A Few Words About A few words about...™ Gangs of New York -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Gangs of New York, a masterful film by Martin Scorsese, was my Best Picture of 2002.

    I was thrilled to add the Miramax DVD to my library until I viewed it, and found that, much like their Cold Mountain, it was one of the worst looking standard definition DVDs of a recent important production.

    I have not viewed it since.

    With knowledge there comes a higher level of home theater software.

    And so it was a thrill when Gangs of New York in Blu-ray finally arrived, replacing something that to my eyes was all but unviewable.

    Gangs of New York on Blu is something that looks quite different from anything else that I've seen, and I admit to being a bit confused by what my eyes are telling me.

    As a Super 35 production, the original prints had a visible layer of beautiful grain, and a full range of color, from black to white with all shades in between. 35mm prints were just gorgeous.

    Gangs on Blu has some things in common with its standard definition counterpart.

    It appears that there is an attempt to reduce the grain, and then sharpen the resultant image, creating a soft, occasionally disturbingly grainy image fully textured with the sharpening of electronic enhancement, and with high contrast lines around virtually everything.

    White fade to nothingness, and there is no apparent shadow detail.

    Make no mistake. This is a Blu-ray that yields an image that is fully electronic.

    Like Patton, Gangs of New York is the new poster child for precisely what NOT to do with the Blu-ray software system.

    An extraordinary film in every way.

    I assure you that it gives me no pleasure to report that it is Extremely Highly NOT Recommended.

    I would suggest a re-call, starting out fresh with a new piece of film for scanning in order to give Mr. Ballhaus' cinematography another chance.

    I am appending to this post, after having taken another look at the disc.

    I must believe that there were old and new masters, with something going horribly wrong, and an incorrect and unapproved master being shipped in error.

    RAH
     
  2. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    Sorry to hear this. Thanks for the heads-up. I had a feeling this might be the case as they might have simply used the old master since everything else seems identical to the previous 2 disc release. I actually bought the PAL version as well because (while still not perfect), it looked better than the R1 NTSC version with noticeably less EE.

    Gangs of New York R1 vs R2 in Editorial > Articles at DVDActive Look at the "M" in Miramax to see how bad the EE and ringing were in the old DVD.

    A shame. I really like the film as well and it deserves better. I saw it opening weekend in NYC and it looked wonderful.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Ivy Mike

    Ivy Mike Agent

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    As always, great to hear from RAH about a new release. Sad to hear about the quality on this one though.

    This has me terrified for what could happen to the Minghella releases (Cold Mtn and English Patient specifically) should they make it to Blu in the near future, but in fairness I don't want to speculate on future "what ifs..." But this release doesn't sound like it's setting a great track record.
     
  4. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Deleted. Redundant.
     
  5. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    Robert,

    Your comments are appreciated.

    It's quite puzzling and shameful what these studios are doing. I thought with the studios supporting high definition/Blu-ray it would change the problems they created with SD DVD, but I was wrong.
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    There have been situations in the past where the wrong master was pulled or shipped.

    I'm hoping this to be the case.

    Many of Disney's Blu discs have previously been of high quality.

    Something is very wrong here.

    RAH
     
  7. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    thats too bad.
    i was looking forward to burning my sd dvd and having this one instead.
     
  8. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    Oh, no. I have this on pre-order, and it looks like I will be canceling it tomorrow. I too am very disappointed to hear this, as I was looking forward to watching this film for the first time.

    Incidentally, does anyone else feel like it isn't safe to pre-order anything anymore? [​IMG]
     
  9. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Yeah, I think the best looking Blu Ray discs that I own are Disney releases so this is very dissapointing. Hopefully, Disney will get the message and correct this disc. Fortunately, Disney is better than probably every other studio when it comes to issuing corrected discs.
     
  10. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    This is very untypical of Disney, and as I noted above, it may be an unfortunate error.
     
  11. Joseph J.D

    Joseph J.D Cinematographer

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    Damn! Sorry to hear that this Blu-ray is of terrible quality. I was really looking forward to picking this one up to replace the original DVD. Guess I'll have to pass and hope that the problems are rectified in the future. A shame really, as it is one of my favourite films. [​IMG]
     
  12. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    Doesn't anyone in these studios perform a quality check as to see how these titles turn out before releasing them? I mean who in charge is allowing garbage releases like this? It happened WAY too often on DVD, but absolutely unexcusable on a format that is supposed to be about optimal PQ.
     
