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High definition refinements

HD DVD/Blu-ray/DVD

I’ve made some alterations to the HD Image Quality Rankings page, despite it being just over twenty-four hours old. Structurally, I’ve altered the HTML code to make it less of a hassle for me to update and move various titles around.

As it turns out, this was a wise move, because moving titles around is exactly what I’ve been doing this afternoon. There have been no jaw-dropping alterations (Ratatouille didn’t suddenly become a 1/10 title or anything, and Universal remains the only studio to hold the dubious honour of having titles in both the 10/10 and 0/10 categories), but I did take the opportunity to tweak a number of titles in the 9, 8, 7 and 6 out of 10 categories. Several titles have been moved down a grade as I’ve built up a broader picture of the range of image quality possible in high definition (for example, I could no longer justify having Mission Impossible II remain a 7/10 transfer, so down it went to a 6). There has also been some degree or rearrangement within the various grades, particularly the 6s, done as an attempt to make the list more linear than it had become recently thanks to a steady influx of new titles, not all of which could be directly compared against each other. The crummier Universal catalogue titles have been reshuffled somewhat, to acknowledge that, for example, the soft, diffuse look of The Game is preferable to Lost in Translation and its harsh edge enhancement. One title, the remastered edition of The Fifth Element, has also received an upgrade from a high 7 to a low 8.

The biggest change, however, has been the splitting of the 10/10 ranking into two separate categories. I have always felt that, with HD, 10/10 should truly mean perfection, as good as it gets within the limitations of lossy compression. Looking at the previous list, which started with Open Season and ended with The Reaping, it was clear that there was a discrepancy in image quality between the 10s at the top and those at the bottom. That’s not to say that there are any obvious problems with The Reaping’s transfer - on the contrary, I think it’s pretty flawless - but, if you watch it side by side with something like Silent Hill, it’s pretty clear that Silent Hill leaps off the screen as the more impressive of the two. That, in all likelihood, is simply because Silent Hill is razor sharp and The Reaping less so - it’s not a flaw in The Reaping, just evidence that its materials have less inherent detail. However, I wanted the 10/10 transfers to come as close as possible to using every one of the 2,073,600 pixels available in a 1080p transfer, so any transfer that wasn’t cutting the mustard in that regard has been moved into the new 9.5 category. These are still, by and large, beautiful reproductions of their sources that can’t be faulted, but they don’t have that extra “punch”.

The creation of this new category has also allowed me to recognise some titles that do have that “punch” but were let down by minor failing - such as the occasional compression artefacts in Transformers and the handful of over-sharpened shots in Spider-man 3 (watched it last night - okay film, but one which ransacks its self-dignity something rotten during its ridiculous second half). These are titles which would previously have been in the 9/10 category, but which didn’t really feel like they belonged there. Mission Impossible III, for example, easily has as much detail as Casino Royale, but is let down by some mild artefacting in a handful of shots. Beautiful, stunning transfer 99% of the time, but with a few teeny niggles that prevent it from being a 10. Therefore, the 9.5 category has also gained some former 9s, which are now free to mingle with some of the former 10s which were demoted.

 
Posted: Sunday, December 09, 2007 at 8:29 PM | Comments: 14
Categories: Blu-ray | Cinema | HD DVD | Technology | Web

 
Comments

1.

Ok you keep on talking about how great or bad the image on these high defininition editions are but most movies there actually suck!

THE GAME
SILENT HILL
THE REAPING
TRANSFORMERS
SPIDER-MAN 3
THE REAPING
OPEN SEASON
THE FIFTH ELEMENT

These are all terrible movies. Personally i dont give a damn if they look good or not cause I would not buy them. Well not for me directly as I might have to get SPIDEY 3 for my daughter and TRANSFO for my son... but I'll get them on DVD and used for real cheap (like $8 max).

Posted by: ARCVILE, December 10, 2007 1:45 AM

2.

Oh for crying out loud Arcville, nearly every time I see you comment on this site, you're complaining about movies that you don't like. Yes, there are some stinkers in that list, but methinks you're missing the point of "Image Quality Rankings".

Posted by: Lyris, December 10, 2007 1:59 AM

3.

Tell you what, Arcvile, I’ll rent the remake of House of Wax on HD DVD and rate its image quality just for you. :|

Posted by: Whiggles, December 10, 2007 11:05 AM

4.

So, ARCVILE, wretched stuff like RETURN TO HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL and some TEXAS CHAIN SAW sequel are both "watchable" and "enjoyable" whilst solid movies from Fincher and Besson (THE GAME and FIFTH ELEMENT) are terrible? Biased much? :)

Anyway, gotta agree with Lyris here...

Posted by: Anon, December 10, 2007 12:38 PM

5.

SILENT HILL, terrible? You must be joking. In its defence I would state this was one solid horror/thriller, and one of the choice video game adaptations of late. Gans should be praised and if the image quality is 10/10, then so much the better I say.

Posted by: Avanze, December 10, 2007 2:09 PM

6.

"Oh for crying out loud Arcville, nearly every time I see you comment on this site, you're complaining about movies that you don't like."
Thats cause you havent read my comments when I mentioned that I actually liked some films mentioned here. Stop playing the all so protective bro here. If you Whiggles cant accept any comments then why the COMMENTS option??

