A Few Words About A few words about...™ The African Queen -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. Bleddyn Williams

    Bleddyn Williams Supporting Actor

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    Those of us who have been waiting for a nice price on this might be interested in what apparently is a one day price of $15 at Best Buy...

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/The+African+Queen+-+Fullscreen+Dubbed+Subtitle+-+Blu-ray+Disc/9692796.p?id=20129&skuId=9692796&st=african%20queen&lp=2&cp=1
     
  2. SAhmed

    SAhmed Second Unit

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    Hi Bleddyn,

    Really appreciate the heads up - just bought it !

    Regards,
     
  3. Bleddyn Williams

    Bleddyn Williams Supporting Actor

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    You're welcome, SAhmed - I came across it in another forum and wanted to make sure the news was here too!
     
  4. Doug Otte

    Doug Otte Supporting Actor

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    Cross-posting from "that other forum":


    I finally watched most of it yesterday. It was my first viewing since seeing it in a college theatre about 32 years ago (ouch!).

    Anyway, the BD looks spectacular. Very clean image (dirt/dust removal was thorough), highly detailed, contrast looked rock-solid, and I didn't even notice loss of resolution in the cross-fades.

    I guess this is my age showing, but the models and rear-projection scenes didn't bother me at all. In fact, in many films, the rear projection contrast doesn't match the foreground actors, but I didn't find that problem at all in this BD.

    And, after complaining bitterly about having only DD audio, I found the audio quite satisfactory. There were a few harsh crescendoes in the score that are a result of the old soundtrack, but overall the sound was very clear, detailed, and pleasing.

    Well done!

    Doug
     
  5. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Is there a thread somewhere which explains this? It's a phenomenon I notice all the time on older films. That when there are dissolves from one scene to another, the restoration of the film-in-question sort of disappears (colors fade, noise appears, etc.).


    I've always wondered why that is.
     
  6. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Screenwriter
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    The simple answer is since a dissolve involves reprinting two strips of film onto a third, you're going down a few generations from the negative in the process. That introduces grain, increased contrast, and in the case of Eastman materials, color shifting.
     
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  7. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

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    The bigger problem at hand is with Eastman color films, stocks for printing opticals on tend to fade faster that camera neg (doesn't apply too three-strip productions, obviously).
     
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  8. Mark B

    Mark B Supporting Actor

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    http://www.dvdsavant.com/s3211tech.html


    This article addresses the different types of methods used.
     
  9. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    3-strip went to black and white masters as dupes and back to negative to be cut in as a replacement for printer functions.
     
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  10. oscar_merkx

    oscar_merkx Lead Actor

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    The UK Blu Ray had the Jack Cardiff commentary.
     
  11. JParker

    JParker Second Unit

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    Here's a link on the restoration process, an Adobe flash player file; sadly, it's not included in the Blu-ray: http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=4307 Adam, I didn't post this on the My Fair Lady thread, but for anyone who's interested, I find this informative on how such work is done, although the issues with African Queen are unique, in some respects. I wish an Industrial Light & Magic reconstruction in CGI was done on the lousy "process", i.e., blue screen shots but c'est la vie!
     
  12. Brent Reid

    Brent Reid Second Unit

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    Wow. Have just been directed here by Mike in this thread and find it hilarious. Eight pages and 150-odd posts mostly debating the merits or otherwise of lossy audio on the US BD, with a lot of rationalising going on. Fair enough. But then a few months later, in September 2010, the UK BD was released with a lot more extras, all in HD, and a lossless PCM soundtrack! :lol:


    And not a single post anywhere on this site about it until this one. Strange...


    DVDCompare: The African Queen Blu-ray



    *I'm sure Oscar in post #150 is actually referring to the DVD.
     
  13. Konstantinos

    Konstantinos Screenwriter

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    Oh, thanks, didn't know that.

    I wonder though if they have the exact same picture quality.

