A Few Words About A few words about...™ Out of Africa -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    UPDATE: 3/27

    Apparently Universal has decided to institute a replacement program for those who purchased earlier Blu-ray releases.

    Here's the info:







    To receive a replacement, please send the Blu-ray disc only, without packaging to:
    Universal Studios Home Entertainment
    Attn: Consumer Relations
    c/o Deluxe Media Management
    P. O. Box 801464
    Valencia, CA 91380 - 1464
    Please send the Blu-ray disc only, via traceable method, and allow 3 - 4 weeks to receive the replacement .







    A nice move. Hat's off to Universal for this decision!

    RAH


    Sydney Pollack's 1985 Out of Africa was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, and won 7, including Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Cinematography, Art Direction, Sound, and Score.

    In my opinion, it deserved them.

    Out of Africa is a magnificent production, that finally gets a proper Blu-ray release by Universal as part of their 100th Anniversary program.

    Where the earlier Blu-ray (a 25th Anniversary Edition), which was released not quite two years ago, was an image disaster, I'm pleased to report that the technical team at Universal has returned to the drawing boards for this one.

    And the result is everything that one might hope for. A magnificent Blu-ray.

    While an internegative (a 3rd generation element) was used for the previous transfer, this new image harvest was taken directly from the original camera negative. And it shows.

    The film was scanned at 6k, using Digital Ice, a software program, which if I recall correctly, was originally created by Kodak, was used to conceal surface dirt.

    All processing was done at the 4k level. Image stabilization, de-flickering, dirt and scratch removal were all performed, along with "grain management." I'm hoping that this was used toward cleaning up green screen shots, and not for production photography, but everything looks superb. Green screen registration was digitally fixed, along with camera bumps, and a long-standing camera problem, that was always visible during a tracking shot. Digital wire removal also came into play for certain shots.

    Color is perfect, with beautiful depth and shadow detail. Grain looks beautiful and light, but occasionally too light. Viewing the opening I did find a shot that concerned me. As the train is moving off, what appears to be grass behind Mr. Redford, seems like a solid sea of green with no detail. My fear was that we might be having a meeting with General Patton. While this may have been "as photographed," it did get me wondering. Audio is Uncompressed in DTS-HD Master Audio.

    I have noted in the past, that the level of Universal Blu-ray product has been at the bottom of the studio pecking order for the past several years, but I could not be more pleased to report that if they continue to perform as they are, they'll be up at the top with Columbia and Fox.

    Out of Africa is a gorgeous Blu-ray presentation of a very important production.

    A couple of suggestions.

    First, one has to make their way through too many screens and messages to reach the feature film. Second, and while some may enjoy this, a promo for NBC's Smash, also ahead of the feature, seem very out of place, especially if the intention is toward a quality, high end -- special -- Blu-ray presentation of an Academy Award winning film. While they may be joined at the corporate hip, NBC promos seem out of place here. If Universal had been purchased by Tampax, Inc., would we be sitting through a promo on the new Tampax Pearl Plastic?

    And lastly, for all of those fans of the film, who innocently purchased the 2010 or 2011 Blu-ray, presuming that it would be proper Blu-ray quality, the studio should institute some sort of trade-in program toward receiving the new special edition. Send in the bar code from a previous release, and receive the new Special Edition for $20 as opposed to $35.

    An addition to this post. And I'm going to add this below also. I may be a fault here, for treating the newest Universal releases akin to someone's golf handicap, and I'm wrong. Their earlier releases were so poor that I'm overjoyed to see something like this new OoA, and am tending to be overly kind.

    It is apparent to the high level viewer, that the grain reduction knob may have been turned just a bit too high in certain sequences. Fortunately, this does not affect the entire film. If one goes up the viewing surface and takes a good look, you'll find occasional (rare) mosquito noise, as well as a bit of sharpening.

    But overall, from a normal viewing distance, the disc is fine, and as I noted, I'm thrilled with it.

    Again, and let me be clear, if this were a Sony or Fox disc, I'd be bringing the problems more to the fore, but my (probably incorrect) take on this is to give Universal a bit of breathing room as they get things in line for proper transferring, and allow them to experiment and grow a bit.

    I believe that release after release, things are going to be looking better. OoA is one of the first out of the box.


    Image - 4

    Audio - 5

    Highly Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. Bob Cashill

    Bob Cashill Cinematographer

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    Dismantle BD Live and you'll get to the main menu pretty quick, no muss, no fuss.
    OUT OF AFRICA does look great. I pity anyone buying this or any other Universal BD/DVD combo pack hoping for a remastered DVD; the same old disc, from 2000, is supplied. I don't understand why these coasters are provided and hate to think that they jack up the price.
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    While I didn't bother to play the DVD version, it did have an old copyright. I presume it has not been remastered.
     
  4. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    Some Oscar-winning Best Pictures like Out of Africa, Gladiator and Patton (I heard a rumor) get a re-do when enough people complain about it, and sadly others which shall remain nameless, don't.
    I waited for the fix and so didn't buy the Madame Tusaudes version of Out of Africa. I'll be happy to pick this up when I find the sale price I'm looking for.
     
