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post #1 of 32 Old 03-02-2018, 11:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Blue Planet II Ultra HD Blu-ray Review



Ralph Potts reviews this BBC documentary film that travels through an exquisitely beautiful world - from remote island shores to the depths of our oceans - bringing viewers face to face with unexpected new landscapes.




The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

91



Details:

Studio and Year: BBC - 2017
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 350 minutes
Genre: Documentary

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH
Starring: David Attenborough
Directed by: Various
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Region Code: A,B,C


Release Date: March 6, 2018


"Take a Deep Breath"


My Take:

Twenty years ago, BBC’s Natural History Unit (NHU) set out to make a series on the world’s oceans with the groundbreaking original Blue Planet. Now, with new understandings of marine science and advances in underwater filmmaking, the NHU returns to the underwater depths. During more than four years of filming, the Blue Planet II crew mounted 125 expeditions, visited 39 countries, spent over 6,000 hours diving, and filmed on every continent and across every ocean.

Captured in stunning 4K Ultra HD, Blue Planet II explores the latest frontiers of scientific discovery, from icy-white polar seas to vibrant blues of the coral atolls, from the storm-tossed green Atlantic coastline to the black depths of the alien deep. Viewers will encounter surprising new landscapes such as methane volcanos which erupt in the Gulf of Mexico, creating underwater lakes of poisonous brine; and the so-called “Boiling Sea” phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean. And by taking two manned submersibles to Antarctic waters to 1000m for the very first time, the series will bring a “new world” to the audience. The series also witnesses the great changes and threats to the health of our ocean. Never before has there been a more crucial time to explore our remotest seas and examine what the future might hold for our blue planet.

Through dazzling underwater imagery captured in extreme geographical conditions worldwide, Blue Planet II delivers an unprecedented journey into the least known regions of our planet. Astonishing new creatures, including hairy-chested Hoff crabs; snub fin dolphins that spit water through the air; and Pacific leaping blennies, have been filmed for the first time, and the crew was able to capture some extraordinary examples of behavior, such as sophisticated hunting between a coral grouper and a reef octopus; giant trevally that catch flying birds in mid-air; and a dive with a sperm whale mother and calf, as she heads deep in to the abyss to hunt.

The series’ camera teams have worked on every continent, and across every ocean, often in collaboration with marine scientists. They have developed new filming technologies, including UHD ‘tow cams’ that allow predatory fish and dolphins to be filmed front-on; UHD suction cams which enable the viewer to ‘travel’ on the back of large creatures such as whale sharks and orcas; and a motion control rig, which is used to shoot time-lapse footage in the ocean, to reveal previously unseen wild behaviors.

It is a cinematic adventure that invites viewers of all ages to look at the ocean and appreciate its great natural mystery. The stunning documentary footage aims to captivate as well as provide understanding of humankind’s relationship to the ocean and stress the urgency of making sustainable change.

Blue Planet II is an interesting documentary, that, over the course of its runtime, makes no bones about its message, which I didn’t have a problem with. Whether you buy into the various theories about global warming etc. this film is worth checking out, if for nothing else, then to glean its beautiful imagery and information about undersea wildlife and the ocean.

Addendum A (Filming Firsts):

• The ingenious Tuskfish breaks open hard-shelled clams by cracking them against coral outcrops. This is the first time that this behavior has been filmed professionally in detail.

• Giant Trevally fish aggregate off a beach from which fledgling terns are learning to fly. If the birds land on the water, the Giant Trevallies will attack from beneath. Most incredibly though, if the birds are flying low enough to the surface of the water the Giant Trevallies will launch themselves out of the water and grab them in mid-air! This was a “fisherman’s tale” that proved true - the predatory behavior of these aerial predators had not been studied before.

• Grouper fish use the fish equivalent of sign language to reach across the vertebrate-invertebrate divide and encourage another species to help them hunt. Until now, this kind of gesturing behavior has been associated mainly with apes and birds such as ravens.

