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HTF HD DVD REVIEW: The Perfect Storm (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED).



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#1 of 47 OFFLINE   Andreas Wagner

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Posted June 09 2006 - 12:07 AM

Thank you, Mr. Kane, for your nice review. My copy is on the way and I'm looking forward to watching it soon!

#2 of 47 OFFLINE   Johannes S

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Posted June 09 2006 - 06:44 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Herb Kane

Colors were vibrant and saturated perfectly. Skin tones looked real and accurate. Sharpness was better than the previous SD definition although not quite as sharp as I’ve witnessed on other HD discs – still, very impressive.

This 2.40:1 transfer looks excellent with no marks or blemishes to speak of. Authoring also seems to have handled to perfection as haloing was non-existent and there were no signs of compression errors.


Sorry, Herb, but as concerns the transfer quality, I seriously have to contradict your review.

No doubt, the transfer doesn't look bad at all at first sight. But at closer look, the transfer is the same lemon as "The Fugitive" and "Full Metal Jacket".

Authored / mastered from an obvious 1080i source, it suffers again from unprofessional conversion to 1080p. The result really is everything else but impressive: Vertical filtering is obvious with reduced resolution and annoyingly blurred vertical lines. (Just look at the distorted vertical lines of sharp edges, like buildings or facial outlines at closeups.)

I DO NOT like this transfer. Warner should have put the native 1080i master on the disc without their unprofessional "bobbing" to create a fake 1080p master for authoring.

Just watch the stellar transfer of "Blazing Saddles" and you see how great even older films can look on HD when done right!

#3 of 47 OFFLINE   JohnS

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Posted June 09 2006 - 08:03 AM

Quote:
Authored / mastered from an obvious 1080i master, it suffers again from unprofessional conversion to 1080p. The result really is everything else but impressive: Vertical filtering is obvious with reduced resolution and annoyingly blurred vertical lines. (Just look at the distorted vertical lines of shap edges, like buildings or facial contures at closeups.)

I DO NOT like this transfer.

Well, looks like this is another HD DVD I won't be getting.
While I like to read reviews, I really hate to SOLEY rely on them EVERY time.
Makes my buying pattern so different

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#4 of 47 OFFLINE   norrisMc

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Posted June 09 2006 - 11:22 AM

Thanks for the review Herb.

I really, really like this film.

Is the text supplements (cast and crew bios etc) on this "Drenched Edition HD-DVD"?

Shame about the 1080i mode. Hopefully this will be remedied (even on BluRay).

DIANE LANE is fab in this film. Her performance as Marky Mark's sorrowfilled girlfriend anchors the film and Diane's performance was heartbreaking I thought.

You think Herb? How bout those text supplements?
Norris

#5 of 47 OFFLINE   Mark Zimmer

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Posted June 09 2006 - 01:32 PM

The text supplements and the conceptual art gallery and storyboards have gone missing for some reason.

#6 of 47 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

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Posted June 09 2006 - 04:46 PM

The result really is everything else but impressive

Johannes, in terms of the video presentation, while there have certainly been better HD DVD releases thus far, I wouldn't go so far as to call this "everything else but impressive". It represents a significant improvement over the SD release, although - and as I stated in the review, the overall look is slightly softer than I would have imagined. We can only hope that all of the upcoming HD releases are afforded 1080p masters, but (and without sounding like a broken record), it's just too soon to get a definitive handle on what we should expect - not only from this disc, but from HD as well as BD.

Like SD, I suspect our systems our going to play a major role in how these look in our own HT environments. Case in point; I wasn't all that taken by the newest Unforgiven as most others around here seemed to have been. Go figure.

Norris, as Mark says, the Text listing is MIA ... why? Dunno. And yes, Diane Lane is terrific and adorable.
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#7 of 47 OFFLINE   Johannes S

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Posted June 09 2006 - 09:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Herb Kane
Like SD, I suspect our systems our going to play a major role in how these look in our own HT environments.

Sure, I agree with you on this, but this particular problem has nothing to do with the HT equipment used. It is only related to Warner's mastering problem.

