Happy birthday Back to the Future; will its Blu-ray transfer ever get corrected?

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by harveytwh, Jul 3, 2013.

  1. Vincent_P

    Vincent_P Screenwriter

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    There was a big uproar when Anchor Bay released Dario Argento's DEEP RED on DVD and they replaced the end credits with new, digital ones, and messed up the end credits shot in the process (this has been corrected on the Blue Underground Blu-ray). Of course, in that case it was a stylistic end credits sequence, with a lingering shot of David Hemmings reflected in a pool of blood and continuing to move around during the credit crawl (the replaced version on the AB DVD used a still shot of Hemmings).

    Vincent
     
  2. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    I really think the "TBC" should be replaced. I do think it was on the original vhs version, at least the first one I bought, which was probably actually not until all three films were in a boxed set. The "To Be Concluded" card is still on the BTTF2 blu...so it seems like the 3 films would match up a little more consistently...
     
  3. Bob_S.

    Bob_S. Supporting Actor

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    Harvey, I've seen alot of people nitpick about alot of things on here and your issue isn't any worse. I'm one that likes to sit through credits. Not every time but if I'm sitting down with the family having a movie night I usually watch the movie through the end credits. I like listening to the music score. Whether you watch the end credits or not really isn't the issue. A movie should be presented correctly from opening credits to ending credits. I'm grateful for everyone on here who bring up issues with a dvd/blu-ray. Many things I just would not have noticed since I don't have a keen eye for that, but I'm grateful for you and others who point these things out. Studios need to be at least aware of these things. It's up to them to decide whether or not to spend money to fix it. It's up to us to decide whether or not to buy it. I think you have a legit concern, thanks for pointing it out that's what this forum is for. Speaking about credits, I remember when I bought the laserdisc of Star Trek III: The Search For Spock. I noticed that the opening credit for Dame Judith Andersen took up the whole width of the screen, end to end but when I bought the dvd it was smaller with space on both ends. I never saw the movie in the theater so I don't know which version is correct. Hopefully someone can answer that for me.
     
  4. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Bob, that was a good post.

    Made me think about things.

    Harvey, I know I kind of blew off your concern. Not from a
    personal point of view, but what I imagine a studio being faced
    with recalling a title based on end credits not being properly formatted.

    Still, you have a legitimate concern. I don't want you to feel put
    off by expressing that concern here. We all have our individual
    nitpicks that some feel equally important and some don't.
     
  5. harveytwh

    harveytwh Extra

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    I agree that "to be concluded" looks a little silly (or downright confusing) when there was no "to be continued" after part 1, but since TBC wasn't in the original it's the right path to take. It would be neat, though, if they'd allowed the option to watch the movie with it, since DVD and Blu-ray are great for that. (Would also take a little work, since presumably it wasn't created in high def.)

    Bob, your mention of Star Trek III reminded me: I got the Star Trek I-VI Blu set not long ago, and was very confused by something that I then put on my list to check out (and did check out just now). You're right about her credit text being narrower on DVD. Maybe it was an overscan concern that came up after the LD was put out? However, on Blu, the whole opening credits sequence is different! When Spock starts the "Space, the final frontier" monologue, the entire picture slowly shrinks in width (the picture compresses), and after the credits are done, as the Enterprise comes into view on the right side of the starfield, the frame opens up (without stretching). DJA's credit is the same width as the rest, but I haven't yet looked into the specifics of how everything matches up between versions. I also haven't seen the film version, so I can only speculate. It does seem deliberate, at least, and maybe the sort of thing that was initially altered for home video to avoid complaints. There is a noticeable hiccup in video on the older releases. ??? (Galaxy Quest comes to mind: the section between the 1.33 opening and the first trip into space was matted on the sides to 1.85, not 2.35, and widened at that point; on home video it went straight from 1.33 to 2.35 because the effect presumably made less sense on a TV screen. It's not a decision I agree with, and I don't know if it was restored for Blu, but it's an example.)

    Now, player-generated subtitles on those Trek Blus...

