A Few Words About A few words about...™ Erin Brockovich -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Universal's packaging copy from the new 100th Anniversary Edition of Steven Soderbergh's wonderful Erin Brockovich reads:

    "A real woman. A real story. A real triumph. Julia Roberts won an Academy Award for Best Actress in her role..."

    This really sounds important. Sounds like a great performance, and it is.

    But why then, not a crisp, new, clean image harvest?

    The good news for those who appreciate a slightly electronic look, is that Erin Brockovich leans in that direction. If that's what you're seeking, this is your Blu-ray.

    For those who prefer a more film-like and natural appearance, bet not to go there. Like many other Universal titles, if you have the HD disc, stay with it, as the Blu-ray, given uncompressed audio, and a high level of data throughput, is a failure.

    The good news is that, irrelevant to the quality of the materials therein, the set is packaged in full 100th Anniversary commemorative Universal regalia. Full black tie.

    Image - 2

    Audio - 4

    RAH
    I have been informed by an exec that I trust from Universal that my assumption re: Erin not being a new transfer is incorrect. This is a new 2k transfer, with updated audio from the stems, and with the look approved by filmmaker Steven Soderbergh.
    RAH
     
  2. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Supporting Actor

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    Well, Mr. Harris, you surely are putting your foot down these days. It seems you are taking off more points now if the film look is compromised/gone than you used to years ago. I'm all for that, especially if discs are announced as 100 year celebration editions and similar.. Nothing to celebrate here in the disc department.
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    For those who are enamored by slipcovers, one does receive the official 100th with EB, which makes it an immediate "collectible."

    Unfortunate, that attractive packaging belies what is inside.

    RAH
     
  4. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    Anyone compare the Universal version to the European Sony release, i trust Sony more but i think it may be from 2008 before Sony became very consistent with their blu ray releases.
     
  5. Powell&Pressburger

    Powell&Pressburger Screenwriter

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    That is a good idea would like to hear some feedback on this... I wouldn't mind going after the import if the image quality is better than the just released Universal edition.
     
  6. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Supporting Actor

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    Ordered the Sony disc. Very cheap from Amazon UK.
     
  7. OliverK

    OliverK Cinematographer

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    Please keep us posted, without the usual Universal "improvements" it should look OK.
     
  8. OliverK

    OliverK Cinematographer

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    This is even more depressing - all that effort for this kind of result?
    And it is also rather telling that they are approaching new projects with 2k masters instead of the now standard 4k.
    And it is very sad that the director of the movie apparently does not care that much for how it looks. Sometimes I wonder if some of them even take a look before another questionable release gets "approved".
    In your opinion, are the decision makers at Universal aware that most of their classic releases are considered to range from barely tolerable to outright disaster? Does it appear to you that they are determined to never ever release another Blu-Ray of a classic that actually tries to reproduce the look and feel of the film it came from?
     
  9. Yorkshire

    Yorkshire Screenwriter

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    What makes you think SS doesn't care? Maybe he wants the film to look like this, or...
    ...or maybe it doesn't matter.
    SS has made the film. He's made it his way. Woody Allen makes his films in mono. Does that mean he 'doesn't care' about the sound, or that he's using different filming techniques to get his point over?
    If SS has approved this transfer, and it's good enough for him, why shouldn't it be good enough for everyone else?
    Is it our place to dictate to film makers what aspect of their films are important and which aren't?
    If I may draw a parallel. Some authors are picky about how their books are printed. Some like it to appear exactly on the final printed page as it did in their manuscript. So if their manuscript is 325 pages long they want the final published book to be 325 pages long, not a slightly smaller type face and 275 pages long. Other authors don't care.
    If we learn about the former type of author, can we then criticise the latter for allowing their books to be printed in different size type faces? Or do we just accept that the page layout wasn't a tool they were using when they created the work?
    If we insist that a film-like, non-digital look is important to Erin Brockovich, when SS doesn't, then what does that say about our respect for directioral intent?
    Of course, if there's been a fowl up, and SS doesn't want the film to look like this, then that's different. But if it doesn't matter to SS, then it shouldn't matter to us.
    That's my personal opinion.
    Steve W
     
  10. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    4K is a film preservation standard, but the digital intermediate stage of most new movies is still 2K.
     
  11. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    I don't trust what Universal are saying and furthermore i feel 4K should be the minimum standard in 2012 for these film transfers, 2K won't archive well for the future either, it's not very forward thinking of them, film grain is far more refined and sharper in focus with a 4K scan and that's important with blu ray transfer.

    This release did not have a digital intermediate, it comes from before they were used.

    I have read a brief review of the UK version, it seems an average release too but hard to tell without seeing both, it may be much better than this one or just the same.
     
  12. Yorkshire

    Yorkshire Screenwriter

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    Listen, if SS didn't approve this, or the look has been tampered with after he did, then clearly that's bang out of order - no argument there.
    But if Universal say this is a new 2k transfer, approved by SS, then I feel you have to trust that unless you have any firm evidence to the contrary.
    As for needing a 4k scan - whatever the relative merits that mat have brought, I don't think having a 2k scan instead would have caused the 'look' that RAH has described.
    BTW, I have the UK Sony disc, but I've not watched it (I think I maybe bought it as part of a bundle, or something). I doubt I'll be buying the US Universal disc to do a comparison.
    Steve W
     
  13. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    4K would have been most sensible from a point of archiving the material, it's really poor short term thinking on their part, it would also give as much detail as possible and a more film like look when the blu ray is made.

    As for what Universal says these days, i tend to read between the lines, i don't doubt it's a new 2K transfer, it's what they do with the encode that concerns me, they often tamper with things at that studio, they said Jurassic Park was approved by Spielberg, i just can't buy into Spielberg approving edge enhancement, no matter how small you consider it and screen size and tolerance to edge halo's will determine whether you notice it and think it's a problem, that's one of his biggest hits but i can't buy what they did at all, i think these directors are seeing the film scan and saying how gorgeous it looks, then Universal do the encode and add their processing and ruin what could be a great release.

    By all means you can trust them, but i do not, maybe when they start doing things right on a consistent basis i will trust them but that day seems a long way off.
     
  14. Yorkshire

    Yorkshire Screenwriter

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    You may be right. Any evidence?
    Steve W
     
  15. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    The blu ray releases of some of these films is a clue, no actual factual evidence though. How many directors approve of edge enhancement. ?
     
  16. Yorkshire

    Yorkshire Screenwriter

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    But that's a circular argument. 'I think the disc doesn't look like the director intended. The evidence I have is that I think the disc doesn't look like the director intended'.
    I'll offer you an alternate view. SS directed this in the same year as Traffic. And look how that looks, even in the hands of Criterion.
    Steve W
     
  17. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    Spielberg does not have intentional edge enhancement on any of his releases, full stop, doesn't happen, i also saw Jurassic Park at the cnema, yes i remember, saw it five times there, no EE.

    :EDIT: Criterion just sourced their version of Traffic from Universal, it is using the same master and looks the same.
     
  18. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    They do read the forums.
     
  19. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Let's be clear. Mr. Soderbergh was involved in reviewing the color and stylized look. I have no idea what the viewed, but as a cinematographer, I presume he would be sensitive to an overall electronic look.

    RAH
     
  20. Powell&Pressburger

    Powell&Pressburger Screenwriter

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    One thing I have noticed thru the years with Soderbergh's films is that when I used to get Widescreen review magazine they hardly ever gave any of his films decent reviews on the image quality. However I am going to wait to see if anyone can give us godo feedback on the old SONY UK release... and if that seems to be the better transfer I will just order that edition.
     

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