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Warner Blu-rays with LOWER BITRATES than the HD DVD version - w/ comparison PIX

post #1 of 67
Thread Starter 
Yes, it's true.

This was initially discussed when the Constantine Blu-ray was released back in October 2008, with lgans316 leading the way as always.

Constantine "new encode" rumblings:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...e#post14820810
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...e#post14868412
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...e#post15143167

It seems that a lot of posts Benes made have been removed for whatever reason, but I recall him posting confirmation at the time that the HD DVD's VC-1 encode really was 13.15Mbps vs the 11.88Mbps of the Blu-ray (both measured excluding the PiP track).

Regardless, because no one had ever seen a Warner VC-1 Blu-ray that wasn't a duplicate of the HD DVD encode (except for the re-filtered The Perfect Storm), the consensus was that there must be a measurement error. After all, why would they make a new encode for Blu-ray with a lower bitrate, particularly for a disc with 21GB to spare? The discussion quietly faded away without anyone directly comparing the discs.

A couple of days ago I managed to rent the HD DVD and I confirmed for myself that it really is a different encode. Then I spotted differing bitrates listed in the threads for V for Vendetta and compared a bitrate graph of my HD DVD to one Cinema Squid made of the Blu-ray VC-1, leading to the confusing conclusion that it too uses a slightly lower bitrate encode on the Blu-ray.

It's possible that these are the only two Blu-ray "re-encodes", but it's also possible that there are more... And even weirder, it appears that The Matrix Revolutions is identical until the end credits, when the bitrate drops on the Blu-ray but stays high on the HD DVD.

The purpose of this thread is to try to identify all of the Warner VC-1 encodes that are different/"new" on the Blu-ray vs the HD DVD and compare them. (And to discuss why the hell they would do such a thing without increasing the average bitrate...)

Help from others with the equipment to do so would be invaluable!

"New" encode - confirmed
Code:
Constantine (12.685Mbps HD DVD vs 12.526Mbps Blu-ray)
V for Vendetta (13.145Mbps HD DVD vs 11.884Mbps Blu-ray)
The Perfect Storm ("jaggie" 19.38Mbps HD DVD vs filtered 16.86Mbps Blu-ray)
End credits re-encoded - confirmed
Code:
The Matrix Revolutions (HD DVD AVBR is 0.178Mbps higher as a result)
Identical encode - AVBRs match to 0.001Mbps accuracy and peak bitrates/max frame sizes match
Code:
The Matrix
The Matrix Reloaded
Identical encode - confirmed using Xylon's screenshots
Code:
Happy Feet
Identical encode - AVBRs match to 0.01Mbps accuracy and 1-second bitrate graphs match
Code:
16 Blocks
300
A Scanner Darkly
Corpse Bride
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior
Million Dollar Baby
Superman
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
The Lake House
The Last Samurai
The Reaping
TMNT: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Identical encode - AVBRs match to 0.01Mbps accuracy
Code:
Alexander: The Final Cut: Disc 1
Alexander: The Final Cut: Disc 2 (0.02Mbps diff)
Batman Begins
Casablanca
Enter the Dragon
GoodFellas
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Led Zeppelin: The Song Remains the Same
Lethal Weapon
Lethal Weapon 2
Michael Clayton
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Ocean's Eleven (0.02Mbps diff)
Ocean's Twelve
Ocean's Thirteen
Swordfish
Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut
Syriana
Taking Lives
The Departed
The Omega Man (0.02Mbps diff)
The Phantom of the Opera
The Polar Express (2D; Blu-ray adds additional 3D encode)
Twilight Zone: The Movie
[UK Blu-ray] Training Day (US Blu-ray is MPEG-2)
There is a 0.04Mbps difference on Superman Returns according to the specs listings. Maybe within the margin of error.
post #2 of 67
Thread Starter 
First up for screenshot comparisons is V for Vendetta.