Let us be more precise and not talk about "picture quality" in general. "The Fugitive" or "Perfect Storm" may look quite improved compared to the SD presentation - they simply have to, resolution-wise. Let us talk about this new kind of DIGITAL ARTIFACTING which troubles Warner's three releases: TPS, TF and FMJ:

The lack of an adequate 1080p master and Warner's unwise decision to interpolate the source to 1080p in order to create a "fake" 1080p transfer - and not using state-of-the-art technology to do so- shows annoying new transfer flaws, not known in this form until now.

I made some 4-8x magnified screen captures to show you the problem.

Look at the "saw-tooth"-like distorted vertical lines and the blurred vertical outlines. This is awful and it only affects the three titles mentioned above.


http://www.onlinepic....eb466d0jpg.jpg

http://www.onlinepic....70c6ea1jpg.jpg

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http://www.onlinepic....d05aa02jpg.jpg

http://www.onlinepic....33d588djpg.jpg

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#8 of 47 OFFLINE   JohnS

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Posted June 10 2006 - 12:03 AM

Herb Kane,

I've been absent for a good amount of time, and have only recently joined back up.
I was curious, for personal info alone.
What exactly is your Home Theater setup?

Thanks for the review Posted Image

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#9 of 47 OFFLINE   BrandonJF

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Posted June 10 2006 - 02:19 AM

Quote:
I made some 4-8x magnified screen captures to show you the problem.

Don't get me wrong - I agree that WB is doing the wrong thing when it comes to these 1080i -> 1080p transfers and these titles may not be as impressive looking as other HD-DVD titles. However, nobody is going to be watching these zoomed in 4x-8x. It was stated that the "transfer doesn't look bad at all at first sight". Is that to say that we do need to be looking for the artifacts in order to find them or do we need to magnify the image?

Those images do look AWFUL. But, on my display (an Infocus IN76), from where I'm sitting (1.5 screen widths), with no magnification, image in motion... I just can't see it.

While the transfer may not be reference material, it also isn't without it's merits as far as an upgrade over the standard DVD goes...

#10 of 47 OFFLINE   Johannes S

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Posted June 10 2006 - 03:26 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandonJF
However, nobody is going to be watching these zoomed in 4x-8x. It was stated that the "transfer doesn't look bad at all at first sight".


Don't get me wrong either. I do respect your opinion.

This forum is to discuss HD software - content and technical issues.

My point of view is, that Warner are testing the market with their early releases. They try and see how far they can go with using older interlaced HD transfers. The quality of this release is acceptable for you - not for me. Period! Posted Image

If you believe it or not, when watching and enjoying a movie, I don't sit in front of the screen with magnifying glasses, spotting for minor transfer flaws. On my screen, this technical issue is very obvious and annoying. I really hoped, aliasing, halos and shimmering would have an end with High Definition - until I watched TPS, TF and FMJ.

My concern about an uncritical attitude is, that it will bring us lots of other bad transfers. I am very curious if "Lethal Weapon" will be the same lemon as TPS.

And, btw., I believe you knew very well my intention behind posting these magnified screenshots. Posted Image

#11 of 47 OFFLINE   Larry Sutliff

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Posted June 10 2006 - 03:27 AM

I do think that being able to see the video artifacts from these semi-botched transfers is definitely equipment dependent. On a 1080p monitor, the flaws are probably more glaring. On a rear projection 1080i CRT set like mine, you can barely see any problems. I haven't seen this one yet, but THE FUGITIVE looked really nice on my monitor, much better than I've ever seen it look before, and I've seen it quite a few times both theatrically and on every home video format.

#12 of 47 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

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Posted June 10 2006 - 06:17 AM

Johannes - Thanks for the detailed response and the scans. As stated earlier, we can only hope WB (and the other studios) continue to use and take advantage of the best available source and technology possible by offering transfers sourced from 1080p masters. However on a 96” screen at a 1.6 viewing distance, these artifacts just don’t show up – at least not on my system. The image was definitely softer than I prefer, but strengths inherent with previous HD disc are definitely visible. I believe screen caps have their purpose (although I question 4x or even worse, 8x), IMO they don’t necessarily represent the end result – the fluidity of the film, if you will. It’s that very reason I stopped using them in my reviews. Many “concerns” along the way were heightened - which were frivolous and unwarranted in my opinion. (Not saying your caps are Johannes – just offering my rationale for not relying on screen caps from personal experience)

Sure, I agree with you on this, but this particular problem has nothing to do with the HT equipment used. It is only related to Warner's mastering problem.


