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post #1 of 93 Old 11-04-2016, 07:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3D Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review



Ralph Potts reviews the Collector’s Edition Blu-ray release of Episode VII of Star Wars, the latest installment in one of the most successful, popular, and entertaining film franchises in cinematic history.




The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/3D Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

98



Details:

Studio and Year: Disney - 2015
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 136 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC/MVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyongo, Andy Serkis, Domnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Max Von Sydow
Directed by: J.J. Abrams
Music by: John Williams
Written by: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J. Abrams, Michael Arnot
Region Code: A,B,C


Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 15, 2016


"Every Generation Has A Story"


My Take:

I reviewed Star Wars: The Force Awakens when it was release on Blu-ray in April of this year. The standard high definition video and audio mix are identical. This review will include my comments from the original review while adding rating/commentary on the 3D rendering and a new rating for the additional bonus material.


Thirty years following the battle of Endor, the Resistance is still hard at work rebuilding the galaxy from the ashes of the Empire. Remnants of the Empire, namely the First Order, threaten to unbalance the fragile peace in the galaxy. Echoes of the past overshadow the events in the present as two young people begin a journey that will take them to the far reaches of the galaxy looking for answers to the ongoing conflict between the light and Dark Side of the Force.


Star Wars: The Force Awakens saw the eagerly anticipated reteaming of original Star Wars stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill, along with Anthony Daniels, the only actor to have been in all seven Star Wars films, and Peter Mayhew. The returning cast was joined by newcomer Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron).

Star Wars: A New Hope or Star Wars, as it was called back then, debuted in theaters on my 13th birthday in 1977. I remember sitting in the theater not knowing what to expect but being excited because I sensed that the film was somehow different from anything I had previously seen on the big screen. Little did I realize how right I was as my jaw dropped upon seeing that huge Star Destroyer come into view and fill the screen. I remained captivated as the story unfolded, introducing me to iconic characters and their compelling plight which would evolve into the most talked about and anticipated movie events over the next six years.

I, like many of you reading this am a Star Wars fan, with a particular love of Episodes IV, V, VI. When it was first announced that a new Star Wars film was in the works I had mixed feelings, until I saw the first trailer. Those mixed feelings were replaced with eager anticipation. On December 29th 2015 I took Star Wars: The Force Awakens in at my local Cineplex. Prior to seeing it I heard minor complaints/rumblings that the film felt like a rehashing of Episode IV. My feeling is that with the direction taken with The Force Awakens, it was essential to establish a definitive correlation between the iconography and thematic foundation of Star Wars (particularly episode IV) and the development of the progression of this next generation.

The film does that by bringing together plot points and past/present characters with the key element appropriately revolving around the question of Luke Skywalker's whereabouts and the focus on two characters with intertwined destinies. As you might expect with Star Wars there is a power struggle between good and evil, seemingly insurmountable odds combined with an indomitable weapon capable of multi-world annihilation, and a small cache of heroes that must win out despite the cost. For this to happen sacrifices must be made and they are, but with defining purpose and in this case an emotional wallop.

I sat in the theater and took it all in. Did Star Wars: The Force Awakens feel reminiscent of Episode IV? Yes. Did that somehow make it feel like less of a film experience? Absolutely not. There were essential thematic elements present that needed to be there or else it simply wouldn't have felt like Star Wars. I reveled in the references to the earlier films and felt the impact of the defining dramatic moment that shook fans. I applauded the concept of a strong female heroine whose past appropriately remains a question mark but whose role is without a doubt the quintessence of what we as fans enjoy so much about Star Wars lore. Let's be clear, Rey is a badass, and newcomer Daisy Ridley has the chops to fill her shoes. I found the idea and connective tissue surrounding Kylo Ren to be apropos and promising. Seeing both of their segues into the force, was gratifying, especially in Rey's case, portrayed in an "awakening" manner.

The action, humor and emotion was palpable as the film revitalized the essence of what excited me about Star Wars when I was young. The potential in the new generation as seen through these characters and refocused narrative is fresh, fun and chock full of promise. Kudos to co-writer/director J.J. Abrams for his creative choices, composer John Williams for moving and memorable music, and the terrific contributions of the wonderful cast ensemble.

