Originally Posted by eric.exe
I really really really hope I'm wrong, buuuut, that really really really looks like AVC artifacting and not JPEG artifacting in those screens. The JPEGs are also 700kb, at that size and resolution there wouldn't normally be artifacting. Hopefully there's some weird circumstances that's causing that artifacting, (ie non-final encode shots supplied by Sony).
Anyway the article itself was also good.
Sony has in the past sometimes underestimated the need for higher compression parameters on films with dense grain structure, such as Taxi Driver. They tend to target their encodes to average in the mid-20s, which is fine for a clean, glossy film or source. But that level invariably breaks down on close inspection for messy sources. I have to believe that much of the compression process has been reduced to the level of automation. Hopefully a major restoration like Taxi Driver had a technician go over the video encode by hand and tweak any problem areas for artifacts.
The very high bitrates in the 30s we often see on foreign releases has proved, to me at a minimum, that compression transparency and fidelity to the master is visibly improved over the Hollywood studios' typical practice of targeting averages in the 20s. Of course it still surpasses the studio, which I do not even have to name and everyone stills know who they are, that is targeting sub-20 figures on all releases now.