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4K Blu Ray - anyone collecting?


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Finding the Cine Edition of Almost Famous today at my local HMV, plus 20% off, is my reward for being stupid and not pre-ordering it.

 

Also, Snatch is a tenner in CEX. I managed to find a copy of that too.

 

Hoping Dr. Strangelove pops up similarly priced.

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I posted this in my Wanted thread, thinking I was replying to this one, but it's more relevant here:

 

What's the general trend when it comes to companies bothering to produce 4K discs? From what I've seen, only certain films tend to get 4K releases, typically big action or sci-fi blockbusters (although there are obviously exceptions). There are some gorgeous films I'd like to see in 4K, though, that just haven't been released in that format - Under the Skin, for example, or The Favourite. Will everything eventually come to 4K, or is it just luck of the draw?

 

It's not a hard and fast rule that if a new film releases on Blu-Ray it'll be released on 4K BD at the same time, Midsommar being a good example.

 

There Will Be Blood in 4K would be awesome.

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@Jamie John It does seem like a crap shoot. You're absolutely right about 4K releases for modern movies predominantly being action/sci-fi/superhero stuff.

 

I'm personally not as interested in modern movies as I am in 'catalogue' stuff and so it's a roll of the dice. However, it does tend to mean that the genre releases very often feel like a labour of love, things like Suspiria, Demons, Tremors and Dawn of the Dead are fantastic. This is typically done by the boutique labels, with Arrow Video particularly keen to support the 4K format. They've just brought out True Romance and later this year, they're releasing The Thing, for example.

 

Beyond the boutique stuff, you'll find that different studios and distributors have varying interests and approaches in releasing 4K transfers of their back catalogue, but you're generally limited to the bigger hits. Paramount are keen and generally do a great job, releasing the likes of Gladiator, Forrest Gump and Grease. Universal are excellent these days, with Jaws and The Deer Hunter the standouts for me. They're arguably the best studio for 4K catalogue stuff. Sony and WB get their big franchises out there, for the most part, so you're covered for the likes of Spider-Man and The Matrix, as well as some amazing releases like 2001. Disney are gradually getting involved while Fox barely seem interested at all.

 

I don't think anyone is really sure how long the format will last but I suspect this will be the best quality I'll ever get to see and hear almost all of these films so I get as many as possible. Even if streaming does kill physical media, I'll always have them in this quality, even if it means a bidding war with @Steve McQueef for a 'retro' 4K player in twenty years time! :D

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Cheers @Marlew. I was also wondering about the longevity of the media in general, seeing as it seems like quite a niche product. I'm still in two minds about whether to start collecting them or not, or whether to buy a dedicated player, especially if 4K goes the way of HD-DVD and is just replaced wholesale by streaming/digital downloads.

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I think it'll take a while for streaming tech to catch up to the bitrate & image quality as offered by what is on discs.

How much value you put on that and are prepared to pay for though is quite subjective of course and very understandable.

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19 hours ago, Jamie John said:

Cheers @Marlew. I was also wondering about the longevity of the media in general, seeing as it seems like quite a niche product. I'm still in two minds about whether to start collecting them or not, or whether to buy a dedicated player, especially if 4K goes the way of HD-DVD and is just replaced wholesale by streaming/digital downloads.

It does feel like it’s finally hitting its stride now. I can’t remember a year where we’ve had this many catalogue releases for example. Normally I can pick up every older film I’m interested in but this year I’ve struggled to keep up and still missing plenty of big hitters.

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On 23/07/2021 at 07:57, Jamie John said:

I posted this in my Wanted thread, thinking I was replying to this one, but it's more relevant here:

 

What's the general trend when it comes to companies bothering to produce 4K discs? From what I've seen, only certain films tend to get 4K releases, typically big action or sci-fi blockbusters (although there are obviously exceptions). There are some gorgeous films I'd like to see in 4K, though, that just haven't been released in that format - Under the Skin, for example, or The Favourite. Will everything eventually come to 4K, or is it just luck of the draw?

 

It's not a hard and fast rule that if a new film releases on Blu-Ray it'll be released on 4K BD at the same time, Midsommar being a good example.

 

There Will Be Blood in 4K would be awesome.

 

For more modern films, it depends whether the film was mastered in 4k/HDR to begin with, and whether it was shot on film. There's lots of films from the last 20 years that were shot digitally, mastered in 2k and will probably never be remastered.

