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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    For a Universal release, and I mean this in the nicest possible way, it looks terrific. It may not be perfect, but it's head and shoulders above the old Blu-ray, which is unwatchable.

    I've re-checked, and generally this Blu-ray is magnificent. If I'm going to be exceedingly picky, I can see extremely minor digital work in the grain structure, but otherwise, I'm not seeing any problems.

    However, and a big however.

    Two things.

    1. Crank the sharpness control on an device high enough and even the best Blu-ray will fair.

    2. I did check the standard def DVD, and this has all of the problems discussed, ie. halos, digital problems, etc. Might someone have accidentally popped the wrong disc into a player? I've done it on numerous occasions. The Blu-ray as packaged, is at the beginning of the book, not at the end.

    RAH
     
  2. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    Thanks for the info. I will definitely want to exchange. I have always loved this movie and was devastated with the very poor first Blu-ray release.
     
  3. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Thank you for this, and I now feel completely comfortable purchasing. That's the thing, I guess - none of us know how these posters who consistently complain about this sort of thing are actually viewing the disc. So many variables. I would hope he wasn't viewing the DVD :) but again, yes, if you crank the sharpness dial nothing looks very good. I just get confused when I see a disc and it looks great and then have to read all about how terrible it is - since I can clearly see "terrible" when a transfer is bad, I'm just going to assume that I'm watching these things correctly, otherwise I wouldn't be able to tell terrible from great.
     
  4. Scott Calvert

    Scott Calvert Supporting Actor

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    1) I did not say the disc was a "travesty" nor did I say it was "terrible." As Mr. Harris mentioned, for a Universal disc it is terrific. It's just that it would be nice if we could stop using the caviat "for a Universal disc"
    2) I am indeed viewing the BD
    3) Sharpness control is set to 0
    4) There is edge enhancement on this disc. My viewing distance was 12 feet from a 55" screen and it is quite noticeable. The strange grain movement comes and goes. The worst part is during the plane flight, the scene where they are flying towards a sky with very dark clouds. Those dark clouds are a mess of digital ugliness. None of this was necessary.
     
  5. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Would you mind discussing specifics of your setup?

    BD player, monitor, cabling, etc.

    And if you can give me time code, I'm more than willing to check it.

    RAH
     
  6. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Here is what you said: "The new Out of Africa is riddled with edge enhancement and strange noise reduction artifacts. It doesn't look "smeary" like the awful first BD but the grain moves strangely (when it is there at all)."
    Now I just don't know which way to turn when on one hand you say the disc is "riddled with edge enhancement and strange noise reduction artifacts" and then say "for a Universal disc it looks terrific." That is contradictory information, which is why I asked for Mr. Harris to comment. If you can be specific, as Mr. Harris requests in his post above, that would be great. Just don't want to make this purchase if it's riddled with edge enhancement.
     
  7. Scott Calvert

    Scott Calvert Supporting Actor

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    Viewed using Sony BDP-S380
    Sony LCD 55 inch
    Generic HDMI cables
    There are several instances of strange digital "mosquito-noise" hovering just around moving objects against backgrouds with little movement (like trees or other objects against the sky). For a good example check out 1:21:23 when Redford is driving Streep and looking at the zebra and various other wildlife. This looks to me like the noise reduction application "froze" the area of the sky with little movement to get rid of noise while the grain pattern closer to the moving objects (tree branches, the car) transitions into more of a blocky "buzzing" movement. The shot of the birds in the tree immediately after just looks strange. I couldn't find the timestamp for the dark cloud I noticed on my viewing over the weekend. It's a long movie and I don't remember exactly were it was. I'll look for it later when I have more time.
    Another one is slightly previous, at 1:19:50 as Streep approaches her home to find Redford and his record player on her porch. The sky pulses with noise that doesn't look natural. Also Redford has been edge enhanced.
    There are lots of shots that are overly edge enhanced but the funeral scene is the most noticeable.
     
  8. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    What you are seeing is definitely there.



    I may be at 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 as they ramp up and grow.



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



    RAH
     
  9. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Thanks for this - very helpful. This, of course, begs the question - does one really have to press their noses against the screen to see this sort of stuff - that's not something I ever do and it's not a viewing habit I really understand - I view from about eight feet back from a 55inch screen and if it's not noticeable at that distance then I'm fine - I would see no reason to step up to the screen to see a problem or to zoom in to see it - I just watch the movie. Then again, I'm not one to sit in the first row of a movie theater. :) Still, if I'm reading this correctly, it's only a problem in a few scenes and not egregious or "riddled" - so, I suppose I'll but it now.
     
