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Starship Troopers contrast boost (BD vs. UHD vs. 35mm)

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A great, cheesy, gory and satirical classic from the 90s, recently re-released on UHD.

As far as I remember, both the DVD and also the Blu-ray (sadly I haven’t had a chance to check the LaserDisc yet) were considered to be decent releases considering the medium at that time.

Now while the UHD release seems to beautifully preserve the original resolution and grain structure of the 35mm original, the contrast looks hopelessly boosted to me. This is especially visible during the football match but also faces which even have a slightly orange tint.

I have to stress the “to me” here because - yes, of right now I don’t have the proper equipment to really check whether the blown out whites are due to the tone-mapping when using madVR or my Note 8’s hardware decoder (yeah, 4K on 6 inch might be overkill, but still should be good enough to judge whether the resolution and contrast are decent or not).

When I found a thread at avforums where at least a few mentioned the boosted HDR, I tried to bring that issue to further attention but instead I mostly got the heat of being a newbie there and raising a stink without even owning HDR-capable equipment and thus “haven’t seen” (which misses the point as it should be possible to get it displayed correctly via madVR and MPV). So I guess protocol and formalities are more important than content these days.

So just in order to rule out any flawed playback on my side, I’d be interested in knowing your experience when displayed on a decent TV. Also, maybe someone got his hand on a 35mm print so it would be possible to compare the UHD release to the theatrical presentation in terms of color and contrast back in the days.

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My mistake, used the wrong syntax. They should work now.

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Jeez, the Bluray is ugly as hell with all that edge enhancement, and the UHD is a horrid grainfest. And yes they’ve blown out the highlights on the UHD.

__Valeyard.net __Vimeo

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The avforums guys may have a point. A lot of how the dynamic range is displayed is dependant on your equipment and settings. For example; in the UHD of Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, the ghosts that appear during the battle with Voldemort are often blown out to the point of having no detail at all on many people’s setups. But turn the contrast way down and the full detail returns (making the rest of the movie almost unwatchably dark). It’s just the case that the display (or in your case the software) is not remapping the dynamic range in an intelligent way but the detail is still there. This is the biggest problem with HDR at the moment and you’ll find much more detailed and accurate info than I can provide by googling the subject.

That being said, I’m only speculating that this is the case with Starship Troopers. I’ll run it through my HDR-capable setup later on today and report back as to whether the detail missing from those screenshots is actually blown out in the transfer.

George creates Star Wars.
Star Wars creates fans.
George destroys Star Wars.
Fans destroy George.
Fans create Star Wars.

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You might want to check out the European version (Disney). It’s from a different source than the US version (Sony).

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The highlights aren’t blown out on the UHD; they just look blown out because of the tone mapping. The only way you can tell if highlights on a UHD are blown is if you look at the image before the EOTF is applied. Otherwise, it’s likely that the tone mapping clipped or compressed the highlights because your display cannot get as bright as the Dolby Pulsar it was graded on.

This is one reason why Dolby Vision (and maybe HDR10+) are coming on newer releases; it has additional meta data to allow the colourist to specify how the image is to be presented on displays that cannot reach the brightness necessary to properly display the picture.

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Many thanks for your replies and sorry for being a bit late catching up.

@Turisu: you are right, they actually have indeed. That I’ve somewhat painfully realized by now.

After all, I put too much trust in the correct result of having madVR converting it including the usual comparison sources and based all my arguments on that.

Hence the only reason I opened that thread here was because I felt stuck there with no explanation before Geoff_D luckily pointed it out.

So it seems to be a general issue depending on the target brightness mastering, but this thread here might still be interesting in terms of having a comparison with a 35mm copy one day to really be sure.

@Synnöve

You seem to be right as well, as of now I guess we can entirely forget the usual image comparison sites and methods which most of us are only too used to. 😦

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TheHutt said:

You might want to check out the European version (Disney). It’s from a different source than the US version (Sony).

Is there even a European release of the UHD release? All I can find is the U.S. release, and importing it seems like the only way to get it.