 

For older films, depends whether they think they can recoup their investment on the remaster itself. The margins for these things are surprisingly tight, I used to remaster films for blu-ray and the budget for the lower end ones was about £4k for a new scan, a digital grade and minimal cleanup, plus whatever they spent on the film/features/manufacturing/artwork. Obviously the more high profile the title, the more they push the boat out. More extensive cleanup work, more days of grading, etc.

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2 minutes ago, CarloOos said:

 

For more modern films, it depends whether the film was mastered in 4k/HDR to begin with, and whether it was shot on film. There's lots of films from the last 20 years that were shot digitally, mastered in 2k and will probably never be remastered.

 

For older films, depends whether they think they can recoup their investment on the remaster itself. The margins for these things are surprisingly tight, I used to remaster films for blu-ray and the budget for the lower end ones was about £4k for a new scan, a digital grade and minimal cleanup, plus whatever they spent on the film/features/manufacturing/artwork. Obviously the more high profile the title, the more they push the boat out. More extensive cleanup work, more days of grading, etc.

 

Interesting, thanks :)

 

Is there a good website for keeping track of upcoming releases?

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Just ordered a refurbed UB820 off eBay for £220, which I didn't think was too bad. I've only watched 2 UHD discs so far, but faffing around with the Xbox controller last night watching Dunkirk, as well as the disc reading issues I had before with Parasite, was enough of a justification in my mind to buy a dedicated player, but maybe I'm just addicted to buying gadgets 😬

 

Anyway, Dunkirk looked utterly spectacular, *except* for some of the shots where you saw a dark plane in the distance travelling across a light background (like the sky, for example). There was definitely some kind of ghosting or smudging going on there around and behind the plane as it travelled across the picture. I'm not sure if this is the XSX or my TV (an LG B9), or just something you have to put up with. Once I get the UB820 I'll do a little comparison.

 

It really was incredible to look at, though! Great film, too.

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Dunkirk is up and down for image quality - largely down to what cameras were used for what part of the movie.  Nolan has a weird thing for mixing old and new.  The IMAX-shot scenes are amazing.

 

We saw the UHD version of In the Line of Fire last night.  Lots of sexism and ageism!  A script of its time for sure.  But the remaster is spectacular and I totally recommend you see it.

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6 hours ago, Jamie John said:

Just ordered a refurbed UB820 off eBay for £220, which I didn't think was too bad.

When you get it, make sure to switch the HDR Optimiser on.

 

And re ghosting, that’s likely your TV and its (in)ability to process motion.  OLEDs really suffer with it, though the quality of processing the has TV can influence the outcome.  My old Sony AF9 was great for motion handling, though I moved to LG C9 in order to get 120Hz for gaming.  Now I can really notice the lower quality of motion handling with the LG.

 

If you have Apple TV+, a good motion handling test is the opening credits for The Morning Show.

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I'm not yet on the 4K disk train, but I can see myself doing it as soon as I have a next-gen console, so I had a question: is there any problem with grain in HDR? I've seen complaints about specific 4K HDR disks looking oppressively grainy, and I've seen a couple of 4K HDR streams that have been DNRed to hell for no clear reason except, presumably, removing grain. But I'd assume that on a well-mastered HDR picture, they'd only be punching up the dynamic range in appropriate parts of the image, and not amping up the contrast on everything.

 

I assume it isn't possible to watch an HDR disk in SDR. As a purist I'd prefer to watch a movie in the theatrical dynamic range but I doubt there are many 4K SDR releases.

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So much depends on how it’s mastered and by who.

The grain thing is quite subjective - as a general rule, the more grain that’s removed the more image detail you lose.  This is moreso with older movies that used film/analogue image capture input.  Movies that are shot on digital cameras less so/not at all.

 

Similar for HDR - some older movies that have had the nit count amped up so the distributors can harp about specular highlights and lights etc., often just look shit to me but others’ mileage may vary.

 

Like I mentioned before, In the Line of Fire really impressed me - an older movie shot on film, it retains grain but not too much and there’s still loads of image detail, colours and shadows look great, and they didn’t overdo it with highlights.

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What's the quality of older films like in 4K generally? Pre-60s stuff, I mean. I've seen a collection of four Hitchcock films, for example, but will there really be that much difference compared with the regular BD?

