|Imaging Science Foundation Reference DVD
The Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) has
established a DVD citation program. ISF selects reference quality DVDs
for citation by ISF in their print media advertisements. Currently, ISF
runs ads in Stereophile Guide to Home Theater, Home Theater Magazine,
The Robb Report, and Audio-Video Interiors. The ISF Reference DVD Selection
program attempts to promote the highest quality standards for DVD
production. We hope that ISF citation will contribute to public
awareness of the differences in DVD production.
ISF is very influential in the set-up of
display devices at various professional and consumer home theater shows.
Often selection of display material is recommended to manufacturers by
ISF. ISF is dedicated to improving display standards through education
of professionals and consumers. ISF conducts private seminars and
product evaluations. Clients include Bose, Electrohome, Faroudja,
Hughes/JVC, Krell, Marantz, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, Philips, Runco,
Sharp, Texas Instruments, Toshiba, Yamaha, and others.
Participating ISF ad coop dealers display
selected ISF Reference DVDs in their showrooms as examples of reference
quality DVD production. ISF dealers are amongst the most highly
respected home theater stores in the country. We hope that by displaying
the best possible images on their showroom display devices, consumers
will understand the importance of DVD quality and support the studios
when they produce fine examples of the best of DVD reproduction.
information about ISF, please visit the web site at http://www.imagingscience.com.
Previous cited ISF
Reference DVDs are listed below with short descriptions of their visual
Chapter 10 Kevin Miller Selection
A splendid transfer in every respect, 15 Minutes never stops
delivering sparkling images with every depraved detail revealed in
gloriously garish color. Check out the explosion of color in the Times
Square scenes. Each color defines its own space brilliantly. Black
levels are dynamic in the interior fire sequences. Fire engine reds are
reflect the action with unusual brilliance. There's no enhancement
around the edges and every object is meticulously detailed. The
wonderfully active Dolby Digital 5:1 surround mix captures the ambiance
of the bustling city.
Chapters 3 & 4 Tom Norton & Stu Kobak
transfer, An Ideal Husband is alive with glorious detail as crisp
as any I've seen on DVD. Take a gander at all that jewelry. Each pearl
is finely delineated. The magnificent carpets are ablaze in complex
color patters without bleeding onto each other. Even the score
adds a droll note or two to the proceedings.
Chapters 5 & 6 Tom Norton and Stu Kobak
Dinosaur is an amazing DVD. Created directly from the
digital source material, the transfer is meticulously crafted for
instant installation in the video Pantheon. There are no harsh edges to
the wonderful images. The temptation to push and pump the image, to milk
the Dinosaur if you will, is resisted to grand effect. The world
of Dinosaur, a seamless blend of CGI and real world shots comes
to brilliant film life on this DVD. The light output is
outstanding in all circumstances, the image is as sharp as intended in
every scene. Gray scale adheres to a consistent palette, creating it's
own look for Dinosaur. The DTS sound track delivers on a par with
the stunning visuals. Deep, accurate bass thwumps measure the footsteps
of the larger dinosaurs without distortion The ferocity of the
more violent creatures sent shivers down my spine. The THX certified DVD
also provides Dolby Digital 5:1 tracks.
Fifth Element, The (Superbit
Chapters 6-9, 21-22 A Joel
Buy this DVD! Take it to an ISF dealer's showroom for a treat! The
original Fifth Element DVD was one of the best quality early titles.
Skeptics wondered if the "Superbit" edition could improve on
an already spectacular reference quality DVD. Tell them to watch this
DVD on a calibrated system and smile. Columbia Tristar Home
Entertainment calls this a "Superclear Picture." ISF
dealers can confirm that for your viewing pleasure.
Chapter 7 The Lancaster House Ball Films on Disc Selection
What a glorious DVD showcase. Color saturation and detail are
resolved with extraordinary care bringing production design and costumes
to thrilling video life. Motion artifacts are kept at bay with high bit
Hollow Man (SE)/B,A
4 Stu Kobak Selection
Look for brilliant reference images in Hollow Man.
Clarity is amazing with a breathtaking feeling of a three dimensional
world. Details are immaculately presented without the slightest evidence
of edge enhancement. Rich accurate color fully saturated
complimented by deep blacks and outstanding shadow detail. Visual punch
to spare. This is one of the best-looking DVDs I have seen. The
Dolby Digital 5:1 sound is sharply focused and presents an exciting
ambient space. Bass impact is tight.
Jurassic Park III (SE)/
Tom Norton and Films on Disc Selection
Universal delivers the DVD of
Jurassic Park III with Raptor cunning. The DTS soundtrack
explodes with powerful and accurate bass thwumps to stirring effect.