• In New Zealand, False Killer whales form relationships with Bottlenose dolphins - an entirely different species. Both False Killers and dolphins have been documented socializing and foraging together. This is the first time this behavior has been filmed professionally and it was filmed by the Blue Planet II team both from the air and underwater.

• Working from science and exploration vessel the Alucia, the Blue Planet II “Deep” team and scientists mounted an expedition off the central coast of Chile to film Humboldt squid from a submersible. The team captured squid hunting at depth - and even cannibalism. This was the first sub dive into the squid zone.

• For the very first time, the Blue Planet II “Deep” team has filmed violent eruptions from methane volcanoes, of bubbles of gas the size of basketballs shooting out of the seabed almost a half-mile down.

• No human has ever before been to where the “Deep” team landed on its final filming expedition - a thousand meters beneath shifting icebergs the size of a city-block off the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. The Blue Planet II team were the first humans to film, from manned submersibles, the unimaginable abundance of life from fish with anti-freeze in their blood to fields of giant sponges and swarms of krill that glow in the dark.

• Male and female shrimp enter the Venus Flower Basket sponge when they are small, but eventually become too big to get out. This means that they spend the rest of their lives entrapped inside. This is the first time that these shrimp have been filmed in situ in the deep sea.

• In Hanifaru, when plankton levels become dense, chains of feeding Manta rays loop around to form a “cyclone” of as many as 150 Reef Manta rays. This was filmed for the first time from the air.

• Silky sharks and Blacktip sharks were filmed rubbing up against pregnant Whale sharks in the Galapagos for the first time.

• The octopus grabs shells and rocks in its suckers and uses them as body armor as a camouflage and physical defense strategy against predators like sharks. This behavior was discovered by naturalist Craig Forster and is new to science.

• Sea lions work together to hunt tuna in a labyrinth of small bays in the Galapagos Islands - a behavior not filmed professionally until Blue Planet II.

Replay Value:


Parental Guide:

This film is appropriate for all audiences.


AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


Audio: 86
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialog Reproduction:
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element):



UHD Presentation: 96
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color:
  • Resolution:
  • Visual Impact:



Blue Planet II comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from BBC Worldwide featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 58 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.2 Mbps.

For its presentation in Ultra HD Blue Planet II (filmed in 4K/2160p) was rendered from a 4K DI. This is a high-quality Ultra HD presentation that boasts brilliant color, superlative depth, and an abundance of high level detail. The nature defined color palette is alluring as the deep, vivid, blues, resplendent earth tones, and vast array of undersea hues, leap from the 1.78:1 framed video. Contrast balance is spot on and blacks are delineated, deep, and rich. Resolution is excellent as the vastness and scope of the recorded elements offers lucid, three-dimensional acuity that looks terrific. I did note a few instances of banding, occurring in the darkest depths, where light became scarce, but otherwise saw no issues worthy of complaint.

These beautifully captured images of our planet can be captivating as the richness of color, transparently rendered detail, and near infinite sense of depth and dimension are assuredly conveyed in Ultra HD. Those that enjoy showing off their 4K/HDR displays have another go to disc in Blue Planet II.

The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack delivers the elements contained within this documentary film with no issue. David Attenborough’s running narration is clearly rendered, with smooth intonation, and adequate prioritization. The front three channels are integrated well, and combine high level detail/clarity with pinpoint imaging. Han Zimmer’s music has appreciable top end air, smoothly rendered instrumentation, and discerning focus as its primary elements are delivered through the front speakers with low level rear channel ambience used to broaden the soundstage. The surrounds are effectively used to generate an enveloping soundscape filled with the various undersea sounds, and near field panning effects. LFE presence is notable as bass response extends deep enough to engage the room when called upon. This isn’t an aggressive surround mix but this audio presentation mates perfectly with the source and sound great.


