HTF REVIEW: "Vertical Limit" Superbit vs. Standard

Josh Simpson

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jan 23, 2002
Messages
926
I really want the Superbit of Dracula...however, I've been wanting a SE of it too. Now with these SB Deluxe 2 disc sets, are they gonna go back and rerelease that one?
 

RAF

Lead Actor
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jul 3, 1997
Messages
7,061
You realize, of course, Ron, that you are going to force me to purchase the Superbit version of this title.

I've been avoiding superbit titles up until now but the remarks here have me curious about whether or not I'll see any difference on my 110" screen. And count me in the ranks of those who don't particularly like the market ploy of releasing superbit versions months after the original release. We've been down that road before (and, yes, I realize that Vertical Limit came out on DVD before superbits started. I'm talking about new releases from this point forward.) Also, I'm not sure about the trade off of extras for superbits at this point. I'd prefer, if need be, the extras to be on a second disc rather than just ignored. Otherwise one has to choose between the superbits version or the regular with extras. How about a regular package and a superbits package with two discs for a bit more money?
As you may recall, I screened the first 5 minutes or so of this film for you and Parker last summer when you visited. One of my favorite "eye & ear candy" movies to grab one's attention when choosing a clip to demo.
 

Jakob_S

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Nov 23, 2001
Messages
59
I think I read somewhere that the SB-titles don't use all the space/bits available on a disc - is this correct?
 

Jeff Bamberger

Second Unit
Joined
Sep 15, 1999
Messages
495
I own a new Toshiba 57" anamorphic

television and I would estimate most members

in this forum have setups close to mine. These

are mid-range systems.
I guess that makes my 27inch sony, yamaha 795, and def tech speakers all around a low end system.

Anyways, my barb back to Ron aside, I fully support his doing these reviews, if for nothing else, to continue to point out that SB is just a gimmick and that DTS should be on the "regular" release from the get go in a nice 2-disc SE. I toyed with SB of AFO but I held off, even with my love for DTS, as I don't like the whole SB idea anyway, if that was not already evident from my thoughts......
 

Nick Cicutti

Auditioning
Joined
Jan 10, 2002
Messages
8
Bjoern and/or Ron:

How much, if anything, do you think the frequency response characteristics of the DVD player in question may have to do with ultimate image resolution when comparing standard vs Superbit titles. When playing SB versions of Bram Stoker's Dracula or VL on a Panny H1000 feeding a mere Tau 34" widescreen set or even a 64 " Pioneer Elite I don't notice any differences compared to their standard versions. However, when switching to a Sony S9000ES subtle but detectable increases in resolution (fine detail) can be detected even with the 34" Tau! Reports indicate that this Panny rolls off quite a bit by 5 Mhz whereas the Sony does not. If the superbit releases don't undergo the same filtering (presumably affecting the higher video frequencies) as standard releases, then perhaps a bit more detail can be detected when using those players with more extended bandwidth. Just a thought.

nc
 

Bjoern Roy

Second Unit
Joined
Oct 15, 1998
Messages
315
Nick,

the frequency response of the player is indeed very important in this matter. My setup is completely flat up to 6.75Mhz. Like you said, a lot of players roll off considerably starting at or even before 5Mhz. Since the difference in detail between the non-SB and the SB titles is exactly in that 5.0-6.75Mhz range, its obvious that only players which actually have considerable response in that band can show the difference.

Same is true for the setup of the display, of course. Having a good RPTV is one thing. Only if convergence, ESF or EMF focus and astigmatism is setup properly can you really appreciate the finest detail that is stored on DVDs (let alons HDTV).

