Compression Issues with Criterion Releases

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djproject
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Compression Issues with Criterion Releases

#1 Post by djproject » Wed Sep 30, 2015 7:01 pm

David M. wrote:
Then you have people in the forums complaining not only the "infamous" shot, but also how it has a "low bitrate". It's a good thing we only complain about things that truly matter. ;) =D
I'm biased here because I'm a compressionist, but it absolutely does matter for the highest quality - and that's what Blu-ray is about.
There's compression and then there's compression. In the end, if the image looks great in that format, then it's done its job. Plus, like the aforementioned The Thin Red Line, both director and cinematographer supervised it and was able to make whatever adjustments were needed to make it work. (And yeah, dump the supplements or downgrade them 720p and yeah you can squeeze more out of it. But then I would ask that maybe we should all get 35mm prints if fidelity is that important ... also solves the shot problem =D )

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Re: 779 Mulholland Dr.

#2 Post by David M. » Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:35 pm

lus, like the aforementioned The Thin Red Line, both director and cinematographer supervised it and was able to make whatever adjustments were needed to make it work.
Very rare - that's probably color grading you're thinking of. That said, I doubt they would be majorly unhappy with the encoding either.

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Re: 779 Mulholland Dr.

#3 Post by tenia » Thu Oct 01, 2015 1:55 am

It's funny TTRL is referenced about the encode since there was a compression glitch on the Criterion which left a frame pixelated.

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Re: 779 Mulholland Dr.

#4 Post by criterion10 » Wed Oct 14, 2015 5:23 pm

Caps-a-Holic

Seems like there may be some compression issues.

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Re: 779 Mulholland Dr.

#5 Post by George Drooly » Wed Oct 14, 2015 8:19 pm

criterion10 wrote:Caps-a-Holic

Seems like there may be some compression issues.
There have been serious compression issues on about the last two or three dozen CC releases. And it's not tech-geek complaining, it's plain as day on average sized displays. They're really doing something wrong at some point in their process, and it's amazing that none of the many people in the pipeline along the way notices or says anything about it.

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Re: 779 Mulholland Dr.

#6 Post by hearthesilence » Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:06 pm

Yikes. You know, I was seeing this on Shoah the other day, where it looked worse in motion, and for some reason I chalked it up to being an inevitable compromise given the 16mm source. I can't believe they let this slide.

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Re: 779 Mulholland Dr.

#7 Post by MichaelB » Thu Oct 15, 2015 2:13 am

I was really quite shocked when I did an A-B comparison of Criterion and Eureka's Shoah when QCing the latter - it's not even close. And while I accept that the fact that the Criterion came out first meant that people were inclined to make excuses - grainy 16mm source, five full hours of HD on disc two - the Eureka disc proves that they only go so far.

(They're not irrelevant, because even the Eureka disc would look better had the film been presented on three discs instead of two, but even on the basis of the same layout and - unavoidably - similar file sizes it's a clear winner.)

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Re: 779 Mulholland Dr.

#8 Post by tenia » Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:24 pm

It's clear now Criterion encodes are far from optimum sincd they let compression artifacts showing even at maxed out bitrates. When being strained, why not, but what's the excuse when you're at a video bitrate of 35 Mbps ?

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Encoding Issues with Criterion Releases

#9 Post by tenia » Sat Oct 24, 2015 7:33 am

I don't want to start a flame war again, but while I've always supported Criterion, I'm getting more and more tired to see how much their encodes are let-downs.
It seems to me the one for My Own Private Idaho is a particular mess since you can spot compression issues without using caps-a-holic zoom function.
Breaker Morant does not seem to fare much better and Dressed To Kill is very slightly better encoded.

What saddens me most is that Criterion is getting brand new 4K restorations, most of them are exclusive on BD to their collection, and despite having the facilities, resources and desire to do pristine releases that have the purpose to stay in people's collections for years, they totally screw the end-result by giving these shitty after shitty encode. They take lots of care prepping the restorations, and in the end, they can't get the domestic product right...

