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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Dial "M" for Murder (Take Two) -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Update
    10/6/12

    Dial “M” for Murder, The Emperor’s New Clothes, and the problem that isn’t…

    Polite society is held in check by laws and mores. Our culture is based upon standards, and working within accepted processes toward a goal.

    Back in 1980, I made an error in the purchase of a vehicle that had not been properly designed, but rather, merely placed on the market because of a presumed need – in this case, the cost of fuel.

    Its name was Ralph, and it was a full-size Buick station wagon, propelled by a diesel engine. It took forever to warm up, and under acceleration, it belched miles of blackish blue smoke – almost enough to slow following traffic, in search of clear vision.

    Based upon a generic GM V-8, it was an automotive version of Dr. Frankenstein's monster, and one of those things that I couldn’t wait to unload.

    I know. You’re wondering what this has to do with an almost 60 year-old film by Alfred Hitchcock and a naked emperor.

    Let’s take a look at Warner Home Video’s new release of Dial “M”.

    The image has been harvested from the original camera negatives. Both of them. And that harvest has been beautifully performed. Grain structure is perfect. Color has been lovingly rendered. Shadow detail is as good as might be expected for the early film stock. The image has been beautifully cleaned, without any damage to the original look of the film. And the dupes, the Achilles heel of Warner Color, are what they are. There is no way getting around them.

    Viewing the film in 2D, I found that everything worked, with a single exception. I found the image timed just a bit dark. Possibly a point or two. No big deal, as the eye readily adjusts to such things, and everything else was letter perfect.

    For 3D viewing, everything is still in place, but for a single problem. An already darkish image, even with a proper 3D setting in projection, was suddenly not a pretty picture.

    Many flat panels – especially smaller ones, may be the perfect environment for this film in 3D, with plenty of brightness and contrast available at the push of a button. But projection is another story, as there’s really nowhere to take the image above the nominal 3D settings, as established in calibration.

    Who is to blame?


    This really isn’t the fault of Warner Home Video, nor that of Warner’s MPI digital facility.

    Great scans. Beautiful color. Terrific original grain structure. Everything is correct.

    Remember earlier, I was discussing laws, and mores…

    And standards.

    I'm betting that's the problem.

    The Blu-ray standards (as set by the Blu-ray Disc Association) for the delivery of 3D software for home video, seem to cover just about everything.

    Except the ability to achieve a proper image.

    The desire to get 3D into the marketplace c. 2010, left a void between those standards, and display manufacturers.

    And I'm wondering if anyone ever took a moment to think about what they were doing.

    It wasn't bad enough that there was no standardization for shutter glasses. Not in functionality. Not in color. Purchase one set, and you end up with a green image, another a different color. And far too many are proprietary to specific sets.

    Why do the glasses need to add color, as opposed to just neutral density? I have no idea.

    The upshot of this is that what should have, and could have been a stellar release of a golden age 3D film, by a top filmmaker, doesn't work on higher end systems.



    Take a look at this:
    http://www.studiodaily.com/2012/10/digital-projection-shines-at-one-festival-screening-shuts-down-another/

    The final result of 3D projection, be it theatrical or home video, should be no different than 2D. We should not be losing more than half the illumination, forced to view images that are pretty good, just okay, or at worst, too dark to be enjoyable.

    Two projectors for home viewing?

    That is not an answer.

    I’m currently running a projected image at over 14 foot lamberts. Take a measurement through shutter glasses, and it’s down to 5 or 6. Not good.

    Could WB have done something in mastering to alleviate, or at least calm the problem? Yes. They could have created a second master, specifically for 3D, with an image more in line with the exigencies and needs of current hardware.

    The cost? Not really viable.

    But because there are no real standards, the delivery of a merely functional 3D image is considered to be just fine. It’s all we have.

    Create a 2D master. Use the same look for 3D, and the product is complete. Except that it doesn't necessary work in the real world. Many people are complaining about dim 3D imagery, but the industry behind it does not to fix the problem.

    That would mean changes in the ways that projection devices function. It might even mean the addition of a second lamp that runs during 3D films.

    Should 3D films be mastered differently than 2D, with different levels of brightness and contrast? Or should the hardware be capable of playing these images back with full resolution and brightness, if mastered as if they were to be played back in 2D?

    One or the other should change.

    Is it more light throughput?

    Or a brighter HD image as mastered?

    Without a synchronization of standards, all we have is a very chilly emperor.

    The bottom line is that in 2D, Dial “M” for Murder is a terrific experience. A bit heavy? Possibly. But no big deal. It works just fine.

    In 3D, on smaller flat panels, it can still work.

    But in projection, I’m at a loss for words.

    Image – 4 (2D)
    3 (3D) – panel display
    1.5 (3D) – projection

    Audio – 4

    Recommended in 2D and for 3D on flat panels.

    Recommended in 2D for projection.

