A Few Words About A few words about...™ There Will Be Blood -- in Blu-Ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood, won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography this year for Robert Elswit.

    Paramount has taken the film, and it appears, given it great care in in the road to Blu-Ray.

    With a bit of grain present, the film just looks right, as having made its way through the production and post process without the use of digital technology.

    Yes, the opening sequence in the shaft is grainy, but proper.

    This is an easy one.

    Brilliant film, brilliantly photographed, and beautifully rendered to Blu-Ray by Paramount.

    Highly Recommended.
     
  2. Paul Hillenbrand

    Paul Hillenbrand Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the review Mr. Harris.

    Didn't see this movie in the theater, but I agree it looks like film and I'm glad it did, winning the Academy Award for Best Cinematography and all.[​IMG]

    It had a lot of surprises in it and kept my interest.

    Paul
     
  3. David Wilkins

    David Wilkins Supporting Actor

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    Mr. Harris,

    It's good to hear you chime-in on this one. I loved it too. There were no let-downs to my eyes or ears after spinning up the BD. Let's hope there are many more such pleasures to come.
     
  4. Felix Martinez

    Felix Martinez Screenwriter

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    The print I saw earlier this year at my local cineplex looked like an upconverted DVD. It was terrible; a truly depressing filmgoing experience.

    The Blu-ray is a revelation. My understanding is that it's a high bit-rate encode to boot. P.T. Anderson should be happy.
     
  5. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Supporting Actor

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    Mr. Harris and I fully agree on Patton. Here is an example where we (partially) disagree. I don't know if this is due to viewing conditions or a generally different take on sharpening.
    I did not see any grain problems in the transfer. No DNR smoothing. But within the first few minutes I felt uneasy about the imagery and could not get rid of the impression that it looked wrong, artificial and digital. One aspect was that some shots are very contrasty. But that alone is not the reason. I know many contrasty Blu Rays that look good to me.
    So I started looking at the pictures in detail searching for the source of my discomfort. It then became quickly clear to me that I disliked the sharpening they have applied. I disliked the appearance of edges with their haloes and faint ringing, and the effect of the sharpening on textures in general. I disliked the harsh digital look of brightly lit landscape shots. It screamed 'video' to me.
    Not all shots had this look. On interior shots it was generally less evident if not invisible. It was the brightly lit outside shots that threw me out of the picture into the looking for problems mode.
    I watch on 3.5m wide 16:9 screen sitting ~2 screen heights away. I fully resolve 1080p detail. Under these conditions this transfer falls apart for me as Patton does for Mr. Harris. Unlike Patton which clearly looks not like the film it came from in ways never intended by its makers I don't know if this sharpened look is PTA approved or not. The film had no DI so the sharpening was added for HD mastering. In my judgement an EK print of this film does not have this sharpened look. But I have not seen the film on 35mm for verification.
    So this is a transfer where I have considerable reservations about its look, but can not claim it does not show the film makers intentions for how the HD should look. Only they know.
    There is a featurette on the disk with a documentary about petroleum. Shot on 35mm, I guess. It's full of film typical artifacts (scratches etc.), but it looked (much) more like original film to me than the feature.
     
  6. Paul Cordingley

    Paul Cordingley Auditioning

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    Michel - I completely agree with you. I noticed EE early on, and was disappointed to see it. It does lend the picture a harsh, digital look to be sure.

    Just watched Walk Hard, and that has an absolutely perfect and smooth look, ironically shot with Genesis HD cameras. No EE, no DNR. Wonderful.

    Still, There Will Be Blood is a wonderful movie, and the PQ is still very good.
     
  7. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I've asked the generic sharpening question many times, and each time I'm told precisely the same thing. That there is a slight bit of sharpening added automatically during the production of the masters.

    I don't know if this is in any way necessary, especially for Blu-ray and may be a carry over from the old days.

    We're viewing the image at approximately the same size.

    In any case, the look is duly noted, but it wasn't anywhere near enough of a problem to raise red flags for me.

    I'm wondering if the contrast, which is certainly up there as shot, may be adding to your discomfort in the ext. scenes.
     
  8. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Supporting Actor

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    Certainly. High contrast means the filter responds strongly. Sharpening filters amplify specific frequencies and enhance local contrast. If the image is already contrasty it can quickly go from nicely sharp to an artificial and digitally (over)processed look.
     
  9. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the tip. Did you see any aliasing issues? Some Genesis sourced BDs have nasty aliasing problems (Next, Before the Devil...). I sampled some of "The Other Boleyn Girl", also from Genesis. And it looked very good. Too clean for film but smooth and with good detail.
     
  10. JoshB

    JoshB Supporting Actor

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    Along with No Country for Old Men, this is one of my favorite blu ray titles. The transfers on both discs are simply stunning...
     
  11. Paul Cordingley

    Paul Cordingley Auditioning

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    Watched Before the Devil last night, and saw the effect you describe. If I were a betting man, I would say it was shot at 1440x1080 and up-scaled to 1920x1080, since vertically it was perfect (that's an absolute guess). I was disappointed to see what would have been described as cross-colourisation in days of yore - false colouring on high-contrast edges. Yep, it's a shame since the other qualities of that transfer were top notch. Excellent, excellent movie though!

    I saw no such problems with Walk Hard.
     
  12. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Supporting Actor

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    It was shot in 1080p. But when it broke down it looked like 1440 or worse. Only some shots looked really bad, though. Must be a mastering issue.
     
  13. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Supporting Actor

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    You want to see really bad sharpening? Go to 9:48 and look at the hat. Yikes.
     
  14. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    I watched this tonight on my ISF calibrated 60" Sony SXRD A3000 connected to a BD30 at 1080p/24. Sitting about 8 feet back or so, edge enhancement was noticable throughout much of the movie - particularly outdoor scenes. Now, I certainly didn't find it distracting as I often looked for it, but it was definitely there and it certainly makes NO sense. On any rate, at least there was no DNR (which I find a greater poison) and this overall was a good transfer. In some scenes, the blacks were fantastic.
     

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