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Old 04-27-2018, 11:21 PM   #681
imsounoriginal imsounoriginal is offline
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So Universal done good. (Or at least better than feared lol)
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Old 04-27-2018, 11:28 PM   #682
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Solid review Geoff. Aside from the last 2 Caps this looks like a winner. I canít belive the extra detail in caps 3. That color too looks much more pleasing. Canít wait to screen this. Iíll be watching in DV.

Also looks more like what I saw in the theatre
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Old 04-27-2018, 11:34 PM   #683
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff D View Post
Ooooh it's an interesting one is this. Something that first struck me was the colour, the remastered Blu-ray having an icy-blue tinge to the opening Germania scenes while the UHD is a bit more even-handed, it's not suddenly a Technicolor riot but it's definitely not as 'cold' looking. Skin tones also take on a different look in these sequences in particular, being quite yellow at times on the BD but richer and fuller on the UHD. These trends continue throughout the UHD presentation.
[Show spoiler]

As to HDR, it's rather lovely. As with other movies I've seen recently it's not the sort of thing that will act as laser surgery for your eyeballs but it's a terrifically natural extension of the dynamic range, resolving scads more highlight information on speculars that bounce off of hair, faces and clothing, and also brighter scenes/shots in general. One curious thing is that in some shots the brightest highlights were actually clipping information that can be seen on the SDR Blu, not a lot but definitely a little here and there. Seeing as I'm watching the 1000-nit HDR10 base layer and not the 4000-nit DV layer, one wonders if that information has been reserved for the DV layer and will thusly be revealed as & when I can finally view this disc in DV on my TV. (This also plays to HDR10 vs DV comparisons being slightly skewed in that respect, i.e. it's no wonder DV resolves as much highlight detail as it does when the HDR10 version/layer has been capped to 1000 nits! Just a thought...) Solid blacks too, I feared the worst regarding extra black crush given Universal's recent M.O. but they haven't overstepped that line.

Regarding fine detail/spatial resolution, this is where it gets a bit bumpy. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't think Universal have applied a bit of filtering to this, but it's more 'a little off the top' rather than a Grease-style hack job - though one scene in particular seems to have been given 'the treatment'. When Maximus is summoned by Proximo ("What do you want? A girl? A boy?") and discusses Marcus Aurelius that whole scene has been smoothed over on the UHD while it's tack-sharp on the BD, for reasons I can't ascertain. But there are plenty of instances where the UHD is easily the more detailed of the two, like in the very next scene when Juba and Maximus are talking on the roof (the backlighting around Russell Crowe looks stunning in HDR too) and at the start of chapter 27, all those rose petals on the floor of the Coliseum are clearly defined in the wide shot whereas the BD can only present them as pixel-sized blocks of red. In the main there's a lovely sense of filmic texture throughout this presentation, even if it's not as readily "grainy" as the BD is, with medium and wide shots in particular holding more integrity as mentioned.

One quirk is that the opticals always stood out like a sore thumb on the BD to me because they looked so soft and grainless, but on the UHD the opticals have a bit of that texture reinstated so they actually look grainier than the BD! There are quite a few of these opticals/dupes cut in throughout the movie (remember, this is pre-DI so plenty of editorial effects were still done the old fashioned way, with outright digital work reserved for VFX) so it will naturally get softer here and there, and the focus pulling often gets someone's ear or shoulder in focus while their face is slightly obfuscated. But it all seems to fit together better than it does on the BD, whether that's because the UHD has been filtered and thus reduces the amount of detail that the opticals have to live up to is up for debate!

As to the goofs, I spotted the dude in jeans, the air canister in the chariot and the modern windows visible in the background one of the Zucchabar arena shots. But remember how the BD is awash with lots of little white marks and scratches? They've definitely attempted to tone them down on the UHD, the general frequency and spread of the 'sparkle' (as it's known, a.k.a. negative density artefacts) being greatly reduced although some still aren't erased all the way. This may actually be what caused the slight filtering of the grain.

Something I also noticed when watching the BD is that there's also a fair bit of positive (black) dirt printed into the opticals, this too has been reduced on the UHD. Another little quirk is that because the HDR now reveals a lot more highlight information it also reveal a lot more of the white 'sparkle' that was previously blown out along with everything else, like in the aforementioned Proximo scene: you can now see a lot more detail through the window, but it also contains a lot more white specks and marks than in the rest of the shot around it.