12.685Mbps VC-1 | HD DVD | Release date: 2006-10-31
12.526Mbps VC-1 | Blu-ray | Release date: 2008-05-20
= 0.159Mbps difference

It's a tiny difference, but the graphs give a more complete picture of the changes:

HD DVD bitrate and frame size/type graphs

Blu-ray bitrate and frame size/type graphs

Screencap comparison - Mouseovers here (Hit Stop on this thread to not waste time downloading from both servers)











(I also had to put them up on Imageshack in order to transfer them to the mouseover site, so if you're reading this in the far-flung future and the other mirrors are down, there's also this gallery.)

As you can see, I only went through 11 minutes of the movie and already came up with 11 images from each. During that time I saw the HD DVD looking better, the Blu-ray looking better, and the two looking COMPLETELY IDENTICAL on several I-frames. Sometimes all of that happened within the same camera shot. So far, I have no idea if one could be called better than the other overall.

At any rate, I think it's really interesting to see just how much VC-1 is willing to smooth out the source when bitrates are too low. The last image is particularly awe-inspiring. I'm not sure what happened to the HD DVD encode there but it's just that one frame, right before the scene changes.

I plan on taking more caps from this one, but does anyone have any suggestions? Timecodes? Should I show large I-frames vs smaller B/P-frames to see how much better it could be if a higher bitrate was actually used? All I-frames? All similar-bitrate frames?
post #3 of 67
Thread Starter 
Added 2009-08-18

No spoiler-tagged images this time, just external links. An additional 80MB loading all at once is just too much.

Mouseover link | ImageShack gallery

Well folks, this is why 12.5Mbps isn't enough for this type of movie. If you're short on time, start from #25 and work backwards. The later shots are the most obvious to me. If anyone still wants to dispute that a higher bitrate made by the same encoder wouldn't help, I give up.

That said, neither disc is preferable during playback if you ask me. Pick your poison. One frame will look better on the HD DVD, then the next on the Blu-ray, then the next couple on the HD DVD, then the next couple on the Blu-ray... It works out to be the same if you're not comparing individual frames.

But by comparing the superior frames from each encode we can see how much we're losing on the inferior ones.

This movie needs more bits, not less, plain and simple.

The HD DVD has ~9.4GB empty space.
The Blu-ray Disc has ~22.6GB empty space.

The bandwidth is comfortably below limits on both discs throughout most of the movie.

So why not?
post #4 of 67
Thread Starter 
Added 2009-08-20



13.145Mbps VC-1 | HD DVD | Release date: 2006-06-06
11.884Mbps VC-1 | Blu-ray | Release date: 2008-10-14
= 1.261Mbps difference

HD DVD bitrate and frame size/type graphs

Blu-ray bitrate and frame size/type graphs
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)


PiP window video (480p23.976):

Screencap comparison - Mouseovers here | ImageShack gallery (Hit Stop on this thread to not waste time downloading from both servers)












The Blu-ray has the advantage early in the movie, but after that (and overall) the HD DVD takes this one. It has more compression artifacts in certain high-motion shots, but the smeared faces of everyone during most of the Blu-ray makes the HD DVD the winner for me. But of course, both would benefit greatly from being less compressed...
post #5 of 67
Thread Starter 
Added 2009-08-21



14.060Mbps VC-1 | HD DVD | Release date: 2007-05-22
13.883Mbps VC-1 | Blu-ray | Release date: 2008-10-14 (fixed version is 13.882Mbps)
= 0.177Mbps difference

HD DVD bitrate and frame size/type graphs
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)


PiP window video (1.497Mbps 480p29.97):

Blu-ray bitrate and frame size/type graphs
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)


PiP window video (1.858Mbps 480p23.976):

Screencap comparison - Mouseovers here | ImageShack gallery (click Stop on this thread to not waste time downloading from both servers)









My analysis of the chapter bitrates was correct. It's the same encode up until the end credits.

