A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Big Country -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jun 17, 2011.

  1. jaaguir

    jaaguir Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, maybe it's just me? But just look at the first cap, it's a close-up of Gregory Peck. The head is clearly stretched out horizontally, it seems so obvious to me. Maybe the problem is, that's the normal look of anamorphic movies at the time (a moderate amount of distortion should be expected?) and you guys take it for granted, so it doesn't call your attention, and I was just ignorant about it?. I also see it easily in his other close-up (cap 9) and caps 3 and 13. The rest are wide shots, it's more difficult to tell, although personally I think they all look stretched out.

    If the lens were not responsible, the source material of the transfer would have to have been incorrectly printed or blown-up or something somehow?. So as I said maybe this look is to be expected and I guess the distortion is not so severe (although I wouldn't bet on it) as in "The robe", for example? (I remember when we see Richard Burton for the first time, a medium shot with him walking towards camera, he is so "fattened out", especially if you watch it with the standard version in the little window).
     
  2. Dan_Shane

    Dan_Shane Stunt Coordinator

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    It is not just you. I clearly see the squash-and-stretch effect in those captures, but the movie does not look that way on my calibrated 73" Mitsubishi DLP. Buy the disc. Enjoy the film.
     
  3. jaaguir

    jaaguir Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks. I was going to buy it anyway, but I was curious about the technical issue.

    This is a little unorthodox (some people may say it's not a fair comparison because it's not film-frame vs. film-frame), but if there are people out there that don't see it yet, you can compare Gregory Peck's close up (first capture on http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/The-Big-Country-Blu-ray/21691/#Screenshots) with the photo of his face on the cover and menu of "Twelve o'clock high" (last capture on http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Twelve-OClock-High-Blu-ray/21475/#Screenshots). The former is clearly "deformed" (and I don't think the cover photo has been tinkered with in that regard, that's how I remember his face from other movies and photos). I'm aware of the 8 year difference. Just trying to somehow illustrate my point with an example (probably not the best way).
     
  4. Dan_Shane

    Dan_Shane Stunt Coordinator

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    Not that I believe many folks who frequent this forum are prone to disregard distorted TV images, I will say that apparently there are people who simply can't see what is obvious to most of us in that regard. I have been in hotels or A/V showrooms and pointed out to friends the clearly deformed SD-stretched-to-fit-an-HD-screen product often on display in such public places. They swear they cannot see anything wrong with the picture.

    In the words of the great Larson E. Whipsnade, "It baffles science."
     
  5. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I noticed something odd also, in just a handful of shots. This was not shot with a CinemaScope lens. It was shot with Delrama prisms, which should not have
    added distortion. I'm wondering if something might have occurred in the digital manipulation of the image to remove the anamorphosis. 50% would have been the
    proper setting.

    RAH
     
  6. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    I guess i need a frame of reference which someone has now provided, i notice all the time on satellite when someone forgets to throw the 16/9 switch and we end up with distorted images, its easier to spot with moving images though, now i see it again it reminds me just a little of the cinerama smilebox effect on the edge of the frames in How The West Was Won although obviously thats different.

    This has prompted me to read up on Technirama, good article below, well at least i hope its good as in accurate.

    http://www.widescreenmuseum.com/widescreen/wingtr1.htm
     
  7. Wendell R. Breland

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    In reference to the screenshots, look at the shots with wagons and stagecoaches, the wheels appear to be round. If the ratio was not correct the wheels would have an oval shape.
     
  8. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    So this is just a handful of shots, i can, in the future, safely buy it, knowing i am getting a good transfer.

    MGM also releases this in Germany ( i think ) therefore the same transfer, anyone know for sure. ?
     
  9. Roland

    Roland Auditioning

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    Yes, it is the same absolute beautiful transfer. Not a fantastic Edition with big additional Material, but what counts to me is the fantastic Restauration of this classic-Western.
    Highly recommended, as Robert says before.
     