Right, photo time, REMEMBER THAT THESE ARE NOT 100% ACCURATE TO EITHER SOURCE AND ARE FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY. Try to pay attention to what I'm directing you towards.

This is just to get you warmed up, nothing too exciting but there's a lil' black hair in roughly the centre of the shot that's been removed on the UHD.

[Show spoiler]
BD



UHD



Now a white scratch this time, just to the right of John Shrapnel there's a big ass white line. See how it's almost gone on the UHD? Note also the colour, the blue tinge of the BD is reduced and the people sitting just in front of the senators have a lot more colour to their faces and clothing.

[Show spoiler]
BD



UHD




Now for some HDR goodness, this is right at the start of a chapter stop fairly early on and the BD blows out a stack of highlight information.

[Show spoiler]
BD



UHD




Check this out. Not simply HDR but a drastically different tone to the whole shot on the UHD. Remember: neither photo is 100% accurate to what's on the discs but it gives you a half-decent idea of the differences I'm seeing.

[Show spoiler]
BD



UHD




Two for the price of one here. Embiggen them and look how the floor of the arena is more detailed thanks to the HDR, but also check at the waving arms in the foreground on either side: on the BD there are several little white blips and marks but they've been erased on the UHD. Note the arms on the left hand side in particular, you can see what looks like a random 'block' of information where the arms cross, and also an angular indent in the line of the forearm where that big round blob has been cut out.

[Show spoiler]
BD



UHD




These two show the poor detail in the Proximo scene I mentioned. No, I have not mixed the caps up.

[Show spoiler]
BD



UHD




And again:

[Show spoiler]
BD



UHD



So, there we are. A variable effort then, but its worst transgressions don't last for long and overall it still retains a juicy film-like countenance unlike a certain other remaster I could mention. The film itself remains a majestic piece of movie magic, it was only made 20 years ago but when you look at the kind of wall-to-wall VFX and general digital tinkering that's present in movies today this one has such a tactile feel to it. Sure, the movie has got a good few dollops of VFX in the battle scenes and in the wide shots of Rome (being the digital equivalent of the matte paintings of old) but so much of it is real and right there on-screen, you can almost taste the dust and the blood and it makes such a difference. More than that I'm always 100% invested in the story as well, it's another twist on Spartacus to be sure but it does it incredibly well, and the finale moved me to tears as it usually does. Watched the theatrical cut BTW, hell with that extended cut although the execution scene is admittedly awesome. When my player finally gets the DV upgrade I'll give the movie another watch in its extended form.
Great review as always Geoff. Only had time to skim my copy this evening - looks very nice overall. Did you notice any weirdness with the swirling smoke at the very beginning of the disc that accompanies the GLADIATOR title? Seemed to be some banding there.
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Old 04-27-2018, 11:39 PM   #684
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Great review as always Geoff. Only had time to skim my copy this evening - looks very nice overall. Did you notice any weirdness with the swirling smoke at the very beginning of the disc that accompanies the GLADIATOR title? Seemed to be some banding there.
I did indeed, I forgotted that. Yep, it looks really posterised and fubar on the UHD whereas the BD is fine, but thankfully it doesn't extend into the smoky/dark scenes in the movie proper.
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Old 04-27-2018, 11:42 PM   #685
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Quote:
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I did indeed, I forgotted that. Yep, it looks really posterised and fubar on the UHD whereas the BD is fine, but thankfully it doesn't extend into the smoky/dark scenes in the movie proper.
Ah good. Well not good, but good to know it's not just me. I saw that and thought "Ohhhh sh**" so I went through the movie seeking out every other smoky scene I could find and saw no other problems either
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Old 04-28-2018, 12:09 AM   #686
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Anyway, the reason I didn't watch it tonight was because when I brought it home (giggling like a schoolgirl) my partner she says to me - "You know, i've never seen that." Whaaat!

This changes everything. You know how many Gladiator virgins there are in the world? They're very rare - like the majestic (some say fictitious) Unicorn. Tomorrow, we're gonna clear those schedules and settle in for a special screening. I'm even more excited for this now. Oh, it's on!!
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Old 04-28-2018, 12:13 AM   #687
imsounoriginal imsounoriginal is offline
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Wait til you come across a Star Wars virgin...

"Wait, why do we need to start at #4?"
"Don't worry about it, just watch."
"Oh was I supposed to be reading all that? I wasn't paying attention, can we go back?"