Best regards

Bjoern
 

Carlo Medina

Executive Producer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Oct 31, 1997
Messages
11,950
Ron,
I for one would like you to continue reviewing Superbit vs. regular releases.
Why?
Because your equipment most closely matches mine. And contrary to what Bjoern may think, those of us with mid-to-low-range HD sets can tell the difference between SB and regular titles. I could tell the improvement in Gattaca, Fifth Element, and Desperado (new transfer makes it unfair). They were varying in improvements. I can almost assuredly tell that Bjoern will see *some* form of improvement because his equipment is otherworldly. That doesn't help me at all because I don't have nearly the quality of his equipment, nor will I in the foreseeable future.
That's why I value reviews like this from you: a knowledgeable viewer with ISF'd equipment that is very close to mine. All respect to Bjoern and what he does, but I'd like to hear the perspective of someone who is more in my shoes.
Keep up the good work!

---
Edit
Frankly, I think there's room for both. There are plenty of HTF'ers with Bjoern's level of equipment, and quite a bit with Ron's. Why not continue to have BOTH review the SB titles. If Ron sees little to no difference, that helps those of us with mid-range equipment. Yet if Bjoern says he sees more of a difference, that tells the people with high-end systems that they may want to purchase this...
 

Jenna

Second Unit
Joined
Feb 12, 2002
Messages
485
Real Name
Jeanette Howard
I have a 57" Sony Widescreen and I hate to admit it...but I do see a slight improvement in the PQ with the SuperBit titles - enough to purchase the SB Titles, YET I still harbor major resentment from having to cough up another $20 less-than-a-year after purchasing the first "Special Edition" release.
I swear, the words "Special Edition" mean absolutely NOTHING anymore! What's next?? A "SuperSpecialLimitedVistaCriterionBit" Director's Cut????

I also love the DTS sound and wonder why CTHV (for one) "holds out" this feature from their "everyday" releases. Why can't ALL new DVD releases be blessed with DTS sound??? (Can't they just ditch the pan&scan sides for DTS???)

Now that I know that they're capable of giving me quality, I want quality with EVERY new release...they should ALL be given the benefit of a first class presentation including SB picture, DTS sound, AND a 2nd disc of special features. I'd rather pay more up front for a SB 2-disc release than to be forced to buy an "upgraded" version months later.
 

Bjoern Roy

Second Unit
Joined
Oct 15, 1998
Messages
315
David,

the term filtering is rather generic in the image processing terminology. What is meant in this particular case is a low-pass filter, which means that high frequency information (read: fine detail) is 'filtered' out. This leads to a reduced entropy of the image, which in turn makes it possible to compress the image with less MPEG/compression artefacts at the same given bitrate.

In the case of the SB titles, only the horizontal detail is less filtered (more detailed) in comparison to the original releases. The detail and ringing characteristic in the vertical direction is the same.

Sorry that i still haven't posted the comparison pictures, but if you want to read up on the technical differences and the filtering on the SB titles in the meantime, you can check out the 5thE review on my site.

Regards

Bjoern
 

David Coleman

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jan 5, 2000
Messages
764
Thank you Bjoern for your explanation. I've always felt that Columbia/Tristar's transfers while generally excellent always seemed to me to be a little less detailed than some of the other's studios releases. I mean that while generally sharp the fine detail is not as prevelant in background images as the foreground image. So is this generally CTS's procedure and other studios don't use the filtering process or they use it to a lesser degree?

Thanks David
 

Keith M.

Second Unit
Joined
Apr 1, 1999
Messages
486
improved or indifferent, is not the real issue here...

Superbit is a slap in the face of the consumer. Columbia should have done the transfer in the highest quality initially. And they should also follow the other studios lead by including DTS on their new releases. This game of continuosly re-releasing titles, has got to stop. I used to fall for it, but now I have smartened up. If consumers continue to re-buy, studios will continue to re-release!!!

How many versions of the Evil Dead series do we really frickin need!!!!

I understand technology changes and improvements can result. But there is a point of diminishing returns in the A/V world. So simply apply these changes going forward with all new releases. But just changing the bitrate during mastering does not qualify for a new product line.

Call it what it is...M A R K E T I N G...or

SuperBIT = (Super (B)uy (I)t (T)wice)

I have NOT been super BIT!!!! Have you?????
 