    Ronald, thanks, and I know I can be a little blustery and dramatic sometimes. One can always aim high!
     
  6. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    Another one like this was the older releases of The Hunt For Red October.LD and other versions had the credits anamorphic but squeezed over an unsqueezed widescreen image, so they were very narrow and took only half the screen at the middle.The Blu fixed this, and while I always knew it was wrong, I didn't really get too annoyed over it. There's way more important battles to fight.
     
  7. Osato

    Osato Producer

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    The Star Trek III opening credits are normal on the Collectors Edition DVD, however on the blu ray transfer the opening credits picture is squeezed. It's very odd and annoying!

    Paramount or CBS really should do better transfers on the original Trek films (1-6) and release the alternate cuts of the films (Motion Picture Directors Cut, WOK SE Cut, etc) as well.

    Interesing thread on BTTF, its been a while so I think I'll try and watch a few of the films today.
     
  8. Cinescott

    Cinescott Supporting Actor

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    Count me as among the group who likes to watch films through the end credits. While I agree no studio would absorb the cost for a new transfer on this issue alone, it is an important one.

    I also like to listen to long portions of the score uncut and to read some of the text and learn about filming locations, etc. If studios started hacking off the credits because they thought no one cared, we'd all go crazy. There's no reason why BTTF's credits couldn't have been done better; it's simply lazy.
     
  9. JoeDoakes

    JoeDoakes Cinematographer
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    Well, at least Universal didn't mispell anyone's name, as it has been known to do.
     
  10. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

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    I also have to sympathize with Harvey on this. Although the formatting of a film's end credits is obviously not a high-priority fix for a studio, it's still just a weird mistake to have been made in the first place.

    It's like the mono track on Goldfinger fading out at the end instead of letting the song finish as it always had before, or the missing music on The Last Starfighter. I mean, what happened? I don't pretend to know what all goes into preparing a film for DVD or Blu-ray, but I do know my way around film and television post-production, and these are mistakes that you'd almost have to try to make.
     
  11. harveytwh

    harveytwh Extra

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    So first, I just learned that there's a very brief theatrical exhibition of BTTF coming next week across the US: www.cinemark.com/cinemark-classic-series
    I assume this will be from a digital source, and so I wonder how the credits (and filmic look, etc.) will be. I probably won't even be able to make it, so if anyone can post the verdict, that would be nice. It also occurs to me that maybe if they are wrong there, people could make a fuss to the theater managers or someone, who might be able to send feedback up the chain.


    The Last Starfighter issue comes as news to me. Wow. Does Universal know about that one? It reminds me now of the missing Jiminy Cricket lines in the Platinum edition of Pinocchio; I think the official explanation was that for the restoration process they drew on a number of elements from around the world and these two lines fell through the cracks. (Disney did gallantly put out a fixed version and offer replacements on Blu, but on the flip side left the DVD to stay in error. Funny... though they've pretty much abandoned caring for DVD, this was one of their last full-featured titles on it.) It seems like it should be possible to do some sort of automated sanity check on these things, comparing the restored output to a reference original, though I don't know how hard it would be.


    As for Star Trek, I'm sure there's a thread on those Blu-rays here somewhere, which I'll go look for. I'd imagine the alternate cuts of TMP, II, and VI were not mastered on film and therefore not good candidates?
     
  12. Keith Cobby

    Keith Cobby Screenwriter

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    I can't think of any films I have enjoyed more than these since they were made in the 1980's. Easily my favourite trilogy with the Nolan Batman/Dark Knight trilogy next. After that I am not sure perhaps Star Wars or The Mummy (1990's).

    I like to watch through the credits when trying to put names to faces or to find out more about the music.
     
  13. Ken Volok

    Ken Volok Stunt Coordinator

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    How did the credits get off kilter to begin with is the real mystery. Misprinted ion the print? But still, one of the reasons besides mobility celluoid has sprocket holes is to keep the image aligned! Weird!
     
