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Step Up 3


Digital but all eye candy when it wants to be. This thing breathes color, so many rich, vibrant hues it's absurd. Black levels are outstanding and the contrast perfect. Detail is only fair, the big problem being the lead actress smoothed over in almost every scene she's in. If it weren't for that, this would be awfully close to the top tier.

Tier 1.25
 

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Quote:
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Personally I don't understand how either of you could put this in Tier 1. The colors are distracting, and the rest of the picture doesn't look particularly good either.


How does a title with distracting color/skin tones justify a Tier 1 placement? Aren't Tier 1 titles supposed to be Top Tier Demo quality titles? I wouldn't dream of putting this one on to show off my system.


Hot Tub Time Machine doesn't come close to this in my opinion, which is why I ranked it at Tier 2.75.
 

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Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World

Tier 2.5
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Tomlin /forum/post/19709422


Personally I don't understand how either of you could put this in Tier 1. The colors are distracting, and the rest of the picture doesn't look particularly good either.


How does a title with distracting color/skin tones justify a Tier 1 placement? Aren't Tier 1 titles supposed to be Top Tier Demo quality titles? I wouldn't dream of putting this one on to show off my system.


Hot Tub Time Machine doesn't come close to this in my opinion, which is why I ranked it at Tier 2.75.

If we were docking flesh tones that heavily, 90% of the new releases wouldn't have a chance. For those who have never seen it:

http://theabyssgazes.blogspot.com/20...ease-stop.html


There was another one showing examples of box art recently but I can't find that one. It's standard now. I mean, I have no problem docking it (Other Guys was a recent pet peeve for that same palette), but a whole tier and then some? It's rebelling against something that is sadly becoming a standard.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Tomlin /forum/post/19709422


Personally I don't understand how either of you could put this in Tier 1. The colors are distracting, and the rest of the picture doesn't look particularly good either.


How does a title with distracting color/skin tones justify a Tier 1 placement? Aren't Tier 1 titles supposed to be Top Tier Demo quality titles? I wouldn't dream of putting this one on to show off my system.


Hot Tub Time Machine doesn't come close to this in my opinion, which is why I ranked it at Tier 2.75.

In my mind Tier 2.75 signifies a disc barely above average, among not just new releases but every Blu-ray ever released. That includes a ton of older catalog titles and titles with questionable sources that simply do not hold up as well compared to the clarity and sharpness of recent films just transferred to 1080p.


Is Hot Tub Time Machine average quality for a new release? Probably, but it would throw the entire Tiers out of alignment if something like it was really put that low. It easily could have ended up in Tier 2.0, but in general I felt it surpassed a number of discs ranked there at the moment.
 

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District 9


recommendation: Tier 1.25



There was a large disparity in prior recommendations for District 9, which was filmed digitally. Many downgraded it for that reason, among others. It does show some of the weaknesses of that production style, like poorer shadow detail and weaker black levels. The image was razor-sharp and possessed a high degree of clarity in close-ups. If you ignore some of the minor faults, one could imagine this Blu-ray as being worthy of the highest Tier.
 

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Despicable MeDefinitely a great looking BD from Universal...technically really a beautiful almost perfect transfer as most of the tier 0 animated titles. It does not have the level of detail of TS3 or texture detail of UP, but still EYE candy...I would recommend Tier 0 somewhere between bee movie and chicken little.

Also a very funny movie!
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger /forum/post/19710304

District 9


recommendation: Tier 1.25



There was a large disparity in prior recommendations for District 9, which was filmed digitally. Many downgraded it for that reason, among others. It does show some of the weaknesses of that production style, like poorer shadow detail and weaker black levels. The image was razor-sharp and possessed a high degree of clarity in close-ups. If you ignore some of the minor faults, one could imagine this Blu-ray as being worthy of the highest Tier.

We're close on this one Phantom; I gave it a 1.5. I docked it mainly for shaky camera-work and overblown whites. The muted colors were another drawback. But the DETAILS were amazing and for that reason alone it deserves a Tier 1 ranking.
 

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The Secret


recommendation: Tier 3.5


Image Entertainment released this 2007 movie on August 26, 2008. The 91-minute film uses a BD-25 and is encoded in AVC at an average video bitrate of 19.98 Mbps. Nothing sticks out as horribly wrong on the transfer, but the dull presentation precludes any demo potential.


The cinematography is very restrained and colors are cold. Most of the filming, particularly interior scenes, show mere hints of depth and dimension. Detail is fine in tight shots, but noticeably lower in medium-range shots. Brief flashes of halos occur that look a natural result of the optics, and not added processing. Black levels are a step below the average, resulting in a black that slightly crushes shadow detail while still not looking inky or deep. The gamma on the transfer is just not that good.


The video encode is reasonably competent for an older Blu-ray. The master looks sourced from a high-quality print and is free of blemish or degradation. A new scan of the original film elements today would probably up the detail level, but at least it shows no major problems. The Secret probably deserves a rank somewhere in the bottom half of Tier Three.


Watching on a 60 Pioneer KURO plasma at 1080p/24, from a 60-GB PS3 (firmware 3.55), at a viewing distance of five feet.


