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Now this is more like it


Last night, Lyris and I watched his recently-acquired HD DVD of the Director’s Cut of Zodiac. Like Crank (see here), it was shot entirely in the digital realm, but unlike Crank, it didn’t have a bunch of chimpanzees fiddling with the image control knobs. Zodiac continues Paramount’s winning streak for new releases, with a virtually flawless transfer that makes the standard definition release appear even more embarrassing than it did already. If you look very closely, you can see a teeny tiny bit of sharpening, which I suspect was added during post production (the on-screen text, such as credits and location type, are unaffected), but otherwise this is one of the absolute best presentations of a movie I’ve ever seen (at least in a technical sense - I’m personally not a fan at all of the completely grain-free look).

Zodiac: Director’s Cut
(Paramount, USA, AVC, 24 GB)

Zodiac Zodiac Zodiac Zodiac Zodiac Zodiac Zodiac Zodiac Zodiac Zodiac Zodiac Zodiac Zodiac Zodiac Zodiac

Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2008 at 3:40 PM | Comments: 9
Categories: Cinema | DVD | HD DVD | Technology



Did you happen to notice a vertical digital pattern across the screen in dark scenes displaying a very low contrast ratio? It's the sort of thing that could be minimized or eliminated by taking the black level down a point or two on my display, but I felt I'd lose a bit of detail in more punchily-lit scenes by doing so.

I noticed this in both the features and the supplements. Hoping it's not to do with equipment on my end.


Posted by: Jeffrey Allen Rydell, January 15, 2008 3:23 AM


Hi Jeff,

I didn’t happen to notice the problem you’re describing, but I’ll take another look later.

Posted by: Whiggles, January 15, 2008 10:37 AM


That'd be right cool of you - thanks. I first noticed it at the lover's lane.


Posted by: Jeffrey Allen Rydell, January 15, 2008 3:13 PM


Nuthin' turned up, I take it?


Posted by: Jeffrey Allen Rydell, January 18, 2008 3:40 PM


Actually, I’ve not had a chance to take a look yet. I’ll hopefully be able to get round to it later this evening.

Posted by: Whiggles, January 18, 2008 4:19 PM


Hey Jeff,

I took a look at the scene you mentioned - the lover’s lane scene - watching it twice, with the brightness at my normal viewing level, and again pumped up as high as it would go, and I didn’t notice any of the problems you’re describing.

Can I ask, what display are you using? Is it full 1080-line or are you downscaling?

Posted by: Whiggles, January 20, 2008 12:43 PM


hmm, uh oh.

Samsung DLP RPTV (HL-S5087W) - 1080p

Toshiba HD DVD XA2 - outputting 1080i (the player can be set for 1080p, but is actually outputting 1080i - then de-interlacing. My display doesn't seem to like the results - pumped up compression artifacting - so I let the TV scale from 1080i to 1080p).

Something else to check out: in the "His Name Was Arthur Leigh Allen" featurette, there are seemingly random 'drop outs' to black screen throughout. I'm pretty sure they're intentional (though badly judged in my opinion), and they're certainly cited by others, but *if* yours doesn't have them, it would wrap things up that something's wrong with some of the discs. It's a long shot - I'm sure it's just a stylization that doesn't come off as intended.

I can't do screen grabs of HD DVDs, but I wonder if I could tweak the display enough that this would be visible in a digital snapshot...


Posted by: Jeffrey Allen Rydell, January 20, 2008 3:21 PM


Hi Jeff,

Yes, the black drop-outs are definitely there and is extremely annoying. It looks to me almost like an encoding glitch of some sort.

I’m not really sure about the display you’re using as I haven’t had any experience with it. Is this a problem you’ve noticed with nay other discs?

Posted by: Whiggles, January 20, 2008 5:54 PM


Nope, not a one has manifested anything like this.

Soon as it gets dark I'll attempt a DVD Beaver-style 'fake' HD screengrab.

Posted by: Jeffrey Allen Rydell, January 20, 2008 8:41 PM

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:


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