Enough geological wordplay — suffice it to say, this transfer rocks
This article contains several comparisons which contrast Universal’s 2010 Blu-ray transfer with the new Arrow Video restoration. The frames aren’t necessarily exact matches, but should give a solid indication of the visual differences.
Arrow Video recently released Tremors on 4K UHD, alongside new a standard Blu-ray edition.
Tremors first arrived on a terrible-looking Universal Blu-ray in 2010, and prior to that was released as an HD-DVD (2007). A much-improved transfer with less DNR smearing later released as part of the “Tremors Attack Pack” collection (2013), which is the version I own and used in this comparison, so this is a best-versions comparison. Building on a prior comparison made by Blu-ray.com, here’s a three-way comparison of 2010/2013/2020 — with credit to Blu-ray.com for the 2010 and 2013 images.
THE COMPARISONS (2013 to 2020)
The differences are very consistent throughout these two presentations — Arrow’s new restoration features greater detail, finer grain and color subtlety, while mitigating the older transfer’s harsher artificial sharpening and contrast.
Please note that, as I don’t have the means to capture the 4K disc, the Blu-ray version of Arrow’s disc was used for this article. While both formats use the same restoration, the actual 4K disc has a higher true resolution and color palette than what is captured here.
Detail and resolution
Kevin Bacon’s hair — now more feathery.
The massive difference in resolution consistently gives Arrow’s restoration much finer grain where the older transfer had splotchy and noisy. This is evident throughout in the film’s open skies, but in this shot you can also see a massive difference in the rocks which now look far more natural (like… actual rocks).
Intrusive image processing and contrast manipulation on the original transfer give the image an artificial sharpness, but also the halo effect evident with edge enhancement. I know this is a lesser understood artifact so I’ll point out a few examples.
In the image directly below, there’s a bright halo around the tank and pipework, most noticeably at the contour against the grey sky.
There’s noticeable ringing around all the characters in this shot — observe Fred Ward’s knee and Kevin Bacon’s shoulders.
Brightness and Color
This particular shot is quite telling. The billowing dust looks much finer now, but also notice the window shows a much clearer, more detailed image of the foliage rather than just a… black blotch against a white slate.
Here’s another example of a background window showing a subtler color gradient rather than a massive whiteout.
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Except where noted, all 16:9 screen images in this review are direct captures from the disc(s) in question with no editing applied, but may have compression or resizing inherent to file formats and Medium’s image system. All package photography was taken by the reviewer.