  13. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Screenwriter

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    The stills of the UK version were horrible and known for quite some time. No surprises here. Back to the drawing board for Disney.
     
  14. Travis Brashear

    Travis Brashear Screenwriter

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    Same boat here. Though Scorsese tends to be a director whose work I admire more than enjoy (love TAXI DRIVER and CAPE FEAR, however), I was gonna take a risk on this one. Now, I'll save myself the money...a shame, though, that I'm (in a sense) still being denied the privilege of discovering what stands to be a great film...
     
  15. Felix Martinez

    Felix Martinez Screenwriter

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    Depressing and maddening news indeed.

    You'd think that with the Pirates of the Caribbean recall less than a year ago, Disney would have put some quality control measures in place for a film by - oh, I don't know, one of our greatest living directors...

    Which begs the question: does Scorsese or Ballhaus even care how GONY looks on home video? How can this happen again? They may approve of the initial film-to-video transfer, but as Mr. Harris stated in the Patton thread, very bad things can happen in the final mastering stage. Yes, I have to believe that what made it on Blu is unapproved. But I would think as a filmmaker I'd like to see a test disc of the final master. I mean, I expect this in the recording industry. I would never allow my work to be replicated until I signed off on the final master. Is home video any different?

    I'm just baffled. A royal screw up. Unbelievable.
     
  16. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    There are several phases to QC-ing of most discs for the major studios.

    Once compressed, there is the QC of the video/audio master before it gets combined with the menu files. This is where something like this issue or Patton should be noted, and where a correction is more likely to be done, but it is hardly guaranteed, for a variety of reasons.

    QC tests at later stages, often by third party facilities, are generally not asked to comment on fine grain or sharpness issues. If they feel inclined to do so, the common response is that such a look has already been approved anyway. By that time the studio is mainly concerned with significant audio or video issues such as dropouts.

    So, in short, QC that would prevent such problems needs to occur at very early stages of the process, and that QC has to be heard by someone who actually cares. The level of care over such issues is influenced by everything from deadlines, budgets, available elements, intended market, and so on.

    As for Gangs of New York, if true this is unfortunate, and untypical of Disney, which means, as Mr. Harris has pointed out, someone goofed; on the other hand, I would not be shocked if Miramax, known for their shoddy DVDs from the era of this film's initial video release, had nothing else for Disney proper to work with.
     
  17. Felix Martinez

    Felix Martinez Screenwriter

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    I'm sure there are various stages of QC, but I'm just baffled why filmmakers aren't given a test pressing before replication to sign off on the final product - or are they? Especially a director of Scorsese's caliber. Films on home video have relatively long lives. I would be absolutely livid.

    Hoping they recall this. I've already sent an email to BVHE.
     
  18. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Most filmmakers like Scorsese are rather busy with current film projects, for one. Two, the studio properties consider films product to be marketed and sold - why slow that process? Third, the decision concerning what title to release has much to do with previous sales.

    I'd consider it likely that Gangs of New York was one of Miramax's better selling titles, so they wanted to get it out sooner rather than later because of that. They took the 2002/2003 video master, corrected any "problems" via DNR, and made their deadlines. Viola! Unsatisfactory disc.
     
  19. Felix Martinez

    Felix Martinez Screenwriter

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    I can certainly envision your second and third scenarios. I shudder to think that Scorsese didn't care enough (or didn't have the clout) to delay the Blu release so that he or a member of his team could approve the final master.

    Again, maybe it's just my upbringing in audio, where I get the final test disc to sign off on before duplication.

    Forgive me - I just about got over Patton and saw Sand Pebbles last night. I was starting to feel warm and fuzzy again about the future of Blu-ray until I saw Mr. Harris' post about GONY.

    We are living in the No Noise era of HD. I hope it passes quickly...
     
  20. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    More likely that they didn't bother to consult Mr. Scorsese than him telling them he had no time. I mean, why bother him, he never complained about the 2003 DVD release, right?
     

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