I got my BD!!! I got my BD!!!!
Rama is doing a great job of reviewing the episodes as a whole, so I will concentrate on reviewing the quality of the HD.
As a little bit of background, I sort of "cheated" with my original DVD's. I used to play them in VLC and correct the contrast and saturation of the episodes while watching them on my TV (a 51" Plasma). The reason you need to know this, is because this affected the way I perceived the episodes when I watched them, we'll get to that.
When I loaded the BD in my BD Player and I selected EaF, the first thing that blew me completely away was how crisp and clear the Earth looked like as it was zooming by, and when the Enterprise showed up on the screen, I literally burst out laughing at the insane quality of the picture that was before my eyes. It felt like when you turn up a game from a resolution of 640x480 to 1920x1080. That's how different it was to me. I realised how awesome that 6' model was, to have that level of detail that could easily have been used in a big budget big screen film if they wanted to.
Every space shot outside the Enterprise looked nothing short of spectacular!! My 3 gripes with these shots were:
1. The Q energy grid looked better, but still looked fake. I wish they would have texturized it a little bit more.
2. The higher quality of the shots only points to how badly some of those scenes needed to be updated with a reimagining. Example: The shot of the Enterprise feeding the Jellyfish creature looks really cleaned up and properly tone mapped. However, the angle is horrendous. Many other shots suffer the same problem. Basically, after the first 20 mins of being awed at the higher quality, I started to feel everything looked the same old same old, but in "HD", and some of that magical feeling was lost.
3. I had a quick glance to see what they did with the phaser beam shots, and I'm sad to see that they still exhibit that slow "piss beam" style, but at least they look a bit more colorful.
Now as for the quality of the acted scenes. Well, the better contrast and color saturation didn't really affect me, because I was already manually doing that to my old DVD episodes via computer, so I lost out on seeing that "difference" like others will here.
However, I did easily notice that the sharpness was much better, and it made the scenes seems more natural than in the original recordings. The difference was not as big to me. It felt like going from 640x480 to 1024x768. Still a noticeable difference, but not nearly as noticeable as the actual outside FX shots. I feel they are jarring sometimes, going from a grainy inside theme to an almost perfectly crisp outside shot.
Speaking of grain, I don't know if this is due to the original negatives, but some areas of the episode have horrible grainyness, and others look spectacular. At first I thought it was a difference between dark and bright scenes, but I noticed some dark scenes looked great, and some looked very grainy.
Also the scenes of the Farpoint Station looked like enhanced matte paintings, but they still looked like matte paintings. The rocks in particular looked paintbrushed.
Overall I thought the episode did a spectacular job with presenting the HD aspect, but because it was a weak episode in the series, some of the HD treatment simply helps to make it even more obvious to its weaknesses.
I also saw SofF, and I was underwhelmed by the beginning static shot. It looked much better in the screenshot someone posted here than watching it in the actual episode.
To contrast, the matte shots of the Klingon city actually looked spectacular. I thought they would look fake, but they look real enough. The episode suffers from the same grainy sections, and in some places looks washed out. At first I thought I had caught on to the 13 second "upscaled" bit, but there were way more than 13 seconds of washed out portions in the episode, so I can't really tell which part, if any, was the upscaled portion.
I only skimmed thru The Inner Light and noticed the following things:
1. The grainyness in the entire episode is turned up twice as bad as the other episodes, sometimes 3 times as bad, to the point of being distracting. In the other episodes, it was only certain portion that suffered it. This episode seems to have grain in its entire length.
2. The coloured starfield looks way too fake. I would have kept the stars as white streaks like they had in EaF, they looked 10 times better.
3. Some shots have that 4 footer, and I was never a huge complainer about it until today. Watching it in HD makes it stick out like a horribly disfigured thumb. Other shots have a CGI recreation of the 6 footer. It look 90% close, but you can tell it's much smoother than the actual 6 foot model. In fact, the 6 foot model in EaF looks like extremely well done CGI (I know it's not, but it looks it), while the one here looks like a lesser detailed CGI model. It's not a huge deal though.
Well that's all I got for now.