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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Elizabeth -- in HD

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Sep 23, 2007.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    What a magnificent production!

    Films like Shekhar Kapur's Elizabeth are what cinema is all about.

    And Universal serves up an HD release of this 1998 production that is glorious and film-like in every aspect -- from the densities of it's color pallette to the blacks of corridors in which treacheries are whispered, and the shadows that surround them.

    Unless one is going to stand at the screen attempting to count pixels, Elizabeth is about as perfect as a piece of home video software can get.

    Cate Blanchett and her co-players are brilliant.

    The message here is easy.

    Universal's Elizabeth is a dream disc that comes Extremely Highly Recommended.

    RAH
     
  2. Marc Colella

    Marc Colella Well-Known Member

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    I haven't jumped onto HD/BD due to lack of titles that interest me, but Elizabeth is definitely on my "must-buy" list and I'm very glad it's been done justice on HD-DVD.
     
  3. Paul.S

    Paul.S Well-Known Member

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    Thx RAH.

    So happy that--shy of a repertory screening in L.A.--this quality video presentation will be my first, long-awaited opportunity to see this pic I woefully missed in its original theatrical run.
     
  4. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Well-Known Member

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    I missed it theatrically too Paul and eagerly await it's HD DVD debut in the house that Timobi built. [​IMG]

    Good stuff RAH.
     
  5. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Well-Known Member

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    I watched it in 1080p on a 3.5m wide screen in a perfectly light controlled room. I have to disagree with Mr. Harris. I found the transfer somewhat disappointing. At least quite uneven. I wonder if this is a new transfer from the last 1-2 years or from 2001 when the DVD came out. For 2001 it's great. For 2006/2007 it's lacking. What's wrong? It looks more video and less film than it should. Two points especially caught my eye. There is edge enhancement popping up which is very unfilmlike and there is a problem with detail in almost all wide shots. Not even 720p detail there. I wonder if the original photography was reallly that limited. Medium and close up shots look mostly fine on the other hand. I have no issues with color or contrast as well except that 8 bits are always struggling with highlights. Add to that the EE which messes with edges (especially also the edges of faces where we are very sensitive to what looks right and what is wrong) and it suddenly starts looking videoish when it should not. Overall quite watchable but definitely not state of the art.
     
  6. David Wilkins

    David Wilkins Well-Known Member

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    One of my faves from the past few years. I watched it last night, and I agree completely with the glowing PQ reviews. I witnessed none of the weaknesses referred to in the above post.
     
  7. Dan M

    Dan M Well-Known Member

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    I'm watching a 90" imaged projected on a white wall at a mere 720p and noticed no edge enhancement or details lacking. I thought it looked supurb
     
  8. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Well-Known Member

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    Ok then. Here are 4 examples of edge enhancement. Check them on a 1080p display via digital connection (HDMI/DVI) and sit close enough to resolve all detail. Naturally all sharpening in the player and display must be turned OFF:
    - Chapter 01: 3:32 Bishop's outline (rather thick white halo)
    - Chapter 01: 06:00 Outline of bowing figure (halo)
    - Chapter 03: 22:15 Outline of head and window (haloes)
    - Chapter 03: 28:29 Outline/branches of tree and figures (haloes)
    The EE is best visible on high contrast edges. Since much of the film is dark and such edges are frequently not there the effect of the EE is often more subtle than in the examples. EE as used here gives the imagery a somewhat coarse videoish look, sometimes rather obvious, sometimes in a more subtle way. This is overall certainly not a bad looking disk. The difference between very good and reference lies in small details like this.
    Concerning the lack of detail in wide shots I can't be sure if that's just how the film master is. Suffice to say, there is hardly ever 1080p detail up there. And the EE does not help since it's fake detail that actually masks real detail.
     
  9. Andy_MT

    Andy_MT Well-Known Member

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    i watched this on a similiar set-up and had the opposite experience. EE and detail levels falling in places.


    upgrading to a JVC RS1 proj in a few days. will be interesting to see how much of a difference that makes.
     
  10. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Well-Known Member

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    Watched it on a RS1 as well.
     
  11. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    Sadly, RAH, your prediction has been borne out.
     
  12. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I guess the job comes to me to break the sad news to the world.

    Elizabeth, and other HD and BD titles are neither film nor data.

    They are all video images.

    Many now magnificently rendered to small discs and offered by license to the public for relatively tiny amounts of money.