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I haven’t seen anything from on UHD that’s pre-‘60s; the earliest movie I’ve seen on UHD is 2001.  2001 UHD is amazing, benchmark-level stuff but I gather that they put a special effort into it.

 

I’ve read that Lawrence of Arabia is incredible, but that’s only available as part of a sold out collection right know iirc.

 

Who’s the publisher/distributor of the Hitchcock movies?  Sony’s mastering tends to be pretty consistent I think.

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27 minutes ago, Triple A said:

I haven’t seen anything from on UHD that’s pre-‘60s; the earliest movie I’ve seen on UHD is 2001.  2001 UHD is amazing, benchmark level stuff but I gather that they put a special effort into it.

 

I’ve read that Lawrence of Arabia is incredible, but that’s only available as part of a sold out collection right know iirc.

 

Cheers. I'd quite like to watch something like The Searchers or some Sergio Leone stuff in 4K if it gets remastered, but if it's not that different from the BD, especially with upscaling on 4K players (which, I guess, is a thing?) then I may not bother, especially considering the expense.

 

@Marlew - have you had a chance to watch Ran yet? What's that like?

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@Jamie John Only a quick flick through Ran, it's a good but not essential upgrade. It's the best version but not a knockout.

 

As for older (pre-70s) films, they can be absolutely transformational. Vertigo is amazing. Spartacus is better. Psycho is great. I need to pick up some more. Will report back later but just off out. 

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The UB820 arrived yesterday. The box was a bit creased but the actual unit itself was pristine for a refurb. I can't say I like the Panasonic UI much, but I'm not that bothered, really. Anyway, I watched The Shining on it on 4K and it looked great. Whether it was any better looking than watching it on the XSX, I'm not sure, but I like having a dedicated device. I picked up Apocalypse Now and Full Metal Jacket from HMV today as well on their 2 for £30 offer, so I'll re-watch those again soon, too.

 

I've got to say that it feels good to be watching films again and buying physical media. I know it takes up a lot of space and it's not good for the environment and so on, but I do value the films more if I actually buy them and don't scroll mindlessly through Netflix and the like. I'm thinking of building up a collection of Best Films Ever (TM) on UHD BD and regular BD, although God knows where I'll keep it all. I may have to invest in some more shelves.

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On 25/07/2021 at 10:29, Triple A said:

When you get it, make sure to switch the HDR Optimiser on

 

I couldn't find this in the settings menu. Is it literally called 'HDMI Optimiser'? I turned Dolby Vision on.

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2 hours ago, Jamie John said:

I couldn't find this in the settings menu. Is it literally called 'HDMI Optimiser'? I turned Dolby Vision on.

I have the UB9000 player but I think the remote and UI are the same (as is most of the tech lol…) - assuming this is the case:

- play a disc you know supports HDR

- press Picture Setting on the remote while the movie is playing

- select Optimum HDR Adjustment in the Picture Settings

- switch HDR Optimiser to On

 

Don’t fiddle with any of the other picture settings as they’re already optimal.

 

In the Sound Settings, switch High Clarity Sound to On (if you have that option available).

 

If you have a HDR Settings button on your remote too, keep that setting on Standard (as your TV ought to be setup properly to begin with).

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I picked up Dark Crystal, supposed to be a spectacular release from what I've read. Looking forward to getting stuck in. I never actually saw it as a kid but I really enjoyed Labyrinth (which is also very good on 4K BD). 

 

Still can't get over the quality of My Fair Lady, but the film itself isn't one I plan to revisit. Audrey Hepburn is obnoxiously broad, I just can't stomach that Cockney delivery. Everything else about it is entertaining and it's an AV feast. I may soften in time. 

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@Jamie John I'm by no means a superfan but the Theatrical is the way to go first time. The Argento cut is very different, with different intentions. It may end up your favourite, but it's literally not Romero's original vision of the film.

 

The Extended cut is little more than it sounds. It's not a grand masterwork which was butchered by the studios, we're talking fundamentally the same film with some extra shots and bits of dialogue.

 

Be aware that it's not an action packed film, it's more reflective and atmospheric than I expected from its reputation and from my flickering late night memories as a young teenager. I ended up really enjoying it, though. Due a rewatch soon. 

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