As I sat at home with my family experiencing Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the second time, it didn't lose any of its luster. Once again I felt like that 13 year old boy sitting in the theater, eyes wide open, imagination piqued and thrilled to partake in the adventure and spirit of the spectacle that is…Star Wars.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens was directed by J.J. Abrams and written by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt. Lucasfilm president and eight-time Academy Award® nominee Kathleen Kennedy and J.J. Abrams, along with his longtime producing partner Bryan Burk, are the film’s producers.

Having established a musical legacy with his iconic scores for the previous six films in the Star Wars Saga, acclaimed composer John Williams returned to score Star Wars: The Force Awakens, ultimately garnering his 50th Oscar® nomination for it.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens shattered box office records upon its debut to become the cinematic event of a generation with over $926 million domestic and $2.05 billion worldwide.


* This four disc 3D Collector’s Edition comes in handsome collectible packaging that features a lenticular 3D graphic cover, embossed, sturdy slipcover and book style disc housing that uses the overlapping disc inserts.*


Parental Guide:

The rating is for sci-fi action violence.


AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


Audio: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialog Reproduction:
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element):



3D Presentation: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Depth (Onscreen):
  • Dimension (Beyond the screen):
  • Realism:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:



Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3D comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p MVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 5 Mbps.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens wasn’t shot natively in 3D but this is a terrific 3D rendering. Detail is preserved as the video retains its high level of clarity with objects, people and backgrounds within the frame appearing delineated and sharp. I was impressed by the depth and realism of the three-dimensional imagery. The spacing of objects/ people in the foreground/background is incredibly lifelike which imparts a natural sense of scale as things of various shapes and sizes occupy the virtual world onscreen. I wasn’t drawn out of the film by odd looking proportions or hokey 3D for 3D’s sake. In fact, I would say that it was just the opposite.

The cinematography utilizes near field camera perspectives that enhance proportional correlation. There are a variety of sequences that utilize the 3D platform to reach beyond the borders of the screen and the effects are as good as I have seen. Contrast is spot on, blacks are inky with excellent dynamic range and colors are beautifully vibrant and eye catching. I didn’t notice any distracting signs of ghosting/crosstalk or other video related anomalies. I have to say that this 3D presentation enhanced the experience of watching The Force Awakens and is the only way that I will view it from now on.

Having seen this film in the theater I had high hopes for its soundtrack in the home environment and I wasn’t disappointed. Many may feel this is a missed opportunity for an immersive lossless soundtrack (Dolby Atmos or DTS:X) and perhaps it is, but that doesn't negate the fact that this DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio soundtrack is demonstration quality. This recording has excellent dynamic range and boasts superlative clarity and high level detail that is truly impressive. Dialog is definitive and appreciably lucid through the center channel, never getting lost even during the film's most active moments. Front channel separation and imaging is excellent. This draws out both large and small sound elements and allows their directional correlation based upon the onscreen events to be readily definable.

The mix makes effective and aggressive use of the surround channels to reproduce the spatial and discrete sounds of this engaging soundtrack. At times the listening position is submerged in a 360 degree web of sound that can be riveting as it bombards the senses with a combination of well-placed sound effects and music. This is a dynamically charged sound mix that frequently utilizes the subwoofer to provide room energizing impact. The audio’s low frequency effects are applied authoritatively to underscore the bombastic aspects of the presentation and in most respects, does so quite effectively. There are moments, especially during some of the multi-staged engagements, where deeper bass extension seemed warranted but didn't hit as hard as anticipated. This isn't a shortcoming per se but seemed more like a creative decision. This shouldn't be taken to mean that the audio presentation suffers from anemic bass because it doesn't. There are sequences where its palpable presence fills the room with refined low frequency detail that is appreciable and on occasion, skin tingling.

This is a sophisticated sound design that is loaded with various sound effects, spatial cues, music, and dialog. Each is clearly represented with enriching clarity, prioritization and dynamism. I had a blast…



2D Video Quality:


Video: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:



Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 33 Mbps.