"Tell you what, Arcvile, I'll rent the remake of House of Wax on HD DVD and rate its image quality just for you."
Good! Looking foward to it as I had more fun watching this one then most of the movies mentioned here.

"So, ARCVILE, wretched stuff like RETURN TO HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL and some TEXAS CHAIN SAW sequel are both "watchable" and "enjoyable" whilst solid movies from Fincher and Besson (THE GAME and FIFTH ELEMENT) are terrible? Biased much? :)"
Come on! THE GAME is terrible! A terrible film! Way overrated and pointless. As for THE FIFTH ELEMENTS, Besson and co simply stole was Jodorowsky and Mobiues did back in the 70s, shame on them! Plus Chris Tucker... sorry!

DId I really say that RETURN TO HOUSE was enjoyable? Watchable for the cg gore and nudity but thats about it. As for the TCM sequels, which one are you talking about since there's so many.


"SILENT HILL, terrible? You must be joking."
No I'm not! Avary and Gans totally fucked up the story. The lead made the most idiotic decision. The plot is everywhere and it bore me to death! But I gotta admit that the cinematography was superb.

Seriously some of you need to calm down.
If one cant come here and actually express his opinion about something and not getting jumped on the throat then I have no place here.

Its called OPINIONS!
And its like an asshole... everyone has one!


Posted by: ARCVILE, December 11, 2007 2:00 AM

7.

Oh! And before someone gets mad for nothing...
I didnt called anyone an asshole...
Hope you understood what I meant.

Damn my English can be bad!
Ahahahhaha!

Posted by: ARCVILE, December 11, 2007 2:27 AM

8.

Arcvile, I think it’s the fact that you feel the need to state how much you hate these films every time they’re mentioned, regardless of context, that is annoying people. I personally have absolutely no problem with you stating your opinion, but it is becoming a bit repetitive that, every time the name Silent Hill (or The Game, or The Fifth Element, or…) is mentioned, you immediately reply “This film sucks!!!” or words to that effect, usually without any valid justification. If you don’t like something, then at least tell us why. “It sucks” requires no effort on your part and contributes absolutely nothing, whereas everyone else who posts here, including the occasional trolls who have made personal attacks, can at least provide something to talk about. Two or three word posts that simply state that you hate a certain film are nothing more than pointless spam.

It seems particularly pointless in a topic such as this, where the whole point is not the quality of the films themselves but the quality of their HD transfers. You may not like these films, and in certain cases I would agree with you, but that is not the point of this topic. The point is to give an unbiased, critical appraisal of the image quality so that people can buy with confidence and then decide whether or not they like the films for themselves.

Posted by: Whiggles, December 11, 2007 12:45 PM

9.

Thanks for the list, Michael. I seem to be in sync with you on taste in transfers, so enjoy seeing your ratings.

I do have one point though - if an automatic zero is provided to a transfer which provides no improvement on DVD, I think "Being John Malkovich" qualifies. I A/B'd this transfer with the DVD and found the differences absolutely minimal. To this day it is my poster boy for "least improvement over DVD."

Posted by: Bleddyn Williams, December 11, 2007 2:38 PM

10.

I agree Bleddyn, that one was a stinker, but I don't think it's down there with TRAFFIC. Universal sure have put out a lot of guff.

Posted by: Lyris, December 11, 2007 4:00 PM

11.

David, I can't argue with you. From the online postings & grabs, it looks like the HD DVD managed the rare feat of being WORSE than the DVD. That sets the bar pretty high!

And by the way, I also thought the Dreamcast was the best thing since sliced bread! Graphically, nothing has "wowed" me as much as getting the original Soul Calibur on DC.

Posted by: Bleddyn Williams, December 11, 2007 4:25 PM

12.

Bleddyn, I’d disagree with you on Being John Malkovich. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a very mediocre transfer that has no reason for looking the way it does, but even so it offers, to my eyes, a noticeable upgrade over standard definition. I’ve not seen the official DVD myself so I can’t comment on it (maybe I should rent it for comparison purposes), but I’m very surprised that you would say the improvements are minimal on the HD DVD.

Posted by: Whiggles, December 11, 2007 11:43 PM

13.

Michael, I ran the DVD on my Malata 996 and the HD DVD on my Toshiba D2. I have a 53" Pioneer RPTV that has been ISF calibrated.

I synched up the DVD and HD DVD and went back and forth between them. As I said, it was the least difference I have seen in any of my comparisons in this manner.

I hope you do rent the DVD - I'd like to hear your findings!

Posted by: Bleddyn Williams, December 12, 2007 2:36 PM

14.

"If you don't like something, then at least tell us why. "It sucks" requires no effort on your part and contributes absolutely nothing, whereas everyone else who posts here, including the occasional trolls who have made personal attacks, can at least provide something to talk about. Two or three word posts that simply state that you hate a certain film are nothing more than pointless spam."

Right...
so all have been saying all this time is that it sucks or not.
Whatever...

Posted by: ARCVILE, December 14, 2007 1:53 AM

Comments on this entry and all entries up to and including June 30th 2009 have been closed. The discussion continues on the new Land of Whimsy blog:

https://www.landofwhimsy.com

 

 
 
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