HD masters without a blu-ray (yet)

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by benbess, May 5, 2011.

  1. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    I'm puzzled by the existence of spectacular HD masters that don't have a blu-ray release. For many it's probably just a matter of time, and sooner or later we'll get that blu-ray. But for others perhaps the studio has an HD master that it just uses for broadcast, cable, and streaming, but doesn't think a blu-ray has enough commercial potential. I don't know.

    Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder, for instance, has a fine HD master on Netlifx. I assume it's just a matter of time before the blu-ray comes out, but I'm puzzled it hasn't been scheduled already. Maybe they are seeing if they can do a 3D blu-ray release too?

    Here's another. For about the last year I've been seeing on my list of HD films available for streaming at Netflix the film Funny Girl, directed by William Wyler and starring Barbara Streisand (who won an academy award for her role). This is a spectacular big budget musical filmed in 70mm that has been fully restored. It looks amazing. It's a good movie too, if you like musicals, and me and my musical-enjoying 9 year old daughter have for the first time just watched this long film up to the intermission (school holiday today), and now we are taking a break.

    Clearly someone spent a lot of money making Funny Girl look close to perfect. Or maybe it is perfect. But where's the blu-ray? Streisand has a huge fan base, and so I assume they'll get to it, but....why the delay?

    Anyway, does anyone have any thoughts out there about this phenomenon of HD masters without a blu-ray? It is really that expensive to release things in physical format? I thought the expensive part was doing the restoration?

    If anyone out there can identify other HD masters without a blu-ray release, please let us know about them.

    Anyway, I think some of you wanted to see The Wild Wild West from the 90s in HD. It's also available on Netflix streaming in HD with 5.1 sound.

    Here's a little something I found about this restored print of Funny Girl:



    A restored print of Funny Girl (1968), http://www.altfg.com/blog/tag/barbra-streisand/

    Directed by veteran http://www.altfg.com/blog/tag/william-wyler/http://www.hometheaterforum.com/image/id/557759/width/1000/height/800http://www.hometheaterforum.com/image/id/557761/width/1000/height/800
     
  2. Brianruns10

    Brianruns10 Second Unit

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    Often times, there's more to it than just having an HD master to releasing a blu-ray. There's rights, for one thing. The Criterion Collection for example, has been mastering in HD for quite some time, yet the vast majority of those films have not yet been released on blu-ray, partly because they can only release so many films at a time, but mostly because they have to renegotiate the license agreement, because a high definition release is a new beast, a different revenue stream, and the holders of the copyright will want extra for that priviledge. I believe this was why the Von Sternberg silents did not get a corresponding blu-ray release...CC did not, or was not able to get the HD/Blu-ray license from the rights holders.

    It could also be that the means by which the HD master was made is no longer suitable. 10 years ago, the technology wasn't really in place for, say, transfers from original 65mm/70mm elements, so films like Patton were mastered from 35mm reduction prints. Other films were mastered only in 1080p or 2K, which really doesn't resolve 35mm...you need 4K for that, and 6-8K for large format.

    Then there's color correction and redoing any restoration effects. I believe when CC revisited Seven Samurai for their new HD master, they had to redo all their image restoration work.

    And then, sadly, there is the profit motive. No doubt about it, the home video market has taken a beating. the DVD market has collapsed, streaming and VOD has taken a bite out of the market, and studios got burned on DVD releases, and even the blu-rays of their crown jewels have underperformed (The Wizard of OZ and Gone with the Wind blus were reportedly financial disappointments). Some are just plain skittish about investing the money to do proper transfers/restorations/remasters of titles and releasing them on blu-ray. It's why Criterion has been making inroads with the studios of late, and releasing more top shelf titles like "Paths of Glory" and "Kiss Me Deadly," because now, there isn't as much of a profit motive for the owners, and they'd rather just outsource it to a boutique label like CC, and pocket cold hard cash from the license agreement and royalties.
     
  3. mgdvd0

    mgdvd0 Stunt Coordinator

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    Re funny Girl !
    Streisand paid for the restauration of Funny Girl herself - and as far as I know is also the owner of the film so it should be possible to release the problem here I think is DISTRIBUTION and the cost of pressing the disc
     
  4. GMpasqua

    GMpasqua Screenwriter

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    SONY has a number of catalog films ready to go on Blu-ray : But they are not releasing them because they don't think they will sell.
    Among them "From Here to Enternity" "Oliver!" "Bye Bye Birdie"

    "Guns of Navarone" is finally coming - but so is "the Caine Mutiny" - a prime example of the kind of film that won't sell large numbers on Blu-ray (one reason because it's Black and White")

    Of course "In Cold Blood' would have been a big seller and "Jason and the Argonaunts" would also break the bank - so SONY's planning department seems to be made up of friends and relatives of Studio executives who's only qualitifcation for employment is being a relation


    of course "Lawrence of Arabia" is being held until 2012's 50th anniversary
     
  5. trajan

    trajan Screenwriter

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    FUNNY GIRL was not filmed in 70mm. It is a blowup to 70mm.
     
  6. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    The Caine Mutiny was shot in 3-strip Technicolor.
     
  7. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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  8. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    Interesting info. Thanks. Yes we watched Oliver! in HD many months ago, I think. It looks quite good iirc...
     
