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UFO Blu-ray Discs from Japan!

last updated December 5, 2014
(added more night scene Blu-ray/DVD comparisons)

In Japan, Geneon Universal released UFO on Blu-ray disc on December 5, 2012.

Release details:

Here are some publicity photos from Geneon Universal:

Blu-ray vs. DVD Comparison

UFO already looks great on DVD, so the obvious question is, how much better could it be on Blu-ray? Let's compare these Blu-ray discs to the Carlton (UK) DVDs. First of all, lets look at cases where they are obviously using the original 35mm camera negatives as the film source -- which is the most of the time. For these, the Blu-rays mostly show a definite improvement over the DVDs:

In some scenes, the Blu-rays have a "color-cast" - for example, in REFLECTIONS IN THE WATER, most everything in the SHADO HQ scenes seem to be some shade of beige. The DVDs have better color in these scenes:

Some scenes are not taken from the original camera negatives, but rather are taken from film created by an optical printer. These are during commerical/scene fades, opening credits, car driving sequences filmed inside the studio, etc. For these, the Blu-rays usually have less detail, an increase in grain, and lots of visible "dirt" on the film. The quality drop on the DVDs isn't as noticable, and it's obvious there was more "image cleanup" done for the DVDs:

The credit sequence in THE CAT WITH TEN LIVES is particularly bad, with the Blu-ray having crushed blacks, a greenish color-cast, and less visible around the edges compared to the DVDs. Presumably the Blu-rays are based on poorer-quality film source materials than were used for the DVDs:

In THE LONG SLEEP, the flashback sequences are supposed to be sepia-tinted. The DVDs do this correctly. The Blu-rays do not. Evidently, this tinting was not done in-camera, so are not part of the orginal camera negatives. However, whoever did the transfer should have looked at a broadcast print to see what these scenes are supposed to look like!

And here is a major problem -- although almost all of the Blu-ray is in the original 4:3 aspect ratio, there is at least one 45-second stretch in ORDEAL (from 22:15 to 23:00) where everything is 16:9! (with the picture filling the screen, and some of the original image cropped off the top and bottom):

Here is a comparison of some night scenes in THE PSYCHOBOMBS. On the left, we have a studio shot (with the background added as an optical effect), and it looks very dark outside. On the right, we have something that was obviously filmed during the daytime, but is pretending to be night. There is quite a difference in how the shots on the right were handled between the Blu-rays and the DVDs.

And here are more comparisons of night scenes (filmed during the day, but supposed to be darkened in the lab) from FLIGHT PATH, THE PSYCHOBOMBS, and THE SOUND OF SILENCE... in all cases, the Blu-rays are more like "daytime" than the DVD's.

Another problem (although I image that most people won't really care about this). There are two episodes -- CONFETTI CHECK A-OK and THE PSYCHOBOMBS -- that did not use the regular opening title sequence when they first broadcast. The DVDs do this correctly. The Blu-rays do not -- they feature the opening title sequence on all 26 episodes.

External Links

Here is a link to Geneon Universal's web page with information about the UFO Blu-ray discs (plus Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds, in Japanese).

Here is a YouTube video from Geneon Universal advertising this release:

Here is a listing on the Japanese website where you can purchase this.

Here is a listing on the CD Japan website where you can purchase this.

Here is a listing on the HMV Japan website where you can purchase this.

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