Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: IMAX Space Station 3-D

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Michael Osadciw, Jan 9, 2011.

  1. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

    Jun 24, 2003
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    Michael Osadciw


    Release Date: AVAILABLE NOW
    Distributor: Warner Bros.
    Packaging/Materials: single disc keepcase in lenticular slipcase
    Year: 2002
    Rating: Not Rated
    Running Time: 47 minutes
    MSRP: $29.99 each




    2-D & 3-D 1080p 1.85:1



    DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English

    Dolby Digital 5.1 French & Spanish

    DTS 2.0


    English SDH, French, Spanish


    The Feature: 3.5/5

    The opportunity is here to revisit these popular IMAX created videos in 3-D. The three titles recently released by Warner Bros. are Under the Sea (2009), Deep Sea (2006), and Space Station 3-D (2002). With all of the hype of 3-D TVs and a seemingly lack of supporting software, how do these titles maximize the 3-D entertainment experience?

    Space Station 3-D introduces the international space station in stunning IMAX high definition and in 3-D. Above the earth, 220 miles up and traveling at a speed of 17 500MPH, Tom Cruise narrates how important the space station is as one giant science lab that helps us humans define our understanding of life and space, and how humans can continue exploring beyond our moon to Mars and beyond!

    3-D Video Quality: 3/5

    The aspect ratio for all three films has been reformatted to 1.85:1 from their IMAX 1.44:1 ratios. While some may wish to see original aspect ratios on disc, or at least the option to have it, I find the reformatting to be perfectly acceptable for the big screen viewing environment in the home. IMAX theaters have the benefit of the height of using 1.44:1, but as we know all modern home theaters are using the wider 1.78:1 screens instead of the “taller” old 1.33:1. While we tend to get more side information with 1.78:1 screens, with IMAX films this could be considered a reduction in height if we consider the sides as constant width. I’m a bit curious as to why the reformatting to 1.85:1 rather than 1.78:1, but this is still, in my opinion, the best way to view this since (almost) the full picture area is taken up on screen for the most immersive experience.

    This review was done using Toshiba’s Flagship Cinema Series 46WX800 LED 3-D LCD display. Equipped with Toshiba’s active glasses in conjunction with their BDX3000 Blu-ray player, I was ready to set the system for calibration. The television’s grayscale was calibrated to D65 using the Konica-Minolta CS-1000A spectroradiometer, an Accupel HDG-4000 video generator, as well as having a full system check. The end result was a wonderful 2-D image with a Yu’v’ dE grayscale error of 2.5 or less across the board. The average gamma of 2.2 with a reference light output of 35.49fL. Time did not permit for me to do a full thorough calibration in 3-D mode with the meter taking readings through the glasses. Watching video through the glasses changes the entire look of the image because of the tinting (darkens the image) as well as the shift in colour (depends on the glasses per manufacturer). Thus, to view 3-D with the correct intent in mind, a separate calibration should be stored for the 3-D mode. So this 3-D review is intended to discuss the entertainment value of the 3-D on this disc rather than the image accuracy through the glasses.

    Using IMAX cameras, Under the Sea and Deep Sea were filmed with IMAX dual-strip 3-D, while the older production of Space Station was filmed in single-strip 3-D 30-perf. While I’m not entirely familiar with the technical aspects of production, I can report to you the 3-D entertainment value of these films.

    Watching Space Station 3-D in 2-D, as in its 2-D version isn’t much of a visual treat. The image is dull compared to what I expect. Technology has advanced over the past ten years since this has been filmed and I’m sure that’s a part of it. I’m also sure that the challenges of filming in space and to capture the right imagery also affect the look of the image. Skin tones are on par and the overall image isn’t that lively. While this isn’t the colourful underwater world of the sea, I guess I expected the white of the walls, the metal, etc. to take on a bit more of a defined look. Again...just expectations but not reality – and I can deal with that! The image also has much more grain which I’m sure must have something to do with the film stock chosen. I’m happy to see it retained rather than softening the image. Why am I talking about the 2-D? Well, because it does translate to 3-D. The image under the glasses does get darker. Images can get plugged up more easily, especially in the darker parts of the image. Goggles take a huge cut of the TV’s light output so this will be a factor. I also felt that the 3-D effect wasn’t as good. While still some depth, I found the images are more flat and less “rounded” around the edges. The effect was to that of looking at various 2-D images placed at different distances on the screen. There was distance between objects, but no “sides” to each of those items revealed.

    Audio Quality: 3/5

    This disc does have a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack that effectively delivers the sounds and the voices of those in the space station, as well as the music for the documentary. It’s not a stand out and it sounds just a bit dated when compared to the other titles, but it is sufficient for the subject matter.

    Special Features: 0/5

    Nothing here to be happy about except being able to view the disc in 2-D as well.

    The Feature: 3.5/5
    Video Quality: 3/5
    Audio Quality:
    Special Features:

    These IMAX films are a great introduction to 3-D Blu-ray. Entertainment is brought to a new level previously unseen in the home. As a child, I’ve always dreamed of being an astronaut. Then reality kicked in when I couldn’t do advanced calculus, physics, and chemistry. As interested in it as I was, I quickly erased it on the last day of “drop and add” during my undergrad years. Oh well, this is the next best thing watching others do the work as they float in space. I can still dream. Better yet, I can watch in 3-D. Now that’s a dream coming closer to reality.

    Michael Osadciw


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