For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews


Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Blue Planet II Ultra HD Episodes 1-3
    Disc 2: Blue Planet II Ultra HD Episodes 4-5
    Disc 3: Blue Planet II Ultra HD Episodes 6-7
    Disc 4: “Into the Blue” – Behind the Scenes Stories of Blue Planet II’s Most Memorable Moments (54 Minutes)



Final Thoughts:

Captured in beautiful 4K Ultra High Definition, Blue Planet II is a cinematic adventure that invites viewers of all ages to look at the ocean and appreciate its great natural mystery, as its stunning documentary footage aims to captivate as well as provide understanding. It comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from BBC Worldwide featuring sparkling, reference quality video, excellent lossless surround sound and a fair supplemental offering. I found Blue Planet II to be interesting, informational, and visually arresting. If you’re a fan of documentary films of its type, it comes highly recommended on Blu-ray.






Ralph Potts
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post #2 of 32 Old 03-02-2018, 04:13 PM
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Loved the original series and the sequel. My only real beef is that many segments feel like previously unreleased footage of the same animals...just with better cameras, etc.
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post #3 of 32 Old 03-02-2018, 06:02 PM
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Thanks Ralph - have been avoiding the show on my Satellite Dish - didn't want to spoil the real thing ! E-mail in today that it's on it;s way for next week delivery. Followed closely by our man Thor !
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post #4 of 32 Old 03-02-2018, 11:02 PM
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Good picture quality, as expected. Nice review.
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Spoiler!
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post #5 of 32 Old 03-03-2018, 05:50 AM
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Hows the PQ on this compare to Planet Earth II?
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post #6 of 32 Old 03-03-2018, 11:12 AM
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Easily my top pick that I would recommend to people to test new 4K HDR display - definitely not sound system.
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post #7 of 32 Old 03-03-2018, 11:27 AM
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waiting anxiously to pick up my steelbook pre-order from Best Buy next Tuesday. It's gonna be a visual treat, I'm certain of it. or, I'll start throwing grown-man tantrums...
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post #8 of 32 Old 03-04-2018, 12:52 PM
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Something fishy about this forum for Blue Planet II

This documentary is not creating any interest, or is it because Thor is stealing all it's thunder for this week ? (LOL)
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post #9 of 32 Old 03-04-2018, 05:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BNestico View Post
Hows the PQ on this compare to Planet Earth II?
I've only watched the first episode so far on UHD blu, but the PQ is just as stunning as PE 2!
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post #10 of 32 Old 03-04-2018, 05:12 PM
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Great review Ralph as always. You truly are my go to for Blu-ray reviews. Just curious though. I notice you only gave this a three for replay value.My question to you is this. Though I’m sure it looks great is it something I would want to watch again? I have watched planet earth two multiple times and I notice you gave it replay of value four. Which by the way I agree with. Just curious of your thoughts of this rating thank you.
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post #11 of 32 Old 03-05-2018, 05:27 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dire_Straits View Post
Great review Ralph as always. You truly are my go to for Blu-ray reviews. Just curious though. I notice you only gave this a three for replay value.My question to you is this. Though I’m sure it looks great is it something I would want to watch again? I have watched planet earth two multiple times and I notice you gave it replay of value four. Which by the way I agree with. Just curious of your thoughts of this rating thank you.

Greetings,

Thanks for reading Dire_Straits. I didn't find this documentary quite as engaging as PEII. It's not bad at all, but, didn't feel as diverse, leading me to feel less compelled to revisit it regularly. IF time permitted..

Depending on one's level of interest that rating could easily be higher though.


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post #12 of 32 Old 03-05-2018, 05:29 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BNestico View Post
Hows the PQ on this compare to Planet Earth II?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toe View Post
I've only watched the first episode so far on UHD blu, but the PQ is just as stunning as PE 2!
Greetings,

Yep! They both look great..


Regards,
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post #13 of 32 Old 03-06-2018, 07:21 PM
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got my steelbook, 5 hours of visual awesomeness, what a treat!

