A Few Words About A few words about...™ Psycho (import) -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Few people need an introduction to Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. I'll not offer one.

     

    For the 50th Anniversary Special Edition -- films should only be viewed every five years on specific anniversaries -- Universal has spruced up the old girl, which was shot on a TV budget in black & white.

     

    There have been discussions ongoing on line regarding both the audio, which has been converted to stereo, as well as the overall look of the digitized image.

     

    Here's my take.

     

    Generally, I'm okay with the image, especially from a proper distance. It does have a digital edge to it, with reduced grain in certain shots, and inoffensive black lines creating an edginess around areas of differing contrast. There is the possibility that the contrast anomalies, at least the edginess is a part of the fine grain lab work.
     

    None of this is to a degree where it becomes troublesome.

     

    Created from a fine grain master, the film has minimal, but reasonably constant minus and plus density analogue artifacts, as well as occasional scratches. But again, there's nothing untoward here.

     

    The new audio mix is an interesting experiment. Based upon a French process, and performed by some of the studio's top audio engineers, it gives the film a presence that opens it up, and changes its overall sonic character.

     

    I like it. For those who don't the original mix is available at the press of a button.

     

    The bottom line is that most everyone should be pleased with the final result. While I might have preferred a slightly more pure and film-like look, there's nothing offensive going on here.

     

    All of that said, I continue to wonder why the studio would allow foreign territories to release the new Blu-ray, especially in an unlocked edition (Steelbook) before the domestic. I've got to believe that it will eat into domestic sales.

     

    Recommended.

     

    RAH
     
  2. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Marketing people that believe Psycho will sell better near Halloween. Maybe they have the numbers to back it up, but it seems odd for this particular title.
     
  3. Powell&Pressburger

    Powell&Pressburger Screenwriter

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    Yep I imported the UK standard Blu-Ray case edition the same week it was released. I am too impatient to wait for the US release.
     
  4. jt19006

    jt19006 Auditioning

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    Mr. Harris:

     

    Can you confirm the "version" of the film? Does it have the uncensored material presumably from the European release version? Any details on varying version would be greatly appreciated.
     
  5. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Quote:


    I don't believe that this is as simplistic as "European release version." One would have to go to the cutting materials and measure shots

    and continuity of versions. As I've not done this, I'm of little help.

     

    RAH
     
  6. jt19006

    jt19006 Auditioning

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    I'd be surprised if you haven't seen this before but below is a link that includes screen caps of some of the "missing" footage as shown on TV in Germany.

     

    http://movie-censorship.com/report.php?ID=1921
     
  7. rich_d

    rich_d Cinematographer

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    And who are these top studio audio engineers that performed this work - not supervised the audio mix - performed/created the audio mix?

    I think the Audionamix process is quite interesting and perhaps a boom to projects like this. But the technology is only as its application. Case in point, I'm watching Psycho with the new 5.1 mix and I notice the sound of the rain lets up when Marion exits the office and peers around the corner for her first look at the Bates house and sees a 'woman' at the window. I thought, 'hey, that's something I never noticed, the rain lets up at that point. Then Marion heads back to the car and the volume of the rain rises. So, I switch over to the original mix and ... big change ... the original audio is driving, intense, loud rain throughout. So that raises some questions ...


    1. Was this intentional by the sound mixers or did they just mess up so noticeably?


    2. If it was intentional, how does that audio change support the screenplay and the director's vision?
     
  8. johnSM

    johnSM Second Unit

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  9. rich_d

    rich_d Cinematographer

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    I already quoted the above in my original post. So what have you added other than being the department of redundancy department and that you're unhappy that others are unhappy?
     
  10. Guest

    The mono isn't in lossless in the U.S. version.
     
  11. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    You've had to say that in two different threads in the past three hours.
     
  12. Maggi Magg

    Maggi Magg Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm happy to have a choice...this should be done on every release where the original is remixed and also it's great to have the original lossless (the UK version)


    Cheers

    MM
     
  13. Steve Tannehill

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    It should be noted that the U.K. release includes an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. A Lamb to the Slaughter is not included on the U.S. release.
     
  14. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Aye. That plus the lossless mono track are why I'm now leaning heavily toward importing the UK version even though I can get the US version for less -- just wish I had pulled the trigger when the UK steelbook could still be had at a good price so I could also get the insert booklet (and the better case, especially since I'm not crazy about the red background of the regular UK version's cover artwork).


    _Man_
     
  15. BethHarrison

    BethHarrison Second Unit

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    I got the steel book version mainly because I prefer the cover art to the U.S. release. It cost AUD$21.50 including postage from Amazon.co.uk.
     
  16. johnSM

    johnSM Second Unit

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    I think you need to take a chill pill. Seriously...
     
  17. Guest

    The movie defaulted to the 5.1 mix, so I decided to give it a shot. About 5 minutes in, while Janet Leigh is putting on her blouse in the hotel room, there's a sound effect of an echoing car horn, honking twice, that's been part of the "Psycho" soundtrack for 50 years. It wasn't there, so back to the menu I went for the original mono. Why do today's technicians feel they can second-guess Alfred Hitchcock, of all people, with the excuse "It's what he would have done if he'd been able to"? What he WAS able to do will always be good enough for me - no improvement needed.
     
  18. jquirk

    jquirk Stunt Coordinator

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    Did anybody have audio synchronization issues with the standard def bonus material included on the disc? The audio for "The Making of Psycho" as well as for the trailers is not in sync.
     
  19. rich_d

    rich_d Cinematographer

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    I fully agree. It's fine to expand the sound for an audience and equipment that can take advantage of a modern sound mix - it's quite another thing to play director by making choices that don't need to be made. Of course, that's with the caveat that they even realized the honking was missing. They may have stripped it away carelessly so as not to reflect a conscious decision but just a botched job.

    Mr. Harris didn't get back to us on who these "top audio engineers" are that actually worked on the Psycho audio, but from the Psycho Sound documentary Larry Walsh is one of the guys talking up their accomplishments with the title of "Re-recording Mixer." I expected a long list of accomplishments when checking Mr. Walsh out on IMDB but only found two references - a sound mixer credit for Gladiator (extended version only) and a mastering engineer credit for a video game. That doesn't sound like the sort of credits to get you working on a Hitchcock production back when and certainly don't sound like the sort of credits to be messing with the audio of one of the greatest director who ever lived.
     
  20. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The same gentleman who worked on Vertigo for the studio, and added various efx such as birds in the dead forest, was in charge of Psycho. Mr. Hitchcock left extremely copious notes on audio. If followed, little should have gone wrong.
     

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