It didn't last.
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Old 04-28-2018, 12:13 AM   #688
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Ouch, not pristine after all. Looks like nothing too terrible, but these sudden and random downgrades just puzzle me. Why? How? What for? What happened? Especially considering that a decade old BD doesn't have them... Grrrrrr.
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Old 04-28-2018, 12:18 AM   #689
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Gladiator and E.T both got 6k scans but some poeple say E.T does not look fantastic
E.T. is hella-grainy and quite dark in many scenes. However, the 4k handles the grain nicely and the HDR handles the dark nicely. I think it looks fantasic. But it's also one of the greatest movies ever made.
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Old 04-28-2018, 12:19 AM   #690
Geoff D Geoff D is offline
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ET reminds me of Gladiator in a way, that the grain is kinda rolled off vs the Blu-ray.
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Old 04-28-2018, 12:46 AM   #691
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WHY WHY WHY WHY are they using DNR on UHD discs?! For the love of god, enough! I thought we were past this! Are studios really just caving to the lowest common denominator? This trend is soooooo disappointing. Can Sony please just release every catalog title?
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Old 04-28-2018, 12:50 AM   #692
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guachi View Post
E.T. is hella-grainy and quite dark in many scenes. However, the 4k handles the grain nicely and the HDR handles the dark nicely. I think it looks fantasic. But it's also one of the greatest movies ever made.
E.T. has better grain on the UHD, on the opening scene you can almost make out that they used a backdrop! That wasn't as apparent on the BD. But overall it's a nice upgrade IMO.

Thanks Geoff for your fantastically in-depth review, it still looks like its had a nice clean-up in terms of dirt and what have you despite the glaring softer shots. You've reassured me into keeping my pre-order...which I bought from Amazon...which has yet to be dispatched.
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Old 04-28-2018, 01:07 AM   #693
imsounoriginal imsounoriginal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brainofj72 View Post
WHY WHY WHY WHY are they using DNR on UHD discs?! For the love of god, enough! I thought we were past this! Are studios really just caving to the lowest common denominator? This trend is soooooo disappointing. Can Sony please just release every catalog title?
For all the processing done on some of these transfers (though it looks like Gladiator got by relatively unscathed), I'd really like to know if studios' thought process is "videophiles are a fraction of the market so we don't have to listen to them" or "videophiles are the main people interested in 4K so give them what they want."
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Old 04-28-2018, 01:17 AM   #694
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You would think it’s the latter. I don’t know one person that cares let alone buys 4K BD’s or regular BD’s for that matter.
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Old 04-28-2018, 01:17 AM   #695
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So are the encodes different between the universal and paramount discs?
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Old 04-28-2018, 01:38 AM   #696
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Quote:
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You would think it’s the latter. I don’t know one person that cares let alone buys 4K BD’s or regular BD’s for that matter.
I will say the 4K adopters who hate grain are VERY vocal about it. Especially in some of the Facebook groups I belong to, which I know people connected to the industry dabble in sometimes.
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Old 04-28-2018, 02:21 AM   #697
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Great review, Geoff. How was the compression? Do we get to see nicely encoded film grain almost all of the time aside from a few heavier DNR'd spots and general light roll off? Maybe because of viewing on a larger screen, but this is just something I've become more sensitive to over time (including on BD).

Last edited by HeavyHitter; 04-28-2018 at 02:28 AM.
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Old 04-28-2018, 02:23 AM   #698
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Ah good. Well not good, but good to know it's not just me. I saw that and thought "Ohhhh sh**" so I went through the movie seeking out every other smoky scene I could find and saw no other problems either
Yeah, I saw that too. I'd forgotten about that by the time the film got going but I never saw it again. Like you, I thought, Oh crap, but it wasn't something to worry about from the first proper shot of the film onwards.
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Old 04-28-2018, 02:25 AM   #699
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I will say the 4K adopters who hate grain are VERY vocal about it. Especially in some of the Facebook groups I belong to, which I know people connected to the industry dabble in sometimes.
This is 100% true. I spend some time in the UHD projector threads over at AVS and the grain haters are loud. They think film grain and video noise are exactly the same...and when you kindly try to explain the difference and reasons at play, it goes over their heads telling you film grain is an artifact that needs to be removed.
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Old 04-28-2018, 03:28 AM   #700
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Uh, HDR to SDR conversion is in no way accurate.
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