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Motion artifacts in the Blu Ray due to poor 24p conversion
on December 2, 2011
Many of the reviews have already gone over the casting and performances in this concert, so my review will concentrate SOLELY on the motion artifacts inherent in this BluRay.
Though I haven't read all the reviews on Amazon for Les Miserables: The 25th Anniversary Concert Blu Ray, I haven't seen anyone mentioning the odd (and to me, very distracting) video motion artifacts in this BluRay presentation.
There is a motion artifact that severely blurs the image (most obvious with movement) at regular intervals throughout this BluRay. It occurs at regular periodic intervals of approximately 1/3 - 1/2 of a second. Most of the time, the video quality is quite pristine with good clarity and sharpness, especially in close-ups and when the performers are relatively still/stationary. Unfortunately, there are lots of panning shots in this production, and of course, the performers aren't completely stationary. When there is movement, the motion artifacts are noticeable and it blurs the image so much as to present a doubled image.
After reviewing it again and again, I've determined that the artifact is not caused by the display chain but is inherent in the BluRay. To dispel any doubts, my display chain accepts and displays 1080/24p, and has no problems with any of the other 100+ 24p BluRays in my collection. The motion artifact is not caused by the display chain. A simple test to determine that it is not an artifact of telecine 3:2 pulldown judder in the display chain (as from a display chain incapable of reproducing 1080/24p)is to pause the movie and advance it frame-by-frame.
I can see the image go from clear and sharp frames as I advance frame-by-frame, to blurry and doubled at the exact same specific frames in paused images, and it's possible to see the transition in panning shots, going from clear (with only the normal very slight inherent blurring due to the exposure times) to the double imaged, blurry mess at regular intervals as I advance frame-by-frame. Obviously, the sharper and larger the display, the more obvious these artifacts are.
One of the scenes in which this can be seen quite obviously is at 45:00 during 'Master Of The House'. Beginning exactly at that time, there is a panning shot centered on Thenardier. Because he is centered in the shot, the motion artifacts are not as immediately obvious on him, however I can see them quite obviously on the performers sitting on the benches in the background to the left of him on the screen. Watch them as the camera pans past him and you can see the people on the bench blur into doubled images at regular intervals of about 1/2 a second.
Unfortunately, the motion artifacts are not restricted solely to the background. Another example is in the scene where the bishop has just given Jean Valjean the candlesticks, as the camera pans up Valjean, he blurs visibly three times in the short time it takes to pan up from his waist to his face.
It appears to be some sort of conversion artifact. It would appear that Soho Transfer (the company that converted the footage from the HD master to 24p) is responsible for this screw up.
I just thought it might help some folks considering this purchase to avoid disappointment by being aware of this ahead of time. The music of Les Miserables is of course, one of the main draws and reasons for purchasing this, but if it were the sole reason, I could have just stuck with the soundtrack on CD (not considering the differences in audio quality between CD and BluRay formats).