“Where are you, you little creep?”
Yesterday, I was greeted by the arrival of one of my most anticipated Blu-ray Disc releases of the season (don’t laugh): Home Alone. Watching this film is a Christmas tradition aboard the HMS Whimsy, and last night, we dimmed the lights and got to enjoy this holiday classic all over again, for the first time in high definition.
I’d like to be able to post screen captures, as I normally do when discussing the image quality of a BD, but unfortunately, Home Alone, like a number of other recent 20th Century Fox releases, comes with an insidious new version of their pointless BD+ content protection system which the usual suspects have yet to break. I’m assured that they’re working hard on it, though, so hopefully it’ll only be a matter of time before normal business is resumed.
In the meantime, I’ll just have to dazzle you with words rather than pictures. As per usual, we have a 1080P AVC encode on a dual-layer BD50, in the proper aspect ratio of 1.85:1. A less than convincing 5.1 remix (lossless DTS-HD Master Audio) is provided, along with the original matrixed 2.0 surround mix as a lossy Dolby 2.0 track. Transfer-wise, the same master used for last year’s DVD re-release was presumably the source again here, judging by the similarities in overall colour balance, plus the fact that I can’t see yet another a new master being created so soon. Unfortunately, the BD has been degrained noticeably more than the DVD, making the image look a bit synthetic. It’s not up to Patton or Dark City levels of badness, but it doesn’t look very film-like. This is not what you’d call a crisp-looking film, but I suspect that this is largely representative of the original materials rather than any monkeying around with the master. In any event, the presentation is reasonably satisfying overall, but it’s likely to disappoint both purists who crave faithfulness to the source and “it has to be threeee-deeeeeeee!” kiddies like the Blu-ray.com crowd.
Posted: Tuesday, December 09, 2008 at 3:47 PM
| Comments: 8
Why can't they provide a lossless 2.0 original track instead of this compressed Dolby one they always seem to provide. They did the same with Romancing The Stone and i hate it and would like to see the original soundtracks get a lossless presentation.
Not like they don't have the space for it.
I thought the DVD was bad so i can't see myself liking the Blu Ray. I saw this at the cinema twice way back in 1990. Nope i don't recall how it looked back then. memories not that good lol
Posted by: FoxyMulder, December 9, 2008 5:48 PM
"it has to be threeee-deeeeeeee!" kiddies like the Blu-ray.com crowd.
Huh? Are you just mentioning them because of some leftover format war angst, or are you just browsing a thread or two? The crowd over there tends to be even more DNR-obsessed than AVS. The "3-D" crowd gets shouted down within seconds.
Posted by: zombieflanders, December 9, 2008 6:07 PM
The Blu-Ray video encode is 99.7 % identical to the source. No filtering and DNR during the compression whatsoever.
Posted by: ucupa, December 10, 2008 7:31 PM
Which isn't much good if the source is crap.
Posted by: FoxyMulder, December 10, 2008 9:16 PM
99.7%? Where did you pluck such a precise number from, pray tell?
To clarify, this transfer is far from crap. It’s just not as good as it could have been, unfortunately.
Posted by: Michael Mackenzie
, December 10, 2008 9:43 PM
Michael MacKenzie ... are you the same reviewer at DVDTimes ? If you are, I like your reviews (I happen to agree with almost everything you said there), you should review even more titles. :-)
99.7 % is just a rough estimate on my part, since I did the video compression for this Blu-Ray title. The source material is not that good to begin with, but what you get on the Blu-Ray is pretty much the same as it is on the source. I didn't apply any filter, noise reduction etc., everything was set as is. We're lucky we get a high bitrate on this title, it could've looked a lot worse.
Posted by: ucupa, December 10, 2008 11:57 PM
Ucapa, thanks very much for the clarification. And yes, I am the fellow who reviews titles for DVD Times. I do as many as I can, but unfortunately other commitments get in the way at times.
I’m very interested to hear that the encode so closely matches the source material, mainly because the standard definition release from last year definitely shows more visible grain than the BD, suggesting that the master you were given had some additional work done on it (unless the two releases really did use two completely different masters). Obviously, the BD makes significant gains over the DVD in terms of overall detail, but the grain gain (so to speak) very much surprised me when I went back to look at the DVD after watching the BD. I also noticed a shade more dirt on the DVD (check, for example, the optical effect shot where Joe Pesci flashes his gold tooth at around 11:06), which makes me wonder if some additional work was done on the master before it was handed over for the creation of the BD transfer.
Anyway, thanks once again for providing this behind-the-scenes information. I’m most grateful.
Posted by: Michael Mackenzie
, December 11, 2008 11:32 AM
Ucupa: I second the above, thanks a ton for posting here. If you're allowed to spill details, would you mind satisfying my curiosity and mentioning what encoder was used on this title? I'm currently looking at Cinema Craft (based mainly on my experience of the quality their SD encoder gave).
Posted by: David M
, December 11, 2008 1:04 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: