What Blu-ray discs do you consider as "Reference Video Quality"

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by lenlaw, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. lenlaw

    lenlaw Auditioning

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    A few come to mind: The Dark Knight, Coraline, Wall.E.
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Moved from High Def Disc Review Archives, which is the archive for HTF disc reviews.
     
  3. Frank Ha

    Frank Ha Second Unit

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    There are several, but I'll limit myself to movies I've recently viewed. Pinocchio comes to mind. My wife and I marveled at how good it looked. Spiderman 2 looked real good the other night when we watched it. Also, Dr. No and From Russia with Love have great transfers, imo.
     
  4. Ray_R

    Ray_R Screenwriter

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    I take it this should be a thread for titles which keep their original theatrical look? Perhaps The French Connection doesn't apply but I'm not sure if it does or doesn't.
    I'll put up a nomination for ALL OO7 films I own on Blu-ray so far. Can't wait for the remaining 9 out of 20 to be released. Only problem is what do I do with the 4 Volume Ultimate Edition R1 NTSC releases which I bought? I want to keep the booklets...
     
  5. EricW

    EricW Cinematographer

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    i'm guessing this thread will eventually get locked when debate gets too heated :P

    anyways, Dark Knight is hardly reference. sharp and detailed, yes. edge enhanced, YES.

    also add Benjamin Button to the list of references discs, as well as most movies shot with digital cameras. although Superman Returns was a bit soft.
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Several years ago, with some help from others in AMIA, I attempted to come to a consensus as to what precisely was "film restoration."

    There was no agreement.

    Before a list of titles comes into play, you must come to an agreement as to the words "reference quality."

    RAH
     
  7. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    I take reference to mean 'maintaining the highest fidelity to the source'.
    But I recognize that is NOT what most people who use to the term mean consider it to be.
    And even the way I use it is a bit obtuse. I could further qualify it as 'highest fidelity to the original theatrical presentation' which might be better but still leaves room for further contention over various exceptions to the rule.

    It seems that most people who use that term invariably mean something that is bright, sharp, finely detailed, and punchy (dimensional). Which of course means a great many films will be disqualified no matter how faithfully they replicate their OTP.

    That's why I look down my nose at "tier" threads.

    I'm in the minority here I realize, but there are several Bond Bds that I don't feel are ideal because, while they look pretty, they exhibit too much in the way of 2000 era sensibilities as regard to their gamma curves and the color saturation. Moonraker and License To Kill in particular strike me as looking very manipulated- with crushed blacks in the case of the former and jacked contrast and color saturation in the latter. I'm not a big fan of this current fashion, and when it gets applied to catalog titles it really rubs me the wrong way.
     
  8. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    How the West Was Won. Start there, and build your own list of reference discs. Your eyes will tell you the truth.
     
  9. Ray_R

    Ray_R Screenwriter

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    I'll agree with Pauls sentiment. To me the best transfers keep the original look of the film, whether it be soft focus, heavy grain, washed out colour pallette and even different looks for differing scenes.
    If I ever were a director and made a movie, I'd have different locales look different compared to each other. Possibly heavier film grain for dark jungle scenes or slightly washed out colours for cities. Sort of in the style of Spy Game. But of course if I were a director, a dream project of mine would be THE FLASH. With highly stylised colours and differing film grain stock as the film goes on.
    I'd never use DNR/EE or digital tape if I ever made movies.
    Do titles from other Regions count? Such as the USA BD of Pan's Labyrinth has DNR while the AUS, I think or UK, has the film grain intact. Case in point, one of my most hated transfers on DVD was DIE HARD: With a Vengeance. The DNR/EE was so bad I just had the commentary go on but the display turned off on purpose.
    I can't wait for FIGHT CLUB (November 17th according to Amazon) and Saving Private Ryan (Sapphire Series Wave 2?) to be on Blu-ray. I'd love it if both retain their stylised heavy grain structure and color pallettes. Alot of persons who are against original look for films and prefer DNR/EE for that pasty, waxy look would have a field day with the two.
    I'm glad I have my noise reduction filter on my display disabled. And black bars? I pay attention to the movie.
    Although I own these on HDDVD and quite sure the Blu-ray is nearly similar, I'd nominate:
    12 Monkeys
    The Adventures of Robin Hood
    BLADE RUNNER
    KING KONG (2005)
     
  10. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    The best transfer I've seen this year so far has been SIN CITY. That was breathtaking.
     
  11. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    There should also be a differentiation between ports, down-rezzed files from data and transfers.
     
  12. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    This far into this thread and no one has mentioned BARAKA!?!?!?!

    To quote Bill Hunt at TheDigitalBits, "...Quite simply, is the best looking live action Blu-ray release I have EVER seen."

    And this isn't some old review before the format had quality discs out.
     
  13. Ray_R

    Ray_R Screenwriter

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    I don't go by anything what The Digital Bits says.

