The BFI responds to La Belle et la Bête Blu-ray encode concerns

The BFI has issued an official statement regarding technical issues with its recent Blu-ray release of Jean Cocteau’s 1946 fantasy masterpiece La Belle et la Bête.

As we reported in our review (see HCC290, on sale now), the AVC 1.37:1-framed 1080p encode on the BFI’s otherwise extremely impressive Blu-ray suffers from an encoding issue that results in visible macro-blocking in darker scenes. Following extensive testing, the BFI has now released the following update…

‘As many of you know, our initial pressing of La Belle et la Bête on Blu-ray unfortunately contained some visible compression artefacts in some of the darker areas of the image. For this reason we have re-encoded and re-authored the disc to make sure that the video quality represents the best that the format can achieve. We are pleased to say that we have now resolved this issue and will be offering a replacement disc programme. Details on how to get a replacement disc will follow shortly.’

‘For those interested in the technical side: The existing version suffers from quantization artefacts in the dark areas resulting in the blocking problems that some people have seen. For people watching in brighter rooms, their irises will be closed down and they won't be able to see into the darker areas of the picture, so to some viewers it will look fine. But in darkened cinema-like conditions with irises opened all the way up in dim light, the errors will be visible. That's especially so on OLED displays since they can produce true zero black and therefore have to stretch the available shades over a wide array of light output levels.’

‘The BFI appreciates everyone’s patience whilst we’ve looked into this.’

As soon as the BFI confirms the details of its disc replacement scheme for the La Belle et la Bête Blu-ray we’ll be sure to share the information here.