The OFFICIAL STNG Next Level Bluray watch and review thread

Discussion in 'The Next Generation' started by RAMA, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. roliver

    roliver Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Hopefully there is still time to send someone on this project to a beginner's class in typography. The lack of proper quotes on the episode titles and credits is glaringly bad. For all the work and effort they put into this I can't fathom how something so simple couldn't be done properly.
     
  2. 22 Stars

    22 Stars Commodore Commodore

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    What is wrong with the quotes and the credits? That the quotation marks aren't italicized to your liking?
     
  3. Trekker4747

    Trekker4747 Boldly going... Premium Member

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    Yeah, they looked the same to me as the originals.

    I've not watched "The Inner Light" yet. It's honestly not an episode I'm gung-ho over and think another episode could've been chosen to show things off for this set but it is a highly acclaimed episode.

    After watching EaF and Sins of the Father I was just greatly impressed with the episodes' looks. I mean wow. I do think the CGI matte at the opening of Sins looks odd. I don't know what it is just something about the way the stars are moving but the ships are still? It just looks off. Hopefully it's a shit that'll be mended/redone when the S3 set comes out.

    I also think the rainbow stars in the warp-out shot look odd as well they're too obviously fake if that makes any sense. They should've replaced the warp-stars with the look used in Voyager as well as the "warp flash" when the ship jumps to warp. (Rather than the giant flash that consumes most of the screen even though the ship has warped into the distance.)

    But, on the whole, I think everything looks good. After watching "Sins" I watched the other episodes in the Worf arc on DVD and, ugh. It's hard to watch.

    Also, on the BD I had to watch it in 4:3 as the various settings for filling the screen on my TV didn't "stretch" the picture right (on DVD the edges are stretched more than the center). I don't exactly like doing that due to unevenly wearing the TV, but I guess it's also not too big of a deal. I'd still rather have the OAR of 4:3 than the show being artificially made into 16:9 or by using a wider frame which might show elements of production. (Hell, that already happens a few too many times in the series as it is!)

    It's going to be a loooooooooooooooong-assed wait for this series to complete its release to BD. But, man, these episodes do look fantastic and they're likely very much a work in progress.
     
  4. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    OK here is my proper review:

    STNG: Encounter at Farpoint:

    Alien entity Q captures the E-D and puts the crew on trial for the crimes of humanity as they explore the mystery of Farpoint Station.

    Encounter at Farpoint as an episode is somewhere towards the lower third of the pack in my series ratings. The one main reason I can point to this is the obvious stitching they had to do to convert it from a one hour episode to a 2 hour pilot. There is a good amount of filler material, some of which is successful in it's own right, but overall leaves a dis-satisfied feeling after watching the episode, even though there is no real disastrous element present. If the episode were paced properly, the crew would have been furiously doing an NSA type investigation on the planet's surface, while the tension and sense of urgency would have been ratcheted up as this very serious threat to humanity (extinction no less) was addressed. Instead, the crew is busy doing everything from joking with other captains to lounging around a mall. Q even has to scold Picard on this lack of focus. Perhaps this was an in-joke planted by the writers. The stretched out mystery isn't a big mystery (at least to the audience--we kind of assume matter transmutation is possible in our fiction) but the moment the two lovers meet is sensitive and fairly emotional. All this time I thought the male saved the female, and it was the other way around!! Despite qualms, much of the appeal of this new take on Trek was there already.

    As a pilot it goes, its does a fair job of introducing us to familiar, but new aspects of the ST universe. The characters are given a few basic backgrounds, but nothing that couldn't have been told off-stage. We never really were given much of an "origin" type episode for the STNG crew, though you could put All Good Things together with this pilot and get a sketchy view of it. That's fine with me, such episodes are often tedious. The Enterprise and it's tech fares better. We already know about the battle bridge, saucer separation, warp speed capabilities, where it's headed and what the mission is. We know there are children on board, and the the holodeck will keep our crew occupied for the long duration missions.

    The cast seems mixed at this point, Crusher and Picard's dynamic could have been interesting, but they never followed up on it enough later in the series. Fair enough, there's a few heated moments in the pilot that come off well. Riker and Troi's love affair should have been excised. Troi is like a whimpering puppy, and Riker basically leaves her jilted. Geordi is likable but doesn't get much to do. Worf really gets physically noticed, but ultimately the interest is knowing that future tales will be more revealing. The two characters that come off best are a slightly grumpy but commanding Picard, and the intriguing android, Data. Instead of being a re-tread of Spock, his curiosity makes him like an eager cat...always with ears perked for something to discover. Spiner is a breakout star of the show. Riker possibly pulls up just behind Data and Picard...he gets more air time than just about anyone, he was expected to be the big lead success of the show. Frakes does a decent job. The two weaker characters are Troi and Yar...partly in the writing, partly from execution...someone told them to play it brooooaad. Both characters improved, but Crosby was never a good actress in my opinion.