Surround details are precisely located and active. You may walk out of
the home theater with traces of dinosaur residue on you cheeks. John
Williams' music floats menacingly through the jungle growth. Jurassic
Park III is stunning visual assault. CGI advances deliver ever more
life-like creatures and this DVD transfer makes sure every byte is
resolved on the screen. Resolution is in maximum force. Colors are
dead-on accurate with excellent saturation. Shadow detail is revealing
with outstanding blacks. Even the fog is tightly delivers in this
spectacular DVD transfer.
Chapter 4 (First
2 Minutes) Stu
A winning DVD from the opening tip-off. These are
just about the sharpest images I recall seeing on DVD with no edge
ringing. Depth of image is simply amazing. The contrast and brightness
levels are eye-popping: snap, crackle and a perfect jump shot every
time. Colors are deeply saturated with no bleeding. Perfect edges all
the way. The Dolby Digital Surround is active with bass thumping rhythms
Chapter 5 Stu Kobak
It's a stunner of a
DVD. Join Miley's tour of the nether world highlighted by glossy blacks,
intense color and details sharp enough to conjure up some original
nightmares of your own. Every detail of the make-up and production
design is revealed for precise scrutiny. The museum party is a wonder of
brilliant color with a perfect sampling of purple dust. Face tones are
dead on, shadow detail in perfect balance. Monkeybone has
theatrical impact to spare. Very active and exciting surround sound is
offered up in DTS or Dolby Digital 5:1 completes the package.
Tom Norton Selection
The colorful cross section of Muppet skins and garb make for a
delightful DVD. Colors pop out with incredible pizzazz yet they don’t
lose their subtlety. Check out Gonzo’s snout for brilliant color
detail. The rose-red tones are highlighted by delicate purple fibers
creating a magnificent sunset nose Gonzo. Muppets from Space is
as sharp a DVD as you’ll ever get with no edge enhancement. The
contrast balance is handled very well. There’s plenty of pop in
the Dolby Digital 5:1 sound. One lovely kitchen explosion is a perfect
example of robust DVD combustion. The bass is tightly controlled
starting out in a chamber of air and bursting into the home theater. A
DVD of reference quality!
Chapter 18 Stu Kobak Selection
This is a stunning
transfer of a classic film. Shot in VistaVision, a big negative process,
the DVD soaks up the detail and color saturation from the transfer
elements with breathtaking precision. There was little variation
in color saturation, a problem that often plagues older three strip
Technicolor films. Look at Chapter 28 as an example of how well
this disc transfers to DVD. It's a hotel room tête-à-tête between
Grant and Saint. Saint is wearing a black dress heavily brocaded with
red flowers. The red on black is stunning. There is no hint of bleeding
between the red and black. The fabric on the lamp shade is a transfer
nightmare, yet on North by Northwest it is thoroughly stable. The
complex weave retains individual integrity. Look at the ruby necklace
worn by Saint. Each jewel maintains its own space and shape, and there's
sparkle in them.
O Brother, Where Art Thou/A,A
Chapter 10 Stu Kobak
Oh, brother, what a gorgeous transfer. The meticulously manipulated
Deakins color is delivered with perfection on this DVD. Working with a fully saturated desaturated look,
color is controlled brilliance. Check out chapter 10 when Ulysses
Everett McGill and company meet up with a trio of scantily clad ladies
pounding their wash in the river. Background golden foliage is
beautifully delineated as is the rambling river currents. Close-ups
capture wide-eyed sexual hunger. The magical golden landscape
hues are moodily luminescent. Colors are beautifully rendered, slightly
bleached, but saturated within a beautifully controlled range. Depth of
information is simply glorious. Every leaf on every tree is clearly
delineated and rock stable. You won't miss the glitter in George
Clooney's eye as he hatches a harebrain turn or two and waxed rhapsodic
about the beauties of Dapper Dan. Every course bristle of beard on John
Turturro's face is perfectly defines and each grand expression of
dumbfound recognition on Tim Blake Nelson is reduced in impact by a
fuzzy image. Shadow detail is handled like a Dutch master's painting: a
warm night glow illuminates the characters in the half shadow of
flickering fire showing off the capabilities of a properly calibrated
video system. Both DTS and Dolby Digital 5:1 surround track are
provided. The mix is aggressive yet delicately sculpted. Location music
floats heavenly in the moist dust heavy air.
