Originally Posted by amirm
I am on a slow cellular modem in Hiroshima so can't look at the pictures easily. I have asked the team to look at it and when I hear back, and finish taking pictures at Miyajima (hey, work without play doesn't make sense in my book! , I will comment.
while you are at it please ask your team to take a further look at the recent "The Departed" VC-1 transfer.
Despite rather good marks "in the press" this Warner VC-1 transfer contains some of the most questionable sequences (purely from a technical point of view, the movie itself fully deserves it's praise) I have ever come across during my career in this business.
I'm preparing a thread dedicated to show the defects of this transfer. Right now I'm still figuring out a way to take meaningful "screenshots" (digital screen captures).
Before that please allow me to ask you for your professional opinion about this transfer.
Please ask your team for example to take a look at chapter 33 (dialog in hallway). There is some SERIOUS noise reduction going on. This scene is just an example of the worst case of noise reduction I have ever seen applied on any disc based HD transfer so far. The Departed has quite a lot of natural film grain. eg. in Chapter 33 there is no grain at all. It is not just that excessive NR is applied but the used filter is subpar - it smooths and smears the picture significantly, ALL detail and definition is lost, typical noise reduction artifacts are all over the place AND the VC-1 video stream AVERAGES 6.5 MBit/s during this scene (which is not surprising as there is no detail left to encode). Wait, it gets even better. After each cut in this scene the first 2 frames contain excessive amount of (natural) film grain. This film grain "magically disappears" from the third frame of each cut onwards - till the next cut. Cheap NR at it's worst.
As mentioned the VC-1 bitrate during this scene averages ~ 6.5 MBit/s. The very next scene of chapter 33 is not filtered - film grain is still present - and the VC-1 bitrate suddenly jumps to ~20Mbit/s. I don't presume VC-1 encoding itself is at fault regarding this inconsistent and excessive filtering (chapter 33 is just one example of many) but I would like to ask you why studios using VC-1 choose to filter their transfers prior to encoding in the first place. I just finished watching Chicago from Buena Vista - this AVC encoding with regular 40MBit/s peaks conserves the inherent, excessive film grain in a wonderful and natural way (remark for the moderators: suitable for this thread I worked as a projectionist for several years - so I would consider myself a "insider" regarding this matter).
Why do studios supporting your codec choose to apply excessive filtering/NR for many of their releases (Warner's Batman Begins, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory being other prime examples)? Does MS/the VC-1 codec team encourage this? If not, are you discussing this matter with the studios?
Looking forward to your comments! Thank you very much for your time.