  10. nealg

    nealg Stunt Coordinator

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    Did somebody say "image distortion?" Blu-ray vs. TCM HD...
    Well, I'm certainly no authority in this forum. Only in my own HT, but...
    I've never seen the movie. I picked it up after reading the enthusiastic recommendations in this thread. I bought the disc before the posts concerning image distortion started to spring up. I recorded the movie on TCM HD the other day, just for fun, to have as a reference. I compared the two transfers today. My findings:
    The image on the blu-ray is definitely squashed/horizontally stretched throughout (well, I've only viewed the first hour so far). Not as much as a hotel TV or the way my Cousin Eunice watches 4 x 3 material, but it is compressed top to bottom. The TCM HD image shows no such distortion; AND even though TCM windowboxes widescreen films, there is also MORE information on the sides of the TCM version.
    The color palettes and contrast levels are also very different, with the blu-ray darker and more subdued. The blu-ray is definitely sharper. I will not venture to say which one looks better, for fear of getting into a "Lord of the Rings" type of discussion here, which is not my intent.
    Based on the distortion and cropping, though, I will finish watching the movie on my TCM HD recording. I have to say I'm a little disappointed. I know the disc only cost me $10, so it's not that. I just don't know how things like this happen; the transfer techs have the TCM transfer available to reference, I would think. Similar situation with Paramount's blu-ray of Star Trek: Insurrection. Image is "squashed" top to bottom. The dvd is fine.
    (In case anyone is looking to blame my ...ahem... TV, my monitor is a Pioneer 141, calibrated by umr.)
    I guess it's wishful thinking to hope that MGM (Fox?) would ever fix this, i.e., a re-transfer and a RECALL.:D Yeah, I know--dream on.
     
  11. GMpasqua

    GMpasqua Screenwriter

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    Could the TMC transfer have been stretched to fill more image on top and bottom? I remember some wide sceen films doing this for various shots that included three actors but it could have been done less dramatically with in the rest of the film

    The first widescreen laserdisc of "Hello Dolly" did this through the entire film leaving Doug Pratt to head his review "You're looking tall Dolly"
     
  12. nealg

    nealg Stunt Coordinator

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    Greg, the amount of information top to bottom is the same in both transfers, i.e. neck tie knots are cut off at the same point at the bottom; headroom looks the same. Also, nobody looks skinny or tall in the TCM transfer. They just look correctly proportioned. Also, I've been watching TCM HD since January and have been fairly impressed by their respect of aspect ratios. There are a few films that should be 1.33:1 that they show at 1.85:1 for some reason, but otherwise they don't stretch or crop.
    And speaking of cropping, on the blu-ray, information at the right and left that has been cropped by a good amount. In one crowd shot, a man visible on the right (TCM version) is completely cut off on the blu-ray. My display is set to show dot for dot, so I'm seeing the entire frame. An equal amount has been cropped from the left.
    As for your reference to seeing this done before for various shots, what I'm seeing is consistent throughout (well, I've only watched the first hour). Someone screwed up here, but just once, and left those settings for the entire feature. Seems consistent with what RAH stated above: the digital anamorphosis removal should have been set at 50%, but it seems that it was NOT. Height is squeezed and the sides are lopped off.
    I may have to figure out how to do some screen caps (and yeah, everybody loves and trusts screen caps). I just don't know if there's a point.
     
  13. GMpasqua

    GMpasqua Screenwriter

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    I think you missed my point

    instead of cropping off the sides sometimes studios would push the film in on each side making changing the shape but also compressing the image so that people are slimer and taller (not drastically but slightly)
    This way they can keep all the image and the black banding on top and bottom isn't so serve.
     
  14. Guest

    Is that what happened with the original dvd of Alien? If you look at screenshots on dvdbeaver, the people are skinny. The blu ray crops a bit from the sides, and some from the top and bottom compared to the stretched version.
     
  15. Bob Cashill

    Bob Cashill Cinematographer

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    It's definitely not a HELLO, DOLLY LD situation.
     
  16. nealg

    nealg Stunt Coordinator

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    OK, so I guess you were asking me if the TCM version is stretched vertically, effectively changing the aspect ratio from 2.35:1 to, say, 2:1. It is not, and though I did not measure the screen, the TCM version looks to be around 2.35:1. The TCM transfer is the one that looks correct.
    I would be interested to compare with the dvd, if only to see if TCM's transfer is from the same source. Glancing at Gary's dvd screen caps, it looks like the blu-ray. I'll have to compare those frames...
     
  17. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    I don't think thats the case, i read a good interview from someone who works on the transfers who said that when it comes to 2K masters they have tended to just cut a little off the sides when making the blu ray, this means they do not have to go through another downconversion process, saves some time, and this helps avoid introducing any more unwanted artifacts into the image, the dvd would have more information on each side and when viewed directly with the blu ray release your eyes tend to focus wrongly into believing the image may be squished, it isn't, the frame may just look different.

    I have a few dvd blu ray comparisons on my site with mouseovers, i won't link them, but go to my site, if you want, and you can see what i am talking about on a few of them.
     
  18. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    I just picked up a copy at Walmart on everybody's recommendation. They had two copies.
     
  19. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Picked up mine today (I had it shipped to the store), and at a glance it looks wonderful.
     
  20. jaaguir

    jaaguir Stunt Coordinator

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    Thank you for your input (I feel compelled to answer since I raised the distortion issue here). I'm a little disappointed too. I'll still buy it whenever Amazon carries it, though.
     

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