Red Violin, The/B+,A
Chapters 11 & 12 Stu Kobak
There’s a striking variety
of visual material in The Red Violin DVD. Each era represented in
the omnibus structure has its own subtle color palette and little
scheme. Appropriately, the most modern segment, featured around the
elegant Montreal auction, has the brightest and slickest looking
visuals. Sharpness is consistently on the money. I was especially fond
on the range of color evident in so many ways. Look at the variety of
facial tones. They are wonderfully executed. The wood tones have
exquisite variety. You can feel the life of the violins through the
visual range. Color is outstanding on The Red Violin. There is
nothing more dramatic than marching Red Guard Maoists in the China
segment. The wood tones of the various violins on display at the auction
house are likewise a marvelous mélange of tone.
Chapters 24 & 27 Jim Burns
Chapters 24 and 27. The intense color saturation and spectacular action
in these chapters require a carefully calibrated video display to be
truly appreciated. The football and cheerleading scenes reveal details
that will challenger the resolution and color capability of your system.
This is a superb demo
because of its very good film to video transfer and super color
saturation. Chapters 23 and 24 will serve the purpose of showing off a
projectors cinematic qualities. The abundant presence of a fiery red, in
the football scenes, demonstrates the need of a display to poses the
capability of reproducing all of the SMPTE reds. If the display is
lacking in color fidelity the home team's uniforms appear orange. As an
added bonus this film is in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio so it will completely
fill most screens.
Jim Burns, ISF
Chapters 16 & 17
Tom Norton & Stu Kobak Selection
Let’s gush a bit over the quality of Shakespeare in Love and
its beautiful anamorphic DVD images. Right from the opening credits,
which pan across a thatched roof and past some rail balusters, the image
is stable and free from jitter. This is some very difficult material and
Shakespeare passes the test with royal colors. Lighting is transferred
faithfully from the warmly lit interiors to the brilliant fireworks at
the Queen’s bash. The amazing depth of color can been seen in the
magnificent costumes. The Queen’s peacock concoction at her party
comes alive in sprightly detail, capturing the gaudiness of court and
royalty with an obvious relish. With rich saturation and subtle detail
the transfer captures the glory of this colorful evocation of
Elizabethan England. The Dolby Digital 5:1 surround captures the sounds
of the street with subtle energy. The fine musical score comes to life
with due fanfare.
Shrek (SE)/ A,B+
Chapter 5 Tom Norton Selection
For an animated film, Shrek
features a huge range of lighting schemes. The DVD handles them in
smart effective fashion rendering subtle shading and shadows with
lifelike dimension. Part of Shrek's animated success is shading
incorporated into all of the character movements and the DVD duplicates
it reverently. Color is meticulously controlled. Shrek's ugly
green skin never bleeds onto blue sky backgrounds. Depth is often
remarkable. Even something as inconsequential as Farquaad's proclamation
displays amazing depth of detail in the texture of the material and the
blue F positively jumps off the sheepskin scroll. Resolution is hilly
trip. The ups are segments when the animation is transferred with
splendid resolve, but unfortunately the soft focus downs prevent Shrek
from reaching reference heights. The Dreamworks package provides a
choice between DTS and Dolby Digital sound. The DTS version is bravura
sonic recording. The bass is controlled to magical effect. The
impact of the dragon's wings moving air is incredible. Ambience is
created with precise location of sounds, yet an airy feeling
Troopers (SE)/ A-,A
Chapter 3 Stu Kobak and Tom Norton
is one great bounty of a DVD, chuck full of extras, and produced with
the attention to detail that is a reflection of the dedication that went
in to making the film. The images are pristine is all their gory parts,
detailing with retching accuracy the blood and guts of war. The vivid
colors are bright and accurate. Digital effects blend splendidly with
live action. Night scenes burst with snap and glitter. The Dolby 5:1
surround is equally terrific, providing sonic blasts to accompany the
Chapter 19 Tom
Chapter 19 on this well crafted DVD has intricate
details and a combination of subtle and saturated colors.
Toy Story 2/A,A
1, 2 & 3 Stu Kobak Selection
is the best way to describe the magnificent Toy Story 2 DVD.
Depth of detail is nothing short of amazing. There is no edge
enhancement in this perfectly sharp DVD. The color range is rich and
vivid, yet never loses subtlety. Several scenes, unusually dark for
animation, capture an extraordinary warmth. Deep blacks shine without
being compressed. Edge to edge focus is perfect. There's theatrical
punch to spare with a fine contrast range. The Dolby Digital 5:1
Surround is outstanding, with all the clunks and plunks in the right
places and the musical numbers lively with outstanding sound
Training Day (SE)/B+,A
Chapters 3 and 18 Stu Kobak Selection
The details and depth of the
blacks are beautiful if your system is properly set up. Crafted in high
bit rate, these scenes are fabulous for demonstrating the black level
capability of CRT driven systems--And the significant advances of the
past twelve months in Plasma and DLP technologies. Warner Brothers did a
fabulous job with this DVD!
