• State of the Ultra HD Blu-ray Union

    Posted Thu Nov 10, 2016 at 10:25 AM PST by
    ulta hd blu-ray

    Last week I sat down with the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) to get a quick update about how the new format is performing as well as to observe a quick side-by-side 4K vs HD demonstration.

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  • Both 500GB & 1TB Xbox One S Bundles Coming This Month, Preorder Now to Get Either 'Madden 17' or a Mess of 'Halo' Games Free

    Posted Tue Jul 26, 2016 at 07:55 AM PDT by
    Xbox One S 500GB 1TB Madden 17 Halo news

    Should apply to existing preorders.

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  • 'Deadpool' 4K HDR Demo with Director Tim Miller

    Posted Fri May 20, 2016 at 09:15 AM PDT by
    Fox Innovatin Lab logo (small slide)

    This is my final 'Deadpool' post this week, I swear!

    After getting some hands on time with the stunning 'Deadpool' Ultra HD Blu-ray (and the very strong Blu-ray) over the previous weekend, our friends at the Fox Innovation Lab invited journalists for a direct UHD vs HD demonstration. Unlike our previous demo, this time we were treated to consumer grade encodes as both the HD and UHD sources played on IDENTICAL Samsung Ultra HD displays.

    Hashtag: Science!

    For an in-depth understanding as to how this demo went, please check out the video portions of my Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray reviews.

    The short version is this: the Ultra HD Blu-ray absolutely CRUSHES the Blu-ray in side-by-side comparisons. To be fair, this effect wanes slightly in A-to-B comparisons with any sort of time delay, so don't feel too bad if you haven't upgraded yet. But side-by-side? Shoot. This is the release the earlier adopters have been waiting for. The Ultra HD offers deeper black levels, more vivid colors (hello, red!), and oodles of added highlight and CGI detail. I was really impressed.

    two Samsungs displays HD SDR vs UHD HDR

    [NOTE: the above cellphone pic is to show the demo configuration ONLY. NOT to judge either format, let alone the fine details instantly visible in UHD HDR material.]

    To help take us through what we were observing on the two displays, 'Deadpool' director, Tim Miller, as well as the film's colorist, Tim Stipan, lead a panel discussion moderated by Schawn Belston, EVP of Media and Library Services, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, where they chatted about their post-production process, the benefits of HDR, and answered a few questions.

    The entire panel is a little too long to transcribe here, so what I've done is broken down key information using direct quotes. Enjoy!

    Our Demo Setup

    Schawn Belstin: These are two identical monitors that have been calibrated to match each other. The content on one is HD, standard dynamic range, compressed the same way it is on the Blu-ray. And on the other monitor is the HDR 4K compressed the same way it is on the UHD disc.

    Two Firsts for Fox Ultra HD Blu-ray

    Schawn Belstin: This is our first disc that features all HDR content, so the menus and logos and everything are in HDR. Also, object-based audio. Dolby Atmos is on the entire disc. This might not seem like that big a deal, but trust me when I say it was. We had to re-imagine all of our technical work flows behind the scenes to make this actually possible. To give you an example, we spent two months rendering and re-rendering, trying to figure out the best way to render the Fox logo in 4K, in open EXR, to get the most out of this HDR experience, and that was just the logo. So you can imagine what goes into an entire movie. But you didn't come here to hear me talk about the logo so let's get to the movie.

    Deadpool's Multiple DI Timeline

    Tim Stipan: First we did the normal theatre pass, which is called P3 color space. Concurrently we also did two version of IMAX; we did a Xenon bulb and then we did a laser pass also. Then, actually, we did the Rec 709 HD pass. And then we did the HDR pass.

    Tim Miller: Actually, so it's six if you count that, because then we did the Dolby [Vision] pass.

