BD demo at Tyson's Corner in DC

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by DaViD Boulet, Jun 5, 2006.

  1. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    I attended the demo and met with Jesse from HTF, Plazman from AVS, and Longshot on Saturday morning:

    The BD player is only a prototype unit running in 1080i via HDMI into the qualia 1920 x 1080 SXRD (I believe 70" diag) RP. Within the display being "line doubled" to 1080p I assume via DRC or some other non-3-2-compatible algorithm. Much like the 1080i demos of HD DVD, this does not showcase the format to its fullest potential, and artifacts are bound to be visible related to the bobbing/DRC progressive-conversion from the 1080i60 feed. The prototype BD unit (Sony) was not able to play DVDs so we couldn't test it's upconversion capability.

    Having said all of that...


    The image was the most stunningly natural, crisp, detailed and artifact-free I have ever seen outside of film.

    Let me nip this in the bud as talk about "artifacts" is proliferating at AVS:

    I noticed NO obvious edge-ringing even from .5 screen widths. Upon CLOSE inspection... like less the .25 screen-widths, some clean-edge "haloing" could be seen around sharp text in *some* instances. This was not MOSQUITO noise... it was clean ringing that resembles HF boosting, and it affected the test of the STILL FRAME MENUS as well as the sharp-edge text in the motion-clips subtitling... which leads me to believe that it's not a product of the MPEG2 compression but rather an artifacts coming from some other part of the chain... most likely in the qualia set as part of the DRC interpolation/processing.

    In any case, there is NO REASON to assume that the extremely minor (most folks couldn't even see it when getting up close) edge-rining, which was NOT mosquito noise, was compression related as it appeared in exactly the same form on static-menus which were not even MPEG2 compressed.



    Now that this has been cleared up,

    This was my first time experiencing HD material that was able to "pan" without any detail smearing or digital noise whatsoever. Clean Clean Clean. Also amazing how the various source material looked so different in the demo. The new Adam Sanlder film clips were breathtakingly clear... 3-dimensional and so detailed that from 1.25 screen-widths distance it looked *windowlike*... not film-like... not "digital" either... just like a window. Wow.

    Again... this was all without true 1080p thru-put or 3-2 pulldown reversal for proper frame-reconstruction (that should look EVEN BETTER [​IMG] ).

    The other clip that took my breath away was the Lawrence of Arabia demo which also had a 3-dimensional "window like" appearance. Astounding. It *looked* like projected 70mm. I have never had that effect from a digital/electronically projected image in my life.

    Surprisingly, The Fifth Element looked no better to my eyes than the sony super-bit DVD upscaled to 1080P. I found that rather interesting. It was the least impressive demo clips of them all. I assume they either accidentally used the Standard-def master or the HD master on hand just lacks the clarity of some of other film transfers (still surprising).

    Narnia was amazing. The HD clips looked FAR SUPERIOR to the 35mm projection that I've seen of this film (twice). The SD DVD has a softness which actually looks like the 35mm prints I saw theatrically. However, the HD clips were MUCH more detailed than either... and the result was much more satisfying experience IMO. This will be a "reference" title on Blu-ray sure to drive lots of sales.

    Kill Bill showed clear gains over SD in "split screen" mode but the DVD is also severely filtered and in no way fairly demonstrates the capabilities of the Standard-Def DVD format so that's a "loaded" comparison... but the HD image was breathtaking none-the-less.

    Bottom line. MPEG2 clearly has the ability to produce some jaw-droppingly transparent, artifact-free images from even just one screen-width viewing distance. However, that doesn't mean I still don't want to see VC1 on BD sooner than later as it will ease bit-space issues considerably on BD... especially 25 gig encodings.

    We talked to the salesman but he wasn't aware of any way to view the bit-rate of the MPEG2 encoding on the BD demo disc. This would have been of great interest to us all (and you) since obviously the bit-rate afforded MPEG2 on 25gig BD is a key issue in the final video quality of first-release BD titles.