The Blu-ray's glitch is on a single P-frame. It's followed by two more P-frames that are also decoded incorrectly as a result, and then everything is back to normal because they're followed by an I-frame.

The macroblock artifact in the next image pair is something I recall seeing when I watched the HD DVD months ago. It appears for around four frames, then lightning flashes, then it reappears for another four frames or so... I really only included it to further show that the "actual" movie encode itself is identical.

The first frame whose size differs by more than 2 bytes according to ffdshow's on-screen display is frame 172,965 @ 2:00:14. I took caps of it, and it's so very interesting to look at since it's in the middle of several seconds of blackness.

That frame begins the lower bitrate end credits on the Blu-ray. Not much to say about this. The increased compression causes more blocks on the Blu-ray's credits. But who cares anyway? It's green text on a black background. Just a curious difference, and one you'd only see explored at AVS.
post #6 of 67
Thread Starter 
Reserved5... the final reservation
post #7 of 67
Wow, talk about wax-fests....that guy with the mustache and black hat in those shots, just look at his face! It's so smeared, it practically looks like he's wearing a mask!!



post #8 of 67
Blu-ray captures 2,6,8,9 and 10 are just tragic and have no business in a modern HD encode. HD DVD cap 4 is a prime example of the Warner smoothing if I ever saw one.

And this whole re-encode deal? What the hell is wrong with Warner?

Tech A: People are complaining about our low-bitrate encodes, maybe we should redo them after all?
Tech B: I have a better idea, let's take the time and energy to re-encode but let's not actually make it any better, so that it'll all be a completely pointless waste of time. That'll show 'em!
Tech A: Genius!
Tech B: Let's run it by the boss.
Boss: Sounds like a plan boys, do it!

Monkeys deciding by throwing darts at a board would probably have a more sensible outcome.

Sigh. I guess if SE releases start cropping up in a couple of years or so their master plan will be revealed.
post #9 of 67
I think frame 11 is interesting that it looks better on BD but almost at the same size as the HD DVD.

Do anyone know what date they made the 2 encodes?
post #10 of 67
HD DVD cap 11 does look odd. If you look at the grain and all the little lights it has clearly been filtered, but for some reason only horizontally.

I'm also curious as to how cap 7 can be exactly the same on both, down to every single little compression artifact. Could this happen with two different encodes using different settings, or did they perhaps only tweak certain parts of the movie?
post #11 of 67
Thread Starter 
Re: #7, the fact that they're both I-frames is definitely important. Using Photoshop's sharpening and 300% zoom I spotted 7-8 macroblocks that were different, but that's it.

As I said, there were others like this. But clearly not all the I-frames are the same. And the very next frames which were always B or P always looked completely different between the two encodes.
post #12 of 67
What is Warner thinking? They've got 50GB at their disposal, it's long been obvious that their encoding tools are not doing an adequate job at these bitrates, and they're still pulling the same crap Pathetic...
post #13 of 67
First of all, it's wrong to assume that just because the bitrate is lower, that the encode is worse, the encoding tools change and improve with time, and we do not know if the tools remained the same between these.

That being said, just going through some of these, the BD looks sharper and preserves more grain, but there is more blocking as well, see particularly #2 in the upper left the blurry bricks in the background, there are a few that are slightly brighter, on the HD-DVD they remain blurred grainy bricks in the background, on the BD they turn into blocks. Also look at her right collar (your left) and her right shoulder (your left), see how on the BD it gets blocky, and on her shoulder where there are the strands of hair it gets all flat and the hair gets blurry. This is interesting because they are both I frames, according to the caption, and the filesize for the BD frame is larger than the HDDVD frame, but look at the blocking!

But then look at image #4, that looks significantly better on the BD, all the grain isn't washed away, look at all the detail on her coat and her belt particularly, that all gets lost on the HD-DVD, but they are not comparable frame types and the BD framesize on that one is larger than the HD-DVD.

Same with #5, no comparison, different frametype, BD frame way larger, way better.

