d'Arthur). The King Arthur legends compile a lot of different stories from both English and French traditions and are not assembled into an easy, linear narrative. They are a bunch of stories cobbled together. It's tough to whittle them down to a 2 hour movie.

As to the transfer itself, the video does not appear to be a bad transfer to me, but draws negative marks from people due the low light film technology of the day. In the early 1980s low light equaled film grain. In contrast, some of the daylight outdoor scenes are razor sharp.

What surprised me, and this probably speaks more to the budget Boorman was working on, was the "canned" sound of the soundtrack, including all of the Carmina Burana portions. It's amazing what we put up with for sound back then (I actually saw this in the theater, BTW).

I cannot speak as someone that has truly heard the Dolby Digital Plus soundtrack (the main track on this disk, no DTS core here). I have an HD-A2 player and a Yamaha HTR-5280 receiver that can do DTS. I have them connected through optical (toslink). For most of my HD DVDs that has sounded wonderful. For Excalibur, however, the downmix to DTS and sent over toslink appears to have some issues on my system (and may for others doing DTS downmix over toslink). Particularly in some of the battle scenes at the end, only the center channel seemed to work well and other sounds simply vanished. My results were much better when I reconfigured my HD-A2 to just send the sound as PCM. That only resulted in stereo ProLogic sound, but it actually sounded better on my system. Yes, it is a little bit of hassle to enter setup to do this, but it's no great loss to me since the original movie was probably only in stereo.
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post #28 of 38 Old 11-30-2007, 10:53 PM
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This is easily along one of the poorer transfers. It wasn't much of an upgrade over the dvd and that was piss poor.
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post #29 of 38 Old 12-01-2007, 12:59 AM
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Check out my link below for my reviews.

Excalibur Review

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post #30 of 38 Old 12-01-2007, 01:32 AM
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You should see "Army of Darkness"
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