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

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jul 2, 2009.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Director Tom Tykwer's The International via Sony is an interesting release from several angles.

    From the purely technical, the production was apparently shot on 35mm 3-pref as well as 65mm horizontal, with all imagery scanned as data, processed in 2k, and then recorded back to standard 35mm 4-perf anamorphic for projection.

    The 2k DI means that what we see on Blu-ray should be a relatively simple port down to from one data format to the next, and as such the resultant Blu-ray is clean, crisp and as highly resolved as it can be.

    Something else that I like about the film was the obvious tip of the hat (well more than a tip of the hat actually) to Sir Alfred with his chases across well known and iconic locations. Think The British Museum, Mount Rushmore, The Statue of Liberty, Albert Hall, etc. Here, Mr. Tykwer virtually destroys the interior of Manhattan's famous Guggenheim Museum. I note "virtually," as the entire interior was reproduced for the film, as seen in an interesting extra.

    With quality talent, Clive Owen, Naomi Watts (no international agent ever seems to have anyone other than a sweet, young, intelligent partner) and the wonderful Armin Muller-Stahl, and an intelligent storyline, which in some ways reminds me of The Godfather Part III, The International is a high quality Blu-ray that's worth a visit.

    Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    Was planning to rent this one soon. Glad to know it looks good.
     
  3. BillyFeldman

    BillyFeldman Supporting Actor

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    Godfather III had an intelligent story line? I must have missed that Godfather III and seen the really bad one. :)

    As to The International, I'm a fan of the director and his work here is fine and about half the film works well, but then it devolves into badly-written ridiculousness, with Watts literally disappearing from the film's final twenty minutes or so. I thought the Blu-Ray looked and sounded terrific.
     
  4. Vincent_P

    Vincent_P Screenwriter

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    I believe Penton Man over at Blu-ray.com said that the 65mm material was actually scanned and processed at 4K, with only the 35mm material being 2K.

    Vincent
     
  5. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    While I have no direct information on this, and Penton may have better input from Sony, the DI would have to had been recorded entirely at 4k from a combination of 2 and 4k data, the DI cut from sections or the 4k data down-rezzed to 2k for the DI. I'm not certain that one can shift between 2 and 4k during a record, but anything might be possible.
     
  6. MikeM

    MikeM Screenwriter

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    I loved this extra but it's a true shame that this specific extra was wasn't produced in HD. C'mon. The film looked beautiful in HD, and then when that extra was played it looked like some dumbed down VHS quality footage by comparison. All extras for films this new should be produced in HD.
     
  7. JohnS

    JohnS Producer

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    Having never seen this in the theaters and resulting to Netfix to see this.
    I was surprised how little Watts was in this film.
    I just mildly liked this film.

    I did like the look of this film.
    And being a fan of Tom Tywker, this is my least favorite of his.
     
  8. OliverK

    OliverK Cinematographer

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    At the Berlinale Tom Tykwer and some higher up from ARRI also said that they had scanned the 35mm parts in 2k and the 70mm parts in 4k. I was a bit astonished about that as I would have expected a complete 4k scan if only to get the most out of the parts shot in 35mm.
     
  9. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    I'm curious as to the reasons for shooting parts in horizontal 65mm. Was an IMAX release contemplated, or is some clarification given in the special features?
     
  10. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Apparently used for the XLS shots of cityscapes that serve as transitions and identifications.

    RAH
     
  11. OliverK

    OliverK Cinematographer

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    Tom Tykwer is a big fan of 65/70mm and he would have liked to shoot the whole movie in 65mm. Due to budgetary considerations he had to settle for the kind of shots that RAH mentioned that according to him amount to a total of about 7 minutes in the finished movie.

    65 5perf even if only used as a taking format would have a lot of benefits and I am still waiting for Penton-Man to answer my question about how much more it would have cost to shoot all of The International in 65mm :)

    Edit: First overread that you mentioned HORIZONTAL. He shot standard (vertical) 65mm 5perf, 70mm 15perf would be the horizontal Imax format.
    Edited by OliverK - 7/9/2009 at 08:44 pm GMT
     
  12. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Oliver,

    Someone else had mentioned 65/15. Apparently he used a standard issue Arri 65.

    You can do a basic calculation of costs as stock and lab prices are quite public.

    Add to those the additional cost of shipping the stock, and more light and you have it.

    I did a budget for David Lean when Nostromo was in pre-production, and my cost at that time, with
    a bit of help from Kodak and the labs was about an additional 300k over shooting in 35. 70mm prints on top of
    that.

    Unfortunately, by the time a 35mm high speed produced print gets to the local plex and is run with older
    glass, not enough light and just slightly out of focus, anything gained is lost.

    In a situation such as Dark Knight, the differences are worth the effort when run in IMAX.

    If not, I'm not sure that I see a rationale for shooting large format.

    RAH
     
  13. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    The only situation I can think of that is analogous to this is Terrence Malick's The New World, which also had scenes shot in 65mm. How much of the improved detail would be visible in a BD encoded from the 2K DI? I'm curious?
     
  14. OliverK

    OliverK Cinematographer

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    Robert,

    thanks for your estimate, 300k is not that much even at the time Nostromo was planned and that would have been a rather big production with 70mm adding less than 1% to the final costs of the project.

    When I asked it seemed that costs should add significantly to the price of the movie but then I think it might not have even been near the 50 million mark which is not very much by the standards of today.

    I would have thought of 65mm as a good taking format for the rising number of 4k cinemas, of course the occasional 70mm print for special screenings would also be nice. And while I am not that much of a fan of their usual fare I can see the charme of running a 65/5 to 70/15 Blow-Up in Imax cinemas.

    Oliver
     
  15. Andrew Pierce

    Andrew Pierce Stunt Coordinator

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    The whole film in general seems as sharp and clear and detailed as any Blu Ray I've seen, but this explains why my eyes almost popped out of my head on the some of those transitional scenes. In particular, the Istanbul intro was astoundingly detailed -- The camera pans up from an overhead bridge shot to a wide shot of the whole city, yet I swear you can still see individual roof tiles.
     
  16. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Supporting Actor

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    I did not like the look of this BD much. Often too digital and hard looking, processed.
     

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