At this point, it seems as if they're close to incapable of properly encoding a 4K restoration. I don't know if they don't care, or are too proud to reach outside of their usual contacts to get a hand, but they really need to assess this issue because this is getting ridiculous.
I mean, even Warner are now using BD-50 and getting their encodes right !

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Re: 277 My Own Private Idaho

#10 Post by perkizitore » Sat Oct 24, 2015 8:10 am

They should get David McKenzie [-o<

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Re: 277 My Own Private Idaho

#11 Post by tenia » Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:16 am

At this point, they should start simply being more careful.

I can understand having a few issues on some difficult shots when you only have a limited bandwidth, but what can be seen on some Criterion discs are well beyond this kind of admitedly difficult shots. There are glazing compressing issues on some simple shots that should simply not happen.

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Re: 277 My Own Private Idaho

#12 Post by movielocke » Sat Oct 24, 2015 2:00 pm

"Compression issues" is so vague, what are you seeing in single frames that is so offensive?

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Re: 277 My Own Private Idaho

#13 Post by tenia » Sat Oct 24, 2015 2:06 pm

movielocke wrote:"Compression issues" is so vague, what are you seeing in single frames that is so offensive?
Artifacts / blockiness.

http://caps-a-holic.com/hd_vergleiche/m ... #vergleich" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.caps-a-holic.com/hd_vergleic ... #vergleich" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.caps-a-holic.com/hd_vergleic ... #vergleich" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: 277 My Own Private Idaho

#14 Post by cdnchris » Sat Oct 24, 2015 2:15 pm

It's macro blocking or something similar. It's there on a lot of their recent releases. In a lot of cases it's not that noticeable when watching and you have to pause it to notice it, though I see it in motion mostly in low-lit scenes and such. I don't think Dressed to Kill was that bad, I don't recall it in Blind Chance, but with My Own Private Idaho it was noticeable in more places than just darker sequences. Mulholland Dr. has it as well, but again in motion I only detected it in some of the darker scenes.

I think there's a lot of hyperbole around it, though yes, considering Arrow's don't show the same problem (I'm just going through the Black Cat set now which looks great), they could be better.

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Re: 277 My Own Private Idaho

#15 Post by tenia » Sat Oct 24, 2015 2:56 pm

I too think some are overreacting and seeing this problem as blatantly obvious while one often can only see it at 200% on caps-a-holic. However, there are now some cases where you don't need this anymore to witness the issue, My Own Private Idaho being one of them.
Again, I get having some small margin for improvement on difficult sequences, but I genuinely don't understand how Criterion's people could be happy with Idaho's encode (or Thief's one).

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Re: Compression Issues with Criterion Releases

#16 Post by Orlac » Sun Oct 25, 2015 4:01 pm

Hopefully Criterion will address the issue if enough noise is made. Not video noise, mind you...

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Re: Compression Issues with Criterion Releases

#17 Post by criterion10 » Sun Oct 25, 2015 6:25 pm

Has anyone tried contacting Criterion directly about this issue? I wonder if they are even aware of it.

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Re: Compression Issues with Criterion Releases

#18 Post by jtarvainen » Mon Oct 26, 2015 8:09 am

I agree that this is becoming quite a serious issue with Criterion's quality control. The most commonly recurring artifact seems to be a specific type of macroblocking wherein poor quantization of the higher frequencies results in one or more lower frequencies becoming too prominent within the block, essentially causing a repeating pattern of horizontal or vertical bands. This screen capture is a good example of the effect.

I really wish Criterion would pay more attention to compression in the future, since this kind of thing really shouldn't happen with the bitrates they have available to them.

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Re: Compression Issues with Criterion Releases

#19 Post by Jarpie » Sat Oct 31, 2015 7:10 am

As much as I despise social media, if enough people would pressure them to do something about this in twatter using somekind of hashtag, Criterion might take it more seriously.

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Re: Compression Issues with Criterion Releases

#20 Post by tenia » Sat Oct 31, 2015 11:06 am

criterion10 wrote:Has anyone tried contacting Criterion directly about this issue? I wonder if they are even aware of it.
I have contacted them by email about it some months ago with Thief and Shoah in mind and haven't received any answer at all (though it wasn't the only thing I was asking about, so there's that).