To be clear here, while the “particular problem” might lie squarely on shoulders of the studios, the HT equipment used to decode it will indeed play a major role with the end result.



What exactly is your Home Theater setup?



Hi John - my HT consists of the following:

Sharp XV-Z9000U DLP projector
Toshiba HD A1 HD DVD player (running component)
Pioneer Elite 45ai DVD player
Pioneer DV-366 DVD player (Region Free Moded)
Stewart 96” GrayHawk Screen
Lexicon MC-1 Processor
Bryston Amps (9B-ST & 4B-ST)
Martin Logan Speakers - Ascents (mains), Aerius I’s (rears), Scripts (sides), Cinema (center).
Paradigm Servo-15 Subwoofer
Richard Gray’s 1200S Power Center
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#13 of 47 OFFLINE   BrandonJF

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Posted June 10 2006 - 07:49 AM

Quote:
And, btw., I believe you knew very well my intention behind posting these magnified screenshots.

Not sure why you think I didn't know what your intention was. It's pretty clear your intention was to show the effects of WB using a 1080i source and not properly converting it to 1080p.

My point was that I can't see it and if it takes a 4x-8x magnification for me to notice something, then, yeah, I don't really care.

I get that you can see it on your display and it affects your enjoyment of the movie. In that regard, all of these HD-DVD reviews are going to be totally dependent on the reviewers HT setup. Like Herb, the problems exhibited in your screen shots are not visible to the naked eye on my HT setup. Imagine that you can't see those issues - how horrible is the transfer now? That's where I'm coming from. I fully support any discontent lobbied at WB for this, but it is really hard for me to stand up and complain to them when I can't see what I'd be complaining about without grabbing some screen shots and zooming in.

Again, I completely understand there is an issue and that it is wrong of WB to do what they are doing since it clearly affects people with setups that make the flaws apparent. At the same time, I think there have been times where the transfer of The Perfect Storm has been made out to be worse than it actually is.

#14 of 47 OFFLINE   Johannes S

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Posted June 10 2006 - 08:36 AM

Acknowledged, I seem to be the only one really unhappy with these transfers.

I experience the problem on both the Panasonic Plasma TH-50PV600 and the Pioneer PDP-505XDE fed by the Toshiba XA1 via HDMI and Component.

Same thing, projected with my friend's Sony VPL-VW100. (would love to own one)

Compared to the flawless "Blazing Saddles" with 10/10 for the picture, I would give TPS 2/10.

Maybe I am just too anal about this problem - and I know, too much criticism is not in the studio's interest. Posted Image

Thanks

#15 of 47 OFFLINE   Adam Tyner

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Posted June 10 2006 - 08:58 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johannes S
Acknowledged, I seem to be the only one really unhappy with these transfers.
Reviews for The Perfect Storm are all over the map.

The reviews at digitallyObsessed, High Def DVD Digest, and DVD Talk were critical of the visual presentation.

On the other hand, DVD Town says it "offers some of very best video quality I've seen yet from a high-definition disc", UpcomingDiscs.com claims that "this is the best HD-DVD release to date in relevance to the video department", and DVD Authority gives the disc its highest possible rating for video. Write-ups at Home Theater Spot and Fulvue Drive-In were mostly positive.

The number of people who were impressed with the disc seem to greatly outnumber those who were disappointed, but...I have to admit that I'm with you, Johannes. I haven't seen The Fugitive on HD DVD, but I'd rank The Perfect Storm behind only Full Metal Jacket as the visually least impressive HD DVD to date. Not unredeemably awful but certainly mediocre. I'll give some wiggle room to people who acknowledge the flaws but aren't as disappointed by them as I am, but those reviewers who say this is the best or one of the best HD DVDs to date...? Utterly baffling to me.

By my rating scale, I give it a 6/10 since there were some fairly nice looking stretches, although even those failed to really impress. (I'm still trying to feel out a scale in these early days of the format, but my 6/10 is relative to other HD DVDs.)