    And THE DARK KNIGHT being reference quality only pertains to the IMAX scenes. The 35MM ones were DNR'd. Thanks Warner Bros. I was even considering purchasing BATMAN (1989) but read it has DNR too. Might as well get the UK release along with BATMAN RETURNS.
    So, no titles which have DNR/EE if they were derived from a film source. Completely digital I really don't care.
    Another reference quality which retains the film look is Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. What isn't reference quality is the Skynet Edition of T2.
     
  14. Big Ben

    Big Ben Agent

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    Of all the Blu-Ray's that I own these are my favorite Video Transfers, keep in mind that I feel these transfers best replicate the appearance the film had during their theatrical presentations and are not limited to big-budget action spectacles.

    Batman Begins
    Any Pixar title currently availible
    National Treasure 1 & 2
    The Fast & the Furious 1, 3, & 4
    Casino Royale
    Hellboy I & II
    Constantine
    Leatherheads
    Children of Men
    Knocked Up
    The Hulk (2003)
    The Incredible Hulk (2008)
    30 Days of Night
    Primeval
    Kung Fu Panda
    Iron Man
    Sunshine (2007)
    V for Vendetta
    The Prestige
    Surf's Up
    Zodiac
    Coraline
    Max Payne
    Body Of Lies
    The International
    Quantum of Solace


    There are still over a dozen titles I've purchased that I have yet to watch, but these titles listed above looked glorious on my 52 inch Sharp Aquos.
     
  15. Vincent_P

    Vincent_P Screenwriter

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    Many folks at another website consider BARAKA to be ridden with EE and DNRed/"filtered" to boot...

    I think the Blu-ray is stunning myself.

    I'd also vote for HOW THE WEST WAS WON and THE SEARCHERS, two large-format classics that look ravishing on Blu-ray.

    The fully-digital SIN CITY also looks incredible, and as for recent 35mm/DI sourced films, you can scarcely get better than THE INCREDIBLE HULK (anamorphic 35mm) or TROPIC THUNDER (Super-35mm). They are both very film-like and detailed in appearance.

    Vincent


    Edited by Vincent_P - 8/17/2009 at 11:19 pm GMT
    Edited by Vincent_P - 8/18/2009 at 03:55 am GMT
    Edited by Vincent_P - 8/18/2009 at 03:56 am GMT
     
  16. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Producer

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    I don't have a definition of reference quality, but I certainly think that films like Dr. No and From Russia With Love have never looked better to the human eye -- not unless you were present when they were filmed and had better than 20/20 vision. For films that are nearly 50 years old to look this good is a testament to the brilliant technology that is Blu-Ray.

    Many recent films also look sharper on BD than they did when I saw them in the theater. When an eventual release of Revenge of the Sith pops up, I suspect it will blow people's minds, as the DVD is quite good.
     
  17. Brian Borst

    Brian Borst Screenwriter

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    I read that too, but it doesn't seem likely. Why go through all the effort and money to do an 8K scan to scrub out all the detail in the picture?
     
  18. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Baraka looks excellent on my 61" DLP from just about any viewing distance (though I didn't actively try to look for defects in PQ). It's actually one of a small handful of BDs that makes me want to get much closer to the screen to soak it all in.

    If it has any EE, it's probably just a mild tweak (to get a tad bit more of that Discovery Channel look). It's certainly not quite like The Dark Knight in that regard -- TDK definitely looks a bit overcooked in many places though I'm not sure that's not partially intentional (for a more gritty look to suit the film itself).

    _Man_
     
  19. EricW

    EricW Cinematographer

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    i don't know, but saying that 'it doesn't make sense' doesn't change what my eyes see. whether it was applied or not, there is obvious halo'ing in Baraka. questioning the logic of why it would be there doesn't change the fact that it's there.

    "Reference" is a volatile word. do you mean "looks exactly like the way it was in the theater" or do you mean "something i can show off the system with"? because if it's the former, a movie could look blurry, dark, and muddled and still be considered 'reference'.
     
  20. Gekkou

    Gekkou Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree wholeheartedly with Paul_Scott; I consider reference quality to be as close to the original source as the format will allow, whether demo material or not. I also find that at this stage of the format's life, most new DI-based films from the major studios come out looking that way. It's to the point where I hesitate to use the term out of concern that it might lose its meaning. I mean, if every week or so we get another Blu-ray disc that qualifies as "reference quality," then it ceases to be a real special honor. I suppose that's a good thing, though. Even though to this day there are still too many films- mainly catalogue titles- that get molested with DNR, EE, and other revisionist post-processing, I think that new releases tend to be excellent in terms of technical quality.

    The main obstacle is getting studios to strike fresh masters for films that need it rather than trying to dress up the outdated ones. Garbage in, garbage out.

    That being said, I can think of some titles offhand that struck me as being perfectly presented on video (in no particular order):
    Quantum of Solace
    Coraline
    Sin City
    Close Encounters of the Third Kind
    Apocalypto
    WALL-E
    Ratatouille
    Iron Man
    'Pirates of the Caribbean' trilogy
    The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
    Zodiac (though I have the HD DVD, not the Blu-ray)
    Seabiscuit (see above)
    Rescue Dawn
    Taken
    Wanted
    Die Hard
     

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