Blu-ray Review Jaws Blu-ray Review - Very Highly Recommended

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Kevin EK, Aug 12, 2012.

  1. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    I didn't realize that we could parse the PQ to this extent on the SD materials ported over in much of these cases all the way from the laserdisc. I'll be honest - I don't normally look for anamorphic pillow-boxing. To my eye, if the content is full frame in the center of the screen, I refer to that as full frame. If it's a letterboxed image that is presented in the middle of the screen and not anamorphically encoded to fill the screen, I normally refer to that as non-anamorphic letterbox. We can parse it farther, but it doesn't go very far. The materials in this case are fine materials, but they are preserved from the 1995 laserdisc and while I continue to enjoy them, I'm not watching them for their PQ so much as for their content. The "From the Set" piece is a news story done for a British television show in 1974, and once again, it is not presented in a manner that would fill the screen, nor should it.

    The one place where I did note a PQ matter was the windowboxing of the fan documentary. In that case, it appeared that the material could have been presented anamorphically but was instead put in a smaller box.

    As for the sound mix, I should note that I've listened to that last scene in all the audio formats on the Blu-ray. The mono mix on the Blu-ray has that last word in "Smile you son of a bitch" dialed down, as does every other mix on the disc. So it's not the original mono mix. On the other hand, the mix presented in 7.1 is quite good, for the reasons I described. One could make an argument that the original Oscar-winning mix should have been included on the disc, but for whatever reason, Mr. Spielberg chose differently. I took back half a star to note the difference in the dialogue level and to note the lack of original mono, but I'm quite happy with what is on the disc.
     
  2. EnricoE

    EnricoE Supporting Actor

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    quite simple: my tv says widescreen if it receives a 16:9 flag or 4:3 if it's not getting one.
    @ kevin
    i gotta re-check the mix on my signature ld and see if the sob line is clearly heard or not.
    as for the new mix... i'm not saying is bad. i just prefer the original mono mix :)
     
  3. NY2LA

    NY2LA Screenwriter

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    But a square in the center of a wide screen is not full frame, right? As the shape of most current TV screens is now 16.9 I would say it is no longer accurate to refer to the original fan documentary from the laserdisc as "Full Frame" because, while it may have filled the OLD frame of OLD TVs, it does not fill the frame of current TVs. I suggested referring to the original fan documentary as 4x3 Pillarbox and to The Shark Is Still Working as (whatever the original ratio) Windowbox. If anamorphic is an important factor and one can discern the difference, go for it.
    The reason I would give for not letting PQ of the extras fall by the wayside in reviews is that BluRay was created and sold as a HIGH QUALITY medium. it is being used too often as another excuse for studios to tart up an old transfer and get people to buy it again rather than remastering for the best PQ. And instead of treating BR like a premium medium and creating new supplements, or at least remastering the existing ones in best available quality, they just dump them onto the disc. When a reviewer goes as far as this one does to mention practically every detail on the disc, (which is very nice) I'd suggest one may as well go the full distance and discuss the PQ of the extras.
     
  4. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    So true.
     
  5. smithb

    smithb Screenwriter

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    Okay...but in the context of what we are seeing, the final result may be anamorphic (especially since I'm not sure the concept of non-anamorphic would even be used in blu-ray) that doesn't mean that the source element used for this disc wasn't non-anamorphic, does it? I mean, if this was ported directly from the Laserdisc, couldn't a non-anamorphic source (i.e., widescreen content that was formatted in a 4:3 frame with bars at top and bottom) then be pillar-boxed so that it is flagged as widescreen? Or, alternatively not be pillar-boxed and flagged as 4:3 so that the player adds the bars. My explanation has always been that the source used was non-anamorphic leading to the overall window-boxing results that we see.
    Now in blu-ray, can an image be stored as both 16:9 or 4:3, or is it always stored as 16:9?
     
  6. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    SWEET, everybody wins!
     
  7. bryan4999

    bryan4999 Supporting Actor

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    I saw JAWS in the late 1980s at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, and this scene really impacted me because as a parent (which I was not in 1975) I empathized with the mother to the point where I actually had to leave the auditorium and sit in the lobby for a few minutes to gain my composure. I was also feeling seasick - the at sea scenes on that huge, curved screen had my stomach rocking and rolling with the boat.
     