    Tim Stipan: Oh, yeah, I almost forgot that. I felt like every time we were going through it we were seeing more and more and more. And the last pass that we did was the [UHD Blu-ray] HDR pass, which you are seeing here, and we were just like, "wow, gosh, we wish we had that at the beginning because you're not seeing so much detail in the skies and flames and Colossus and Deadpool's suit." Things of that nature. [HDR] allowed me to be better at my job because I could see more color information, I could match things better. By seeing all that extra color information and detail, I felt like I was doing a better job being a colorist. I felt a lot of shots now had this painterly quality to them, which I didn't quite notice as much when we were doing the normal theatrical color grade.

    'Deadpool' UHD HDR Demo at the Fox Innovation Lab

    HDR First Impressions

    Tim Miller: For a first-time filmmaker every time I walked into DI, I'd get to see it on a big screen, thinking to myself, "I made a movie, fuck yeah!" [laughter] And then for this last pass they brought me in and sat me down in front of a monitor and I'm like, "well I've done this before..." But then it started playing and I truly thought it was the best looking -- format and display medium aside -- it's the best looking version of the movie by far.

    Tim Stipan: Yeah, the amount of detail you get in flames. You see so much more of actual flame. I wouldn't say [SDR] looked like a 2D image, but all of a sudden [with HDR] it has extra dimension to it, it's almost like 3D.

    HDR Extra Detail

    Tim Miller: Having done DIs for four different outputs, the Ultra HD is just fucking amazing at the level of detail. Especially since we did it at the end of the process. Especially the skies is where I noticed it most. In a lot of the shots, particularly on the freeway fight, there is just so much more detail. It's like suddenly the sky was not a white mass the way it had been in all the other formats. Also Deadpool's costume was the other big thing I noticed. It's got a really fine weave to it and, suddenly, all the detail in that costume comes out in a way that turns to mush in all the other formats. And VFX too. Explosions, fires, things like that, the fight in the lab looks particularly cool in this super high res format.

    Tim Stipan: We're taking advantage of the camera. The camera captures this and now with HDR you're allowed to see what the camera's actually capturing.

    HDR's Effect on Filmmaking

    Tim Miller: We shot ['Deadpool' in] 3K on the Alexa. If we shot in 6K, which is the newer stuff, or I could have shot on the RED, how much better would this [Ultra HD Blu-ray with HDR / WCG] look there? Where [the Blu-ray] wouldn't benefit from the extra resolution, [the Ultra HD Blu-ray] would. So aside from all the other compositional benefits, from being able to fuck around with framing, I think we'll get a huge bump in the level of detail. But to answer your question, [HDR] would probably have a negative effect on the filmmaking process because suddenly I'd be less forgiving about all that shit I know were going to see in the background.

    Tim Stipan: The thing I keep thinking about is the faces ... I think this happened when HD first came out is that people were all of a sudden saying, "we gotta put extra makeup on". That would be my only concern with HDR, but otherwise all the extra detail you're seeing is a huge benefit.

    HDR vs CGI

    Tim Miller: It could help or hurt depending on how good the CG is. If it didn't integrate well, it would excentuate ... and just more clearly illuminate where you fucked up.

    HDR vs SDR Color Timing Differences

    Tim Stipan: It was something that just happened. We saw [the big explosion during the film's climax] in HDR and there was more of a boldness, more detail to it. It's not that we didn't like what we did in the SDR version, but the HDR version looked great and we were like, "let's go with it." Could we have tweaked the SDR to get it closer to the HDR, yes, but it still wouldn't have the detail because there is a difference between the color of the flames.

    Tim Miller: But don't you just have more range to work with [in HDR]? If you had gone after that in [SDR], it would have fucked up other things.

    Tim Stipan: It's not something we were isolating. We didn't isolate the flames, but once we color corrected the image, they kinda fell into place.

    Fox Innovation Lab hallway

    Thanks again to the Fox Innovation Lab for the invite. It's great to know, outside of our home theatre geek circles, filmmakers are as excited about this new format's capabilities as we are. Because, at the end of the day, HDR means audiences are experiencing more of a film's production than ever before.

