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Bram Stoker's Dracula cover

Blu-ray Reviews: Bram Stoker's Dracula

Not previously published
Last updated 27 June 2009

Bram Stoker's Dracula
1993 - Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Australia
Director: Francis Ford Coppola
Starring: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Richard E. Grant, Cary Elwes, Bill Campbell, Sadie Frost, Tom Waits, Monica Bellucci, Michaela Bercu and Florina Kendrick

Movie: 3.5 Picture: 2.5 Sound: 3.5 Extras: 4

Running time: 127 minutes
Picture: 1.85:1, 1080p24, MPEG4 AVC @ 22.94Mbps
Sound: English: 16 bit, 48kHz LPCM 5.1 @ 4,608kbps; English, French, Czeck, Hungarian, Polish< Russian: Dolby Digital 3/2.1 @ 640kbps; Commentary: Dolby Digital 2/0.0 @ 192kbps
Subtitles: English, English-SHD, French, Spanish, Dutch, Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, English (Commentary), French (Commentary), Spanish (Commentary), Dutch (Commentary), Korean (Commentary), Portuguese (Commentary)
Extras: Introduction by Francis Ford Coppola (1080p24, MPEG4 AVC, DD 2.0 @ 192kbps - 4 mins); Twelve Deleted Scenes (480i60, MPEG2, DD 2.0 @ 192kbps - 29 mins); Four Featurettes (1080p24, MPEG4 AVC, DD 2.0 @ 192kbps 73 mins); Teaser Trailer (1080p24, MPEG2, DD 2.0 @ 192kbps - 1 min); Theatrical Trailer (1080p24, MPEG2, DD 5.1 @ 640kbps - 3 mins); Trailer: 'Coming to Blu-ray' (1080p24, MPEG2, DD 5.1 @ 640kbps - 1 min); Trailer: 'Ghost Rider' (1080p24, MPEG2, DD 5.1 @ 640kbps - 3 mins); 7669 Test Patterns (1080p24, MPEG2 - 1 min)
Restrictions: Rated M (Australian rating); Region Free

This is the video bitrate graph for this movie, generated by BDInfo 0.5.2:

Dracula video bitrate graph

No review as yet

Comparison: Blu-ray vs PAL DVD

Here are some comparisons between the PAL 'Superbit' DVD and the Blu-ray version of this movie. At the top of each is the full frame (suitably shrunk down) used in the comparison, with a 250 pixel wide detail from the frame underneath. The left side is from the PAL DVD. The image was captured digitally from the disc, scaled up from its native 720 by 576 resolution to 1,024 by 576 (to present in the correct aspect ratio), and then, in order to be comparable to the Blu-ray version, from that to 1,920 by 1,080. The detail is from that last scaled version, and has not been rescaled again. The right side is from the Australian Blu-ray. This has not been scaled at all. Different applications were used to capture the two frames, so I am not normally comfortable comparing the colour between the two, merely the detail and sharpness. However there are overwhelming differences in the darkness of many scenes, apparently as a result of the director's tweaking and restoration for this release. For those visitors from NTSC lands, generally the PAL DVD is just a touch sharper than the NTSC DVD.

In general, there simply isn't much of an impression of increased sharpness or detail with the Blu-ray over the Superbit DVD. But there is a clear reduction in noise. Noted the reduced motting on the wall to the left, and lack of ghosting at the right of the window:

Comparison 1

The face is pretty much identical, but the red fabric of the shoulder is smoother on Blu-ray:

Comparison 2

Again, it's the reduction in noise that makes a huge difference here. Just look at the foilage. The hair colour is greatly improved as well, and this is a difference also obvious while watching the two discs on the same playback system:

Comparison 3

Note how much darker the Blu-ray is here, with little obvious improvement in detail:

Comparison 4

The Blu-ray looks a little sharper, and lighter here. Actually, on the big screen this is one of the few visually impressive scenes:

Comparison 5

Again, the Blu-ray is dark, but the Superbit DVD shows compression artefacts around the characters, in the form of noise:

Comparison 6

© 2002-2008, Stephen Dawson