DVD image comparison: Black Book (SD vs. HD)
When I first saw the DVD release of Black Book, I thought the image quality was unremarkable but basically acceptable. Several months later, after having seen the Blu-ray version, I now consider the DVD to be barely watchable. The DVD has been heavily filtered, sucking out a massive amount of the fine detail, and yet even so still exhibits severe compression artefacts on occasions (check the mush into which the sand disintegrates in Example 8, for example).
In contrast, the Blu-ray version is a revelation, even if it still falls just shy of perfection. A small amount of filtering has been applied, removing the finest layer of detail and also resulting in some very mild ringing (look carefully at the location type in Example 3). It’s still a very beautiful-looking transfer, though, and it’s the single fault in an otherwise stellar presentation.
This film also shows up, to a far greater extent than any other that I’ve compared so far, the difference in high definition colour gamut versus that of standard definition. Look how much purer the reds are, especially in Example 5 (I’m pretty sure the swastika flag is meant to be black, white and red, not black, white and orange).
The Blu-ray release ports over all of the extras from the DVD version, although Tartan have bizarrely chosen to imbed this standard definition content in a small window on the Extras menu, rather than presenting it full-screen. If you have a relatively small TV, this will make watching them quite a chore.
Check out the comparison here!