    And for Heaven's sake, people, don't just sit there reading this, go check out the 'Deadpool' Ultra HD Blu-ray for yourselves... OR, if you're reading this on or before May 22, 2016, enter for a chance to WIN A FREE copy from your buds here at High-Def Digest.

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  • Hands On First Look: VIZIO Launches New P-Series with Dolby Vision & SmartCast

    Posted Tue Mar 22, 2016 at 06:00 AM PDT by
    VIZIO SmartCast P-Series

    Some exciting news on the display front, once again proving 2016 to be a very good year for considering a 4K Ultra High Definition upgrade.

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  • The Fox Innovation Lab UHD vs HD Demonstration

    Posted Wed Mar 16, 2016 at 05:10 PM PDT by
    Fox Innovatin Lab logo (small slide)

    Welcome to the Fox Innovation Lab, circa 2016.

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  • Hands On First Look: Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player

    Posted Wed Feb 10, 2016 at 06:00 PM PST by
    Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player

    We've done it! Our very own UBD-K8500 is in hand.  

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  • Check Out the 'Homeworld Remastered Collection' Cinematics in 4K

    Posted Thu Feb 19, 2015 at 09:51 AM PST by
    Homeworld: Remastered Collection news 2

    Get hyped with the eye candy.

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  • M-GO Brings Streaming 4K Movies and TV Shows to Samsung Ultra HD Displays

    Posted Wed Nov 12, 2014 at 01:00 PM PST by
    M-GO 4K

    New 4K content is finally on its way to Samsung Ultra HD TVs. 

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  • TCL Offers Budget-Priced 4K TVs

    Posted Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 03:00 PM PDT by
    TCL 4k

    The company is set to release several new Ultra HD TV models for prices as low as $499. 

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  • Sharp Debuts New Ultra HD TVs

    Posted Fri Jun 27, 2014 at 02:30 PM PDT by
    Sharp 4K News

    Two new 4K models are coming later this year. 

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  • Samsung Bolsters 4K TV Lineup

    Posted Thu Jun 26, 2014 at 05:30 PM PDT by
    Samsung 4K News

    An extra-large 4K model and two new Ultra HD display series have been announced. 

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  • Samsung Offers Free 4K Movie Pack with Ultra HD TVs

    Posted Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 02:00 PM PDT by
    Samsung 4K Pack

    For a limited time, Samsung is including eight free UHD movies with the purchase of select 4K TVs. 

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  • Primeview Expands 4K LCD Lineup

    Posted Tue Oct 29, 2013 at 11:00 AM PDT by

    New 55-inch and 65-inch models now join the company's already available 84-inch commercial grade UHD displays.

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  • Seiki Details 65-inch Ultra HD Television

    Posted Wed Oct 2, 2013 at 09:00 AM PDT by

    The upcoming 4K set is one of the most affordable models in its class.

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  • Sony Announces New ES Projector Lineup

    Posted Tue Oct 1, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT by

    Three new projectors have been detailed, including two 4K models.

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  • Sharp Releases 70-inch Ultra HD Television

    Posted Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 09:00 AM PDT by

    The world's first THX-certified 4K display is now available.

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  • Samsung Offers Video Tour of New Displays

    Posted Fri Sep 13, 2013 at 09:00 AM PDT by

    The company has released a new video showing off its latest 4K and OLED TVs from the IFA trade show.

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  • Sony Details Ultra HD Download Service and Expands 4K Display Lineup

    Posted Tue Sep 10, 2013 at 09:00 AM PDT by

    The company's UHD video download service is now live and two new 4K TV models have been released.

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  • Philips Details its 9000 Series Ultra HD Displays

    Posted Fri Sep 6, 2013 at 05:00 AM PDT by

    The company's award winning 4K televisions have been officially revealed.

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  • Samsung Reveals New 4K Lineup and Demos its First UHD OLED TV

    Posted Thu Sep 5, 2013 at 11:00 AM PDT by

    A curved screen 4K set and an Ultra HD OLED are among the company's new innovations on display at the IFA trade show.

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