    Not Recommended for projection in 3D.



    RAH



    As the world teeters on the brink of something that should be receiving my attention, I've spent the past few hours going over my projection system, comparing various Blu-ray 3D discs, and where possible 2D vs. 3D.

    While I've learned a bit, I'm not quite ready to give any real assessment of what I'm seeing, but in short, a few thoughts.

    First, and most importantly, the eye adapts to all sorts of things, inclusive of a darker than normal image, which in most cases is well presented by 3D.

    Comparing Dial "M" to a more modern release, for example, Avatar or The Avengers, one point becomes very obvious. The difference in film stocks (or data for that matter) goes to extremes when comparing over a 60 year period. 1953 stock was quite a bit flatter than modern stocks. There is less "pop" to the image, and I'm wondering if this is a part of the problem that I'm seeing. Raising brightness at the projector state is not helpful.

    One thing that I can report for certain, is that color, densities, grain structure and to a slightly lesser degree, shadow detail, all appear beautiful, with the exception of the Warner Color dupes, which are built in, and which as always, appear horrific.

    I don't want to dissuade any potential collectors from pickup up this disc, as everything about it (dupes excepted, and excused) is beautiful. Still trying to resolve the 3D issue, which may be less of a technical problem, and more a 1953 stock / contrast fact of life taken to an extreme when viewed through shutter lenses.

    As an aside, alignment issues seem to be generally dupe sections, and not with production footage.

    RAH
     
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  2. moovtune

    moovtune Well-Known Member

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    I appreciate, in your desire to be fair in your analysis, that you took the time to investigate your findings more thoroughly. I guess we'll all have to take a chance with this title and come to our own conclusions as to whether it satifies our requirements or not.
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I don't want to be held to this, but I've a feeling that what it may come down to, is a different 3D setting for "golden age" color productions.

    Not viewing the disc, in 3D format, and without glasses, everything looks as it should.

    Let's call it a "golden age" anomaly.

    More to come.

    RAH
     
  4. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    Following this with interest, as Dial M is what spurred me to get myself 3-D ready at last. I look forward to Mr. Furmanek's thoughts as well and to the fruits of your investigations so far.
    I assume from what you say that B+W productions should not suffer the same issues? I would have thought that most 3-D titles would have been color, but maybe Mr. F could give us a rough idea of the proportion of color to B+W classic titles?
    Times like these make me glad to have been paying more attention around here lately. No matter what the outcomes, it's always interesting.
     
  5. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    Brightness with Golden Age 3-D is not an issue. It's all in the mastering...
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The mastering in both 2 & 3D is essentially the same.

    If one begins to adjust at the mastering stage, different problems can come to the fore.

    As I've noted, without glasses, I'm seeing no problems, and I know that WB wants it to be perfect.
    They've worked very hard on this release.

    I do not yet have an answer.
    RAH
     
  7. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    36 color
    14 black and white
     
  8. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    ...or precise, thanks!
     
  9. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    You're guessing, then...
     
  10. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Other than the upcoming Frankenweenie, have there been any 80s-or-later B&W 3D films?
     
  11. Todd J Moore

    Todd J Moore Well-Known Member

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    Hmm...I only have a 42 inch TV and I tend to keep the color on Vivid, so I wonder how this will look for me? Guess I'll know in a couple of weeks. Like I said in the other thread, though, it has to be a step up for me since I have a faded VHD field sequential disc with Japanese subtitles! House of Wax, too.
    At any rate, I appericiate your efforts and insight, Mr. Harris. I'm not canceling my pre-order and I hope this turns out for the best.
     
  12. Todd J Moore

    Todd J Moore Well-Known Member

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    Ah...but how many color and how many black and white shorts from the Golden Age, Bob?
     
  13. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
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    I don't know! :)
     
  14. Steve Tannehill

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    Mr. Harris, how does Hugo 3D look in your setup? I ask because there were reports of ghosting in the image that I did not notice on my 3D DLP rig. It was Avatar good.
     
  15. RolandL

    RolandL Well-Known Member

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    DLP's should have zero ghosting. Plasma more and LCD the most generally speaking.
     
  16. GregK

    GregK Well-Known Member

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    That is correct for active systems, but not for passive LCD/LED 3-D systems, which often have superior cancellation over their LCD/LED active counterparts.
    DLP still beats them all.
     
  17. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    So glad to have gotten this Mitsubishi 60" DLP right now. Wouldn't be able to fit a 72" which is the smallest one these days...
     
  18. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    Actually, the smallest Mitsubishi DLP set now is 73-inches. It was the middle-sized one last year when I got it.
    And the 3D is great.
     
  19. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    I understand that - thats why I referenced the larger model, I just misremembered by an inch I guess.. I got my set 2 years ago but only recently bought the 3-D add on for it. My point was that had I waited I wouldn't be able to go DLP.
     
  20. Robert Harris

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    No problems with either.
     

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