And no, it stands for "Blogger Script". Not what you're thinking. Potty mouth.
Looking over the screencaps from last time, I honestly didn't think they looked that bad. It's hard to appreciate the weird blocking in smoke without seeing it in motion, so I thought... well, crap. Maybe I was too harsh on FUNimation's encode and just expected everything to look like shite when it was just about average. Yeah, maybe my years of being a grumpy bastard have just caught up with me and I'm seeing shit that isn't there.
Oh my fucking various Lovecraftian Gods.
What we have here is something I like to think of as "FUNi Syndrome". I don't need to point out compression artifacts because they're literally everywhere, covering poor Masane like some sort of digital bukkake. And unlike Bukkake I'm not getting hot over it, so this is just in poor taste without any added benefit. The whole image looks noisy, digital, and while I'm certain that a rip of the Japanese R2 recompressed to DivX would lack some definition and likely have some temporal smearing from noise reduction, it still wouldn't look this bad.
Also, her boobs are literally trying to smack her in the face. This might seem like ludicrous fanservice, but a friend of mine who sports DDs' says that running sucks because large boobs will, in fact, kick your ass if you aren't careful. Boobs are your friends... don't make them hurt you.
While this one lacks artifacts that grab hold of your wind pipe and don't let go until you're seeing stars, it does have a hell of a lot of noise in Masane's hair and skin - it's easier to see on the former, but still present on the latter. It doesn't make me spit coffee on my screen, but it still looks so busy and nasty, especially in motion. In short, this is one of the good shots from episode 3 and it still looks like it was tapped around the edges with an ugly stick.
Witchblade was so god-awful that I've actually been experimenting with FFDShow to noise reduce and then rescale the whole thing, hiding the artifacts before detailing the image. This is (mathematically speaking) the best way to do it, but running FFDShow requires a processor as strong as Thor, a video card worth more than my whole computer's parts combined and about a terrabyte of RAM to really run at full speed. I've already got the 3.4Ghz CPU, but the video card is a mere 256MB PCI based ATI affair that was really bought for its' capturing properties, which turned out to mostly be for naught. The RAM could be the issue, since my CPU almost never tops out at anywhere near 100%, but I dunno'... the whole thing has been incredibly vexing and takes up far, far too much of my time. Not that my time is worth much, but christ, I'd rather watch movies than watch them stutter as I try to find juuuuust the right level of noise reduction before my CPU starts to report that I need to step away from the mouse slowly, or it will shoot.
Anyway, I'll come back with a "real" post sometime later on. Work - the legit kind, even - has caught up with me, and even sitting here blogging and capping is time I should spend synching up German squib placement in which the ask one another, 'You're licensed to blow things up right?' 'Uh... the camera's rolling? Yes! Yes I am.'
P.S. in the B.S. (say what?): I managed to half-way calibrate my LCD monitor. See, the monitor itself is kinda'... well, it clips blacks like there's no tomorrow, so instead of seeing a nice fade from midnight blue to actual black I sort of have a big slab of oily goo that covers my screen. So I used the test patterns here and tweaked my video card to output a much brighter image than it's used to - I had to adjust the R/G/B levels individually, but not doing that makes everything look way too warm anyhow (damned 6500k and engineer's natural red push). This fixed the problem, and now everything looks as bright and natural as it would on some Pioneer KURO $5,000 plasma screen after a further $500 calibration by some THX certified type.
Okay, maybe it's not that awesome... but it still looks a hell of a lot better than it did 48 hours ago. This pleases me.