H D - S E N S E I

A view on Hi-def DVDs by Gary W. Tooze


Introduction: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 5600 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:
Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)
Harmon Cardon DD/DTS receiver
Ascent (main) + Boston Acoustics (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze







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Iblard Jikan [Blu-ray + CD]  


(Naohisa Inoue, 2007)

Studio: Buena Vista / Studio Ghibli Collection
Region: A
Video: 1080i - 1.78:1 - MPEG-2 (38Mbps) / 1080p 1.78:1 AVC (22Mbps)
Overscan Prevention Bars: Yes (3%)

Audio: PCM 5.1 (6.9 Mbps 24-bit/48kHz), Dolby Digital 2.0 (640kbps)

Subtitles: None

Disc: Single-Layered Blu-Ray (25GBs) + CD
Runtime: 30 min.

2 Audio Commentaries, Trailers, Stills, Featurettes, Profiles, Soundtrack CD

Release Date: July 4th, 2007
Package: Blu-Ray (+ CD) Standard case

This short animated feature explores the fabulous surrealistic works of the distinguished Japanese artist and professor Naohisa Inoue through small segments each telling a short and minimal story. Studio Ghibli introduces delicate animations into the original paintings giving them life and a more resonant feeling.

Melodic and melancholic, but sometimes vivid and joyful, instrumental music soundtrack with electronic touches, composed by Kiyonori Matsuo, fills the world of Iblard Jikan and portrays the mood of each connected, but unique, animated sequences.

This is a double-disc standard transparent Blu-Ray case, that differently from others come with an entire full picture for the back cover instead of the Blu-Ray logo occupying at least half of it. Nice.


Video: The image quality is almost perfect, every single basic characteristic is on the correct level, not a single color banding issue, sharpness is excellent, contrast is moderate, brightness is superb, and there is no noise whatsoever. Now, since detailed and subtly animated paintings are the focus of this animated short I was expecting exuberant colors, but I actually had to boost my TV's saturation quite a lot to satisfy myself visually. Certainly this is not a problem, saturation is balanced and I truly believe they tried to capture the paintings as accurately as possible. This was directed and produced by the artist himself.



The other issue was some little shaking by the camera movement, mostly up and down. In the bright edges it looks like some
very subtle flashing. In all the rest (notably ceilings) it looks like little earthquakes. But I can't state this is a transfer problem, I have seen similar issues playing many other Blu-Rays in my system, even quality AVC encoded ones. In these short it only occurred once or twice under the same camera movement situation, thus not even being worth noting, but here you may see it often since the camera is in constant motion.

Curiously, the Blu-Ray comes with two video tracks for the same feature, one (the main) is MPEG-2 encoded at average 38Mbps and the other is AVC encoded at average 21 Mbps. The latter only accessible through the audio commentaries option in the menu. You can perceive this jitteriness in both video tracks.

Issues like that are old and usually related to cadence (or bad de-interlacing). I think this may be the case here, since my TV is not "1080p/24" ready with a compatible frequency (direct multiple), instead of a defective transfer that for everything else looks gorgeous!

Comparing the both video tracks I couldn't find any significant differences in quality between the two - possibly the color range but I am not positive. I didn't look extensively for details but if I find I will update this page. The AVC encoding was probably meant to be an equivalent of the MPEG-2 from the same master for comparison purposes. But why? Maybe Studio Ghibli is just testing the whole thing in its first high-definition release. (Note: the is an audio issue with the AVC track discussed below)



Overall, this blending of art with exquisite animation replete of inviting 3D-ish imagery displayed with exceptional quality

Luiz R.

Blu-ray Screen Captures











During each segment music is played accompanied by occasional but crisp sound effects. The sound quality is amazingly good and eclipses even Compact Disc quality. The soundtrack CD included was good for comparison, the music from the Blu-Ray sounded far superior in my opinion. This is not really surprising if you consider the PCM 5.1 is a 24bit/48kHz 6.9Mbps track and the CD is just a 16-bit/44KHz 1.4Mbps. I can't be precise about all the channels that were used by the music all the time but obviously all the quality from the mix was intended for the music, most of the time (98%) only the music is heard. The outcome is a truly enhanced surround feeling from it.


The second audio option is a 640kbps Dolby Digital stereo mix that is surprisingly good and wide and quite acceptable. This is the only audio available if you decide to watch the AVC video track instead of the MPEG-2. This is another crazy characteristic of this disc. You can also choose one of the two audio commentaries (640Kbps DD stereo) that are also only available when playing the AVC transfer, the 5.1 PCM mix is exclusive to the MPEG-2 version.

There are two featurettes, one is focused on the works of Naohisa Inoue and the other on the music. Some trailers, all in a very bad SD quality, some stills and profiles fill the blanks.

The two audio commentaries can only be accessed through an specific menu option and will be played in a separated AVC encoded video track. One track is Naohisa Inoue alone and the other is filled with people that unfortunately I can't tell exactly who they all are.

Nothing here is subtitled!

The best supplement is undoubtedly the bonus soundtrack CD. Great stuff keep them coming Studio Ghibli!  


BOTTOM LINE: This is my most watched Blu-Ray DVD. It fits any mood and pleases me at any time. I found the work not only eye-grabbing but also an exotic piece of art and a great example that animation can achieve higher standards and interestingness while still being visually pleasing. For its quality, uniqueness, content, and versatility I find this a sophisticated and worthy release!

Luiz R.

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