Return to Level1Techs.com

Suggestions for films worth getting on Blu Ray for Ultrawide + features?

#1

Update 08-Oct-2018: I realized the title is a bit ambiguous as to what I’m asking. I’m not asking for whether Blu Rays itself are good, but rather I’m specifically asking for specific examples of films that fully utilize the format (really packs features, benefits from higher fidelity, etc.). I’ve updated the title accordingly.

So, I finally got a BD-R drive (well ordered one anyway, coming later this month).

My whole motivation behind finally caving to Blu Ray instead of streaming/downloading everything

The primary motivation is that I got the box set of Amon Amarth’s 25th anniversary documentary, which includes blu ray format. It also contains the DVDs, but I also have a 1080p Ultra wide monitor and would like to fully utilize; my understanding is most film is shot wider than your standard 16:9.
Now, a younger me wouldn’t mind obtaining movies by other means, but the thing that really threw me over the edge is my Film class - we are watching a lot of Blu Ray releases of the classics (Sunset Boulevard, Citizen Kane, Singin’ In the Rain), and I’m an utter sucker for extra features (which explains why I have a vast GoG library despite not having much appreciation of old games). Since I have some disposable income, I don’t mind throwing a few bucks for high fidelity films with extra features.

That all said, what are some Blu rays worth having? To be clear, I’m not necessarily looking for must see films, rather I’m specifically after films in which the cinematography benefits from the higher fidelity and wider view, or having some pretty awesome features (commentary, deleted scenes, extensive director’s cuts, etc.) that transforms the film, or otherwise makes experience significantly more enjoyable over streaming.

0 Likes

#2

I’m not sure there’s anything about blu-ray in particular that gives it a benefit over streaming specifically, spec wise. You can always download/stream a 1080p, or even 4K HDR file, after all, provided you have a connection that can reasonable handle it (if not, then that’s a blu-ray benefit). Aspect ratio isn’t necessarily relevant either, just depends on display and streaming service.

So, Cinematography wise, there’s no benefit I’m aware of.

PRICE wise, I frequently can find blu-rays for close to the same price or lower than HD Streaming from, say, Amazon. So there’s that. Near half the time you can also find blu-rays that include an “HD Streaming” voucher with them too, so you end up just having both benefits, including a back up in case you loose accounts or servers get shut down in the future.

The big benefit of having the Blu-rays though will typically come in if you care about the extra features, which are frequently not available streaming, or cost extra. There’s also a few films that particular versions are not available streaming (legally anyway). As for what is worth it just for those… well, at this point I can only recommend family movies for that (mostly Dreamworks Animation).

0 Likes

#3

Even if connection speed wasn’t an issue, storage space and bandwidth still is on the provider’s end - considerations BD doesn’t have to contend with. Even at 4K, there is compression over streams, which can result in artifacts. As a result, 4k streams are beneficial even on 1080 displays, which theoretically shouldn’t happen.

Aspect ratio is pretty relevant, as there is benefit to watch at the native aspect ratio (so you can watch the original framing in it’s entirety - it is an artistic choice); also the black bars are distracting since I have an LCD, so I can see backlight. A lot of streams are still encoded in 16:9, even if the original aspect ratio was wider. I recently streamed Black Panther over Netflix (very disappointed btw), and I had a choice of black borders on all sides (letterboxed and pillarboxed), or cropped - either isn’t ideal, but BD wouldn’t have that issue.

Also, being the good ol’ US of A, internet sucks, with inconsistent speeds, and my connection is barely fast enough to handle 1080p; as a result, I do get some buffering, and if I don’t, I do notice quality fluctuations which I find extremely distracting. ISPs specifically target video streaming for throttling. So, in my case BD (Blu Ray) would provide a higher quality, consistent, uninterrupted experience, which I will not be able to get while streaming.

I’ve also explicitly expressed interest in the extra features as the primary driving force. If it’s just standard entertainment, I have no problems streaming, even in SD, but there are a lot of films are mucked with in final production; ergo director’s cuts (as the director originally intended) are very interesting, especially in those movies that I’ve found somewhat disappointing because it had more potential. Aeon Flux is a mediocre film, but I feel would greatly benefit from BD as it did have a heavy focus on cinematography, visuals, etc. And maybe some deleted scenes may help some character development (purely speculation though); shallow characters was one of the reasons Aeon Flux flopped, but the potential for greatness gave it a bit of a following.

While I didn’t mention, you touched on it - availability is also a major issue (especially if I preferred legal consumption) - so Star Trek Discovery is tantalizing. And since licensing can affect availability (including "owned"content), if I can get similar pricing, I’ll take the Blu Ray every time.

I’ve always rebelled against optical media, but there are many benefits I can’t deny - I want to know which films best take advantage of those benefits.

