AVS Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 300 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,175 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Ok, this is about Warner once more. About their very latest release - Blood Diamond. Available now on Blu-Ray and coming next month on HD-DVD.


What happened? As usual Warner decided "to play fair and neutral" in this ongoing format war and to "optimize" this release for the lowest common denominator.


Ergo: 143 minutes of 1080p video, encoded in VC-1 + a lossless audio track (TrueHD for HD-DVD and PCM for Blu-Ray) + a IME stream for the HD-DVD version + lots of extra features had to be crammed and "optimized" for a HD30 disc and HD-DVDs 30MBit/s bandwidth limitation.


Result: The available bitrate for the VC-1 stream sadly is quite pathetic. As Warner chooses to recycle their low-bitrate HD-DVD VC-1 encodings for their Blu-Ray releases (in this case a BD50 disc) the BD version ends up with the very same ~10-13MBit/s avg. VC-1 video stream. Optimizing this release for BD50 specs would have allowed for a SIGNIFICANTLY higher applied bitrate -> even 30MBit/s just for the video stream would have fit nicely...


BUT Warner chooses the leave ~20GB of space and much more important ~18MBit/s bandwidth unused.



The results: Let's see what the well-respected David Vaughn has to say. I have already received my copy from Axelmusic and sadly have to agree with David's assessment.


"VIDEO:


I had very high expectations going into this move for a number of reasons. First, I had waited to watch it for so long in HD, I expected an A list title to receive the A list treatment. Second, with a newer release I expected an upgrade over the mostly catalog titles that I have been reviewing lately. Unfortunately, I was let down in a big way.


The encode is done in a VC-1 1080p presentation, that is extremely starved in the bitrate department, and boy does it show. From the opening scene, compression issues arise in the backgrounds as well as the foreground. At first, I thought it might possible be grain, until I got up from my seat to get about 2 feet away from the screen and I was greeted with what looked to be mini-macroblocks, which from my normal seating distance shows up as video noise. I then popped up the bitrate meter on the PS3 and was astounded to see a bitrate of 7.9 Mbps! That is damn low for HD content, and frankly, I'm not surprised that it didn't look worse! From this point on, I was on the lookout for this type of phenomenon, and it appeared again quite frequently in the presentation in low light situations. In one such case, DiCaprio and Connelly are speaking on the porch of an orphanage, and the camera pans back and forth between the two of them, out of about 5 sequences of each character, the video noise only showed up in one of them! Why were the other 9 OK and the other one it was present? Hard to tell, but I wasn't that impressed.


Unfortunately, that isn't the only thing that is wrong in the video department. Banding is quite evident in a lot of scenes, specifically in the skyline and in the setting sun. Fine detail is lacking at times, especially in the backgrounds of the forest on the longer shots where instead of seeing individual leaves, you are left with a more DVD like picture of the leaves blending into a green blob.


The highlights of the presentation though are the exterior shots, which have a tendency to be very lifelike, especially when there are close-ups of our main characters. Overall, I'm sure that many will enjoy this presentation on smaller displays, but on my 88-inch screen, there was more to dislike than like in this one. There was plenty of space made available on this disc for content since it is a BD50, but I have to wonder if having an uncompressed PCM track and a low bitrate VC-1 encode was the best choice on this one?"


"WRAP-UP:


Warner has been accused of treating Blu-ray as a second class citizen when it comes to their releases, and I can't but think that is the case in this release. Warner has been converting their HD DVD encodes for their BD discs and I suspect that the lower capacity of the HD DVD disc is contributing to some of the issues presented here, but I won't know for sure until I see the HD DVD next month.. At least they have added in the uncompressed PCM mix as a bonus, but the low bitrate VC-1 video encode is pathetic for such a new release. Microsoft has been touting on the forums about how transparent that they can get a VC-1 encode to look to the master at low bitrates, but this one doesn't cut the mustard. As a plea to Warner, if you are going to release movies on BD50 discs, please use as much disc space as possible to ensure an excellent video transfer. Given the poor video on this release, I am hard pressed to recommend this one."

http://www.***************.com/fusio...hp?tid/137411/



Please, lets discuss this matter in a civilized manner. This is about the very bad practise of Warner as a "neutral studio" to "optimize" their releases for the lowest common denominator instead of using each formats individual advantages.


Releasing a recent high-profile title with just another bit-starved video transfer is one thing. To recycle this sub-par transfer on another format that doesn't suffer from the need to cut bandwidth while charging an equal price as well optimized releases is another story.