Chapter 21 Shane Buettner Selection
A treat for your eyes! This
chapter will take your system to its limits. Skeptics wondered if the
"Superbit" edition could improve on an already spectacular
quality DVD. Tell them to watch this DVD on an ISF calibrated system and
smile. Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment calls this a "Superclear
Picture". ISF dealers can confirm that for your viewing pleasure.
World (SE) /B,A
Chapters 9 & 19
Stu Kobak Selection
Transferring from pristine source material, Paramount delivers Wayne's
World to DVD in an explosion of carnival colors. Intense reds,
shocking blues and eye-popping shades of green maintain their individual
space immaculately. Blacks have a beautiful range; they glisten at night
reflecting the bright party lights of the heavy metal bar. Talk about
theatrical punch, Wayne's World pops off the screen with terrific
contrast range. Interior is varied lighting situations reveal background
details perfectly. Image is consistently sharp with no evident
artificial enhancement. You'll catch the twinkle in Garth's eye. The
Dolby Digital 5:1 surround mix is very good. Excellent directionality
and front stage depth adds the last dimension to bringing Wayne's
World to life on DVD.
the DVD MIA symbol for profiles of DVDs missing in action.
Add films to the DVD MIA Master List by filling out a simple form. Click Here
Lady Eve, The
Wonderful classic comedy from writer/director Preston Sturges. Henry
Fonda and Barbara Stanwyck star.
Selections from the Feature Archive
include articles on Akira Kurosawa, Blonde Bimbos,
Frank Darabont, Steven
Herzfeld or Vietnam: The Hollywood Pariah, and many
A line-up of lean-lipped
actresses who marched through Hollywood in a high heeled goose step
armed with razor sharp dialogue. Click on the image to read all about
Robert A. Harris
Tilting at Hollywood
He's part of the dynamic duo that restored Lawrence of Arabia,
Spartacus, My Fair Lady and Vertigo. Harris rides a white horse into the
for the cause of preserving our film legacy. Click on the image to read
Transferring Zoetrope's Vision
American Zoetrope's Technical Director Kim Aubry talks about bringing
the studios product out in the best light. Click on the image for the
An interview with WAMO's DVD
Compressionist Jim Babinski explores transferring video to DVD.
Was it the best year ever for great
films? Click on the bottle for more.
DVD packaging can be the bane of the
collector. Click on Rants and Raves for more.
The DVD Package
Calibrations in the Tristate New York area. Lots of hardware info
and frequent hardware peaks from video expert Kevin Miller.They may be
judgmental, but that's the point, isn't it. Lots of DVD reviews plus
news and more.
ISF Instructor. Premier calibrator and expert front projection system
setup technician in the Boston area.
Have you visited Home Theater Talk lately? One of
the friendliest places on the Net for Home Theater and DVD discussion,
you can get help for installation problems or simply share your opinions
with other Vidiots.
Images is a non-commercial Web site created for everyone who enjoys
movies and popular culture. Images is published quarterly; however, new
reviews will appear each week, so check back often.
The DVD Forum is an international
association of hardware manufacturers, software firms and other users of
Digital Versatile Discs (the "DVD Format"), created for the
purpose of exchanging and disseminating ideas and information about the
DVD Format and its technical capabilities, improvements and innovations.
Brad Lang continues to add more interesting
material to the extensive collection at Classic
Movies. Everything from actors and actress to your
favorite directors is linked at the site.
The home of John Tisch's invaluable Poster Price Almanac. Every
serious poster collector uses the Almanac as a reference.
The National Film
Preservation Foundation (NFPF) is
the nonprofit organization created by the U.S. Congress to save
America's film heritage.
Find reams of movie and DVD
reviews at the Movie Review Query Engine, a index of reviews appearing
on the Internet.
Gary Morris's insightful publication Bright Lights Film
Journal turns the celluloid in films from a unique perspective.
Click on the image above for more pure movie views.
The Movie Poster Archive includes extensive poster
images from the films of stars like Susan Hayward, Kirk Douglas,
Katharine Hepburn and many more. Our featured star is John Wayne
Selections from the Feature Archive
include articles on Akira Kurosawa, Frank Darabont, Blonde Bimbos, Hollywood Street Gangs, or Vietnam: The Hollywood Pariah, and many
Sophia mi Amore: That's what I thought the first time I saw one of
the screen's sexiest women in Boy on a Dolphin. Maybe not in those
words, but you get the idea. For a look a Sophia's career from one
perspective, click on her image. Includes a selection of posters from
Click on the image above for a "dream interview" with
director John Ford.