BDInfo scan (courtesy of Cinema Squid):
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...9#post14547769
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger /forum/post/19710304

District 9


recommendation: Tier 1.25



There was a large disparity in prior recommendations for District 9, which was filmed digitally. Many downgraded it for that reason, among others. It does show some of the weaknesses of that production style, like poorer shadow detail and weaker black levels. The image was razor-sharp and possessed a high degree of clarity in close-ups. If you ignore some of the minor faults, one could imagine this Blu-ray as being worthy of the highest Tier.

There aren't all that many aspects to evaluating picture quality, so when any one of those aspects falls short, I don't consider it a "minor fault". Such is the case with the contrast/black levels in District 9. It completely lacked the depth and dimensionality that one should expect from a Tier 1 placement in my opinion.


So, while I agree with you regarding the excellent details that are seen in this title, like I said in my review: "But, there is more to excellent PQ than just detail and clarity, and the lack of good contrast with strong blacks, as well as the blown out highlights really brings this one down".


I guess I am once again feeling that people are being generous on their ratings and are losing sight of the fact that Tier 1 titles are Tier 1 titles, and there is very little difference between a Tier 1.0 title and a Tier 1.75 title.


End rant.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by djoberg /forum/post/19710736


But the DETAILS were amazing and for that reason alone it deserves a Tier 1 ranking.

I don't think that I could possibly disagree more with this statement.


You are virtually throwing out all other aspects of PQ for the mere sake of details, when there is a lot more to PQ than that.


I'm getting pretty discouraged with some of the opinions I'm seeing here lately.


Probably best that I take a break from the thread for a while, as it isn't worth causing a commotion. Nothing personal at all guys, but when I see rankings so high that completely contradict obvious deficiencies in the PQ that the reviewer himself acknowledges, the thread seems to lose some credibility.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Tomlin /forum/post/19712233


I don't think that I could possibly disagree more with this statement.


You are virtually throwing out all other aspects of PQ for the mere sake of details, when there is a lot more to PQ than that.


I'm getting pretty discouraged with some of the opinions I'm seeing here lately.


Probably best that I take a break from the thread for a while, as it isn't worth causing a commotion. Nothing personal at all guys, but when I see rankings so high that completely contradict obvious deficiencies in the PQ that the reviewer himself acknowledges, the thread seems to lose some credibility.

Hey Rob, sorry to hear about your discouragement. I think I was even less generous than you on this particular title. While I understand wanting to take a break (I've come across this before myself), I would encourage you to continue with your reviews. Though we all disagree a fair bit on scores, we all have a place in the overall outcome/scheme of things. I know how frustrating it can be when something "obvious" is not accepted by everyone. It's just another vote and your vote counts as well.


I understand though if you still want to take a few. Just letting you know that I'm sure we've all been through the same feeling. Just gotta plow through it and keep the balance.
 

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How to Train Your Dragon


A very solid submission from Dreamworks. Some of the animation sequences surpassed Kung Fu Panda, in my opinion. But, as a whole, I think Kung Fu Panda is still superior. Comparing to the higher Pixar titles? Forget about it.


Contrast is not the strongest attribute for this title. Blacks are close to inky, but still inconsistent. Colors are of the dark variety, but looked very good. Shadow details are well rendered.


Some of the issues remain - banding, aliasing. Dimensionality is also not up to par, though the panoramic scenery looked awesome.


Still Tier 0, but not nearly as impressive as some of the top tier titles...

Tier Recommendation: Tier 0 (just above Corpse Bride)

ln46a650 - 1080p/24 - 6'
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Tomlin /forum/post/19712233


I don't think that I could possibly disagree more with this statement.


You are virtually throwing out all other aspects of PQ for the mere sake of details, when there is a lot more to PQ than that.


I'm getting pretty discouraged with some of the opinions I'm seeing here lately.


Probably best that I take a break from the thread for a while, as it isn't worth causing a commotion. Nothing personal at all guys, but when I see rankings so high that completely contradict obvious deficiencies in the PQ that the reviewer himself acknowledges, the thread seems to lose some credibility.

First of all Rob, I will admit to resorting to a bit of *hyperbole* in stating District 9 was worthy of Tier 1 simply based on DETAILS. My review surely bears out that in addition to DETAILS, DEPTH and CLARITY were also exemplary. Here's the link for my review:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...ostcount=15993


So, in truth I am NOT "throwing out all aspects of PQ for the sake of details."


Let me elaborate a bit on DETAILS. If there is a scene with phenomenal details (as was the case with many scenes in District 9), it will also be accompanied with other virtues. I can't possibly imagine a superbly detailed shot lacking clarity, can you? And under most circumstances that same shot will exhibit a good sense of depth...wouldn't you agree?


If you read my review on that title you will see that I do mention the inconsistencies that characterized the movie. I concluded that 2/3 of the title fell into Tier 0 while the other 1/3 was average at best. That makes it hard to draw a sound conclusion but I tried doing a little math and I came up with 1.5 or 1.75. Like it or not, my *opinion* was reached according to my interpretation of the criteria set forth for this thread.