Jeff Kohn

Supporting Actor
Joined
Dec 29, 2001
Messages
680
Well, I can definitely see a difference on my 55" Mits HDTV. I sit about 7-8' away from my TV (which has been pretty heavily tweaked), and I use an HTPC with DVD software that does not roll off high-frequency detail; so maybe my set isn't your typical RPTV, but I don't see how anybody could look at the Superbit titles on my equipment and not see a difference. And no offense Ron, but I've wondered about some of your comments re: 'reference quality' video on other non-SB DVD's in the past. In fact, before seeing your equipment listed in this thread I had assumed you must be watching DVD's on a smaller direct-view set. Bjoern asked, but I didn't see any answer from you - how far away do you sit from your TV?
That said, I definitely dislike the way CT is releasing these titlesl; they're obviously trying to get people to buy older releases again. Personally, I would rather see all studios use the same transfer techniques as the SB titles, and either leave the special features off or put them on Side B or a 2nd disc. Filtering and over-compressing the video to make room for extras sucks, IMHO.
 

Sutjahjo Ngaserin

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jun 30, 1997
Messages
133
Personally, I think Vertical Limit is the best DVDs to show off the superiority of Superbit.
I respect all the people here, and I think all of them have the rights to their own personal opinions, but in the Vertical Limit DVDs, almost every outdoor frames show off the big advantages of Superbit and its video qaulity really shines above the normal version.
In most other Superbit titles, only the details are better, Vertical Limit is the ONLY one where even the Blue Sky looks SO MUCH BETTER!
Unfortunately, the movie is only average.
Personally, I think perople who could not see the difference between VL normal and VL superbit needs to have his eyes checked
, but then, my eyes maybe playing tricks on me, who knows?

My advice to those not seeing difference, don't buy them? but I really hope more superbit titles will be released.
Jaw
 

Peter Overduin

Supporting Actor
Joined
Jun 30, 1997
Messages
776
I think perople who could not see the difference between VL normal and VL superbit needs to have his eyes checked ,
I suggest that you touch on the heart of the discussion here. Most people saying they notice the difference are referring to thier large screen projection TVs. I have a Sony Wega 36" (KV36FV26) with the "auto-anamorphic squeeze" (for lack of a better descriptor) and there is no difference to be seen at all.
Is SB perhaps not even meant for people like me, but instead for those who truly need it - aka - the large screen projection TV owner?
Blast away, folks!
 

Jeff Adams

Screenwriter
Joined
Dec 13, 1999
Messages
1,549
My complaint with Superbit is they need to just release that version of it. I am all for the best picture and sound quality, I just don't want to buy anymore movies that I already have. I hope for the future that for new releases coming out, they release them in Superbit form, not regualr and then 6 months later Superbit. Just do Superbit to start with!
 

John Berggren

Cinematographer
Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 17, 1999
Messages
3,238
I've been tempted on the Superbit line in general. I'd heard good things about Air Force One which I've never seen, and The Fifth Element, which I only moderately enjoyed on VHS way back when.

I'm also interested in Crouching Tiger. The original release had what I considerred to be a poor print for such a highly praised film. I wouldn't mind having a DTS OSL track either.
 

Matt Heebner

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jul 2, 2000
Messages
241
I have seen differences in the SB versus standard on my 55" Mitsubishi, but the reasons I buy Superbit are not just the picture quality alone. I have absolutly no interest in 99% of the "special features" on most DVD's. I would rather have the best picture possible, and a DTS soundtrack than a directors commentary, etc. While I understand that most people like special features, maybe they are willing to trade some bit-rate for these extra's ? There is only so much room on a DVD..correct?
I don't understand why anyone would be mad for getting the super edition or special edition or whatever, when Columbia releases a Superbit. These are pretty much bare bones compares to a special edition. I think there is plenty of "market" for both editions to exist. Given the choice, I will always go with Superbit.
Matt
ps....I've seen this on HBO-HD and the DVD (Superbit or Standard) can't even begin to compete with the awe-inspiring PQ on HBO-HD !!!!
 

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