    Different encodings produce different results..


    edit:

    Hmmm.. they seem similar on first view, with the US Bluray beeing a tad brighter, but after a detailed view, it seems the US one also has a better compression:

    http://caps-a-holic.com/hd_vergleiche/multi_comparison.php?disc1=2573&disc2=2572&cap1=23670&cap2=23678&art=full&image=2&hd_multiID=266&action=1&lossless=#vergleich

    http://caps-a-holic.com/hd_vergleiche/multi_comparison.php?&art=magnify&x=464&y=23&action=1&image=2&hd_multiID=266&cap1=23670&cap2=23678&disc1=2573&disc2=2572&lossless=1#vergleich
     
  14. Brent Reid

    Brent Reid Second Unit

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    Thanks for the link Konstantinos, but based on that I actually prefer the look of the UK BD, which I have anyway.


    Try a comparison of the wooden box in #4 or the boat in #7; in both cases the US appears to have slightly less detail. Either way, chuck in all those HD extras and lossless audio and there's no competition.
     
  15. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I seriously doubt lossless audio for this particular title is any advantage.
     
  16. AnthonyClarke

    AnthonyClarke Screenwriter

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    Nice to come back to this post after such a long absence.

    And I guess we must state here that we seriously doubt that lossy audio for this particular title is any advantage ... or for any title in fact unless space is really really at a huge premium,

    Using compression and chucking away info cannot improve sound .. it is too indiscriminate in its effect. It is sonic vandalism.

    Sure, there will be vintage soundtracks with unwanted artefacts and these will have to be judiciously treated, in the same way that restoration experts massage video.

    But just applying compression and stripping the audio of sound components which can never be restored again is a brutal way of doing this.

    Treat artefacts in as minimal way as possible to get the audio to the best state we can manage. Then give that audio to us in LOSSLESS form.

    This debate reminds me of the proponents of red-book CD who keep telling us that we can't get better than that sterile system ... well, I'm sorry. The old LPs so often gave us such better sound than existed on CD -- the terrible early mastering of The Beatles onto CD showed us that!

    It's true that modern engineers are able to produce far better results on CD nowadays using 20 or 24 bit mastering techniques ... but even then, when one does a direct comparison on a top-end hi fi system between the best CD and a 24-96 HD audio source, you suddenly notice how much you're missing on CD, in the bite of brass, the depth of drums.

    Blu ray discs should aim at presenting us with the best possible experience, in video and audio. And 'lossy' is always an indiscriminate compromise.

    Despite this, I must agree that overall, this 'African Queen' is a beauty. But we shouild have been given that lossless track!
     
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  17. Brent Reid

    Brent Reid Second Unit

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    In terms of real world listening conditions I doubt that lossless makes any discernible difference to pre-1950s films with mono OSTs. That's why I started the thread from which someone directed me here.


    My main point is that here are eight pages of people largely rationalising that the reason that Paramount didn't supply lossless, even after such a pricey restoration, is that it wasn't worth having. Then the UK (and Oz) discs get released with lossless anyway - and much more besides! And nobody thinks that's even worth a comment... :)
     
  18. AnthonyClarke

    AnthonyClarke Screenwriter

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    It would be great if someone could listen to the two tracks and decide IF the lossy track is definitely superior. Remember, the talk was that lossy was chosen because it was superior to lossless! Or at least, imperceptible in its difference.

    If to some ears it is an imperceptible difference, then why bother going down the lossy road? Give us lossless....
     
  19. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I commented on it about the lossless audio as I don't think it does much for this 1952 movie that was filmed in 1951. I'm happy with the Region A BD release, sure I would like to have Cardiff's audio commentary, but I have the Region II DVD with it so I can sync up two players playing at the same time with the somewhat superior video of the Region A BD on one player while having the Region 2 DVD audio commentary on the second player. The Cardiff audio commentary probably isn't available for Region A.
     
  20. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I wouldn't accept any such opinion, unless, it was a blind test by a few different people. Even then, I doubt there be much of a consensus one way or another.
     

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