HTF HD-DVD Review: Transformers (Highly Recommended)

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by PatWahlquist, Oct 14, 2007.

  1. ppltd

    ppltd Producer

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    Phil, there is no sense listing the AQ scores because they just won't satisfy the 'If it aint lossless it is crap' crowd, most of which are just venting because Paramount went exclusive HD DVD. If the soundtrack is reference, it doesn't make a difference. I have seen enough lossless tracks that received no more than a 3.5 or 4 rating to know it isn't so much lossless or not, but rather the care taken by the studio in encoding the soundtrack.

    The fact is, I could care less whether they use Mpeg2, 4 or VC1, or DTS, DD+ or Lossless as long as the PQ is top Tier and the AQ is top tier. What they call it make no difference at all. There are some here that believe that because it is lossless, by it's very nature it is better. That just aint so.
     
  2. PerryD

    PerryD Supporting Actor

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    Why not rent the HD-DVD? Then you can make a judgement whether the audio can actually be greatly improved from what you actually heard. With the DVD, you are getting much lower resolution video (your sig doesn't seem to support 480p), and much lower audio (you want lossless, but will settle for 448kb/s audio instead of 1.5Mb/s?). You really send mixed messages from your post.
     
  3. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    I do not have an HD-DVD player, nor do I intend to purchase one unless I absolutely have to.

    There have been numerous discussions on how a lossless track can sound better than a lossy one. And 1.5 Megabits/sec DD+ is not much better than 640 kilobits/sec DD according to Roger Dressler of Dolby.

    I've lived with 1.5 Megabits/sec DTS lossy for a looooong time with laserdiscs and then DVD... and then 768 kilobits/sec DTS. I've switched between 640 kilobits/sec DD and PCM or lossless (TrueHD or DTS-MA) more than once and to THESE ears there is a difference.

    Lossy means you are losing something due to perceptual coding. Lossless or PCM enables you to get a bit-for-bit identical copy of the master being used. In many cases on Blu-ray that is now 24 bit audio.

    So give me an exact copy of the master soundtrack, and I'll decide for myself.

    You can't do it with this Transformers release as there is no lossless track of the 24 bit master on there. And Paramount did state their excuse for no TrueHD... space. The Blu-ray version could have been a BD50 with 20 GB extra for 24 bit lossless. A real shame Paramount sells out on the cheap.
     
  4. Adam Gregorich

    Owner

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    No, you would have got plain old 640K Dolby Digital like they did on the vast majority (if not all) of their BD releases.

    The DD+ sound rocked. I doubt I could have heard the difference if it had True HD. I think it is actually funny that every review has given it a 5 for sound, but everyone is still bellyaching....Enjoy the move and stop trying to count bits!
     
  5. PatWahlquist

    PatWahlquist Supporting Actor

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    Not so much belly aching as it is a "does not compute". Here's Paramount's biggest HD release so far, and no hi-rez audio. In comparing the HD to the SD soundtracks on similar releases, I usually note a more cohesive sound field and more presence to the hi-rez tracks, even the DD+.

    Anyway, enough about the hi-rez tracks. How 'bout that Transformers set?[​IMG]
     
  6. ppltd

    ppltd Producer

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    Post a link to that ludicrous comment, because I don't buy it, and I doubt any one else who has experienced the AQ of releases like King Kong and now Transformers would either.
     
  7. PerryD

    PerryD Supporting Actor

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    Okay, I guess that explains my confusion. I like to watch movies in the best possible format, and for me that means owning both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray.

    Saving $199 and watching the DVD of Transformers (and many other HD-DVD exclusives) just doesn't make sense to me. I thought you were watching the DVD version because of the lack of lossless on the HD-DVD version, but obviously you had no intention of picking up the HD-DVD version.
     
  8. Jeff Adkins

    Jeff Adkins Screenwriter

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    I agree that comment is totally ludicrous. But Roger Dressler did say something along those lines over on AVS forum. I'll have to dig and see if I can find the quote. I appreciate Roger's participation and info, but my ears disagree with him on this issue.
     