  14. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

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    It comes about a half-hour into the movie, when Beta's face is still forming. He pulls the bed covers away, and there should be a loud orchestral sting, then a crescendo into the next scene. On the Blu-ray, it's nothing but sound effects. A small moment, but it is a pretty significant alteration to that scene.

    I sent Universal's customer service an email about it a while back, and they responded by saying that they had confirmed that the complete score was included, and that my system might not be properly set up to decode DTS Master Audio.

    Of course if that were the case, I wouldn't be hearing anything at all, so I emailed again. I told them everything was set up correctly, and that I had heard from a couple other people that their copies were missing that bit of music, too. They finally got back to me, saying that they had nothing to add to their previous response.

    Anyway, if Universal actually claimed that the squished credits on BTTF were the original intended look, I guess I'm not surprised. I hate to complain about relatively minor things like this, especially since it seems like they've been taking more care with their catalog releases lately, but the PR "that's the way it's supposed to be" garbage does get on my nerves a little.
     
  15. Sumnernor

    Sumnernor Supporting Actor

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    If you look at my post.14, I have a new region free that I got from the UK and I am happy with the display of the credits. As I was a programmer and the credits were justified right on on the left side and justified left on the right side. I was interested in proper formats and I am happy with this format. As mentioned by the owner, for people who are upset over this, there are things far worse to spend your energy on. I am not a great fan of these 3 movies.
     
  16. Bob_S.

    Bob_S. Supporting Actor

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    Yeah you already told us that in your first post.
     
  17. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    As the person who wrote the review of this Blu-ray set three years ago, I figured I should chime in briefly.

    While I recognize that there is a legitimate concern here, and it's clear that the image size of the end credits has been mildly compressed and mildly off-angled, I'm not seeing this as a major cause of concern. I agree that it would be best to have a transfer with the end credits perfectly presented, the crucial part of it is in fact present - the credits are accurate and the people who worked on Back to the Future have their contributions properly recognized. I would have an issue if someone's credit had been omitted, but that's not the case here at all.

    We have multiple instances where things have gone afoot with end credits, several of which I have noted in prior reviews. For example, in the end credits of The Warriors Ultimate Director's Cut (and the Blu-ray of same), the credit for Wardrobe man William Loger is inadvertently misspelled "Warerobe". His name is fine, and it's obvious what his job was, but the typo is there. In the James Bond Blu-rays, we have discussed the squeezing in of the Main Titles to get all the credits in, which then results in round shapes turning into squashed ovals. And I discussed some years back that the end credits of Moonraker on Blu-ray have the credits slightly off-center to the right, thus resulting in some of the longer names having their last few letters cut off. These are regrettable mistakes, but it's still clear in each of these cases who the crew people were and what their jobs were. It's the same with Back to the Future.

    Now, in the case of Frenzy, you had a situation that was unacceptable - you had obvious misspellings of people's names which needed to be corrected. To their credit, Universal took the time to do so. Frankly, I wish they had taken more time to fix much more serious problems in the Hitchcock box set with other titles, but I do need to acknowledge that the titling was one problem that they DID fix. To say that they have a record of making mistakes in this area and not correcting them is simply not true - not to my experience over the past 6 years of writing reviews on this website. I note that the other titles I have just mentioned are in fact not Universal titles.

    As a sidenote, I recall one of the ways we were able to determine that last year's Dracula restoration was of the original negative was due to our seeing that in the title card the word "President" was misspelled "Presient". Not only was this not a problem, but it was actually a good sign that the restoration team had indeed gone back to the proper materials from which to make what was by all accounts a terrific Blu-ray presentation.

    But there's a further issue I need to address here - and that's in the very title of this thread. While I understand the concern over the framing and positioning of the end titles, this is not a concern that would justify any studio recalling a disc or rerunning a transfer. The credits are present, legible and easy to follow, and nobody's name has been omitted or misspelled.