  5. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    My copy is on the way. I wish Universal had included a CD of John Barry's ebullient score instead of "digital copy." It is presumptuous of Universal to assume that all consumers or most consumers want to download a movie they've just bought in hard copy. I have no use for this extra feature and I don't like paying for it.
     
  6. Guest

    I don't know how I feel about fixing things in films. I think they should be left as they are/were.
     
  7. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    I'm generally in favor of fixing things like wires and green screen shots.
    I don't mind that the cowardly lion now swishes his tail without that little wire that I could see even in my 1989 vhs copy of oz.
    I agree completely with what RAH says about promos. Esp. for a prestige picture like this one it just seems cheap--and is quite annoying.
    Some of WB's movies just automatically start right into the film! I like that. The new To Catch A Thief from Paramount just takes you write to the main menu. That's also very nice.
     
  8. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I would greatly appreciate some kind of trade-in program. If not, I'll not be buying this until the price comes way down in some kind of sale.
     
  9. Cinescott

    Cinescott Supporting Actor

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    So glad Universal finally got this one right. Even with the annoyingly high price mark and no trade-in program, I'll be getting it.
     
  10. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    I'll have reviews of this and Deer Hunter up by the weekend.

    The DVD copies included with each one are the older DVDs.

    Out of Africa comes with the 2000 DVD. The Deer Hunter comes with Disc 1 of the 2005 Legacy Edition.

    I double checked these by using the memory function of the PS3, as I already have the older discs. Tried putting in the new discs, playing part of a scene, ejecting and putting in the old disc. Playback resumed where it left off.

    Of course, when Out of Africa was released as a flipper disc with the DVD on the other side, the DVD side was actually the 2000 DVD, as we saw then.

    None of this changes the idea that the new Blu-ray transfers for both movies are very good indeed. Just that the buyer shouldn't expect a new SD DVD in the box.
     
  11. trajan

    trajan Screenwriter

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    There is no way I am going to spend thirty five dollars for a transfer that should of been done right the first time. I will hold on to my old bluray until the price comes way down or there is a trade in program.
     
  12. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    I'll pass. I find the $35 price tag a bit ludicrous following on the heels of Universal's horrible initial release of this film on Blu. I'll wait until it drops to $20 before I give them my money.
     
  13. Scott Calvert

    Scott Calvert Supporting Actor

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    Agreed 100%. I still would like to know more about the whole "fixing camera bumps" thing. 1000's of films have jittery camera shots, especially scenes like car chases where the camera is mounted on a moving vehicle. If that's what they are talking about, then that kind of "fix" is WAY over the line.
     
  14. John Skoda

    John Skoda Stunt Coordinator

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    Here, here! Far too many malign this movie, mostly I suspect because they haven't seen it lately. I'm glad I passed on the first blu version, and I'll be picking up this one right away.
     
  15. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    Just dropped tO $25 at Amazon.
     
  16. Felix Martinez

    Felix Martinez Screenwriter

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    Heard it's $19.99 at Costco and I will be there today, so will probably pick this one up finally. I was fortunate to meet Mr. Pollack when I was about 12 and he was filming Absence of Malice in Miami. He surprised me by tapping me on the shoulder at one point and saying hi and later saw my curious look while they were setting up a shot. He allowed me to look thru the eyepiece (the shot at the bank which starts on a security guard).
    I miss Mr. Pollack. I always looked forward to seeing his work, both behind and in front of the camera.
    I look forward to seeing Out Of Africa on blu...I've been abstaining and now it's time...
    UPDATE: got it. Price was as expected.
     
  17. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Supporting Actor

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    http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/screenshot.php?movieid=36394&position=35
    What's up with the outlining in this shot? Not nice. Looks like a sharpening artifact.
     
  18. Scott Calvert

    Scott Calvert Supporting Actor

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    I watched this one the other night. There's lots of edge enhancement and strange looking noise reduction. It's a heck of a lot more detailed than the first release yes but wow they really don't know when to lay off using their digital toys.
     
  19. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Apparently, Universal has decided to institute a disc replacement program for their earlier Blu-ray release. While this doesn't help those who purchased out of the gate, it's helpful.







    To receive a replacement, please send the Blu-ray disc only, without packaging to:
    Universal Studios Home Entertainment
    Attn: Consumer Relations
    c/o Deluxe Media Management
    P. O. Box 801464
    Valencia, CA 91380 - 1464
    Please send the Blu-ray disc only, via traceable method, and allow 3 - 4 weeks to receive the replacement .
    Thank you.
    Sincerely,
    Consumer Relations
    UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOME ENTERTAINMENT
     
  20. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Robert, I'd love it if you'd respond to Mr. Calvert, who goes on every board putting out this information about edge enhancement and DNR that makes this disc, I guess, a travesty. It makes me confused about whether to purchase or not - from yours and other descriptions it sounds very nice.
     

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