  9. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Dressler was saying something to the effect that a lot the extra bits were going to overhead or some other sort of thing, not particularly bits going to better sound.

    Amir from Microsoft was also mentioning that DTS-MA lossless was somewhat more bit efficient and had smaller bit spikes than Dolby TrueHD lossless for the same reason: less add-on stuff. DTS-MA just takes more horsepower to decode it due to its core+extension model (TrueHD has separate tracks for lossless and lossy versions of the soundtrack). But supposedly when you combine the two packets together you still come out with a lossless track.

    Anyway, I wanted to see the movie in case it was something worth purchasing as a possible Blu import (or perhaps a once Paramount started releasing to that format in the States again I'd pick it up). Obviously, since I don't have an HD-DVD player I had to rent the DVD.

    I may now be in the minority, but except for Megan Fox hotness eye-candy, I won't be watching it again. The cartoon movie is better IMHO and has most of the same voice talent. Typical Michael Bay MTV-style edited, cranked up, brain-dead crap, with some really bad dialog and a plot that was a direct ripoff of a somewhat superior popcorn flick, ID4 with a good measure of Small Soldiers (on a much larger scale). Why Spielberg tapped him, I have no idea! The only film I sorta half liked from Bay was The Rock, and even that had a few cringe worthy moments.

    However, you guys continue to enjoy it. I think I'll go buy Immortal Beloved or 2001 and try to redeem myself. [​IMG]

    Dan
     
  10. Brent M

    Brent M Producer

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    Well, a lossy soundtrack that has received rave reviews across the board and even been called one of the best audio tracks on any format to date is more than sufficient IMHO. I'm pretty sure that if you played this HD-DVD for even the most serious audiophile and told them it was lossless they would believe it, but there will always be those who claim they know the difference. Whatever. Personally, I'm still in the camp that believes the mastering process is more important than whether or not the track is lossy/lossless and by all accounts this DD+ track has been mastered perfectly so that's good enough for me.
     
  11. Averry

    Averry Second Unit

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    Well, I watched it this afternoon, my butt still hurts.



    It was definately one of the best sound experiences I've ever had. I just love it when the Transformers talk, lol, it sounds so neat. That deep bass rumble, yummmmm.
     
  12. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    How does Paramount claim this is a space issue when 24-bit DD+ actually uses MORE space than Dolby THD at 16 bits? I agree that since the audio is obviously reference quality, it's really not worth bitching and moaning about (unless you're a bitter Blu fan). I find it interesting that people keep chiming into these threads who DON'T have HD-DVD players, have no plans to get HD-DVD players, and lastly, have yet to even hear the DD+ track from this release.
     
  13. Douglas Monce

    Douglas Monce Producer

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    I'm not sure that it does use more space.

    Doug
     
  14. PatWahlquist

    PatWahlquist Supporting Actor

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    I have updated my review to reflect the Web-enabled features that went live today. Very cool items that add a lot to the experience, and I'm very interested to see what else Paramount will add as it goes.
     
  15. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    I think it would be much more interesting to have you participate in a proper double blind test between PCM and 1.5 MBPS DD+. Then your "I can hear the difference" claims would be put to the true test. Open comparisons with this sort of thing are useless.
     
  16. Adam Gregorich

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    Pat- My comment wasn't directed to your review.
     
  17. Robert George

    Robert George Screenwriter

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    Here's the deal on TrueHD vs. DD+...

    DD+ is a constant bit rate codec. TrueHD is a variable bit rate codec. DD+ can have up to 24-bit resolution at whatever bit rate the audio is encoded at. If the bit rate drops too low, there would, obviously, be compression related artifacts in the sound. At the 1.5 mb/s rate used by Paramount and Universal, most experts agree that DD+ delivers a virtually transparent reproduction of a 24-bit uncompressed master. Warner uses mostly 16-bit encodes, hence the DD+ bit rate of their discs mostly at 640 kb/s.

