Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is one of the dark ones, so the whole look of the film is sort of sepia. You can still get total clarity in the Blu Ray version of sepia scenes, as magic attacks real world London and fantasy Hogwarts.
On Blu-Ray: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The surprising thing is how many shots just look bad. Plenty of scenes have that white speckled haze that looks like a loose cable connection, only it’s part of the transfer. It’s not just dark scenes. Even daytime suffers. In the oddest example, only Hermione’s face speckles in a dinner scene fully populated by many characters.
Scenes of the final quest hold up well, and I guess you take the good shots with the bad. There’s a little less detail because the tint of the scene hides it, but it’s all crisp. Even muted colors pop out of the sepia frame, more so even.
The behind the scenes footage in the extras is more consistent and solid. Once they show complete footage of Deathly Hallows, it has the same issues. And that’s only a minute or so of film clips, and you already see the range of problems that transfer has. The deleted scenes are rough too.
This seems like a Blu Ray trend for 2009. A lot of new release Blu Rays this year were just sloppy. At least Half-Blood Prince comes with the DVD also. That actually looks like a more even image, even stronger and crisper. It wavers a little on the conversion to HD and the same images struggle, but not as badly as the Blu Ray edition.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is now available on Blu Ray, DVD and digital download.