Blu-Ray Remastering Potential

April 28, 2010 12:25am
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I found this link that I thought was pretty cool, and although granted I’ve never actually seen the movie, the screenshot comparisons are still pretty incredible…

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDCompare/zulu.htm

Basically I guess what this site does (or at least one of the things) is put together extremely detailed comparisons of the quality of film releases over the years, both with hard data (which I don’t understand) and also with screenshots (much easier!). It’s an interesting look at a question that I first pondered when I even thought about buying into Blu-Ray – simply put, will there really be any value to buying older content or will the higher resolutions have to be strictly newer stuff simply due to the original master quality that is still available?

Now I’ll also readily admit that when it comes down to it, I probably understand very little about mastering and remastering and recoloring and all of that, but just in flipping through the screen captures (about halfway down) of this 1964 Michael Caine movie, it’s most definitely at least clear that the potential is still there to make some beautiful pieces out of the older classics. It really amazes me how not only does the picture become more crisp, but the colors really pop as well – it almost looks like a different film!

And one more caveat, this also may very well be a special case that got a healthy dose of remastering for Blu-Ray, as I’ve flipped through a handful of other titles and have yet to find even close to the difference that is seen with Zulu. A particular curiosity of mine was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which frankly doesn’t look much better than the DVD at all. Granted, maybe there’s another difference between source material for animation vs. live action movies, but if anything, it definitely convinced me that we’ll want to check out some of the Disney classics via Netflix before we even dare to pick up these latest re-issues.

And finally, don’t get me wrong – Blu-Ray vs. DVD on its own looks great and in general I’m still very happy with the purchase, but when we’re looking back across a catalog of older titles, it’s going to take something really special (or really cheap!) for me to consider repurchasing anything. Show me a Blu-Ray version of Snow White that looks like the updated animation from Enchanted and I’d be all over that, but just slightly more crisp ain’t gonna cut it!

The Bargain Hunter

March 26, 2010 10:49pm
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Toy Story – Special Edition Blu-Ray / DVD Combo – $22.99
Toy Story 2 – Special Edition Blu-Ray / DVD Combo – $22.99
———————————————————-
Subtotal – $45.98

Target Combo Discount – Buy 2, Save $10 = -$10
Coupon – DVD —> Blu-Ray Upgrade (Toy Story) = -$10
Coupon – DVD —> Blu-Ray Upgrade (Toy Story 2) = -$10

New Price – $15.98 ($7.99 each)

Each movie contains a voucher worth up to $8.50 to see Toy Story 3 when it gets released in June.

Final Price = -$1.02

Logic: We’re no doubt going to go see Toy Story 3 when it hits theaters anyways, so basically from my perspective we bought our tickets three months in advance and Disney & Target gave us Blu-Ray copies of the first two movies for free!

🙂

One Final Note: Rumor had it that this could’ve been pushed even farther by taking a copy of the weekly Toys ‘R Us flier to Target and asking them to price-match the $16.99 / each sale offer. I didn’t bother with this because I didn’t have the flier handy and didn’t feel like driving all the way across town with the off-chance of Target not offering their own discount in return, but I did read accounts online of people doing exactly that and subsequently paying $3.98 at the register instead of $15.98!

Still, I can’t complain…

Up – An Inaugural Blu-Ray Experience

March 23, 2010 11:59pm
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So I finally took the plunge and picked up a Blu-Ray Player last week.

The cheap, progressive-scan DVD player that I got for free with my TV back in 2004 had been getting worse and worse about not wanting to play perfectly scratch-free discs, so that was a nice excuse! Granted, our HD TV being an older model, doesn’t actually support 1080p, only 720p and 1080i for high def resolutions, so I knew out of the box that we wouldn’t be getting the absolute best picture, but well, let’s just say it was a little easier to justify a couple hundred in our budget for the new player rather than a few thousand for a shiny, new TV!

Although we have been eyeing a very sharp 73” Mitsubishi DLP at Best Buy for less than $2,500 that we’re thinking would go great in our dream house that we won’t be buying for at least another year…

…on-sale this week for $1,999 – can you believe that?! That’s about how much I paid for my 52” Rear-Projection TV six years ago, but I digress…

Anyways, this blog isn’t meant to be about TVs, but Blu-Ray, and there’s still plenty to say about that little enhancement. Because of the previously-mentioned reasons, I was a little unsure that we’d see much of a difference between traditional DVDs and Blu-Ray, so I was certainly happy to see that the difference was just about as significant as standard def TV vs. Discovery HD Theater! It turned out that a Pixar title was a great choice for my first Blu-Ray experience because the visuals were just incredible. Hell, even the trailers looked amazing, but the real magic was in the movie itself … I would’ve never expected to see such a dramatic difference, especially from a “cartoon,” but the clarity was truly worth the upgrade! In fact, I really struggled to find a few new movies to buy in Blu-Ray versus repurchasing ones that we already had, but just seeing that picture quality convinced me that at least for a couple, I think we may end up buying new copies of anyways.

I’m definitely thinking the Lord of the Rings triology (which comes out in a few weeks) and the first two Toy Story movies (because Disney has a promotion out on them right now).

I’m sure I’ll write more once we’ve had a chance to check out a few more (awesome movie suggestions are very much welcome!), but one closing note regarding the movie Up itself … wow, was that a freaking emotional film! Fortunately it got a lot more manageable as it progressed, but the first ten or fifteen minutes – I’m not sure I’ve ever gotten that emotional over a Disney movie before! After the intro and what seemed like sort of a slow start, I was really beginning to wonder if this was going to be the first “bad” movie that we’ve seen from Pixar, but then it started with the quirky, little funny parts here and there and really seemed to grow on me. Granted, it was certainly no Incredibles, but it’s probably arguable that Up doesn’t belong at the bottom of that list, either.

Bottom Line: Up – pretty good; Blu-Ray in general – fantastic; Return to Blogging – as wordy as ever…

😉

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