This certainly goes both ways btw - releases like Planet Earth were "optimized" for single layer BD25 and therefor leaving >5GB of disc space unused on HD30. Which resulted in a lower than necessary bitrate for the video stream and no extra features whatsoever.


BD exclusive studios Sony/Columbia Tristar and Disney/Buena Vista/Miramax really have spoiled everybody lately with flawless high bitrate AVC/VC-1 encodings and lossless audio on each and every release for the last couple of months.


Compare this to the situation last year - Warner did an outstanding job right out of the gates while high quality/acceptable releases on BD were non-existent .


Sadly this has changed dramatically. Even my very first Warner HD-DVDs discs (the now classic Last Samurai, PotO, Million Dollar Baby trio) look outstanding, flawless and vastly superior to my now returned Blood Diamond disc. To you see a trend here???


But I certainly agree that Warner/HD-DVD is capable of OUTSTANDING quality -> just look at the Matrix trilogy for a recent example.


BUT the point is - it seems to take serious efforts to get there with the very tight bitrate budget. Not all titles get the attention and care of something like Matrix. And to make 12MBit/s avg VC-1 look acceptable (on the big screen and not just on some 50" plasma or CRT monitor in a post house...) you DEPEND on the compressionist to do an outstanding job of hiding any potential compression related anomalies. And herein lies the problem - if you can apply 25MBit/s avg with an advanced codec the compressionist can take a nap most of the time and the encoding will still be superior to any hand-tuned 12MBit/s avg encoding with the usual mere 18MBit/s peaks.


Discuss.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,328 Posts
What if this ends up looking better on HDDVD?


I have not seen this movie, but are you so sure that Warner is 'producing' for the least common denominator.


I want the best possible video/audio too, but sometimes this just doesn't happen... for reasons that are unknown to us.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,876 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by AV Doogie /forum/post/0


What if this ends up looking better on HDDVD?


I have not seen this movie, but are you so sure that Warner is 'producing' for the least common denominator.


I want the best possible video/audio too, but sometimes this just doesn't happen... for reasons that are unknown to us.

I'm sure they are using the same encode on HD-DVD. The savings from the TrueHD (instead of PCM) is probably being used up for the other special features.


This review is disappointing. I read something bad about Music and Lyrics as well. I was looking forward to both of these movies. I wisk cj was here to talk about what's going on at Warner.


Chris
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
254 Posts
You make quite a few assumptions; I'm not sure that they're all warranted.


Still, you should apply the same rule to this situation as you do in every other consumer situation: if a company releases a poor product, don't buy it.


I'd be more likely to blame the quality on a poor encoding, though, than anything else. Troy is 162 minutes, and has quite a few special features as well, and it looks good.


Perhaps Warner isn't using the full capcity of Blu-Ray discs. They never promised that they would, though. They'll do whatever is easier/cheaper. If you don't like that, the only option available is to vote with your wallet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,175 Posts
Discussion Starter #6

Quote:
Originally Posted by AV Doogie /forum/post/0


What if this ends up looking better on HDDVD?


I have not seen this movie, but are you so sure that Warner is 'producing' for the least common denominator.


I want the best possible video/audio too, but sometimes this just doesn't happen... for reasons that are unknown to us.

Every single Warner dual format release (other than the very early Mpeg2 titles) has recycled the exact same VC-1 stream for both formats.


THAT'S THE POINT HERE. The video stream with this release is limited by HD-DVDs bandwidth and space limitations which, considering this "full-featured" (read everything but decent PQ) title had to fit 143 minutes of video + lossless audio track + additional DD+ tracks + IME + lots of extra features within [email protected]/s.


There are compression artifacts all over the place with this release. This is certainly not the fault of VC-1 but of the really pathetic available bitrate for the video stream - available/limited due to HD-DVDs "tight" specs.


And in contrast to titles with simular specs like Troy and Batman Begins Blood Diamond has a very decent level of detail, definition and preserved natural film grain (read: surprisingly it hasn't been overly DNRed in order to make it look "clean, smooth and popular" and so very easy to compress).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,818 Posts
got up from my seat to get about 2 feet away from the screen and I was greeted with what looked to be mini-macroblocks,


2 feet come on
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,610 Posts
If you dislike Warner so much it'll be ok with me if they went back to HD DVD exclusively. Imo all special features besides IME should be on a second disc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,627 Posts
I have no problem with Warner using the same encode for both formats. I have yet to see this transfer so I cannot coment on the picture quality.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
676 Posts
Just absolutely pitiful. Warner is quickly becoming the worst studio by a mile in the HD video quality game. First the band-fest that is Happy Feet and NO LOSSLESS on the blu-ray even tho there was still 10 GIGS free on the BD25, and just more crap like Blood Diamond catering to the lowest, most useless common denominator, hd-dvd's paultry specs.


