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 7500 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)

Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze







Cosmic Voyage / Destiny in Space - IMAX [Blu-ray]


(Bayley Silleck, 1996 - Ben Burtt, Phyllis Ferguson, 1994)



Review by Gary Tooze



Video: Warner / IMAX



Region FREE

Feature Runtime: 36:09 + 39:51

Chapters: 12

Feature film disc size: 5.6 Gig + 5.73 Gig

One single-layered Blu-ray

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 14th, 2008



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: VC1


English: Dolby Digital 5.1, DUBs: French (5.1), German (5.1)

Feature: English, French, Spanish, Dutch, German and none




Product Description: Cosmic Journey in IMAX - this Academy Award Nominee combines live action with state-of-the-art computer-generated imagery to pinpoint where humans fit in our every-expanding universe. Highlighting this journey is a 'cosmic zoom' based on the powers of 10 extending from the surface of the earth to the largest observable structures of our universe and then back to the sub-nuclear realm - a guided tour across 42 orders of magnitude (narrated by Morgan Freeman)...





The Films:

Narrated by noted actor Morgan Freeman, this NASA-sponsored film takes audiences on an amazing, educational journey about perspective, particularly in the large-screen format, as it zooms from telescopic to microscopic extremes. Expanding by powers of ten, the film starts with a one-meter circle of performers in Venice surrounded by a ten-meter circle of spectators. Multiplying the distance by ten each time, the sights quickly travel to the edges of our solar system and beyond. Sliding back down the scale, the story then takes viewers into the negative powers of ten as it exams the microscopic world in a drop of pond water. 

Excerpt from Paul Bicking's review at Gospelcom.net located HERE



"Destiny in Space" gives IMAX cameras to astronauts and brings the magical mystery of space to the giant screen. If you love to look out your window you'll love to look at these gorgeous images. There is so much crisp detail, so much information, you could study each frame in amazement.

Besides splendid Earth from space shots, the film includes two space shuttle launches that explode with excitement and Several cargo bay scenes including great shots of an astronaut cabled to the shuttle work-arm repairing the Hubble Telescope. CGI recreations of the Venusian and Martian planet surfaces are also explored...

Excerpt from rossanthony.com located HERE


Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Immensely impressive considering the file sizes are only slightly in advance of a standard dual-layered DVD! I suspect the shortness of the two features can support the argument for the limited size. Regardless, the visuals are quite stunning at times - whether this be more credit to the cinematography or the 1080P resolution. The screen captures below should bear out the depth and clarity of the images. Colors are strong, detail is surprising in its sharpness and there is minimal noise present. There are a few scattered speckles. Overall as they expand to fill more of the Blu-ray - this image can only improve... and it looks wonderful now!


















Audio & Music:  
A, relatively simple, 5.1 offering that doesn't come into play a lot as both short features are almost solely narrative driven. There were a couple of instances of rockets blasting-off and similar technically derived ambiances that made their way to the rear speakers. The same holds true for Destiny in Space with Leonard Nimoy narrating. There are optional subtitles offered in
English, French, Spanish, German and Dutch.


Nothing but the inclusion of, the similar IMAX, Destiny in Space - which could be considered an addition I suppose. No unique
Blu-ray bells or whistles. The bare-bones status is not unexpected but hopefully with these documentary releases in the future we will start to see some supplements included.


Bottom line:
I owned this in SD-DVD (and would have compared if I could have located it). I like Cosmic Voyage a lot - it subtly puts you in your place with the presentation of the universe and our infinitesimally small position in nature's grand scheme. To a lesser degree I also enjoyed Destiny in Space.  The
Blu-ray quality is most impressive and it will cause me to seek other IMAX films in HD
. My complaint would be the short length - this is Blu-ray and the potential of storage is not being utilized at all. 8 similar 1080P features could have been stuck on this disc, as well, if it was dual-layered. Let's work towards that Warner!

Gary Tooze

October 14th, 2008





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