    The production design of course was pretty large scale for tv at the time, though a few creative choices made it seem less realistic than it could have been. The FX are top notch, even though the TV style has turned to dark, contrasty, high motion shots where you can't see much, the E-D, planets and new CGI FX look spectacular.

    The remastering: The 1st season episode had less grain appearance than the two following episodes and was nothing less that amazing. It had a crisp cinematic style. The new digital FX that replace the originals stay very close to the SD choices. It's incredible that the sets manage to hold up under such scrutiny. The idea that the TOS sets/production look less dated than STNG is ridiculous. The HD pilot really presents this emphatically. What else can be said, they accomplished what they set out to do.

    Episode rating: ***1/2 out of 5
    Remastered rating: ***1/2
    Picture: *****
    Sound: ****1/2
    Production: ****
    FX: ****

    RAMA
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012
  5. Maxwell Everett

    Maxwell Everett Commodore Commodore

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    Farpoint Audio Glitch?

    Is anyone else hearing a slight audio glitch on "Encounter at Farpoint"? It's only on the 7.1 DTS-HD MA track, the 2.0 DTS-HD MA appears to be fine.

    It's during chapter 4 at 20:40 when Troi says to Picard, "I don't understand either, but this is real." It happens during the word "understand". Just want to make sure it's not my disc alone... and hopefully get this out there so the problem is resolved on the Season 1 set.
     
  6. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Farpoint Audio Glitch?

    Sins of the Father:

    Worf's younger brother makes a surprise visit to the Enterprise, and leads Worf to the Klingon homeworld, to defend the honor of his family name.

    The episode that started it all...the Klingon civil war saga, the Duras family, Gowron and much more Klingon Shakespearean drama. The episode itself starts out rather slowly, Kurn is both annoyingly and amusingly a fish out of water, putting the crew through Klingon's rigid code while feeling out his older brother. The final reveal of just who he is is effective, with mixed conflict and argument. The political intrigue that follows often is less interesting to outside fans the Trekkers, but I enjoy it. Layers are revealed, other survivors come forth. Picard is drawn into the personal struggle, over and beyond his original official Starfleet efforts. There are assassination attempts galore, and then final a truth is revealed, only to be followed by one of the better scenes of surprise in Trek history...there is no easy way out, no one episode wrap-up. The challenge by Worf could never have succeeded. I was quite surprised back in 1990. The neat wrap up at the end in the face of certain execution may be the only weakness of the episode, but I suppose it fits the purposes of the series, and continues in the even better sequel episode "Reunion".

    Excellent acting by all concerned. I love when the crew plays detective, as when they find Khalest and the errors in the time index system. Kampek comes off perfectly as a pawn to Klingon politics, but still retains enough honor to be respectable. Picard again commands the episode, he is noticed even surrounded by such loud and flamboyant Klingons.

    The art direction won an award here...granted the design is good, but it's not shot particularly well. The episode is rather enclosed, even the Klingon sets are small. The old matte painting is a revelation in the HD format but doesn't add much to the scope.

    Remastering: The HD transfer is clearer, brighter, but there is a bit too much grain. I know the logic behind leaving it there, but hopefully they will use some noise reduction for the season 1 discs. Aside from the obvious great picture, the HD bluray edition doesn't add much to the quality of the overall episode. The Klingon BoP and planet FX are quite an improvement. Back in the original airing, this episode lacked some sound FX, but I am now realizing they were added back in the DVDs, and probably expanded for the 7.1 surround mix.

    Episode rating: ***** out of 5
    Remastered rating: *****
    Picture: ****
    Sound: ****1/2
    Production: ****
    FX: ****
     
  7. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Farpoint Audio Glitch?

    The Inner Light:

    Picard's mind is taken over by an alien probe, and is forced to live a whole lifetime in only 20 minutes.

    An extremely good episode, even brilliant, though not completely flawless. The solution resorted to be the residents of Kataan to preserve their world in desperation is a creative, even artistic one. While one could raise some moral issues on their methods, its a case where going with the flow produced some innocent results, and no real harm was done, save perhaps to Picard's psyche. It's debatable how their roughly late 20th century technology produced such an advanced probe...you could explain that maybe they spent their entire technological effort on this one project rather than on the hopelessness of atmospheric condensers and other water conserving techniques. Whatever the reason, it seems natural that a society would want to be known somehow, and carrying this memory on in a living person's mind is poetic. The flute packed away in the probe is the final cap to a touching episode. I think it's easy to feel Picard's disjointed loss of another lifetime, in the same way that you may feel the loss of paths not taken in your own life.