Warner, you've lost me as a customer. Wake me up when you use higher bitrates on blu-ray, i will be there with my wallet open wide to purchase all of your wonder films, once they are actually worth buying. I sold my Happy Feet blu-ray on ebay as well, i wont keep things that are not up to snuff any longer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,175 Posts
Discussion Starter #11

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelHDDVD /forum/post/0


If you dislike Warner so much it'll be ok with me if they went back to HD DVD exclusively. Imo all special features besides IME should be on a second disc.

As I use to buy almost all of my Warner releases on HD-DVD (Blood Diamond was an exception due to release date and because at the very least the BD got a PCM track) I'm not really confident that this would solve my problem...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,610 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLion /forum/post/0


As I use to buy almost all of my Warner releases on HD-DVD (Blood Diamond was an exception due to release date and because at the very least the BD got a PCM track) I'm not really confident that this would solve my problem...

Then don't buy their movies at all. If enough people stop buying the movies which have bad PQ/AQ then studios will realize "Hey, for some reason our HD movies which can barely sell as it is aren't even selling as well as they use to!" I'd like for every movie to have King Kong or MI:III quality video. But I'm not going to have that dissuade me from owning a movie I want. HD DVD movies including King Kong and The Matrix have IME/U-Control with TrueHD or DD+ @ 1.5 mbps and they look fine. It isn't a HD DVD bandwidth issue it is a Warner screwing up a release issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,175 Posts
Discussion Starter #13

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelHDDVD /forum/post/0


Then don't buy their movies at all. If enough people stop buying the movies which have bad PQ/AQ then studios will realize "Hey, for some reason our HD movies which can barely sell as it is aren't even selling as well as they use to!" I'd like for every movie to have King Kong or MI:III quality video. But I'm not going to have that dissuade me from owning a movie I want. HD DVD movies including King Kong and The Matrix have IME/U-Control with TrueHD or DD+ @ 1.5 mbps and they look fine. It isn't a HD DVD bandwidth issue it is a Warner screwing up a release issue.

You are right. Warner screwed up.


Warner screwed up by cramming this disc with a TrueHD track, an IME feature and lots of extras which limited the available bitrate for the video stream to a mere ~12 MBit/s avg. which is really pushing it for such an highly detailed and grainy source.


King Kong runs at ~16-17MBit/s avg. , is very clean without any film grain to speak of, couldn't afford an lossless 24bit TrueHD track and still shows clear compression artifacts (see Xylon's thread) during fast movement.


Now you do the math and explain to me how Warner should have not screwed up the Blood Diamond release with a mere 12MBit/s avg., 17MBit/s peak available bitrate.


The one thing they should have done:


- forget about TrueHD if it does compromise PQ (just go with the usual 640kbit/s DD+ tracks )


- forget about IME if it does compromise PQ


- forget about all the fancy extra features if they compromise PQ
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,555 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLion /forum/post/0


Every single Warner dual format release (other than the very early Mpeg2 titles) has recycled the exact same VC-1 stream for both formats.


THAT'S THE POINT HERE. The video stream with this release is limited by HD-DVDs bandwidth and space limitations which, considering this "full-featured" (read everything but decent PQ) title had to fit 143 minutes of video + lossless audio track + additional DD+ tracks + IME + lots of extra features within [email protected]/s.


There are compression artifacts all over the place with this release. This is certainly not the fault of VC-1 but of the really pathetic available bitrate for the video stream - available/limited due to HD-DVDs "tight" specs.


And in contrast to titles with simular specs like Troy and Batman Begins Blood Diamond has a very decent level of detail, definition and preserved natural film grain (read: surprisingly it hasn't been overly DNRed in order to make it look "clean, smooth and popular" and so very easy to compress).

Really? So all those Warner BD25 releases aren't what is limiting HD DVD on those releases. Let's see a warner BD25 movie with a lossless PCM track sucking up space, then has to be ported over to HD30 with a lossless track, and how is that HD DVD limiting Warner's release?