  10. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Just looked at mine, kneeling in front of my 50" plasma, and I see these things. My normal slouching distance is about 8 feet, too, though I know that's too far for this screen and I'm about to tighten things up. Nevertheless, I can tell that even after doing so, this disc is going to be fine for normal viewing. Not a front row person here, either.

    BTW, just in spot checking the disc I'm blown away by the images in this film. Go ahead and laugh, but I'd never seen it.
     
  11. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I'm viewing via projection at around 100", and at normal seating, this cannot be seen. It is there, however. As I noted above, hopefully as Universal gets through more transfers with their
    new mindset, which I greatly respect, these annoyances also will disappear.

    RAH
     
  12. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    I hope so, too. I was pleased with To Kill a Mockingbird, save for what they did with the three minutes of optical blowups. I'm especially looking forward to The Birds and Pillow Talk.
     
  13. willyTass

    willyTass Second Unit

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    Universal's transfer of the Year
    screencaps dont do it justice. Its simply astonishing.
     
  14. AdrianTurner

    AdrianTurner Banned

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    I hadn’t seen Out of Africa since its initial run in cinemas. I think I saw a 70mm blow-up and thought the film looked terrible, in fact one of the worst photographed pictures I’d ever seen. I was reviewing it for a newspaper and remember writing about an especially ugly scene before the titles that was obviously back-projected. I also thought it was a bit of a mess dramatically and that Redford was hopelessly miscast. It was as if Pollack thought, I’m going to make a David Lean picture, Redford of Africa. So I consigned it to the dustbin of memory and was amazed it won so many Oscars.
    Then I saw RAH’s review of this new Blu-ray. I ordered it from the US (it’s unavailable in the UK) and watched it yesterday. I still think the film is a bit of a dramatic mess, I still think Redford is miscast BUT . . . the film looked absolutely ravishingly beautiful. An amazing transformation. However, that back-projected scene still looks awful.
    Before the main titles there are a few scenes in snowy woodland which purport to be in Denmark. In one scene Streep and Brandauer sit on the bough of a tree in what is one of the weirdest and ugliest back projections I have ever seen in a modern film. And in the last shot of the scene, a long-shot that is held for some time, the two characters don’t move, so they are possibly cardboard cut-outs - but for some reason there’s an extra on the right side of the frame and he appears to move on a sort of loop. I just can’t figure out this mess and why Pollack allowed it to happen and been seen in the finished film.
    Hoping for some sort of explanation, I watched the opening with Pollack’s commentary - he talks about how tricky it was to get the opening right, how important it was to have the Danish scenes, how it was shot in northern England and how LUCKY he was to have snow on that day. He never mentions the back projection or anything like that.
    My guess is that this scene was shot months later, probably with another cameraman, maybe in Hollywood, because without this scene the movie would have made even less sense than it does already. Anyone know the story on this?
     
  15. JParker

    JParker Second Unit

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    From a review at Amazon Canada:

    I've sent an e-mail and I'll let you know.

    Revisions per e-mail received modify the above; yes you must include a copy of the e-mail and includes an inquiry # code.
     
  16. AdrianTurner

    AdrianTurner Banned

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    No, this is the new one. This problem is within the film itself, not the transfer.
     
  17. AlanPaterson

    AlanPaterson Extra

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    They wouldn't replace my old copy of 'Out of Africa' because I'm in the UK.
    Same old, same old.
    Alan
     
  18. JParker

    JParker Second Unit

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    The old Blu-ray was problematic, compared to the 100th anniversary release that is reviewed here. It is no longer available at Amazon.com except through third-party seller options.
     
  19. lvicious

    lvicious Stunt Coordinator

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    I wasn't sure which thread to post this in but myself and my parents watched this movie for the 1st time on the out of africa universal 100th anniversary edition in my new home theater on a 60' plasma and all I can say is we all wept with tears. It was without a doubt the most enjoyable, emotional and visual enjoyable movie I have seen in a long, long time. I haven't been moved like this in so long. The scene where they fly in the plane for a few minutes with the orchestra playing was just so incredibly moving.

    Movies like this.. that move me like this.. are what watching movies and having a home theater are all about. I am a better man tonight for having seen this and my parents thanked me as much. If this isn't what watching movies is all about then I guess I am lost.

    Thank you.
     
  20. warnerbro

    warnerbro Second Unit

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    I just received my replacement copy of OUT OF AFRICA and it is stunning! A 100 percent improvement. It looks glorious: sharp, bright and clean -- not like the old smeared mess that was unwatchable. What Universal did with this is a miracle. And I was happy to get a replacement. The replacement plan really worked. I got mine in about 3 weeks.
     

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