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A few words about... Apollo 13 -- In High Definition

A Few Words About

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58 replies to this topic

#1 of 59 Robert Harris

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Posted April 28 2006 - 01:53 PM

Viewing Universal's new High Definition release of Apollo 13 this evening, an interesting thought kept going through my mind.

I believe Mr. Kubrick would be thrilled to see this.

One of the photographic elements, quite difficult to achieve on screen is a solid black sky offset by pure white, well-defined stars.

Apollo 13, as represented on Universal's High Definition disc handles this with absolute perfection.

This is the first important film to make it to High Definition, and the technical staff at Universal could not have done anything to create a more superior entertainment.

Color, contrast, resolution, shadow detail, film grain, and the cinema look are nothing less than perfect. I was surprised to see this title receive a 14 or thereabouts on the new Bits 0-20 scale.

There is nothing else that could have been done to this disc to make it more perfect.

Using the same scale, I would have to rate it a full 20.

Apollo 13 looks like film projected without weave, dirt or wear.

Hats off to Universal, for joining Warner Brothers in the pursuit of perfection in home video.

I can only use the word once again, which I used for Phantom, but this time for a piece of superior entertainment.

Amazing!

With High Definition we're in for the home entertainment ride of a lifetime.

This disc could not be recommended more highly.

RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#2 of 59 JackKay

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Posted April 28 2006 - 02:07 PM

Looking forward to seeing it.

"Hats off to Universal, for joining Warner Brothers in the pursuit of perfection in home video."

This Club needs more members

Thanks RAH
Jack
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#3 of 59 Andrew Bunk

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Posted April 28 2006 - 03:17 PM

I don't see a review for Apollo 13 at the Bits. Weird.

Anyway reviews like this aren't making it easier for me to wait, but I am still waiting until 2007.

I want a player with HDMI 1.3 so I'm not left behind when receivers start coming out that handle the new audio. I don't want black level clipping over HDMI to DVI.

I don't trust the studios to not invoke ICT.

I'd love to help the format succeed, but Toshiba and the studios just haven't slam dunked it yet.

If they gave us some more A list titles like Apollo 13 and guaranteed no use of ICT, I'd buy in.
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#4 of 59 Jude Faelnar

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Posted April 28 2006 - 03:53 PM

[quote]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Harris

There is nothing else that could have been done to this disc to make it more perfect.
Mr. Harris, thanks a lot for your excellent review. But, could you please give us a few words about this title's audio? How is it compared to the previous release with DTS?

Thanks again. Posted Image

#5 of 59 JonathanYu

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Posted April 28 2006 - 05:08 PM

I would like to know the audio performance, too

#6 of 59 Steve Tannehill

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Posted April 28 2006 - 06:24 PM

Thanks so much for the review, Mr. Harris. I concur wholeheartedly. CGI sure has come a long way in 10+ years, hasn't it?

As for the sound, I'll have to spin the original full bitrate DTS DVD to really compare it, and listen carefully now that I have introduced power management and line filtering to the sound system. Without comparison, I thought the DD+ 5.1 track was very good, not quite as enveloping as Serenity, but still with the punch I remembered in the launch sequence. Dialog was also very distinct. And yes, the sound is mastered at a sufficiently loud level, unlike the Warner releases.

Supplements are on-par with the 10th anniversary DVD releases. The only thing missing is the isolated score track which was included with the original DVD release.

- Steve

#7 of 59 JohnPM

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Posted April 28 2006 - 09:55 PM

Can anyone enlighten us as to how these HD-DVD's compare with a typical HD satellite broadcast of a movie from HBO or Showtime? That's the only basis for comparison I can think of at this time, and I'd be curious to know if the DVD of "Apollo 13" would look better on DVD than it would on HD television.

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#8 of 59 Ricardo C

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Posted April 28 2006 - 10:54 PM

Quote:
Apollo 13 looks like film projected without weave, dirt or wear.

Coming from Mr. Harris, this is one hell of an endorsement.

That resolve I said was being tested by the HD-DVD release list? 'tis broken, now. Off I go to import the damn thing. Thanks a lot, RAH! Posted Image
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#9 of 59 Lou Sytsma

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Posted April 29 2006 - 12:33 AM

Heh, heh always nice to have someone to blame.
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#10 of 59 Robert Harris

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Posted April 29 2006 - 12:42 AM

To JohnPM...

There is no comparison between HD DVDs and HD satellite, which is very heavily compressed.

BTW, you have a superb website, which I recommend to readers, wholeheartedly.

Re: the audio...

The HD DVD sounded full and clean, but I'll leave it to audiophile reviewers to do an analysis against the DTS release. The new audio is superb, and certainly in line with the image quality.

With video and audio as a unit, I have to continue reminding myself that I'm viewing a video signal, and not film. Which makes it a pleasure not to be leaving the room to do change-overs behind projection room doors.

There have always been reasons why many of us chose to project what are essentially commercial formats in the home. With HD, and the eventual release of libraries in the format, that reason is all but gone.

RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#11 of 59 Michel_Hafner

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Posted April 29 2006 - 03:49 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Harris
Viewing Universal's new High Definition release of Apollo 13 this evening, an interesting thought kept going through my mind.
I believe Mr. Kubrick would be thrilled to see this.
One of the photographic elements, quite difficult to achieve on screen is a solid black sky offset by pure white, well-defined stars.
Apollo 13, as represented on Universal's High Definition disc handles this with absolute perfection.
RAH

One of the nice aspects of digital. You can take a digitised film master and simply map a range of dark grey to pure black and the stars to brilliant spots. Perfect in the digital domain. You leave the real problem to the projector/display. Namely to interpret the numbers correctly. The Ruby will do a very good job here. The black will not be visually perfect black though. That's only possible with CRT projectors for now.