How about stating that Blu-rays inability to cheaply produce BD50, and produce BD50 in sufficient quantities that EVERY release can be BD50 is forcing studios to use BD25, which in turn limits the performance of the HD DVD release on HD30!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,610 Posts
16/48 TrueHD has a 1.4 mbps ABR

DD+ on King Kong had a 1.5 mbps bitrate


TrueHD would of fit, Universal just isn't one for lossless tracks, I think out of there all their HD DVD titles there only 5 with TrueHD.


The Matrix has TrueHD and IME. Don't blame HD DVD because Blu-Ray got a crappy encode. The Fifth Element was released on Blu-Ray only with a crappy bitrate, is that also HD DVDs fault. I'm sure if I went through every Blu-Ray or HD DVD movie frame by frame I would see problems with 100% of the releases. But since I watch movies in motion like they are meant to be seen I don't see problems with King Kong.


When Metallica started releasing music that I didn't like, I stopped buying it. Do the same Warner Bros. They'll get the message.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
477 Posts
I have a question for those that are a big fan of HD-DVD.


Would you actually be against Warner bumping the audio/video bitrate up to take advantage of the superior Blu-ray spec for their Blu-ray releases? At 8mbps VC-1 this movie was obviously not encoded for Blu-ray.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,234 Posts
wnorris,


We need some more info, before making this kind of leap. Specifically, what is the program size (everything) on the hdvd? Is it below 25 GB?...between 25 and 30 GB?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
477 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLion /forum/post/0


The one thing they should have done:


- forget about TrueHD if it does compromise PQ (just go with the usual 640kbit/s DD+ tracks )


- forget about IME if it does compromise PQ


- forget about all the fancy extra features if they compromise PQ


You forgot a 4th one:


- forget about HD-DVD and focus on the winning format with the better specs, and encode the movies to spec


I am getting sick of the inferior spec holding everything back. HD-DVD is holding back HD media adoption as it just adds confusion, and now it is clearly holding back video quality. I wish it would just go away--we only need one format so let's focus on the better one with the more player choices, more movies, better scratch protection for my archiving, and superior specifications. Warner or any HD-DVD studio going neutral has the power to end this silly war overnight as they would take 1/3rd of the releases away from the loser, and then the people on the fences can dive into HD movies rather than waiting on the sidelines. It's not like sales go down with one format versus two, they will probably go UP, so I don't know what they are waiting for. It must be all politics.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,555 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Hanky /forum/post/0


wnorris,


We need some more info, before making this kind of leap. Specifically, what is the program size (everything) on the hdvd? Is it below 25 GB?...between 25 and 30 GB?

No we don't. Not any more info than what Lion is giving in his OP. Around 70% of Warner BD's to date are BD25's. They have the identical features (except audio) as the HD DVD version. The bulk of the hd DVD version were released on BD30 (the may be a couple of 90 minute movies on BD15, but I'm not 100% sure on that). That means BD is hadicapping the HD DVD release by 5 GB on the bulk of Warner's releases. Since PCM tracks are quite a bit larger, and included on most Warner discs, it means HD DVD is often handicapped by more than 5 GB because of Blu-ray.


Blu-ray production isn't capable of delivering BD50's for every release, which means studios must use the lower capacity BD25, or release nothing at all.


Blu-ray, the format that was not quite ready for primetime (specs not finilized, production can't even meet the minimal demand for HD discs that exists today, authoring tools initially only available for MPEG-2, no authoring tools ready for much of the Java, etc.).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
477 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by wnorris /forum/post/0


No we don't. Not any more info than what Lion is giving in his OP. Around 70% of Warner BD's to date are BD25's. They have the identical features (except audio) as the HD DVD version. The bulk of the hd DVD version were released on BD30 (the may be a couple of 90 minute movies on BD15, but I'm not 100% sure on that). That means BD is hadicapping the HD DVD release by 5 GB on the bulk of Warner's releases. Since PCM tracks are quite a bit larger, and included on most Warner discs, it means HD DVD is often handicapped by more than 5 GB because of Blu-ray.

Blu-ray handicapping HD-DVD. Now that is rich. It's not like there is no such thing as BD-50. Luckily their new releases have all been BD-50 and with the new 300 release it looks like Warner is wising up a bit. Hopefully it doesn't mean we are relegated to the inferior HD-DVD encode though. I hope they bumped up the audio and video bitrates for Blu-ray with 300. We'll see.
 
1 - 20 of 300 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top