  9. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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  10. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    Another mystery HD master is Giant, that sprawling Texas epic with James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Liz Taylor. It looks great, and I like what I've seen of this movie, but have to admit I've had trouble getting through it all the way without falling asleep.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    Really? Do you have a link for that? Seems like a very expensive thing to do, but I guess she's rich. And I somehow doubt Columbia/Sony would sell her such a hit and academy-award winning movie that cost them about $9 million dollars in 1968. That's about $60 million in today's money, and it looks every penny of it....But maybe? Again, any chance of a link?

    That would be an interesting trend, if it exists, of stars paying for the restoration of their own movies.

    I remember Coppola had to ask Spielberg to beg the studio to restore The Godfather trilogy. Without that intervention I don't think it would have happened.
     
  12. GMpasqua

    GMpasqua Screenwriter

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    Thanks Patrick. I 've never seen this film and always thought it was in Black and White for some reason. I'll have to check it out at some point.


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Patrick McCart /forum/thread/311158/hd-masters-without-a-blu-ray-yet#post_3808180


    The Caine Mutiny was shot in 3-strip Technicolor.
     
  13. Peter Neski

    Peter Neski Supporting Actor

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    Almost everything on MGM HD is new or better than the dvd' Like Woody Allen Films,or stuff like King of Hearts

    BADLANDS has been in HD for Cable TV Channels like HD Net and TCM yet no Blue Ray,Picnic at Hanging Rock
    has a nice HD transfer which was shown on TCM HD yet no BR Here,Sounder,Support Your Local Sheriff and many
    more all with No BR Release in site
     
  14. Doug Otte

    Doug Otte Supporting Actor

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    I've seen a lot of great (and even so-so) films on MGM HD, and I'm glad to have that channel. However, not all of their transfers look that wonderful. Sure, they are better than an SD version, but many of the prints they used as masters have a lot of dirt and scratches. That would be one additional factor - they'd probably want to do newer masters and clean them up before releasing them on BD.

    Doug
     
  15. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Producer
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    Also, a lot of the HD transfers you might see on HDNet or similar channels might have been done before Blu-ray and before 1080p was a home standard -- there's a pretty decent chance that at least some of the HD transfers you see on television or through streaming were done at 1080i ten years ago, which would have been great for doing a kick-ass DVD, but not suitable for the best Blu-ray experience. Those will all have to be redone.

    I think the biggest issue with classic titles is finding something current to tie them into. Even "The Ten Commandments", a movie which really doesn't need a sales pitch, was released around Easter because that's typically when the film pops into people's heads. "It's A Wonderful Life" on Blu-ray came out, as I recall, near the holiday season. Those are two of the big sellers that really don't need an extra bit of promotion, but they wait anyway. With traditional video stores basically gone, and with the big box retailers only stocking a very limited selection of classic titles, I understand why studios feel the need to wait for some kind of occasion that might be added incentive for a retail outlet to give it a decent shelf presence and promotional push. In a perfect world, every title that had a master suitable for Blu-ray would be available at least on that studio's website, with the big commercial push to come at whatever the best moment would be, but that's not gonna happen. But at least we have things like TCM or Netflix streaming so we can see some of these new masters before the release comes. (I was very happy to have seen the HD master for Kubrick's Lolita on TCM late last year I think, and that Blu-ray's not out yet.) It's not a perfect situation, and being patient isn't exactly one of my strong suits to begin with, but I think that's really the cause of a lot of the delays - wanting to find the best occasion they can to get a release out when they have the best chance of selling the largest number of copies.
     
  16. mattCR

    mattCR Executive Producer
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    I know there is an HD Master of "An American President" (1995; pretty much this was the dry run of sorts for Sorkin which led to West Wing..) I can say that because it's been seen in HD broadcast, Amazon has it in HD streaming.. the DVD is a DISASTER. It is 4:3 only, non-anamorphic, badly overcompressed on a single layer disc.
     
  17. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Producer
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    I agree the DVD is a disaster; that's one of the handful of DVDs I have in my collection that I haven't actually watched, which is a shame because I love the movie. Even though it's not the effects heavy kind of blockbuster that screams out "Blu-ray upgrade!", I'd buy a Blu-ray of that movie in a heartbeat when it's made available. I bet whatever comes out probably won't have any bonus features, but if they felt so inclined as to spend the money, it would be great to get a look back with the cast and crew, maybe a feature about how it led to the West Wing - with both American President and West Wing distributed by Warner, that actually doesn't seem too farfetched. (And hey, if they'd like to do a West Wing BD set down the line...I'd get that too.)
     
  18. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I agree completely. After reading the reviews, I didn't even buy the DVD. I still only have the film on laserdisc.
     
  19. Eddie W.

    Eddie W. Stunt Coordinator

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    VUDU has a ton of movies mastered in HD that haven't made their way to Blu Ray yet. I was surprised to see a vast amount of Hitchcock and a lot of other old stuff I've been waiting for.

    Haven't movies been mastered in HD since almost the beginning of DVD though? I remember seeing on even some of the earliest packaging that the film was 'mastered in high definition', even though it wasn't presented that way (obviously) on the DVD.
     
  20. benbess

    benbess Cinematographer

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    Sorry to be ignorant, but what is VUDU? And can you name some specific Hitchcock titles you've seen that aren't on blu? Thanks.
     

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