#16 of 47 OFFLINE   Rob_Walton

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Posted June 10 2006 - 09:22 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Tyner
(I'm still trying to feel out a scale in these early days of the format, but my 6/10 is relative to other HD DVDs.)
I suspect that is at the core of the disconnect happening in this thread. Herb suggests that for him being better than the SD DVD is part of his criterea for awarding the disc a high video score, while others are trying to only compare with other HD dics. It's simply a matter of personal interpretation which comparison is more worthwhile so early in this new era of high quality HD media.

#17 of 47 OFFLINE   Johannes S

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Posted June 10 2006 - 09:33 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Tyner
Reviews for The Perfect Storm are all over the map.

On the other hand, DVD Town says it "offers some of very best video quality I've seen yet from a high-definition disc", UpcomingDiscs.com claims that "this is the best HD-DVD release to date in relevance to the video department", and DVD Authority gives the disc its highest possible rating for video. Write-ups at Home Theater Spot and Fulvue Drive-In were mostly positive.


If the reviews were not mostly on the positive side - no matter how crappy the transfers really are, the "friendship" with the studios and the continous flow of free review copies would come to an end more sooner than later. Posted Image


Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Tyner
The number of people who were impressed with the disc seem to greatly outnumber those who were disappointed, but...I have to admit that I'm with you, Johannes.


Thanks for the moral support, Adam. I was beginning to question my sanity. Posted Image Back on topic: Just found an interesting thread on the avsforum about these artifact-marred transfers.

http://www.avsforum....d.php?p=7754199

Obviously there ARE a lot of disappointed voices sharing our point of view. Posted Image

#18 of 47 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

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Posted June 10 2006 - 10:55 AM

I suspect that is at the core of the disconnect happening in this thread. Herb suggests that for him being better than the SD DVD is part of his criterea for awarding the disc a high video score, while others are trying to only compare with other HD dics. It's simply a matter of personal interpretation which comparison is more worthwhile so early in this new era of high quality HD media.

Rob brings up an excellent point. I think the vast majority of those here reading are curious about one thing primarily; does the new HD version represent a significant enough improvement to justify another purchase...? Right now at least, that's my main concern as it relates to these new releases. So, at least right now, that's my main area of focus and concern. I do want to factor in comparisons to other HD releases as I think that's an important gauge - albeit slightly easier said than done. Also keeping in mind, if we are to compare apples to apples, we have to keep films of similar vintages in mind when comparing them.


If the reviews were not mostly on the positive side - no matter how crappy the transfers really are, the "friendship" with the studios and the continous flow of free review copies would come to an end more sooner than later.

Why bother even reading the reviews then, if that is your opinion...? Winkie or no winkie that comment is inappropriate. Basically, what you’re saying is that if we don’t agree with you, then we’re in it for the free review copies. And that is a slap in the face to all of us here who recommend anything positive. That’s almost as off base as your 8x magnification concerns… Posted Image
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#19 of 47 OFFLINE   ClaytonMG

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Posted June 10 2006 - 01:48 PM

Few things to bring up, the Dolby Digital-Plus track isn't flagged for anything (as in, Dolby EX or, I guess in my case it'd be DTS ES). What's the point of these new audio formats with 7.1 capabilites if they don't even take advantage of something that could've easily been in at least 6.1 sound?

As for the picture, this is by far the worst HD-DVD I have seen. I was horribly dissapointed. And for anyone who is having trouble noticing the flaws, all I suggest is looking at the text. In the opening credits, the end credits, and all subtitled parts (with location listings and whatnot) it is beyond obvious that there are major flaws with this transfer.

#20 of 47 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted June 10 2006 - 02:04 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaytonMG
Few things to bring up, the Dolby Digital-Plus track isn't flagged for anything (as in, Dolby EX or, I guess in my case it'd be DTS ES). What's the point of these new audio formats with 7.1 capabilites if they don't even take advantage of something that could've easily been in at least 6.1 sound?

As for the picture, this is by far the worst HD-DVD I have seen. I was horribly dissapointed. And for anyone who is having trouble noticing the flaws, all I suggest is looking at the text. In the opening credits, the end credits, and all subtitled parts (with location listings and whatnot) it is beyond obvious that there are major flaws with this transfer.

i wanted to know about the sound too.
listed as an option in dd-ex

how do i get this to be enabled

5.1 doesnt light the ex indicator, as expected
the dts through toslink brings up dts and also doesnt indicate *-ex/es

whats the deal on this
facebook.com/whotony


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