#6 they look very similar, maybe a slight and insignificant sharpness advantage to the BD, but I'd say they look more identical than anything.

#7 is completely identical, literally. In fact it makes me doubt the caption on those images, those two are the exact same image, at least to my eyes.

#8 is a mixed bag, the blurry parts look more detailed in the grain/noise with the HD-DVD, but the fine lines on the stone looks more detailed on the BD. I don't really see any blocking on either though, not much detail to see.

#9. Look to the left of his hat. Wow, blockiness to the nines on the BD, HD-DVD while less detailed on his face, doesn't have all that macroblocking, and that's an I frame on the BD even.

#10 comparing P and B, they look more similar than anything

But #11, comparing I and I frames, BD mops the floor with the HD-DVD.

So really, all I see here is that yes they did a different encode, but it's a mixed bag in terms of results.

Quote:


The purpose of this thread is to try to identify all of the Warner VC-1 encodes that are different/"new" on the Blu-ray vs the HD DVD and compare them. (And to discuss why the hell they would do such a thing without increasing the average bitrate...)

I just want to point out that if there isn't a need to increase the average bitrate, then there's nothing to be gained by doing so. It looks like there could have been some gains on this title on both the HD-DVD and the BD encode. But just assuming that an encode that is higher bitrate is better and an encode with lower bitrate is worse is far too broad a generalization, and is not necessarily true, particularly if the encoding tools used are different, and also there is the skill of the person(s) involved actually doing the encoding.

We can make very broad statements about encodes that are significantly higher bitrate, of the same codec, using similar or the same tools, but if the difference is small, it's not a safe conclusion to jump to that the lower bitrate one must be worse.
post #14 of 67
I've always wondered, when they make a disc, can't they see in advance how much of the disc space they'll be filling with the different video and audio encodes so they can try to output the highest bitrate possible to use as much of the space available? Seems like a reasonable thing to do to be most efficient.

I'm not a big bitrate/quality-analyzer but this has just been something I've always wondered about.
post #15 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by ILJG View Post

Wow, talk about wax-fests....that guy with the mustache and black hat in those shots, just look at his face! It's so smeared, it practically looks like he's wearing a mask!!




That joke has been recycled more times than Warner's encodes.

I think Warner is encoding for China HD or whatever their HD-DVD format is called. They are the only hollywood studio that is still making encodes for more than one format. If someone can tell me I'm wrong about my assumption please correct me.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post


I just want to point out that if there isn't a need to increase the average bitrate, then there's nothing to be gained by doing so. It looks like there could have been some gains on this title on both the HD-DVD and the BD encode. But just assuming that an encode that is higher bitrate is better and an encode with lower bitrate is worse is far too broad a generalization, and is not necessarily true, particularly if the encoding tools used are different, and also there is the skill of the person(s) involved actually doing the encoding.

We can make very broad statements about encodes that are significantly higher bitrate, of the same codec, using similar or the same tools, but if the difference is small, it's not a safe conclusion to jump to that the lower bitrate one must be worse.

VC-1 is crap without a healthy bitrate. I know this comparison is bad, but take a look at any high bitrate VC-1 encode from Universal, Buena Vista or New Line(Shoot em Up) that's not DNRd and notice that they don't have the same characteristics of Warner's encodes of newer movies(the "smoothed" look, or the funny looking noise).
post #16 of 67
this is really strange. comparing those instances in which one disc clearly outscores the other one, but then seeing exactly the opposite on other screens somehow can lead to the impression you mixed up the naming of images :P

but serioulsy, what conclusion to draw from this, which disc is better most of the time or in which situations?
post #17 of 67
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisWiggles View Post

I just want to point out that if there isn't a need to increase the average bitrate, then there's nothing to be gained by doing so. It looks like there could have been some gains on this title on both the HD-DVD and the BD encode. But just assuming that an encode that is higher bitrate is better and an encode with lower bitrate is worse is far too broad a generalization, and is not necessarily true, particularly if the encoding tools used are different, and also there is the skill of the person(s) involved actually doing the encoding.