  8. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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    Thanks for the fantastic review!
    I'm picking mine up tomorrow!. Can't Wait!!
     
  9. kenkraly20212

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    Thanks for the review Kevin. Can't wait to get my copy of JAWS tomorrow from amazon.com JAWS is one of my favorite films of all-time.
     
  10. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    Re Pillarboxing and 4x3 on the extra features, I realize there may be some confusion stemming from the terminology.

    Up to now, I have used what I believe to be a standardized set of terms to reflect the various video presentation options:

    1. Full Frame - a 4x3 box in the middle of the screen, which would fill a conventional TV set's screen all the way up through the 90s and into the 2000s, before so many people had the 16x9 HDTVs. I could certainly change my description of this to just 4x3, which would be equally accurate. On the left and right of the central box is black.

    2. Non-Anamorphic Letterbox - A letterboxed image within the 4x3 box in the middle of the screen, akin to how George Lucas presented the theatrical cuts of the Star Wars movies as "extras" on the 2006 DVDs. On the left and right of the central box is black.

    3. Anamorphic Widescreen - An anamorphically encoded image that is designed to fill the 16x9 screen, which looks substantially better than zooming a non-anamorphic image.

    4. 1080p - High Definition image, usually presented in widescreen. Occasionally, I'll have to note that this is a Full Frame (or 4x3) image, when we're dealing with something like the Blu-rays of the Space: 1999 series.

    I have probably confused the matter by referring to the fan documentary as being windowboxed, when calling it non-anamorphic letterbox would be just as accurate. I was following the trend of the existing conversation, and I apologize if this has resulted in some confusion.

    We should keep in mind that the various materials to which I have referred on this disc are not to my knowledge anamorphic pillarboxed. The usual mode of pillarboxing can be seen on various HD channels like ESPN where they will at times only have video in the central box of the HDTV. But when they do this, they normally have the left and right sides filled with station logos. The video extras carried over from the laserdisc in this case do not show signs to me of being pillarboxed. What they are is a perfectly decent set of ports of the content, which was created and presented in standard definition. There is no problem with it still being presented in SD on a Blu-ray for me. Trying to upgrade it to HD would not make a lot of sense unless they wanted to go back to the deleted scenes and retransfer them, which would be of limited value. I do not believe any of this content was somehow re-encoded to be anamorphic with the boxes in the center - I believe the player puts 4x3 or non-anamorphic material in the center box as a standard setting. The TV may be indicating it's 16x9, but the actual content is within the central box.

    I should also note that there's an interesting difference between the two versions of "The Making of Jaws". The longer version which is on the Blu-ray, and which was originally presented this way on the 30th Anniversary DVD, does not have the main title card or any of the interstitials, but it does have the end credits. The shorter version which is on the 2012 and 2000 DVDs actually has the main title card, but loses half of the length of the documentary.
     
  11. Guest

    The shorter documentary also has a couple of different bits..I believe the story of the little actor who played Brody's son at the dinner table is not in the long version.
     
  12. Mark-P

    Mark-P Producer

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    Not to mention that redoing all the docs in HD would take up a bunch of extra space on the disc which is better used toward the picture and sound quality of the main feature.
     
  13. NY2LA

    NY2LA Screenwriter

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    The term Windowbox goes back 20 years, referring to any picture with black on all four sides, regardless of aspect ratio, just as Letterbox is black on top and bottom regardless of aspect ratio. The term Pillarbox refers to any picture with vertical black bars on the sides, regardless of whether some channels have occasionally thrown anything in those bars. Pillarbox and Windowbox, like letterbox, refer only to the ultimate onscreen appearance of the picture regardless to whether anamorphic squeeze was involved. The purpose of anamorphic video is to not waste the available picture resolution real estate with black bars and let the player create them. It is not exclusive to 16x9 ratio displays. The term full screen was created before we had 16x9 screens. It is simply no longer accurate to call a 4x3 image full screen as it no longer IS full screen on most displays.
     
  14. NY2LA

    NY2LA Screenwriter

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    We have had two disc sets for many years, where the extras were put on disc two to allow the feature enough space for higher bitrate. The second disc in the sets used to be for extras, not as another DVD copy that many of us don't need or already had. There really is no excuse for squeezing the xtras, diminishing their quality, onto the disc with the feature.
     