    I think the original poster has given us a good note, and I respect the intent. But I don't feel a need to have a new version of the disc just to correct what I believe is a minor situation. We've lived with far more serious changes to videotape, laserdisc and DVD editions over the years, from changed music to colorization to altered aspect ratios during the actual movies to who knows what else. If my only complaint with the movie is a slight imbalance in the presentation of the end credits, and if that imbalance in no way prevents me from following or understanding them, then I feel I should keep my powder dry for the situations that really do jar me out of the movie at hand.
     
  18. harveytwh

    harveytwh Extra

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    I took a look at my Starfighter DVD (25th anniv.) and yes indeed, that's quite a thing. I'm not surprised you got the same sort of line, since USHE seem pretty big on denial. One can save a lot of cash if one puts one's head in the sand. Interestingly (and damningly), the score is audible in the commentary at that point.

    I see you mentioned the 5.1 on Goldfinger earlier, and I was just looking at those too; the 5.1 on Blu-ray does have the full version (though I'm not crazy about the impatience with which the restoration credits appear, even if they only step on what had been a blank screen). Actually, so do the French and Spanish tracks and both commentaries, which might be some consolation; in all but the 5.1, there is a small hiccup around the point the Blu mono fades, almost as if it had been cut originally and then extended as an afterthought. Hmm. I wonder if any film versions cut or faded there; I've certainly seen one with the entire ending (I noted the drums) - a fun item as that print was an early one that mentioned OHMSS being the next film.


    Sumnernor: we're not talking about the layout, as if they'd been re-typeset. It's the distortion (which, by the way, is not "mild") and so on.

    How they got off-kilter in the first place? My only guess is a scanning head was pivoted 15 degrees or so about a point somewhat below frame, if that's the way those things are constructed. Or maybe the credits were rephotographed from original elements (with a similar problem), though that wouldn't seem to explain the pre-crawl ones (which have the same problem).

    Kevin: I am curious now about these Bond issues and am going to seek the reviews out. (I only have a few.) What is wrong with the title of the post? It's not about a recall, it's about hopes of an eventual correction...
     
  19. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

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    - Incorrectly formatted end credits on Back to the Future
    - Missing music on The Last Starfighter

    - Incorrectly filtered scene and missing music elements on Conan the Barbarian (though that seems to have been an earlier mix that they acquired)

    - Editing mistake on The Blues Brothers theatrical cut

    - Odd music editing and at least one missing music cue on Legend theatrical cut (though that may be the result of basing the 5.1 on the 70mm mix)

    - Inexplicably using the 5.1 from the Special Edition of E.T. as the basis for the 7.1 on the Blu-ray (complete with sound effects that no longer correspond to anything) instead of the 5.1 that was used on the DVD of the original version (that may have been a creative decision, but I can't imagine why)

    - Apparent incorrect formatting of the 2.1 audio track for Battlestar Galactica (haven't heard that one myself, so I can't confirm)

    I know that's just seven titles, but it does make the QC department seem a little lax at times.

    Maybe I'm overly sensitive to this sort of thing, but as a post-production professional, I understand how much time and effort goes into every little decision (such as the placement of music, or the specific appearance of the credits). And then, years later, to have something, even a small thing, noticeably changed by accident on the "version of record" (as far as the general public is concerned) would be frustrating, I think. And since Blu-ray is a format capable of reproducing a film so faithfully (unlike VHS, and certainly better than DVD or laserdisc), it's disappointing when things like this slip through.

    I will say this for Universal, though; they do tend to retain the original, period-specific logos for their films, and that's commendable.

    That hiccup has been there as long as I've known the film (going back to an 80s VHS, which of course may not be the best source for comparison). I imagine for the 5.1, they simply made a smoother edit from the original elements.

    Again, I know all this seems an odd thing to harp on, but why not just fade out before the final orchestra hit on The Empire Strikes Back or squeeze up the opening credits of 2001 to make them look like they did on the old VHS?
     
  20. Douglas Monce

    Douglas Monce Producer

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    The "To Be Continued" Appeared on the original VHS release of the film. I never liked it, as I thought the smash cut to Robert Zemeckis' director credit was far more effective.

    Doug
     
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