I don't recall making any assumption that the lower bitrate encode was necessarily worse. If I was doing that I would just declare the Blu-ray to be inferior and not bother with screencaps.

Comparing the large I-frames on one to the predicted frames of the other shows a lot of what we're losing. If the whole movie were I-frames at the same sizes, it should have a similar level of grain retention and lack of blockiness/smeariness throughout, no? Of course that's not realistic, but larger predicted frames should get closer to that ideal as well. Higher bitrate, less loss from motion compensation, better quality.

There is over 22GB of space left empty on this Blu-ray. Changing nothing else, they could have increased the video bitrate by more than 22.7Mbps (added to the existing bitrate of 12.53Mbps - a 2.8x increase).

It's possible that the VC-1 on the Blu-ray isn't a new encode produced exclusively for the format (although I'm not sure what else it would be). But if it is, why keep the bitrate so low? I would think they'd have to work pretty hard to get a 35Mbps VC-1 encode to not look better than this 12.5Mbps one.

Anyway, back to that frame that appears identical, again. Here are some images made by applying AviSynth's frame differencing function to PNG files. They should show any difference down to 1 level of 8-bit color, as I understand it.

Xylon's Happy Feet PNGs (HD DVD vs Blu-ray - identical encode)

The visually "identical" image #7:


Image #1:


All of the text overlays are generated automatically by the way, so there's no chance of mixup on my part. The "HD DVD" and "Blu-ray" text is overlayed as part of the AviSynth script used to decode the videos and convert them to RGB.
post #18 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by msgohan View Post

There is over 22GB of space left empty on this Blu-ray. Changing nothing else, they could have increased the video bitrate by more than 22.7Mbps (added to the existing bitrate of 12.53Mbps - a 2.8x increase)

Maybe they aimed this to a BD25, but got access to a BD50 (since the production capacity improves) and added extras that shouldnt be included with a BD25 release.

What is the peak bitrate?
post #19 of 67
Thread Starter 
I guess it's possible, but the HD DVD disc size is 20,609,980,670 bytes with all the same extras so they wouldn't have needed to redo it to fit.

Peaks can be seen on the graphs, it's something like 32-33Mbps on the Blu-ray and slightly higher on the HD DVD.

BD25 has the same bandwidth as BD50, doesn't it?
post #20 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sujay View Post

I've always wondered, when they make a disc, can't they see in advance how much of the disc space they'll be filling with the different video and audio encodes so they can try to output the highest bitrate possible to use as much of the space available? Seems like a reasonable thing to do to be most efficient.

Yes they can, sort of. The workflow for encoding should go something like this:
  1. Prepare all assets (produce extras, acquire trailers, etc).
  2. Encode all assets EXCEPT for the main features video; this includes encoding the audio of the main feature/extras (lossless or otherwise, multiple languages or otherwise) and video for extras (and trailers, etc).
  3. At this point you know how much space everything else should take up, except for the primary video. Subtract the space used so far from the space available on your target media (BD25 or BD50; these days anything longer than 100 minutes should probably be on a BD50).
  4. Encode the main features video to use the amount of space remaining. For TV shows you can allocate space based on the length of the episode.
Studios or production houses which want to leave a little extra space for future re-releases can shave off a specific amount, but given that AVC encoding isn't as time consuming as it once was, there's little reason to not simply re-encode every time you do another release.

The only semi-valid reason I can come up with is a fear that you'll introduce errors perhaps in future encodes (data errors) by touching it every time you want to re-release it. And running freshly minted encodes by a quality control person/group could become fairly expensive if done often enough. (But even that is a one time cost that can be spread out across all expected sales).
post #21 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowrage View Post

That joke has been recycled more times than warner's encodes.

Nice.
post #22 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sujay View Post

I've always wondered, when they make a disc, can't they see in advance how much of the disc space they'll be filling with the different video and audio encodes so they can try to output the highest bitrate possible to use as much of the space available? Seems like a reasonable thing to do to be most efficient.