    All are imperfect when to compared to film or data.

    Many are looking at them way too closely.

    This isn't a contest to see who can find a dangling pixel.

    It's about quality at the proper viewing distance, on properly adjusted equipment...

    for entertainment and enlightenment.

    Viewing HD and BD discs are watching an imperfect piece of software on imperfect equipment in an imperfect world.

    Look hard enough, and no disc yet offered is worth more than a 2 on a scale of 0 to 10.

    RAH
     
  13. ppltd

    ppltd Well-Known Member

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    Finally, a voice of reason for all of those bit counters. I think Mr. Harris is absolutely correct. When we spend so time time looking for imperfections, we are going to find them, and miss the pleasure of watching the art of the film itself. Time to shut off the bit meters and begin watching the movies for the sake of watching the film.
     
  14. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Well-Known Member

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    That's interesting. What are you comparing the HD here to? A print from the camera negative? If so, how do we go from 2 to 10? How many points would you add for getting cinema color gamut? 4K? Less compression? 10 bit?
     
  15. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Well-Known Member

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    I'm not looking for imperfections. I don't even write reviews (anymore) which would kind of force me to. I'm simply looking at the pictures and seeing what there is to see. I'm sorry, but I do see EE easily. I'm coming from a digital image processing background. I know how this stuff works. I can not ignore it. Ignorance or ability to ignore it is definitely bliss here.
    Watching the film for the sake of watching the film is fine. But not at the expense of ignoring how it looks compared to a print. That is a slippery slope which ends at VHS and Youtube. There is nothing wrong with listing the problems of a HD transfer in detail and let people decide for themselves if this is good enough or not. Once you say one can criticise this but not that the whole review enterprise becomes pointless because different people have different tolerance levels for different potential issues.
     
  16. ppltd

    ppltd Well-Known Member

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    I don't think I meant to restrain criticism as a whole, just maybe place it in perspective. We have bashed the heck out of so many fine releases here that maybe we are just expecting more than we should from a 30.00 disk or from new technologies. It seems that we are not watching the films just to enjoy them, but rather to critique their technical aspects. That seems to be missing the point of buying or renting a film. I collect to enjoy the films. Does it upset me when I find a disk sub-par? Certainly. But we have not been inundated, IMHO, with sub-par releases at this time. In fact, there have only been a handful of releases, in wither format, that I have been disappointed in.

    I personally am not looking for reference quality in every release, and it certainly is not reasonable to expect that.

    As far as 'But not at the expense of ignoring how it looks compared to a print', it seems to me that few of us can actually remember what a release looked like in the theater a year ago, let alone 8 years ago. And even that is suspect, as the differences in theaters is numerous. How a release looks in one theater can look vastly different in another based on the equipment used, light control, screen material, etc. When it comes to comparison with the print, I would not know how to begin, as I (and probably all but a very few of us) actually have access to the print to determine how close the DVD is to the print. I rely on information from posters such as Mr. Harris to point out issues related to the print or intended look of the film.
     
  17. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The point in it's most simple terms is that if one attempts to test the limits of technology on every DVD release, not one will pass muster, and the pleasure of having the ability to view these little digital discs turns to tedium and displeasure.

    Personally, I'd prefer to be viewing 2k or 4k data files, but for a home environment HD and BD discs do the job beautifully.

    At a certain point picking these releases apart becomes a rather silly waste of time.

    RAH
     
  18. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Well-Known Member

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    Well, I'm sorry, I don't agree with you. Not in this case anyway. Edge enhancement is something that should have been left behind with DVD. This, to me, smacks of "cutting corners" by using an older transfer. It may still be great "bang for the buck", and other people, or even myself, may not find it objectionable, but I appreciate Michel's efforts to bring these types of problems to my attention so I can make up my own mind about them.
     
  19. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    To Mr. Arnette:

    Have you screened Elizabeth in HD?
     
  20. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Well-Known Member

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    No, I haven't. It had a "Long Wait" when I placed it in my Netflix queue, and it has yet to arrive in my mailbox. However, you are missing my point. As I said before, it doesn't matter if I view the disc and have no objections concerning the edge enhancement. In fact, I doubt I will considering I will be watching it on a 50" plasma; but the fact remains if someone is seeing EE, I want to know about it, and I would hope the person that sees it feels obligated to let others know. I wouldn't presume to know what was best for others, and I wouldn't want others presuming to know what's best for me.
     

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