New to Blu: June 1-7

More than 20 Blu-ray titles will be released next week but this week HD buffs will have to be satisfied with just one — and an ugly duckling transfer at that: Black Swan.

It sounds less than ideal if you can believe some critics or like your colours to pop off the screen.

“Filmed using Digital Intermediate (2K) (master format), HDTV (1080p/24) (source format) and Super 16 (source format), the end result is surprisingly little better than an upscaled DVD,” Britain’s DVD Therapy argued of Fox’s region-free release.

“With softened textures, average skin detail and a dull saturation, blacks are flat and unimpressive and darker scenes allow for excessive noise with weak resolution.

“Current technology considered it’s a very disappointing visual presentation that does nothing to promote Blu-ray as the modern medium of choice.”

Yet Home Cinema’s Digital Fix hailed it as “absolutely stunning” while acknowledging how it was filmed can lead to a “softer appearance and more visual noise” than Blu-ray buyers might expect for a new release.

“Needless to say, this look is entirely intentional on the part of [director] Darren Aronofsky and his DP Matthew Libatique and the Blu-ray captures it perfectly.

“The colours in the film are generally very muted but occasionally a splash of bright primary colour bursts in and this is faithfully replicated here, with the spurts of red in particular coming across very strikingly.

“The flesh tones are particularly beautiful and delicate.”

DVD Beaver agreed: “While far from ingratiating, I do believe what we see on Fox’s new Blu-ray corresponds to the filmmakers’ intentions.

“Unlike just about every other major studio’s offerings these days, Black Swan was shot, not on 35mm film, but mostly with a 16mm camera with the support of the Canon 5D Mk II full frame digital camera …

“The persistent grain apparent throughout the movie, however, is not so much the result of shooting in these media but the use of flared and low light, plus, I suspect, a judicious amount of post-processing. A bit of noise is inevitable, but it is hard to tell it from the overall look of the film.”

Likewise, The Cinema Laser: “A highly pleasing 1080p presentation that accurately represents the artistic intentions of its filmmakers.”

High-Def Digest said the “stylised picture comes with a thick grain structure and restrained contrast levels …. Some details tend to be obscured by the darker portions of the image, but it’s not enough to ruin its enjoyment.

“In fact, definition is outstanding and resolute. The fine lines of hairs, clothing and objects are distinct from and plainly visible throughout with natural facial complexions. Blacks are richly profound and intense.”

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2 Responses to “New to Blu: June 1-7”

  1. Bought and watched the Blu-ray yesterday. Awesome movie, and it looks and sounds great – yes, it’s obviously shot on 16mm with its slight loss of fine detail and strong grain structure, but an accurate representation of the filmmakers’ intentions and still head and shoulders above the DVD that comes with it. Don’t know what the reviewer at DVD Therapy was on about – must be a grain-hater, or accidentally put the DVD in by mistake! 😉
    Highly recommended!

  2. i don’t care what the BD looks like, the film was major crapola.
    :p

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