  15. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I have on the best of authority that the mono mix is accurate, and the original.
    And that the word in question is at least patially covered by fx
     
  16. Guest

    So I was right in thinking that is was correct and that it has always been partially covered by FX.
     
  17. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    So there you are. So what people "think" is clearer in their memory or on the documentary with the laserdisc clip is what it's always been. Thank you for the confirmation.
     
  18. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    Carter, I really appreciate your enthusiasm for this material, and I appreciate your noting the detail I try to get in these reviews. I think you and I may view some of it a little differently but toward the same ends.

    I can easily adjust my "Full Frame" notation to just say 4x3 and I think that will solve any confusion there.

    As for the other matters, I am honestly going with the understanding that the materials ported over from the laserdisc set are older video encodes. I don't believe there is any more data to be found in them by either presenting them in HD or by trying to give them more bitrate space to breathe. As you correctly note, when the extras were put on the second DVD of a 2-disc set, this was to allow the feature film to have more room. In the current case, the film has plenty of room on the disc as it's a BD-50. The extras would look the same if they were presented on another disc or this one - I'm just happy that they included the complete documentary. I don't feel we've been deprived of anything here.

    I will likely be revising my sound score here, but I'll take care of that tomorrow after another bit of homework.

    I was hoping I could check my old VHS letterboxed store-bought copy of the movie but my records show that I sold it secondhand when I got the 2005 DVD. I also sold the 1995 laserdisc set at the same time. Based on RAH's information, I no longer need to hunt through my attic for buried treasure...
     
  19. NY2LA

    NY2LA Screenwriter

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    I suppose that would depend on the format they were mastered in. The Laserdisc masters were probably D1 or D2, but the original formats they were built from may still be around, for a film and director as important as this, maybe there is something to be said for the possibility of going back to them for people who want it looking as good as possible..
    I brought up the second disc tradition to address those who seemed to suggest loss of quality on the supps were justified on the Blu Ray to leave room for the feature.
    I DO believe we have lost the full value of "The Shark Is Still Working" which should have been featured as the crown jewel of the supplements here and maybe even given its own disc to contain the full length original. It is after all, much newer than the one made for the laserdisc, meaning the statements made are more up to date and so were the elements, which should have some more resolution... If one HAD to cut more than an hour out of it, I would have started with the references to the first fan-doc. I suppose in the grand scheme of multi-dipping, material currently missing from TSISW will turn up as "new to DVD" bits on future releases.
    Not to mention the impressive feature length doc that appeared on the Biography channel, which is also newer than the laserdisc doc.
     
  20. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    There was a documentary I saw on E! about ten years ago, which was much rawer than the Bouzereau documentary, and included an interview with Craig Kingsbury, which I enjoyed as a good companion piece to the official item.

    The materials from the laserdisc are still in good video condition. They aren't optimal by today's standards, but for what they do, I don't have a problem with them. The deleted scenes are presented as well as they could have been for the Signature Laserdisc. To present them better would mean going back to the source to retransfer that footage - and given that much of it is either unnecessary or obvious outtakes, I don't feel a need to see it in perfect HD. The trailer would be nice in a better presentation, but I'm happy it was included in the first place. Would have been nice to include the teaser too, but I'm not picky on that stuff. The Bouzereau documentary was shot on video in the 90s and consists of talking head interviews in an arranged place intercut with film footage and home movies from the set. Even if someone could retransfer that documentary, I can't imagine what more we could get from it. It's mostly good interview footage with the principals, most of whom have now passed away. I'm glad we have it at all. Trying to take that documentary into HD would not make it more informative or enjoyable. The one area I wanted addressed in HD was the movie itself, which has been served well by the process.

    I hear your frustration about the newer documentary, but I'm happy they chose to include it. If they wanted to dismiss it, they would have ignored it and left it off the Blu-ray. It's very nice that they put it on the disc - and Universal has made it a point of pride that they did so.

    I honestly don't think we'll be seeing more in-depth Blu-ray releases of Jaws, but they could prove me wrong. Pretty much everything you need to know is on the existing Blu-ray, and was already on the 30th Anniversary DVD and the Signature Laserdisc. The advantage of the Blu-ray is that we get the new transfer and the new 7.1 mix.
     

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