    How would VC1 compare? I'd love to know. But it would also be imperative to view both on the same display via the exact same chain of signal processing... ideally both in native 1080p24 without any added artifacts from poor deinterlacing or signal processing post decompression in the player.

    Plazman (from AVS) was gracious and invited a few of us over to his home to view HD DVD on his 720P plasma display. It was also stunning, but less "analog" to my eyes than the BD demo on the SXRD qualia which I attribute not to any fault of DVD, but rather the indemic pixel structure of plasma screens and lower resolution of 720P. I very much look forward to seeing HD DVD side-by-side in native 1080p24 next to BD on the same full 1920 x 1080 p display at some point in the future. I expect HD DVD to present the SAME stunning image quality.


    Ok, I have to bet back to work! Been a busy weekend with home rennovations and a busy day at the office but wanted to post my quick impressions in this thread...

    dave [​IMG]
     
  2. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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    [​IMG] You are not making it easy on me to wait for a 2nd gen player. [​IMG]

    Great review David, and thanks once again for sharing your knowledge and insights. [​IMG]
     
  3. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    I think that point is crucial, David. I never had any doubt that Sony could produce outstanding images with a tweaked-to-the-gills demo disc. The REAL test will be actual full length movies on production discs with production players.
     
  4. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    DaViD,
    Just so you know, when you say "window like" you get post like this;


    Glad you got a chance to be the first on your block to checkout BD & thanks for sharing.

    Hope this experience helps get you off the 1080i is OK train. I know, I know, I know, on paper you find 1080i to be fine. However, I'm going with Joe Kane's professional opinion that 1080p out preforms 1080i & my simple mind that tells me 1080p thoughout the video chain is superior to interlacing.

    Isn't HD GREAT!!!
     
  5. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    FYI,

    good large-format -> 70 mm prints do have that "window like" appearance even on film.

    since many 1080p transfers come from negatives and interpostives they may have more apparent sharpness/detail than many release prints and therefore be more "windowlike" as a result.

    One can always argue what's the most accurate way to present material in HD of course.

    Just like with the digital clean up and digital registration of technicolor 3-strip films etc.



    When have I *ever* said that 1080i is ok? I've only said that *when* 1080i is *not* filtered and then *properly deiterlaced* back to full 1080p is it "ok" as a transmission protocol because you're still getting the actual 100% real 1080p image in playback on the screen. If it's real 1080P when you watch it on your 1920 x 1080p display, then it doesn't matter how it was "packed" or "sent" along the way. The danger of 1080i60 being used as a common protocol for transmission is that so few displays have 3-2 pulldown to reconstruct true 1080p from the signal... so keeping it 1080p24 the whole way is the safest way to get the proper result on the 1080P display device.


    BTW, YES, HD is GREAT!!!

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  6. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    I wouldn't deny it. Though the HD DVD demos that were "tweaked" had many more compression artifacts by comparison!

    But naturally what will matter is real BD encoded titles. Fingers crossed!
     
  7. Sean Bryan

    Sean Bryan Sean Bryan
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    I read that "Click" was filmed digitally with Sony's Hi Def camera. Is this correct?

    If so, that's probably the reason it had the most "window like" appearance.

    Looking forward to BD! The best part is that since I have HD DVD I may be able to hold off until BD's second generation (though that's not a guarantee).
     
  8. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Sean,

    I actually wondered if that was the case. It was *dramatically* clearer, sharper, more detailed and "real" looking than all the other demo material except LOA which also had that "window like" look.

    If so... Sony's camera has come a long way!!! Wow.
     
  9. Jesse Blacklow

    Jesse Blacklow Cinematographer

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    Well, rumors are that most (at least 8 or 9) of the major Blu-ray manufacturers will have players out by the end of the year, at price points ranging from the high-end Pioneer to at or near the HD-A1. The Panasonic and Pioneer have been pushed back to the fall, so it's very possible they'll have HDMI 1.3 and full codec support.
     
  10. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    They'd BETTER have them at the prices they're charging, or a LOT of people won't bother with them.
     
  11. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Cinematographer

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    Wonderful review, David! I'm really getting pumped for BD!