#12 of 59 Jonathan

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Posted April 29 2006 - 08:51 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Tannehill
Thanks so much for the review, Mr. Harris. I concur wholeheartedly. CGI sure has come a long way in 10+ years, hasn't it?

As for the sound, I'll have to spin the original full bitrate DTS DVD to really compare it, and listen carefully now that I have introduced power management and line filtering to the sound system. Without comparison, I thought the DD+ 5.1 track was very good, not quite as enveloping as Serenity, but still with the punch I remembered in the launch sequence. Dialog was also very distinct. And yes, the sound is mastered at a sufficiently loud level, unlike the Warner releases.

Supplements are on-par with the 10th anniversary DVD releases. The only thing missing is the isolated score track which was included with the original DVD release.

- Steve

It's also missing the trailer for Apollo 13 which was on the original DVD.
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#13 of 59 Dan Hitchman

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Posted April 29 2006 - 04:45 PM

Good to hear about the video, but now it's time to add lossless (Dolby TruHD) or uncompressed 24/48, 24/96, and 24/192 surround tracks-- which can go up to 8 channel discrete!

Let's get rid of this lossy audio nonsense! And most (if not all) of the new HD-DVD's that are out are based off downconverted 16/48 sound elements and not encoded from the studio masters. Hate to tell you folks, but that ain't high resoluton audio!

Dan

#14 of 59 Dave H

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Posted April 29 2006 - 06:41 PM

Dan,

Guess what? The audio still sounds FANTASTIC via DD+. I'm running it through 5.1 multi-channel since my receiver has no HDMI input. As I understand it, Blu-ray won't even be offering this on the initial rollout.

As Robert mentioned, the video is outstanding and I agree with him on all accounts.

I can't wait for the array of titles coming out in May!

#15 of 59 Michael Osadciw

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Posted April 30 2006 - 05:38 AM

"most (if not all) of the new HD-DVD's that are out are based off downconverted 16/48 sound elements and not encoded from the studio masters"

Dan, do you have a source for this comment? Where did you hear/read this?

Mike

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#16 of 59 Rachael B

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Posted April 30 2006 - 09:09 AM

I watched Apollo 13 last night and it's the first HD-DVD that's shown me the kind of colour that D-Theater did. I've seen all of 'em except Doom which I will definitely give amiss! I'm now convinced that this format can deliver. I hope I don't have to return the buggy player and get on the wait again.....
Rachael, the big disc cat is in real life Dot Mongur, Champion of the International Pacman Federation. You better be ready to rumble if you play Jr. Pacman with me. This is full contact Pacman and I don't just play the game, I operate it!


#17 of 59 Mark Zimmer

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Posted May 01 2006 - 01:27 AM

As Mr. Harris stated, it looks gorgeous. The only flaw I noted was in the moment just at splashdown, when they cut from the command module with its red and white parachutes (absolutely stunning!) to the silhouettes of some guys on the deck of the ship cheering, there is some major ringing around the cheering men--compression artifacts? edge enhancement? But only one less-than-happy moment in the entire running time is pretty darn good as far as I'm concerned.

#18 of 59 Larry Sutliff

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Posted May 01 2006 - 03:18 AM

Watched APOLLO 13 last evening, it was everything Mr. Harris said it was: filmlike and gorgeous. I've never seen outer space sequences look like this on my television! This is better than the multiplex!

More movies, please! Posted Image

#19 of 59 Ed St. Clair

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Posted May 03 2006 - 02:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachael B
I watched Apollo 13 last night and it's the first HD-DVD that's shown me the kind of colour that D-Theater did. I've seen all of 'em except Doom which I will definitely give amiss! I'm now convinced that this format can deliver. I hope I don't have to return the buggy player and get on the wait again.....
The characteristic that got my attention with HD DVD, was the color (no u, 4 me) as well.
Do you see simular color to D-VHS, or better color?
Anything about the sound?
Good luck with the bugs!
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#20 of 59 Rachael B

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Posted May 03 2006 - 03:09 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed St. Clair
The characteristic that got my attention with HD DVD, was the color (no u, 4 me) as well.
Do you see simular color to D-VHS, or better color?
Anything about the sound?
Good luck with the bugs!

I think the colour is about a wash so far. It's damn good on both formats. The one thing I haven't seen on HD-DVD so far is facial features and fleshtones as natural looking as the best D-Theater tapes. I don't know if this is due to D-Theater having a little better colour or a higher bit-rate. I haven't seen enough HD-DVD's yet to come to firm conclusions. I expect the format to improve. It's purr-dy fair right out of the chute.

I've only listened to the converted DTS sound so far. I'm gonna listen to the new Dolby via the analogs soon. It's hard to get enthusiastic about unhooking my uni-player from my single 5.1 input. I'm too tired to bother tonight. I got Goodfellas and Swordfish today. I gonna watch one of 'em with DTS tonight, shortly.
Rachael, the big disc cat is in real life Dot Mongur, Champion of the International Pacman Federation. You better be ready to rumble if you play Jr. Pacman with me. This is full contact Pacman and I don't just play the game, I operate it!



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