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Frank Herbert’s Dune, a sci-fi novel first published in 1965. and which has been filmed before (I hated it) is now a Warner Bros 4k UHD Blu-ray, having been released theatrically in October of 2021. I viewed it in it’s native format and Dolby Atmos on a 37 foot screen, and it was awesome. Apologies if that too ’60s.



And it’s everything a 4k release should be.



Part of this is relatively easy, as it was completed in the digital realm in 4k, but Dolby Atmos also must receive kudos, as the reproduction is huge and beautifully placed.



Everything is right here, and there are no negatives. The short utterance and sub-title before the logos is not an authoring error.

Enjoy.

Image – 5 (Dolby Vision)

Audio – 5 (Dolby Atmos)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Plays nicely with projectors – Yes

Makes use of and works well in 4k – 5

Highly Recommended

RAH
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JoshZ

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Part of this is relatively easy, as it was completed in the digital realm in 4k, but Dolby Atmos also must receive kudos, as the reproduction is huge and beautifully placed.

If I'm not mistaken, the movie was shot digitally, output to film, and then rescanned back to digital for esoteric reasons about wanting it to look more "analog" or something (which, apparently, shooting on film in the first place wasn't good enough to accomplish).

I haven't seen the disc version, but the movie didn't look particularly great on HBO Max when it premiered there.
 

Josh Steinberg

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My disappointment with this upcoming release is that it does not contain the presentation I saw theatrically. The film was shot with a combination of conventional and IMAX-branded cameras for a variable aspect ratio presentation that switched between 2.40:1 and 1.90:1 in some locations, and 2:40:1 and 1.44:1 in other locations. This aided tremendously in the film’s presentation and should have been preserved in some fashion for the home release.
 

JoshZ

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My disappointment with this upcoming release is that it does not contain the presentation I saw theatrically. The film was shot with a combination of conventional and IMAX-branded cameras for a variable aspect ratio presentation that switched between 2.40:1 and 1.90:1 in some locations, and 2:40:1 and 1.44:1 in other locations. This aided tremendously in the film’s presentation and should have been preserved in some fashion for the home release.

You have a 50-foot-tall IMAX screen in your home? That's impressive. :)
 

Josh Steinberg

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It’s not quite that big, but it’s not out of the ordinary for IMAX presentations to carry over to some home video format if not every single one the title is released in. Given the great care obviously put into designing and shooting the film for IMAX, and given that television screens offer a similar ratio to that of the 1.90:1 IMAX locations, I believe it is correct to preserve the variable aspect ratio presentation. Home viewers can certain appreciate what IMAX theatrical viewers can - that certain parts of the film appear larger than others. That sense of scale is disrupted when the IMAX presentation isn’t retained.

The argument against is usually a variation on the idea that standard 2.40:1 is also a valid ratio for the film and I don’t disagree. But by the same token, there have been many films that were shot in 70mm in a taller 2.20:1 ratio that were most often seen in 35mm general release 2.40:1 croppings, but more often than not, the home video presentations reflect the original 2.20:1 framings rather than the general release modified presentations.
 

Robert Harris

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I saw it in 4k theatrically. Huge sound, as reproduced on disc.

Not an extremely highly resolved film, but I presume effects had to be massaged with production footage. Beautifully done.
 

Billy Batson

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I haven't seen the film yet, so I'm really looking forward to seeing the (standard) Blu-ray. It's released in the UK at the end of January, most definitely a Saturday evening film, & I'm glad that the aspect ratio doesn't jump around on the Blu-ray.
 

TJPC

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I would always try to see the 3D version of any film if possible, but with this one, all showings in that format were either at an inconvenient time, or place, so we ended up seeing it in flat IMAX. I am importing the 3D version from the US, at about twice the price of the Blu ray version here. I am really looking forward to the experience of seeing it around the end of January.
 

RichMurphy

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Those of us with constant height projection set-ups (i.e., CinemaScope screens) prefer that the image ratio not jump around during the movie, but I can understand how people prefer the dramatic expanse when the image enlarges to IMAX proportions. After all, that same type of dramatic expanse happens on my setup when shifting from a "flat" to a "scope" movie. Only in my case, the enlargement is horizontal instead of vertical. Unfortunately, the image size SHRINKS when I shift to IMAX proportions on my setup.
 

Worth

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I saw it in 4k theatrically. Huge sound, as reproduced on disc.

Not an extremely highly resolved film, but I presume effects had to be massaged with production footage. Beautifully done.
It's an odd one, as it was shot digitally, then output to 35mm film, then scanned back to 4K digital for the DI.
 

WillG

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HBO Max has improved recently, but their quality inconsistencies and other streaming problems are notorious.