This film utilizes a variety of settings, visual schemes and cinematographic processes to create its world (s) and having seen it theatrically I had high hopes for its presentations on Blu-ray. I wasn't disappointed. The video is razor sharp with a pristine quality that enhances its seemingly flawless rendering of detail. Images are gradationally adept and three dimensionally depicted so that wide angle perspectives, unevenly lit interiors, and shadow laden environs have a seemingly infinite level of depth. This presentation delivers some of the richest and velvety textured blacks that I have seen on Blu-ray. Colors are vibrant, delineated and when called for, deeply saturated and warm, without appearing unnatural. The palette of secondary hues used throughout are eye pleasing and vivid. Flesh tones are lifelike with varying degrees of complexional separation among the cast. Contrast is well balanced and dynamic which energizes colors, empowers whites/grays and engages blacks. The video has a pleasing aesthetic that plays hand in hand with the film’s stark visual style, providing an incredibly entertaining experience that looks superb regardless of the size of your display.



Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Star Wars: The Force Awakens 3D Blu-ray
    Disc 2: Star Wars: The Force Awakens 2D Blu-ray
    Disc 3: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Bonus Disc
    Disc 4: Star Wars: The Force Awakens DVD
    NEW Bonus Features:
  • Audio Commentary with J.J. Abrams – Enter the mind of visionary director J.J. Abrams as he reveals the creative and complex choices made while developing the first film in the new Star Wars trilogy.
  • (HD) Foley: A Sonic Tale – Foley artists, consisting of old pros and new talent, unite to bring the world of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” alive through the matching of sound to action - 4 minute featurette
  • (HD) Sounds of the Resistance – Hear how the epic sound design of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” moves the Star Wars legacy forward - 7 minute featurette
  • (HD) 9 Deleted Scenes – 3 new never-before-shared scenes that didn’t make the film’s final cut.
  • (HD) Dressing the Galaxy – Costume Designer Michael Kaplan reveals how the costumes of the original Star Wars movies were re-envisioned for a new generation - 6 minute featurette
  • (HD) The Scavenger and the Stormtrooper: A Conversation with Daisy Ridley and John Boyega – The two new stars share the thrill of working together on the adventure of a lifetime and becoming part of the Star Wars legacy - 11 minutes
  • (HD) Inside the Armory – Take a fascinating tour through the design and creation of the weaponry in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” - 8 minute feaurette
    Legacy Bonus Features:
  • (HD) Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey – For the first time, discover the complete story behind the making of The Force Awakens, revealed through in-depth footage and exclusive interviews with the actors and filmmakers in this 4 part documentary - 69 minutes
  • (HD) The Story Awakens: The Table Read – Cast members familiar and new reflect on the memorable day they all first came together to read the movie’s script - 4 minutes
  • (HD) Building BB-8 – See how the filmmakers brought the newest droid to the screen, creating an instant fan favorite in the Star Wars universe - 6 minute featurette
  • (HD) Crafting Creatures – Watch movie magic as the filmmakers bring a cast of new creatures to life - 9 minute featurette
  • (HD) Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight – Go deeper into the epic, climactic lightsaber battle between Rey and Kylo Ren - 7 minute featurette
  • (HD) John Williams: The Seventh Symphony – The legendary composer shares personal insights of his work on Star Wars and The Force Awakens - 7 minute featurette
  • (HD) ILM: The Visual Magic of The Force – An insider’s look into the remarkable digital artistry of the movie’s visual effects - 8 minute featurette
  • (HD) Force For Change – Heroes come in all shapes and sizes. See how the Star Wars: Force for Change initiative has united Star Wars fans all over the globe to help others - 3 minutes
  • Digital HD Copy


Final Thoughts:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens lived up to the hype and exceeded my expectations, delivering one of the most enjoyable film experiences of 2015. It comes to Blu-ray from Disney featuring one of the best looking high definition presentations and 3D renderings I have seen from the format, reference quality lossless surround sound and a complimentary supplemental package that includes new and legacy content which lots of insights from the cast, crew and those responsible for bringing the film to the big screen. Star Wars: The Force Awakens Collector’s Edition makes for a terrific offering on Blu-ray and is well worth the upgrade for fans. I eagerly await the next installment…









Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player
Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and In-Ceiling series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

Ralph C. Potts
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My Home Theater
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post #2 of 93 Old 11-04-2016, 07:57 AM
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Oh donkeys! 100 for 3D! I haven't purchased the film yet, but it looks like I'm gonna have to pre-order. Now my running total of "blame Ralph" purchases is $28326.34!