1 Like

#4

I’m in the U.S. and my internet is actually pretty good, even on the cheapest plan my ISP offers for my area. But, it depends on area (U.S. is a big place). All that said, if your particular internet sucks, there’s not much getting around that, so I get why you’d go with blu-ray for that alone (and sounds like you have a similar preference).

As for 21:9 ratio, that’s a service limitation, rather than a technical limitation. As I understand Amazon Prime video supports 21:9 now, as do some other places as long as the content creator provides it. Importantly, 21:9 is not a supported blu-ray resolution. It seems the UltraHD Blu-Ray spec (not regular blu-ray) originally was going to include support for 21:9 but did not in the end. However, many TVs and players may stretch the image in some way to get rid of letterboxes, which may be what you have seen if you have seen this ‘work’. There seems to be some companies working on getting 21:9 support shoehorned in, but that’s going to be on a movie by movie basis and not the norm for now at least, and likely will end up on 4k BD, rather than regular BD.

For the technical side, I’m just saying don’t worry about that too much, as these are problems that are likely to be resolved in the near enough future, and you may end up with a bunch of extra clutter around the house needlessly if the issue was just technical on the service side. It’s also possible that buying “HD” streaming versions now may automatically upgrade to a certain extent as you upgrade or as they become available (4K, HDR, beyond, etc).

For the other stuff: there’s a lot of director’s cuts streaming now too, if that has become a popular version. But things like “deleted scenes”, commentary, etc is what you need the blu-ray for. I like those things myself too, and thus I have a bunch of blu-rays (and I like having physical myself if the price is going to be similar enough).

I just don’t know what kind of movies you like beyond a few random examples, so it’s hard to recommend one where this would make much difference. I like the extras on Kung Fu Panda movies and Hotel Transylvania, they actually are pretty charming additional content and give sometimes just some depth and perspective to an aspect I wasn’t looking for but find interesting. There have been some Blade Runner releases that had all 3 or 4 versions included, but those seem to be pretty expensive now unfortunately (due to being out of production and many coming with other extras).

Not trying to convince you against optical media, since I actually prefer it in many instances, just don’t want you regretting it in a year either.

0 Likes

#5

It sounds like you’re trying really hard to convince me that streaming is the best route to go, with some extremely optimistic predictions about the future US Internet infrastructure, and some borderline inaccuracies about the Blu Ray format, none of which is news to me, and more importantly it’s missing the point of this thread entirely. For an example - stating 21:9 is not a supported format on Blu Ray; the reality is most film (both actual film, and digital) is shot in approximately 21:9 ratio, and that is thrown on the Blu Ray because why not, it has the space. It’s up to the player to format it accordingly. It is true that some blu ray players do not support 21:9, but that’s not true of the blu ray disc (or more accurately the content) itself. I’m going to wrap this up by re-iterating it’s something I’m already doing, so debating the point is moot.

I would just like suggestions on films that take full advantage of the format. I intentionally left genre vague because I’ve enjoyed films I thought I otherwise wouldn’t have, and that’s in no small part due to the enhancements of Blu Ray, including actor/director commentary. For an example, Citizen Kane had Roger Ebert’s commentary and he was breaking down some of the effects, background info, etc. The Player features an 8 minute continuous shot that had more commentary on that. I’m not looking for great films, as some of my favorites are critically panned. If you need me to be more specific, passion projects, with commentary, behind the scenes, excellent cinematography, style, visuals, etc.

0 Likes

#6

Pretty much any movie shot in cinamascope is 21:9 or close enough, I don’t know where this idea that no movies use that format is coming from because it’s pretty common. If you mean that no movies use that resolution then yeah, all blu-rays fit in 1920x1080 so wide movies just have less vertical resolution.

I don’t really have anything to recommend as I never watch the extra stuff and I can’t remember off the top of my head what aspect ratios movies I like are in, but it should say on the back of the case what format the video is in (cinemascope is 2:35:1 which is basically 21:9). So I guess that’s what I’d suggest, find somewhere (maybe blu-ray.com) that lists the formats and content of blu-rays discs, or browse your local place that sells blu-rays and pick out stuff that ticks your boxes and sounds like something you’d like.

0 Likes

#7

So long as the streaming service doesn’t compress it into oblivion, which as far as I’m aware all of them do.

Depends what you want I guess both have there positives and negatives. 4K streaming should be comparable or better (if hdr for example) than 1080p Blu-ray at least.

0 Likes

#8

It doesn’t matter what the film was shot in, and it never has. What the film was shot in is not what is put on a blu-ray (or DVD, or VHS, etc) unless the film was specifically shot for blu-ray, etc (a straight to blu-ray movie, perhaps). In the theater, these movies will play in 21:9, or another format they are shot for (there are many possibilities actually) and they aren’t playing from a blu-ray. Think about the days when “Full-Screen” was common for movies, or you had options on DVDs fro “Full Screen” or “Wide Screen”. This had little to do with the display (though the proper display would look better with the right setting) it had to do with the file, and in both situations the DVD company edited the originals in some way to fit the DVD spec.