Yep always had problems with quality on that platform. When Dune came out and saw it at the theater, I pulled it up on HBO to rewatch a couple of scenes and it looked awful even through a LAN connection. I remember when I was binging Game of Thrones it also looked pretty bad, very blocky. Was pretty much unwatchable on my 65” OLED. Had to watch it on one of my smaller sets where the couch was also farther away from the screen
 

WillG

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I would always try to see the 3D version of any film if possible, but with this one, all showings in that format were either at an inconvenient time, or place, so we ended up seeing it in flat IMAX. I am importing the 3D version from the US, at about twice the price of the Blu ray version here. I am really looking forward to the experience of seeing it around the end of January.

Also went with the 3D
 

Robert Harris

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It's an odd one, as it was shot digitally, then output to 35mm film, then scanned back to 4K digital for the DI.
Which may account for the generational loss, which is obvious. Not bad, but it is what is is.
 

JoshZ

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It’s not quite that big, but it’s not out of the ordinary for IMAX presentations to carry over to some home video format if not every single one the title is released in. Given the great care obviously put into designing and shooting the film for IMAX, and given that television screens offer a similar ratio to that of the 1.90:1 IMAX locations, I believe it is correct to preserve the variable aspect ratio presentation. Home viewers can certain appreciate what IMAX theatrical viewers can - that certain parts of the film appear larger than others. That sense of scale is disrupted when the IMAX presentation isn’t retained.

The argument against is usually a variation on the idea that standard 2.40:1 is also a valid ratio for the film and I don’t disagree. But by the same token, there have been many films that were shot in 70mm in a taller 2.20:1 ratio that were most often seen in 35mm general release 2.40:1 croppings, but more often than not, the home video presentations reflect the original 2.20:1 framings rather than the general release modified presentations.

I'm currently in the middle of a heated and contentious argument about this topic on another site, and it is really not my intent to carry that tone over here, so I will ask for your forgiveness in advance if anything I write here comes off as being dismissive. That is not my intention and I will honestly try not to. The opinion you just stated is perfectly legitimate.

To offer a couple counterpoints:

- The IMAX sequences in films like these are designed to be seen on IMAX screens, where the image will not just fill but exceed your field of view. A viewer in an IMAX theater should need to crane their neck up to see the top of the image. That experience cannot be replicated at home. No matter how large your home theater screen is, the entire image will always be within your field of view. As such, the sudden changes in aspect ratio are more noticeable and potentially distracting.

- All of these IMAX VAR films are primarily composed for 2.35:1, as that is how they will be seen on all theatrical screens other than IMAX. The additional image in IMAX is almost always just more headroom and footroom around the characters, not critical picture information.

- I don't believe Denis Villeneuve has made a statement on the matter, but a couple directors (Brad Bird and Scott Derrickson) have come out and stated that they did not intend the IMAX versions of their movies for home viewing, as they believe the aspect ratio changes call too much attention to themselves on screen sizes smaller than IMAX (even normal cinemas). Outside of IMAX, they prefer the 2.35:1 framing they composed for. (Cinematographer Roger Deakins made similar statements about the open-matte 1.90:1 IMAX version of Blade Runner 2049.)

On the other hand, you've got a director like Christopher Nolan, who does believe the VAR experience can still translate to home viewing. Nolan carefully adjusts the framing of his movies on a shot-by-shot basis for all formats. The Blu-ray VAR version of The Dark Knight is very different than the IMAX theatrical VAR version, and has had significant amounts of the empty headroom seen in IMAX removed. I would argue that this is no longer IMAX at all, and has just been optimized for TV.

Dark Knight Aspect Ratio Comparison 143_1.jpg


Dark Knight Aspect Ratio Comparison 16_9.jpg


Regardless, that can be a lot of work, and not all directors do it. Every single one of the "IMAX Enhanced" movies from Marvel, for example, take their 2.35:1 framing directly from the center of the open-matte IMAX image with no variances. This leaves many shots in IMAX looking off-balance when seen on a regular screen size as the characters are weirdly low in the frame (perhaps not as low as this Dark Knight shot, but faces are still positioned more in the center of the frame than the upper third as you'd expect).

I don't know where Villeneuve stands on the matter, but he may very well be in the "IMAX version is only intended for IMAX screens" camp. He's made two movies with alternate IMAX versions so far (Blade Runner 2049 and Dune), and both were released on home video only in 2.35:1.
 

Robert Harris

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I'm currently in the middle of a heated and contentious argument about this topic on another site, and it is really not my intent to carry that tone over here, so I will ask for your forgiveness in advance if anything I write here comes off as being dismissive. That is not my intention and I will honestly try not to. The opinion you just stated is perfectly legitimate.

To offer a couple counterpoints:

- The IMAX sequences in films like these are designed to be seen on IMAX screens, where the image will not just fill but exceed your field of view. A viewer in an IMAX theater should need to crane their neck up to see the top of the image. That experience cannot be replicated at home. No matter how large your home theater screen is, the entire image will always be within your field of view. As such, the sudden changes in aspect ratio are more noticeable and potentially distracting.