I'm not a big bitrate/quality-analyzer but this has just been something I've always wondered about.

A good question. Why dont they lower the impact of DNR and try to use more disc-space?! I dont see how that could negatively impact the picture, so to speak.
post #23 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by surap View Post

A good question. Why dont they lower the impact of DNR and try to use more disc-space?! I dont see how that could negatively impact the picture, so to speak.

Because they doesnt use DNR. There are several good examples of DNR in this forum. This is not one of them.
post #24 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadowrage View Post

VC-1 is crap without a healthy bitrate.

And "healthy" bitrate = ?

Keep the sweeping generalizations coming...
post #25 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by ILJG View Post

And "healthy" bitrate = ?

Keep the sweeping generalizations coming...

Hardly a "sweeping generalization", it's the truth. Examples were given of high bitrate VC1 encodes which looked good, if you didn't see them, I suggest working on your reading comprehension.
post #26 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkedgex View Post

Hardly a "sweeping generalization", it's the truth. Examples were given of high bitrate VC1 encodes which looked good, if you didn't see them, I suggest working on your reading comprehension.

And how much of that is related to the source?

Why is the Disney VC1 encode of There will be blood, better looking then the Disney encode of flightplan, despite both uses about the same bitrate?

Why is Hot Fuzz looking better then Serenity despite them using the same bitrate?

Why is Harry Potter 5 better looking the Harry Potter 1 despite them using the same bitrate?
post #27 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by MovieSwede View Post

And how much of that is related to the source?

Why is the Disney VC1 encode of There will be blood, better looking then the Disney encode of flightplan, despite both uses about the same bitrate?

Why is Hot Fuzz looking better then Serenity despite them using the same bitrate?

Why is Harry Potter 5 better looking the Harry Potter 1 despite them using the same bitrate?

Not all encoding is created equally. There's can be "good" 20mbps AVC encodes and there can be "bad" 20mbps AVC encodes (some European studios have done 28+mbps AVC encodes that look they are 10mbps VC1 Warner encodes). I don't know the reasoning behind it on the professional level. But on the amateur level, especially in the x264 encoding community, there can be huge differences in quality at the exact same bitrates. Some people can adjust the encoder settings in such a way that there is a massive difference in detail and grain preservation than someone who just used the default settings.
post #28 of 67
Quote:
Originally Posted by MovieSwede View Post

And how much of that is related to the source?

Why is the Disney VC1 encode of There will be blood, better looking then the Disney encode of flightplan, despite both uses about the same bitrate?

TWBB is Paramount, and the answer = cinematography
Quote:
Originally Posted by MovieSwede View Post

Why is Hot Fuzz looking better then Serenity despite them using the same bitrate?

We don't have a BD of Hot Fuzz, and it's arguable that Serenity looks better based on opinion. But the answer is probably lighting.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MovieSwede View Post

Why is Harry Potter 5 better looking the Harry Potter 1 despite them using the same bitrate?

$$$$

I haven't watched the HPs yet. But of all the titles you listed none have a "smoothed picture" or the funny looking noise that you see so frequently on the low bitrate Warner encodes.

Plus look at the difference in detail with the encodes for Rambo(4) and Watchmen not done by Warner. In comparison it looks like the Warner discs are encodes of different versions filmed by cameras that had bad plastic wrap on the lenses.

Warner's low bitrate VC-1 encodes suck. Ok, I'm done.
post #29 of 67
Msgohan, could you check out the scene where the guy on the big screen is talking? The part where his mouth becomes jagged with compression blocks.
post #30 of 67
Thread Starter 
Oh, you mean the whole time he's talking on the screen? I watched through that whole scene that I made AVIs of before; the HD DVD blocks in nearly the same places unfortunately. It is a bit different though.

I'll include that in my next set of caps. Any other requests?
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