Previewed SuperBit, SW: EP1, Final Fantasy DVD's at Widescreen Review

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ivan Luk, Oct 1, 2001.

  1. Ivan Luk

    Ivan Luk Agent

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    This past Saturday, I was among a group of invited guests at the new Widescreen Review Facility. Here are my impressions on some of the not-yet-released, but widely anticipated DVD's that we got to view firsthand.
    SuperBit Fifth Element vs. old version
    We viewed the "reanimation" scene (Chp 8, Nucleolab) in SuperBit, and then synchronized it with the old version, started from the beginning of the chapter and switched on the fly. FYI, I was middle center, about one screen width from an 84" wide 16:9 screen.
    There is a difference. The SuperBit version has slightly better detail (and I mean slight), but more noticably, a better and smoother color rendition. Beyond my sitting position, most comments were about the improved color.
    As reported by Widescreen Review in their posted review, the difference is subtle--I think they described it spot-on. I doubt the average consumer will be able to differentiate between them based on video quality.
    I submit that they should have allocated another 754 KBps (for full-rate) to the DTS audio instead, and picture quality would not have been sacrificed. Don't get me wrong, the DTS track is a nice addition, albeit at half-rate. We didn't compare the DD versus DTS soundtracks, but based on what I saw, I dare say that the measely 754 KBps would have made more of a difference in the audio quality than it did the video. [​IMG]
    I'll probably buy them for the DTS audio more than anything else.
    P.S. We watched the SuperBit Diva scene at the end for the heck of it. Also got to see the hijacking part of the SuperBit AFO--the audio was breathtaking.
    Star Wars: Episode One - The Phantom Menace
    There was instant applause when Gary said this would be the next demo. Of course, we viewed the pod race. I won't comment on the audio as I was not in the sweet spot, but again, I was middle center, one screen width away.
    I was hugely disappointed to see bad EE! The long shots of the pods in the starting grid had a startling amount of EE and very visible halo's around objects. No one is going to miss this!
    This is far from a reference video transfer--if it was a little, I'd had accepted it. As is, I predict a wave of complaints from videophiles. True to form, the videophiles who are SW fans will dutifully purchase this DVD, then await/demand/petition a yet to be announced "SuperBit-type" version down the road (with DTS this time?). I am hugely disappointed, but will still buy the DVD as I don't want to wait a few years for Lucasfilm to get it together. [​IMG]
    If this DVD doesn't convince you, nothing will: THX approval of DVD's is of no significance whatsoever. It is no indication of a superior video transfer for sure.
    Final Fantasy - The Spirits Within (potential spoiler!)
    Minor EE on this one, only visible in certain scenes. Transfer looks good otherwise based on the 10-13 minute sequence. We viewed the beginning, right up till Aki is rescued. It seemed to me that they elevated the black levels so that you can see what is happening in the dark surroundings (this sequence happens at night time), so there was seemingly very little, if any absolutely black (7.5% IRE or below) areas in the picture.
    P.S. I saw this movie twice prior; once in a THX theater, and another in a digital projector theater.
    Monty Python and the Holy Grail
    Wow--the best transfer yet of this classic! Because the movie is old and made very cheaply, you won't be seeing pristine picture quality compared to even the worse of today's A-titles. But as far as it being the best it can look, there is no doubt that they did a fantastic job on this new version. I say, "Ni!"
    ------------------
     
  2. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

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    Thank you Ivan!!
    i look forward to getting "The Fifth Element" but if edge enhancement is as you say it is with TPM, i too will be dissapointed they couldnt give it a pristine picture.
    Like you, ill purchase it.
    ------------------
    [​IMG] "Charlie don't surf."
     
  3. Thi Them

    Thi Them Producer

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    I'm disappointed to read that the transfer for Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within is only "good."
    ~T
     
  4. Nick_Scott

    Nick_Scott Second Unit

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    If the SB Fifth Element still has some EE, then does this show that it could not be MPEG compression artifacts since (I assume) there shouldnt be any at a 7.5mps average bitrate? or was this encoded on a sony?
    -nick
     
  5. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Nick,
    5E DVD was made by Columbia TriStar. Sony owns that company. I daresay that the DVD was encoded using Sony's machine.
     
  6. Wes

    Wes Screenwriter

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    quote: P.S. We watched the SuperBit Diva scene at the end for the heck of it. Also got to see the hijacking part
    of the SuperBit AFO--the audio was breathtaking.[/quote]
    The audio quality on the original releases were breath taking. I'm still not sold on this Super Bit thing at all! Perhaps they should have THX supervise it! [​IMG]
    Wes
    [Edited last by Wes on October 03, 2001 at 04:54 AM]
     
  7. Shawn Sefranek

    Shawn Sefranek Second Unit

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    I was at Widescreen Review this past Wednesday with about (15) others from the HTF California National Meet and we had similar observations of your report on The Fifth Element.
    Gary set up an A/B blind test for us with the Superbit in one player and the original in another.
    From what I remember, no one in the room including the other Widescreen employees saw a noticeable improvement and a few people even picked the original as being better.
    On Air Force One there was a noticeable difference, but that original transfer wasn’t anywhere near as good as Fifth Element was, so it wasn’t a fair contest.
    Gary (WSR owner) said that all the Superbit demos that he has seen had the BLACK LEVELS jacked way up to make the difference more noticeable, but on a properly calibrated system you couldn’t tell.
    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s what I remember from my visit.
    Well, that and the fact that the WSR demo room is AWESOME !!!!!
    Shawn S
     
  8. jason celaya

    jason celaya Stunt Coordinator

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    I made it out to the WSR facility as well last weekend and I thought Final Fantasy looked and sounded awesome. As good as the setup was on the video side, I felt the convergence might have been off slightly. That might have thrown off some as to how good the transfers might have been. sound wise..WSR facilites are the best I've heard.
     

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