A Few Words About A few words about... Unforgiven -- In High Definition

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, May 10, 2006.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Clint Eastwood's Academy Award Best Picture of 1992 is the second Best Picture to arrive on High Definition DVD in as many weeks.

    Unforgiven was one of the very early DVDs, and to be blunt, looked inferior to concurrent releases. Non-anamorphic, and derived from the laserdisc transfer, the September 1997 DVD was a pale shadow of a superb film.

    The 10th Anniversary Edition (2002), gave us a sharper anamorphic image, with better color.

    It was quite satisfactory.

    Sampling the quality of the new High Definition release made me realize precisely how unprepared I was for the visual feast now being presented.

    Elements of the image, which made absolutely no impact in the regular defintion version are now remarkable and undeniably stunning.

    As an example, there is the sequence in which Richard Harris arrives in town. Certain shots, photographed in wide angle by cinematograper Jack N. Green, now reveal a sharpness and acuity nowhere to be found in the Anniversary release. A sharp foreground, with a character in medium shot or Medium close-up, will continue in absolute sharpness and high resolution out to infinity.

    But it is what can be seen in these shots that will astound the viewer.

    From a medium distance to mountains, literally miles in the distance, every detail is sharp and crystal clear. Go beyond that, and behind a slight haze, are additional mountains in the far background -- all crisp and clear, but with absolute ascertainable delineations of shadings and graduations of very specific blue haze building upon haze into the furthest recesses of the background. Each and every change in distance, having been captured by Mr. Green on the original negative has now found its way to a perfectly scanned and played back digital image.

    Absolute cinematic perfection! And perfect work coming from Warner's technical staff.

    The other caveat in earlier editions was a lack of total blacks, with the earliest version marred by heavy analogue noise.

    The new High Definition release, much like that of Phantom, but on a slightly older negative stock, gives us the full spectrum of rich, full color and tonalities against stark blacks and whites.

    If the technology and transfer quality in these earliest HD releases is any portend of things to come as the process settles in, prepare to be amazed.

    On the new 20 point scales being used for High Definition, Warner's new HD DVD of Mr. Eastwood's Unforgiven, rates a 20 -- 100%.

    Yet another slam dunk for Warner Home Video.

    This is a DVD that cannot be recommended more highly

    RAH
     
  2. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Producer

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    Damn! [​IMG]

    I was really looking forward to this release next week, but I was unprepared for the praise you've given this title. I know what I'm doing next Tuesday evening.

    - Walter.
     
  3. Steve Blair

    Steve Blair Second Unit

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    Thanks for the review, Robert. I'm getting both this and FMJ on tuesday. Tuesday's are exciting again [​IMG]
     
  4. Dan Hitchman

    Dan Hitchman Cinematographer

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    Did Warner Brothers fix their audio mastering problems? And is there a TrueHD track on this one?

    Dan
     
  5. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Supporting Actor

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    There are reports that Unforgiven has visible EE that comes from the D5 tape. :-(
     
  6. Travis Hedger

    Travis Hedger Supporting Actor

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    I love it I love it.

    I remember when DVD was first coming out, cruddy transfers, severe macroblocking and the like. This first batch from Warner and Universal have really whet the whistle and it can only get better from here. Especially when true 1080p output is coupled with a 1080p display. Im on 1080i now as that is the limit to my monitor yet, 1080i is jaw droppingly beautiful. I just can't wait for things to come down the pike.
     
  7. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Could we get a source on those reports?

    I have no opinion even though I own two HD TVs, as I don’t yet have a player.

    The reports from Robert Harris, among others, plus the announced, forthcoming software is about to push me over the edge. I’m curious as to the downside.
     
  8. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Interesting.

    Almost as if some nameless naysayers are out there "reporting" that there are problems.

    I've now read about digital artifacts in both Unforgiven and Rumor Has It...

    but have not seen any problem with either, and have viewed them both.

    RAH
     
  9. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Thanks
     
  10. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    I've reviewed both Unforgiven and Rumor Has It, and observed ringing artifacts on both of them, to a lesser extent on Unforgiven.

    And I'm not a naysayer. I'm just applying a very critical eye to these presentations. I like HD DVD and want it to be better.
     
  11. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    Is Unforgiven and Full Metal Jacket available for preorder / order... anywhere? Full Metal Jacket was on Amazon, but it does not ship until June. Unforgiven is AWOL.

    - Steve
     
  12. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    People at AVS are reporting Unforgiven available at Best Buy B&M stores.
     
  13. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    Not at the ones I've checked. They are not even showing up online. The department manager knew nothing of them in one store.

    - Steve
     
  14. JayF

    JayF Stunt Coordinator

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    Yep, just bought both Unforgiven and FMJ at my local Best Buy. They didn't have them out, but when I asked they said "oh yeah, those are OK to come out today."
     
  15. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    I didn't notice any ringing, and was specifically looking for it at certain points, expecting to see it. Could it possibly be your display?

    never saw this film before- in fact I purposefully avoided it, thinking it looked pretentious and was getting accolades simply because of Clints elder statesman popularity. Obviously I was woefully off base.
    Was also worried at first that the PQ on this was seriously overrated- until I realized about 7 minutes in that I had the resolution set at 480p. I changed that and had to quick grab my drool cup 'fore I made a complete mess a myself.
    What a drop dead gorgeous set of images.

    Almost as impressive to me as the visuals was soundfield on this one.
    I'm just hooked up with the coax so I'm not getting the 'highest quality possible' but this is without a doubt the best my system has ever sounded- anything better in the future is just an extra special little treat to look forward to. The music as the end credits rolled sounded heavenly.

    Kudos to Warner. can't wait to see what is coming in the weeks ahead.


    Both this and FMJ were at my BB. there were copies with the player display (endcap in the dvd player section) and there were also some copies on a shelf a couple rows over where they used to keep the high priced dvd recorders when they first came out.
    there were also some HD DVDs on an endcap in the dvd section.
     
  16. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    I think that the ringing may be an 'attention to detail' issue. You're quite right, some places in UNFORGIVEN where I would have expected ringing, I saw none. But other spots that were less obvious, it was visible, possibly indicating that the compressionist wasn't paying enough attention there. I'll try to get some time codes and you can see whether you see the same things.
     
  17. Chauncey

    Chauncey Stunt Coordinator

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    Steve,

    I picked up both at the Irving, TX Best Buy yesterday.
     
  18. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    North Irving or South Irving?

    North Irving did not have the discs out of the back room until I prodded them to do so this morning.

    - Steve
     
  19. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I don't believe that anyone has suggested that either HD or BD software will be totally free of an occasional artifact.

    These are compressed discs created via complex and problematic Codecs.

    They are not 2k uncompresses data streams.

    Please keep in mind that this is home video.

    RAH
     

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