New to Blu: April 4 – 10


It’s a lonely Blue Planet II this week, with the BBC blockbuster being the sole newcomer on Blu-ray.

The seven-part series is out on both Blu-ray and 4K-UHD but, unlike the British release, the latter doesn’t include the Blu-ray discs as well.

That will frustrate collectors seeking the highest picture quality as the making-of footage at the end of each episode is only on the Blu-ray set.

“If ever there was a disc to show-off what 4K and HDR video can do, this really is it,” What Hi-Fi said.

“Sadly the Blue Planet II diaries, the excellent behind-the-scenes footage found at the end of each episode, are only on the Blu-ray discs – they were shot in HD.”

The 4K photography is “often stunning” and “bursting with the tiniest of details that make full use of the additional pixels”, AVForums said.

This is made all the more realistic thanks to the use of high dynamic range (HDR), with shafts of sunlight illuminating various underwater creatures in such a striking manner that they almost look like effects shots.

The use of the higher dynamic range to deliver the sunlight reflecting off waves or the details in the darkness of the abyssal depths is equally as impressive and many of the shots captured are simply breathtaking.

The storm clouds contain more detail in the peak highlights, lightning bursts out from the darkness and ice flows reveal a wonderful level of intricate detail in all that white.

“A subtle HDR10 grade has been done to bring out the fullest variety of colour and nuance,” The Digital Bits said.

This lends a very natural quality to the image, with brightly sparkling water, glistening scales, glowing bioluminescence, and the vibrant, shimmering flutter of chameleon skin. You’ll see blues of every possible shade. What’s more, the detail and high dynamic range combine to lend image a splendid sense of depth.

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