    Obviously this is a classic, an award winner and a great choice for the bluray. It's not a showcase for FX, it's just a damn good story that flexes STNG's writing muscle.

    The production design is staggering. All the outdoor scenes were created indoors, the lighting, the photography is terrific.

    The remastering: A mixed bag...the episode has a vivid color and clarity that the DVD lacked...I rewatched the DVD synched to the bluray as a comparison...BUT...it took a huge amount of tinkering with the tv and bluray player's settings to get this episode to not show so much film grain!! I found a happy medium, but this needs to be corrected in the future discs! The new digital matte was as good as we saw in previews.

    Episode rating: ***** out of 5
    Remastered rating: *****
    Picture: ***1/2
    Sound: ****1/2
    Production: *****
    FX: ****

    RAMA
     
  8. Maxwell Everett

    Maxwell Everett Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Farpoint Audio Glitch?

    They probably have already. But my personal opinion is that they should absolutely not use any (or any further) noise reduction than what we see here on this sampler disc. On the original camera negative, the grain isn't really noise, it's the actual picture information -- the silver halide crystals (or grains) that were exposed to light. This is the way film looks. I say, keep the fine detail. :techman:
     
  9. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Farpoint Audio Glitch?

    I had to use the multiple techniques at my command: both the visual settings on the bluray and tv to get these to look decent. Some grain is fine, but the episode was so bright, it was just too obvious.

    RAMA
     
  10. GalaxyX

    GalaxyX Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    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.
     
  11. LitmusDragon

    LitmusDragon Commodore Commodore

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    Watching it now!

    lol, I forgot that one of the first things that the French captain does is surrender. :lol:
     
  12. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    I always loved the "high" shot of the E-D from underneath...it made a convincing angle to show the height of orbital distance.

    I thought the grid looked better, but could also have been improved.

    Most if not all the Farpoint shots are shots of the model.

    :lol: I thought the the BoP shot at the beginning of Sins looked even better than the still image.

    Ditto on the disappointing film grain.

    RAMA
     
  13. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    It is amusing, but I've given this some thought before, it's really a credit to Picard that he sized up the situation, and realized just how outmatched they were, and resorted to discussion and bargaining quickly. You could compare Worf and Yar, who were like the TOS crew, or Kirk...who tried to attack Trelane and annoy him rather than talk first.

    RAMA
     
  14. Takeru

    Takeru Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    We don't know the genders or if these beings even have genders. Maybe they're both the same gender, you can't assume one is male and one is female just because they're blue and pink respectively.
     
  15. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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  16. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    Technically true, we don't know genders, they just called them mates...mates assumes some sort of sexual reproduction between the two or the capability of it. If they were the same gender this would be less likely, even with aliens.

    RAMA
     
  17. Takeru

    Takeru Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    But calling them mates was just an assumption, doesn't mean they were planning to fly to the next moon and make jellyfish babies in a crater.

    I'm not saying they're not a male and a female, it's just as likely as every other possibility, but I really don't like the idea that the girl is pink and the boy blue, that's such a 20th century earth thing. It could only have been worse if they put the female in a skirt. :rommie:
     
  18. LitmusDragon

    LitmusDragon Commodore Commodore

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    "Oh no, number one, I'm sure most of them will be much more interesting."

    Well ... yeah. :lol:

    I only was only able to watch Farpoint tonight but I was really impressed. The episode was better than I'd remembered it. Perhaps the leap to HD made it more watchable, or something. I'm not sure. I think it did a pretty good job on establishing the characters (especially Riker and Picard). Troi figured pretty prominently but it was weird seeing her here because she was changed quite a bit later. I think the key was to have her report emotions, not live them out, which they eventually figured out (and her clinical nature later figured into the best Troi episode "The Loss" in later seasons but I digress). This is certainly the best this episode has ever looked by a wide margin. Great start.

    Some more thoughts ... I loved, loved, LOVED seeing the Enterprise-D in HD. The space shots made me giddy. It was neat hearing the Ferengi name-dropped so early in the series, which I'd forgotten about. The battle bridge is a cool set and it's a shame we didn't see more of it on the series because it looks great here. Colm Meany is in the background of this episode quite a bit which made me nostalgic for DS9. He's just "all business", even here in what is more or less a cameo.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2012
  19. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    Oh I'm not saying pink and blue for my own assumption, only that pink and blue are stereotypical colors used by people for genders, and that may very well be the objective of the ILM people and Image G in creating it that way.

    RAMA
     
  20. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    One thing I noticed over the years, the pacing of the episode was generally more brisk than I originally remembered it, and made the episode more watchable in repeat viewings.

    RAMA