I sincerely hope you don't retreat from the thread, for you have ALWAYS been a major contributor. Yet I must admit that our *opinions* on some recent titles have differed considerably and I can understand why you are discouraged. I don't have a solution to this, for in all honesty I'm still judging titles as I have in the past....using the criteria on page one of the rankings thread....and leaning towards my normal generosity in placement recommendations (
....I thought I should end this rather serious response on a light note).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Tomlin /forum/post/19712200


There aren't all that many aspects to evaluating picture quality, so when any one of those aspects falls short, I don't consider it a "minor fault". Such is the case with the contrast/black levels in District 9. It completely lacked the depth and dimensionality that one should expect from a Tier 1 placement in my opinion.


So, while I agree with you regarding the excellent details that are seen in this title, like I said in my review: "But, there is more to excellent PQ than just detail and clarity, and the lack of good contrast with strong blacks, as well as the blown out highlights really brings this one down".


I guess I am once again feeling that people are being generous on their ratings and are losing sight of the fact that Tier 1 titles are Tier 1 titles, and there is very little difference between a Tier 1.0 title and a Tier 1.75 title.

I can only speak for myself, but in the course of evaluating Blu-rays for the thread, sometimes the visceral impact of the picture quality overwhelms critical considerations. District 9 might fit into that category. It is currently ranked in Tier 2.0, so most seem to agree with your evaluation of its rank.


While trying to stick as closely as possible to the criteria, I do lean towards being consistent with my prior recommendations. Based on pop and dimensionality, District 9 definitely does not stand out as a reference title. But its picture does have virtues that could possibly make up for the deficiencies cited above.
 

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The New Daughter


Wow, this one started out strong - natural clarity, good depth, and decent black levels. Contrast was a bit hot, but did not look distracting. Unfortunately, the movie continues. Right away, shadow details go down the drain. While some facial details initially looked good, those details disappear and it feels like the camera can't quite get to the correct plane of focus.


Skin tones are never good anywhere in the film. Fine grain is present, though bordering on noise once we get into darker, indoor scenes. The finale really takes the cake, where blacks become murky and any signs of shadow details disappear.


Some of the daylight scenes do save this from completely tanking...

Tier Recommendation: 2.75

ln46a650 - 1080p/24 - 6'
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by djoberg /forum/post/19538022

The Expendables


A one-word summary would be: INCONSISTENT! Whether we're talking black levels, detail, grain structure, clarity....it doesn't matter. One minute we're blessed with a sharp-looking picture with a nice film-like look, plenty of eye-popping detail (especially in facial close-ups and biceps
), beautiful colors, and exquisite black levels & shadow details. The next minute we're cursed with a flat-looking picture with too much grain or digital noise, a lack of detail, and murky blacks that are void of shadow details. This could have easily been a high Tier 1 contender if the virtues had held up, but as it is I have to go along with my colleague GRG and assign it to Tier 2. I am happy to say that the majorty of the movie's running time (of approximately 100 minutes) exhibited the positives mentioned above, so I'm going to go one notch higher that GRG and put it right here....

Tier Recommendation: 2.0
Quote:
Originally Posted by deltasun /forum/post/19538138

The Expendables


Denny beat me to it, but it is the best way to describe this title: INCONSISTENT. There are some ultra-close up's that are so detailed and textured, one wonders how it could go the other way. But it does, check out Bruce Willis - soft. Yet, Stallone looks sharp in the same shot. Black levels are the same - murky one minute and great shadow details the next.

Tier Recommendation: 2.25

There is not much to disagree with these reviews concerning The Expendables, the inconsistency in the picture quality was disappointing for a mindless action spectacle.

recommendation: Tier 2.25
 

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Inception


PQ is sandwiched between Nolan's own Batman Begins and The Prestige w.r to the look and the usual Warner's filtering.


Top class and brilliant film-making and the Wife enjoyed and understood better in the first viewing than me.


Tier 2.25
 

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The Goonies


I couldn't pass up the $6 Goonies deal on Amazon! Unfortunately, this transfer is riddled with DNR, some edge enhancement, and noise. Okay, the noise is usually in the darker segments of the film. Grain, in general, wavers as well.


Pervasive softness is another property that mars this title. Following that would be details - check out the mass of globs during the top view of the Goonies riding their bikes to the coast. I will submit though that some medium shots of the gang are appropriately rendered. Contrast is not the strongest, and neither are the black levels. Shadow details aren't too bad, but certain sequences in the tunnel appear flat.


Positives? Does nostalgia count?
Colors are probably the closest to being a positive, though still not that vibrant.


These negatives are still not to the degree that I would place in Tier Coal, but close...

Tier Recommendation: 4.25

ln46a650 - 1080p/24 - 6'
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by deltasun /forum/post/19717501

Tier Recommendation: 4.25

Do not think I am singling you out deltasun, but I will point out that we technically do not have a Tier 4.25. Tier 4 is only broken up into 4.0 and 4.5 at the moment. You're not the first regular poster to give recommendations for a mythical Tier 4.25.
When this has happened in the past I have just counted that score as a Tier 4 placement.
No worries, the Tiers will go on and survive. That sounds like a great deal on the Goonies.
 
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