- All of these IMAX VAR films are primarily composed for 2.35:1, as that is how they will be seen on all theatrical screens other than IMAX. The additional image in IMAX is almost always just more headroom and footroom around the characters, not critical picture information.

- I don't believe Denis Villeneuve has made a statement on the matter, but a couple directors (Brad Bird and Scott Derrickson) have come out and stated that they did not intend the IMAX versions of their movies for home viewing, as they believe the aspect ratio changes call too much attention to themselves on screen sizes smaller than IMAX (even normal cinemas). Outside of IMAX, they prefer the 2.35:1 framing they composed for. (Cinematographer Roger Deakins made similar statements about the open-matte 1.90:1 IMAX version of Blade Runner 2049.)

On the other hand, you've got a director like Christopher Nolan, who does believe the VAR experience can still translate to home viewing. Nolan carefully adjusts the framing of his movies on a shot-by-shot basis for all formats. The Blu-ray VAR version of The Dark Knight is very different than the IMAX theatrical VAR version, and has had significant amounts of the empty headroom seen in IMAX removed. I would argue that this is no longer IMAX at all, and has just been optimized for TV.

View attachment 124426

View attachment 124427

Regardless, that can be a lot of work, and not all directors do it. Every single one of the "IMAX Enhanced" movies from Marvel, for example, take their 2.35:1 framing directly from the center of the open-matte IMAX image with no variances. This leaves many shots in IMAX looking off-balance when seen on a regular screen size as the characters are weirdly low in the frame (perhaps not as low as this Dark Knight shot, but faces are still positioned more in the center of the frame than the upper third as you'd expect).

I don't know where Villeneuve stands on the matter, but he may very well be in the "IMAX version is only intended for IMAX screens" camp. He's made two movies with alternate IMAX versions so far (Blade Runner 2049 and Dune), and both were released on home video only in 2.35:1.
We are in agreement.
 

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The opinion you just stated is perfectly legitimate.

And, with respect, I am not going to change it. I understand all of your counterpoints but they don’t really affect my opinion.

I find it curious - and by no means am I singling you out on this - that it’s right there in the HTF mission statement that we care about preserving a film’s theatrical presentation. Now I’ve noticed that when it comes to, say, sound formats, people will get up in arms if the disc doesn’t include the most deluxe version of the original mix. It’s expected that if a mono version is all that’s made available of a film once in stereo, people complain. If the directional dialogue from an old CinemaScope film is centered, people complain. If the Atmos theatrical mix is left off in favor of 5.1 or 7.1 only, people complain. And yet, when the two parts of modern presentation that are most important to me - 3D and IMAX variable ratios - are discarded, there’s no shortage of opinions for why the thing I want to see should not be made available to me.

My request remains simple: I wish to see an approximation of the presentation that I saw theatrically.

I am happy that you are able to get a version of this release that satisfies your preferences. I am unhappy that my preferences were not given the same consideration.
 

Robert Harris

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The interesting position here, is to which theatrical experience one has been exposed.

I saw one of the Nolan Batman films in an IMAX theater in LA, and went out of my way to see if there. It was wonderful seeing the image grow.

My Dune experence was non-IMAX, and also a proper theatrical experience, as both variants had gone through post for two very different venues.

I enjoyed the IMAX experience when projected on a huge screen, but less so in the home theater format, via which the imagery becomes smaller rather than larger.

Both are accurate as both were “official” theatrical formats for the same film.

Many theaters are unable to properly run 70/5, and project a smaller (narrower) image on a scope screen, as opposed to the proper mechanism of opening the top masking.

When it comes to home theater and IMAX, there is neither right nor wrong, as it ties to a personal theatrical experience.

Personally, although I find the multiple aspect ratio interesting, I’d prefer to remain with the larger image.
 

Neil S. Bulk

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I find it curious - and by no means am I singling you out on this - that it’s right there in the HTF mission statement that we care about preserving a film’s theatrical presentation.
But what's the theatrical presentation of "Dune?" You said even in IMAX it had two different aspect ratios.
 

Josh Steinberg

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For me, the variable aspect presentation does become the larger image as I’m using a 16x9 screen, aka the home viewing standard. On a screen like that, preserving the variable framing means that for some scenes, the image does become larger as the letterboxing above and below the 2.40:1 is replaced by more picture image.

I think it’s a wonderful stylistic choice that uses the physical shape of a screen to convey size and scale. In many ways, particularly with films that have comic book origins, it reminds me of reading the comics where not every panel is drawn to the same size.

In a day and age where everything is digital and it’s just hard drive space, it would be no more effort than pushing a button on the studio’s part to make both options available. It is a shame that they do not do so.

I don’t really understand the merits of spending years making a film, putting hundreds of millions of dollars into the endeavor, making specific choices to use specific types of cameras and capture mediums and frame sizes, choices that can add significantly to that budget, solely so that presentation can be viewed for just a couple weeks and then disappear forever.