Since I was an salt water aquarium hobbyist for about 10 years, I am naturally-inclined to find this subject more interesting, so the replay-ability of this title is just off the charts for me (staring at my own tank was never boring to me!). If you are not particularly interested in marine life, then Planet Earth 2 might provide you with more variety (there's a lot more to marine life variety than just fish too, lol).

If you have the intention of showing off your awesome OLED or FALD TVs to convince family members, co-workers, neighbor's dentist, spouse's 3rd grade English teacher, whoever, to get in on the HDR UHD action. This is what you show them. The logic of HDR PQ is simple: clear UHD resolution, high dynamic contrast, vivid colors. BP2 excels at just that, even better than PE2. I only finished watching the first disc containing the first 3 episodes, specifically episode 2: The Deep, where you are submerged into the back drop of pitch black ocean depth, the camera zooms in on the bio-luminescent ridiculous-neon-looking colors of all the marvelous marine lives reflected against the intense light source of the film equipment, that's THE best scenario to showcase HDR. and episode 3: Coral Reefs. The entire episode is a non-stop color wheel on steroids! I felt strain in my eyes from watching this episode along because I couldn't find a moment to rest my eyes but to keep chasing after every glorious detail contained in every pixel in every frame. No, I'm not complaining!

My only regret is a drug has yet to be invented by pharmaceutical companies that could conveniently erase specific part of one's memory, so I could keep replaying and rewatching this title and re-experiencing it every time like my very first time!

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post #14 of 32 Old 03-06-2018, 07:27 PM
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I can't wait to pick this up. I watched it on BBC America and just couldn't help but think how good it will look in UHD/HDR, especially the corral reefs episode.

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How well is your set's HDR calibrated ?

You may have to get the meter and calibration software out if you're not dead on ! I see Blue Planet II being better quality visually, than Planet Earth II.

After watching the new BBC Blue Planet II first episode, it was obvious my HDR calibration was off.

(Note after ejecting the Video Disc to install the new Masciola's HDR10 Patterns, then re-installing the BBC Video after the calibration, disc came up as not meeting spec. Shut everything off and back on, same error message. Ended up spraying the disk with window cleaner, then wiping dry with a soft tissue from the inside hole to the outside edge. Now it works.)

NOW, it looks great without all the luminescence requiring sunglasses. (Blue was found to be elevated when I re-calibrated.)

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post #16 of 32 Old 03-07-2018, 01:05 PM
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Nice review of an amazing documentary. BP II and PE II are equally stunning.

Footage like this is why I bought my OLED.

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post #17 of 32 Old 03-08-2018, 04:49 PM
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Amazing quality. Best viewing experience I've seen. I have new Sony 285 projector, Marantz 7704 and Stewart 130" screen in dedicated theater. Awesome.
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So a poor man's Planet Earth II ?
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Amazing quality. Best viewing experience I've seen. I have new Sony 285 projector, Marantz 7704 and Stewart 130" screen in dedicated theater. Awesome.
Incredibly lucky. Great setup.
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Incredibly lucky. Great setup.
Ii did not expect to be so engaged in BPII. It is visually stunning. And but for this movie we would never see a lot of the material. Much of it does seem to be computer generated images produced by industrial light and magic-but yet-Blue Planed 2 is proof that real life is stranger then fiction and much more colorful. And i got a sobering view of global warming, plastics destroying aquatic life and over fishing leading to starvation up the food chain. And I decided it would be financially ruinous to open a aquatic creature life insurance company.