I do believe too this is an issue, because that's clearly not what you would expect from a prestigious label such as Criterion. They commission brand new 4K restorations, but can't encode them properly on BD to the point it can severely impact the fine details you get from a 4K resto, and that seems silly. A good encode of a good restoration shouldn't be "OK" overall, it should bring out the fine details that are exactly the reason why you do a 4K restoration (in opposition to a 2K one). It should pass deeper scrutiny, and sadly, so far, it doesn't.

I might be accused of "staring at pixels" when doing this, but if you take this Mulholland Dr. cap, the smaller wrinkle on the left are lost in macroblocks on the Criterion, while you can spot them on the SC disc, despite the HD master being much older, from a lower resolution restoration and most likely slightly filtered.

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Re: Compression Issues with Criterion Releases

#21 Post by The Doogster » Thu Nov 05, 2015 6:20 pm

I just compared my Criterion and Studio Canal Blu-Ray copies of Mulholland Drive. For the record, I watched them via a LCD projector onto a 120 inch screen.

The Criterion has better overall PQ. The annoying SC interlacing artefact at about the 90 minute mark is gone. The colours and detail are better on the Criterion, and the grain structure looks more natural. The slight waxiness of the SC has gone. However...there is some noise in darker sequences on the Crit which is not present on the SC. The caps-a-holic comparison here:

http://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?go=1&d1=6 ... #vergleich

shows the worst instance of noise in the whole movie, which is definitely visible on screen. What little noise there is elsewhere is not really that bothersome (at least not to me, anyway). I can easily overlook it when the rest of the PQ is so good and vivid.

Overall, there isn't a huge amount in it. I don't normally buy two versions of any one movie on Blu-Ray, but this is one of my favourites, and I was intrigued to see whether the new 4k scan would make it look as good as Insomnia (which was shot on similar equipment and film). If I hadn't seen the Criterion, I would happily have lived with the SC.

I can't wait for an uncompressed 4k version of this movie!

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Re: Compression Issues with Criterion Releases

#22 Post by _shadow_ » Sat Nov 07, 2015 1:52 pm

The screen shot of Ann Miller really drives the point home - almost all fine-level detail is lost in the artifacts. And the explanation of banding artifacts in Dressed to Kill above was really helpful. Now it's easier to make sense of the pattern - looking across Ann Miller's forehead, I just see alternating blurred squares and banded squares.

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Re: Compression Issues with Criterion Releases

#23 Post by George Drooly » Sun Nov 15, 2015 7:29 am

One thing that really bothers me is that no one ever seems to question people who notice sound issues (PAL/NTSC pitch differences, downmixes, etc.). But when visual issues like this are brought up, half the responses (elsewhere, not here) are yokel-like, knee-jerk rejoinders of "Wull I cain't see it, so it must not be there!" How hard is it to understand that many people are very attuned to this sort of thing? I'm nearly deaf, so sound issues aren't a concern for me... but I certainly don't deny they exist.

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Re: Compression Issues with Criterion Releases

#24 Post by David M. » Sun Nov 15, 2015 7:19 pm

A lot of that probably has to do with the fact that audio reproduction is usually much less intentionally messed around with than video. You could extend your question to prove this point. If manufacturers produced a TV or speaker system that radically altered the pitch or the speed of music, it wouldn't be tolerated. But manufacturers making TVs that mess around with the lightness and color of films is mostly accepted. This hinders a lot of discussions on the finger points of imaging at home because a lot of people aren't even looking at the same picture.

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Re: Compression Issues with Criterion Releases

#25 Post by tenia » Mon Nov 16, 2015 3:53 am

It probably has to do with the general audience simply caring less about AQ than PQ (or, let's say more precisely, picture than sound because it's not like many knows a lot about how their TV should be setup).
Otherwise, sound HTs would have had picked up like Full HD TVs did. I don't know the figures for the US, but in France, there's a 1-to-5 ratio between the Full HD TV households penetration and sound equipement (roughly 80% VS 15%). That says a lot.

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