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post #3 of 93 Old 11-04-2016, 08:22 AM
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Oh man, I can't wait to get this! Loved the movie and the audio track is fantastic! I somehow resisted buying the initial 2d release in anticipation of this 3d release and I am excited to get it! 100 for 3d!!! Thanks Ralph and can't wait!
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post #4 of 93 Old 11-04-2016, 08:55 AM
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I wish 3D version had IMAX scenes in full screen as i watched in the theater.
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post #5 of 93 Old 11-04-2016, 09:26 AM
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double dip material? Just maybe... lol!

100 3D score may just be reason enough to pick it up!
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post #6 of 93 Old 11-04-2016, 09:31 AM
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Good review. Thanks. Looks like it's pre-order for $30 pretty much everywhere. Should I pre-order or wait for the release day discount before the price goes up on the weekend?
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post #7 of 93 Old 11-04-2016, 10:51 AM
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I am still holding out for the next release of the movie that will hopefully have both the 3D and Atmos versions in it! Then I'll buy!
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post #8 of 93 Old 11-04-2016, 11:44 AM
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so the question is, what's the best option for trading in my Target-exclusive TFA and using that to put towards TFA 3D ?
I usually trade in old movies at the Saturday Matinee (owned by FYE) at my local mall, and use the credit towards other used movies. They mark up their new movies, so it may not be worth doing the trade in there. Does BestBuy even do trade-ins ? or Walmart? don't remember seeing any used movies for sale at my local stores
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post #9 of 93 Old 11-04-2016, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post
3D Presentation: 100
I confess that this is the only part of the review I read

Having said that, I'm disappointed that this release did not include immersive audio, or an expanded aspect ratio for the 'Escape from Jakku' IMAX sequence - these inclusions would've made this the ultimate blu-ray version of the film.
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post #10 of 93 Old 11-04-2016, 12:46 PM
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H had the chance to watch this 3D version of TFA yesterday, and I must agree with Ralph, 100% score for 3D!

The only downside to this release for me is the absence of a Dolby Atmos soundtrack.

Well, I must have bought 5 different versions of the original trilogy... so my guess is Atmos will be included in the fourth version of TFA I will buy...
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post #11 of 93 Old 11-04-2016, 12:55 PM
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I don't have a 3D monitor, but I've enjoyed the two-dimensional BD. I know that few 3D TVs are being sold, so I'm surprised that the studios are still taking the trouble to release 3D versions of popular films. The conversion must cost a pile.

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post #12 of 93 Old 11-04-2016, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbarach View Post
I don't have a 3D monitor, but I've enjoyed the two-dimensional BD. I know that few 3D TVs are being sold, so I'm surprised that the studios are still taking the trouble to release 3D versions of popular films. The conversion must cost a pile.
Yes I agree for sure 3d is awesome takes the movie experience to a whole new level,this is a must own in 3d!!! Sound is great also, atmos should have been included no doubt.
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post #13 of 93 Old 11-04-2016, 01:56 PM
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Great review Ralph. I've seen this movie in both 2D and 3D and the 3D version is IMO the only way to watch this one. Of course Ralph is watching the 3D with a great 3D projection system and that is one of the reasons he gave it a video score of 100. If you're into 3D then go with an OLED T.V. or a recent JVC projector if you have the financial wherewithal. A good DLP projector should also do this 3D film justice.
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post #14 of 93 Old 11-04-2016, 11:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbarach View Post
I don't have a 3D monitor, but I've enjoyed the two-dimensional BD. I know that few 3D TVs are being sold, so I'm surprised that the studios are still taking the trouble to release 3D versions of popular films. The conversion must cost a pile.
The conversion was done already for the theatrical release, so it doesn't take as much money to go from a digital intermediate 3d to a 3d Blu-Ray release.

3d is popular in the theatres, so studios will still continue to do 3d theatrical showings. And going from that to 3d Blu-Ray isn't hard
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post #15 of 93 Old 11-05-2016, 12:32 AM
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Where is the UHD BD with Atmos or DTS X? Disney's initial $4 billion plus production costs of these movies and we know why all these releases.

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post #16 of 93 Old 11-05-2016, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tezster View Post
Having said that, I'm disappointed that this release did not include immersive audio, or an expanded aspect ratio for the 'Escape from Jakku' IMAX sequence - these inclusions would've made this the ultimate blu-ray version of the film.
That will come in the next release of this movie on BluRay!