    As the resolution of TrueHD goes up, so does the bit rate. At 16-bit/48 kHz resolution, TrueHD has an average bit rate ~1.4 mb/s. While the overall file size of a 16-bit TrueHD track is similar to a DD+ track at 1.5 mb/s, there are bit rate peaks over 3 mb/s in the TrueHD track. When the bit budget is allocated for a given disc, the peak bit rate for the video encode will be set based on the peak bit rate of all other material running simultaneously. That means all audio tracks based on PEAK bit rate, not average, as well as IME or anything else running at the same time as the video.

    The video compression codec will have some bearing on decision for audio. VC-1, being the most efficient of the three used on HD DVD and Blu-ray, will generally allow for more space allocated to audio. Of all the movies that I am aware of over 2 hours on HD DVD that also contain TrueHD, all are VC-1 video encodes. For those that don't know, Transformers is AVC. Whether or not that had anything to do with not having enough space for a lossless audio track is open to speculation.
     
  18. RobertSiegel

    RobertSiegel Screenwriter
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    I have had the opportunity to hear PCM soundtracks and the 1.5 MBPS , compared them for over 2 hours. This was in Los Angeles a year ago at a sound designers convention. I am not a sound designer but was invited by a friend out there, and I can honestly say that after comparing 5 different sources of different types (music, movies,ect), the PCM beat the 1.5 by a MILE, a complete difference every time in richness, separation, frequency quality, bass response (crystal clear), and crispness. For Paramount to deny a lossless track on this release is absolutely unforgiveable....so take off a few of the extras and give us the movie in the best quality possible. I think many hd-dvd titles suffer from using only Dolby Digital Plus because of disc space limits. There are many more uncompressed titles on blu-ray. Every single Sony/Columbia/MGM/Fox title has either PCM or DTS Master sound, every single one! These studios are surely showing what can be "heard." I find it funny that hd-dvd's statement is the look AND SOUND of perfect, when a good percentage of their releases only have Dolby Digital Plus (and to the discerning ear, there is a major difference).

    If I am going to plop down 30.00 for a movie, I want what I deserve for that price. All they had to do was add an extra disc, and give us lossless for the film.

    If this is what Paramount is going to do, then their defection from blu-ray is no big deal for me. And no, I am not a blu-ray boy anymore, I am neutral, I just want the movies, and am looking at the Samsung combi-player coming out. But the fact remains, everyone was ripped off on the soundtrack of this film. If we all didn't buy it and relayed to Paramount the reason, something would be done about this.but people are settling for 2nd best for their ears and paying premium prices for a movie..all (or almost all, I am not sure) of Paramount's announced releases and all previous releases, even on blu-ray (where there surely was room), have no lossless. With 4 lossless formats (DTS HD and Master, PCM and Dolby True) there's no reason for this. This one is a no-buy for me.
     
  19. PatWahlquist

    PatWahlquist Supporting Actor

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    I know, nor was it taken as such.
     
  20. don monteith

    don monteith Stunt Coordinator

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    I have to admit that I was not overly impressed with the sound in this movie either. After reading the glowing reviews of the aq I thought something must be wrong with my setup. I am still going to go and see if I had something wrong. But, for example, the initial battle scene was less than impressive. There seemed to be a lot of explosions that I could see but not hear and it seemed to be muffled. I tried it with the 5.1 analog out and then replayed it with DTS. The voices were amazing but for me the whole thing was missing the top end of the sound. That really sucks for me because I really loved this movie and couldn't wait for it to come out.

    I am using a XA2 player with a Denon 5800. All my other movies look and sound fantastic. I recently did the firmware upgrade on my XA2 so I am going to see if that changed anything.

    I am a bit concerned because everyone is using the term "reference quality" to describe this movie. Am I missing something? A setting maybe?

    Don
     

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