    Looks like I'll end up buying CLICK for the picture quality even though I'm not much of an Adam Sandler fan!
     
  12. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    U, betta!!!
     
  13. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Supporting Actor

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    Which I find hard to believe unless they did a very new transfer of Lawrence. The 'old' sucks big time.
     
  14. Sean Bryan

    Sean Bryan Sean Bryan
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    I think in reality it is very likely that I'll wind up getting one by the end of this year. If there is an offering near the $500 mark, I'll be much more likely to jump in.

    Is there any more info on what Panasonic may be offering? I really loved the RP-91.
     
  15. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Michel,

    my first instinct was that they *did* do a new LOA transfer. I also saw NO EDGE RINGING in the LOA demo clip. It was ASTOUNDINGLY clear, crisp, and "window like" in an almost erie 3-dimensional kind of way.



    Ed,

    If 3-2 pulldown is done properly, there are absolutely *NO* artifacts from 1080i60 -> 1080p processing whatsoever. We're talking images that are already in the digital domain. If a computer algorithm can determine which fields belong together to form "frames" from the cadence, it can put them together with no loss...there's no a/d conversion artifacts... no scaling artifacts...nothing at all.

    You literally can get PERFECT 1080p from properly deinterlaced 1080i.

    That's the whole point of what I'm trying to explain. Same goes for 480i -> 480p.

    This is true for *film source* material only as the actual "frames" of information already exist in the 1080i60 signal...they just need to be zipped back together again (no interpolation at all).

    The only problmems are:

    1. If the 1080i60 signal had been filtered prior to deinterlacing as you can't get back detail that the mastering engineer might have filtered out.

    2. If you don't do 3-2 pulldown reversal for proper frame reconstruction but rather just bob/weave the 1080i to interpolate 1080p like most processors do at the moment.
     
  16. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    Dang Dude!
    That's SOME list!!!
     
  17. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    During normal opperation with 3-2 60i, almost all 3-2 reversing deinterlacers are "perfect."

    The only problem with 3-2 pulldown deinterlacers is when they hit badly edited video that drops fields which interrupts the 3-2 cadence and sometimes may cause a *momentary* artifact where one or two fields comb or the image drops to bob/weave for less than a second... then the algorithm sees the 3-2 again and we're back in business.

    The "softness" complained about with DVD players that do progressive scan has to do with softness that was put there when the DVD was mastered at the studio... it's not product of deinterlacing the 480i upon playback.

    NOTE: I'm talking about *film* material being deinterlaced... which is easy to do and results in PERFECT frame reconstruction with 3-2 pulldown reversal.

    When you bob/weave a "live" interlaced image you can get softness (or if you bob-weave a film-based interlaced signal because the algorithm doesn't do 3-2). That's not what I'm talking about.


    Is this making sense? I could go into detail about the logic of how film is split into fields with 3-2 repititon for 60Hz playback and how this same process can be reversed without any loss whatsoever during deinterlacing to restore the perfect progressive-scan original.
     
  18. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Supporting Actor

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    I've been enjoying reading the verbal fencing match between you and a certain other poster in a different thread, David. [​IMG]

    I have yet to see HD-DVD but my boss here at work has one which he is graciously lending me later this week along with his copy of Phantom. (I might have fudged my Blockbuster queue to get a couple of extra HD titles in time for the weekend too.)

    I'm curious about the BD demo in regards to the little performance idiosyncracies people (including my boss) report. Slow start up...slow transfer speed...remote glitches...etc.

    Were you able to get any feeling on those issues?
     
  19. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Sure,

    The Toshiba player is slow to cue up.

    Other than that (and occasional bugs with the supplied remote) the Toshiba HD DVD player puts out a stunningly superb picture via HDMI from VC1 encoded HD DVDs (those that are true 1080p24 mastered... not the Fugitive).
     
  20. Paul Padilla

    Paul Padilla Supporting Actor

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    [​IMG]

    I meant how did the Bluray demo player responded regarding those issues. Or since the player was a prototype, is that not fair to judge just yet?
     

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