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post #17 of 93 Old 11-05-2016, 07:15 PM
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I loved the movie and saw it in 3D in the theaters. I thought the 3D presentation was terrific then, and can't wait to get the 3D blu-ray
(to watch on my JVC RS600). Pre-ordered!
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post #18 of 93 Old 11-06-2016, 05:18 AM
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Still waiting for UHD Bluray....
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post #19 of 93 Old 11-06-2016, 10:53 PM
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Anyone noticed this?
It appears around 00:24:28 on the UK version of the movie (only the 3D version, just in the shot in the picture attached, a few seconds long).
Take a look at the upper left corner (the four dot pattern).
So far nobody knows what it is - some assume some kind of watermarking, but I strongly doubt that.
It's no easter egg kind of thing either, it's encoded into the video stream.
I'd be highly interested to know if it's also contained in the U.S. version of the movie.
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post #20 of 93 Old 11-07-2016, 04:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyCyberguy View Post
Anyone noticed this?
It appears around 00:24:28 on the UK version of the movie (only the 3D version, just in the shot in the picture attached, a few seconds long).
Take a look at the upper left corner (the four dot pattern).
So far nobody knows what it is - some assume some kind of watermarking, but I strongly doubt that.
It's no easter egg kind of thing either, it's encoded into the video stream.
I'd be highly interested to know if it's also contained in the U.S. version of the movie.
Greetings,

I will take a look and report back....


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post #21 of 93 Old 11-07-2016, 05:28 AM
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like pretty much everyone else- just one step closer to the Ultra HD/Atmos/DTS: X release.
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post #22 of 93 Old 11-07-2016, 07:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SkyCyberguy View Post
Anyone noticed this?
It appears around 00:24:28 on the UK version of the movie (only the 3D version, just in the shot in the picture attached, a few seconds long).
Take a look at the upper left corner (the four dot pattern).
So far nobody knows what it is - some assume some kind of watermarking, but I strongly doubt that.
It's no easter egg kind of thing either, it's encoded into the video stream.
I'd be highly interested to know if it's also contained in the U.S. version of the movie.
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Greetings,

I will take a look and report back....


Regards,
Greetings,

Yes, it's there on the North American release, although mine has the four marks lined up in two even rows.


Regards,
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post #23 of 93 Old 11-07-2016, 07:31 AM
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A 100? They must have adjusted for home release. It was okay when i saw fake Imax of it, but nowhere with Avatar

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post #24 of 93 Old 11-07-2016, 08:14 AM
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Still waiting for UHD Bluray....
Same here. I hope Di$ney gets on the UHD bandwagon soon so we can get SW and the Marvel catalog they control.
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post #25 of 93 Old 11-07-2016, 09:24 AM
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So, what should I do? Buy this, or wait until they release the one with Atmos? Or would they mess the future release like they did with Gravity? As in one with the 3D but no atmos, and another with atmos but no 3D?

Would this one with the DTS 7.1 play well with Neural:X upmix? Is the DTS 7.1 upmixed by Neural: X close enough to the theatrical release?
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post #26 of 93 Old 11-07-2016, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post
Greetings,

Yes, it's there on the North American release, although mine has the four marks lined up in two even rows.


Regards,
Quite peculiar, isn't it?
Any idea what it's supposed to be?

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post #27 of 93 Old 11-07-2016, 10:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by SkyCyberguy View Post
Quite peculiar, isn't it?
Any idea what it's supposed to be?
Greetings,

Not sure. Looks like some sort of marker that was left in during the encoding process (?)


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post #28 of 93 Old 11-07-2016, 10:53 AM
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Strange that it seems to be different depending on the region...
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post #29 of 93 Old 11-07-2016, 11:16 AM
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So for a non-3D version of the blu-ray, is there a preferred release? Or is there just the standard 2D blu-ray and that's it?

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post #30 of 93 Old 11-07-2016, 11:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hellohowareyou View Post
So, what should I do? Buy this, or wait until they release the one with Atmos?
IF Disney does release the Atmos mix, it won't be on Blu-ray but instead only on 4K disc (the same way Fox releases their Atmos & DTS:X mixes only on UHD).
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