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post #21 of 32 Old 03-13-2018, 11:21 AM
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There is a scene in the first episode, with the Manta Rays underwater leaving behind this blue essence. The narrator explains that the cameras they used to film this effect are brand new and experimental (or something to that effect.) On my display (LG OLED B7A), playing the disc on an Xbox One X, this particular scene is rather grainy. I can see artifacts all over the place. Is this the case for anyone else? Just curious.
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post #22 of 32 Old 03-13-2018, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by U-Volt View Post
There is a scene in the first episode, with the Manta Rays underwater leaving behind this blue essence. The narrator explains that the cameras they used to film this effect are brand new and experimental (or something to that effect.) On my display (LG OLED B7A), playing the disc on an Xbox One X, this particular scene is rather grainy. I can see artifacts all over the place. Is this the case for anyone else? Just curious.
Same for me with same TV. I wasn't watching super closely so I wasn't sure if it was a special camera because they were so deep water or what not. I figured it was supposed to look that way.
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post #23 of 32 Old 03-13-2018, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by U-Volt View Post
There is a scene in the first episode, with the Manta Rays underwater leaving behind this blue essence. The narrator explains that the cameras they used to film this effect are brand new and experimental (or something to that effect.) On my display (LG OLED B7A), playing the disc on an Xbox One X, this particular scene is rather grainy. I can see artifacts all over the place. Is this the case for anyone else? Just curious.
it's the natural of that specific segment, they were trying to capture the weak bio-luminescent given off by the disturbed algae/microorganism, the light is so weak I doubt you can actually see it with naked eyes in real life, and the type of camera technology that is capable of capturing that dim amount of light with less grain might not even exist yet. The opposite is easy, as demonstrated by the rest of the series, you shoot an intense artificial light source at the objects, there is no camera grain. But in that ray scene, any amount of artificial light would destroy the weakly dim bio hue, so they made a choice to tell that story with solutions offered by available methods.

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post #24 of 32 Old 03-13-2018, 03:04 PM
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it's the natural of that specific segment, they were trying to capture the weak bio-luminescent given off by the disturbed algae/microorganism, the light is so weak I doubt you can actually see it with naked eyes in real life, and the type of camera technology that is capable of capturing that dim amount of light with less grain might not even exist yet. The opposite is easy, as demonstrated by the rest of the series, you shoot an intense artificial light source at the objects, there is no camera grain. But in that ray scene, any amount of artificial light would destroy the weakly dim bio hue, so they made a choice to tell that story with solutions offered by available methods.
I assumed as much, just wanted to make sure. That part was pretty awesome, by the way!

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post #25 of 32 Old 03-18-2018, 10:55 PM
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Watching this now and it's amazing.
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Spoiler!
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post #26 of 32 Old 03-23-2018, 05:03 PM
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This is a visually stunning 4K presentation and very enlightening, I only wish it was in Dolby Atmos.

Peace and blessings,

Azeke
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Last edited by Azekecse; 03-23-2018 at 06:00 PM.
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post #27 of 32 Old 03-24-2018, 04:32 PM
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Well Ralph, once again Spot-On although I might have assessed the HDR10 evaluation closer to 100. The corals segment is absolutely breathtaking on the Sony A1. Thanks again for all your efforts! Wish You the Very Best!

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post #28 of 32 Old 03-26-2018, 10:44 PM
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Anyone else experience elevated black levels with this disc?

Playing it via an Oppo 203 into an LG C7. The picture looked amazing except in certain shots in became clear that black was more like 5% or 10% grey. Couple space shots and cuts to black were not 100% black.

My picture settings are Technicolor Expert with everything untouched (brightness/contrast/OLED light). Is it just mastered this way?
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post #29 of 32 Old 08-01-2018, 07:28 PM
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I bought this as it was cheap and wow what an amazing pq this has. Also was quite interesting documentary. I will be using this as demo to show off the projector and a guide for my calibrations.

Thank you for your review Ralph


God bless,

Frank
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God Bless,
Frank (直率的)(فرانك)(franc)(lantad)
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post #30 of 32 Old 08-02-2018, 05:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franin View Post
I bought this as it was cheap and wow what an amazing pq this has. Also was quite interesting documentary. I will be using this as demo to show off the projector and a guide for my calibrations.

Thank you for your review Ralph


God bless,

Frank
Greetings,

Great! Glad to hear that Frank. Enjoy and God Bless you as well.


Regards,
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