The same is the case with blu-ray. Blu-ray has a spec requirement and can’t handle the original in most cases. According to the spec, regardless of what the original movie was you aren’t getting something larger than 1980x1080 progressive, because the blu-ray spec neither supports that, nor are companies typically putting anything else on a blu-ray (partially because most people don’t have a screen for it anyway). Similarly, it doesn’t matter if the original movie was shot in a 4K resolution because standard blu-ray does not support 4K.

If you are seeing a 21:9 aspect ratio with a blu-ray you are using, that’s likely not because you have a 21:9 aspect ratio video from the blu-ray, it’s because you are using a player that is stretching the video in some way to fit your screen. The best you can hope for is for the distribution company to have put a 21:9 video into the middle of a 16:9 frame and put black bars around it in the video file itself, and then to use a video player that intelligently detects this and stretches the file in a uniform way while cutting off the black bars (essentially, zooms in). You actually loose some resolution this way (because you are zooming in), but it might work.

From what I can find, there was some attempts to support 21:9 in the Blu-Ray UHD spec, but this was supposedly dropped. This may have been related to FoldedSpace’s MFE process for anamorphic playback but I can’t really find much showing they ever got anyone to start using it, and not much word on it since 2012 white papers and marketing materials from them. Panamorph, which owns FoldedSpace, still advertises a special projector feature for showing movies in cinemascope in a bit of a strange way for improved quality over just zooming in, but it’s unclear whether the source images are blu-rays, or whether they’re doing a bunch of post processing for this regardless of the source image. As far as I can tell though, if they figured it out it likely ended up in 4K Blu-Ray.

But, here, you can look at the white papers yourself: http://blu-raydisc.com/assets/Downloadablefile/BD-ROM-AV-WhitePaper_110712.pdf

If we were talking about UHD Blu-Ray, the situation may be more favorable:
http://www.blu-raydisc.com/assets/Downloadablefile/BD-ROM_Part3_V3.0_WhitePaper_150724.pdf

Note, the frame average computation used to compute the MaxFALL value is performed only on the active image area of the image data. If the video stream is a “letterbox” format (e.g. where a 2.40:1 aspect ratio is put inside a 16:9 image container with black bars on the top and bottom of the image),
the black bar areas are not part of the active image area and therefore are not included in the frame average computation. This allows the MaxFALL value to remain an upper bound on the maximum.

This sounds kinda like some things Panamorph talks about. The video file is still actually letter boxing for a native 16:9 ratio image, but since the black bars are not “active” (it’s just unchanging black pixels), it allows some room for more detail in other areas, which can be taken advantage of with zoom features and the like.

On the other hand, video streaming specs aren’t as set in stone, so they can adjust, and some have adjusted, and may actually stream videos in a 21:9 (or similar) aspect ratio.

Blu-ray still has important benefits for particular circumstances. I’m just saying it doesn’t actually support 21:9 video format any more than streaming does, and in fact streaming supports that format better now (at least certain services).

0 Likes

#9

You’re arguing semantics. From one of the earliest Blu Ray releases:

Sony presents Underworld: Evolution on Blu-ray with a 1080p, 2.35:1 framed transfer.
https://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Underworld-Evolution-Blu-ray/89/

Regardless: this is off topic. I’m didn’t create the post to debate blu-ray, I created for recommendations.

0 Likes

#10

Right, and as you can see in the screen shots, and as the description says, it’s a ‘framed’ transfer. The actual video is 16:9, but they shrunk the original video further than 1920x1080 in order to fit the aspect ratio within a 1920x1080 by adding in bars above and below. It had to sacrifice resolution detail/size in order to get the right resolution (which is something DVDs and VHS could and have done as well). Essentially, you’re looking at something that is lower resolution than 1920x1080.

You mentioned you wanted to take advantage of your 21:9 aspect ratio monitor with blu-rays. I’m just saying you won’t really be able to do that with blu-ray. You might get something close with some tools and processing, but it’s not going to be taking advantage of your monitors full resolution. If you want something that does that, you need to look for something capable of doing so. If you don’t care that much about taking full advantage of your monitor after all, and think the other benefits of blu-ray outweigh that drawback, that’s all well and good, but no one will be able to recommend a blu-ray that takes full advantage of your ultrawide monitor since blu-ray doesn’t support that (UHD Blu-ray can get a lot closer though).

0 Likes

#11

The point: there is a full 2.35 fame that can fill my screen, as opposed to a cropped 16:9 image, and it will be in a higher bitrate/quality than DVD or streaming. Please drop it. If you don’t have anything to tribute pertaining to the original request, then please do not contribute. Thanks.

0 Likes