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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Howards End -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. 24fpssean

    24fpssean Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately, Point-Blank, I fear that most reviewers of blu rays have either just finished or are anxious to jump back into the video games they've just been playing. This is probably very ungenerous of me, but there it is. I come from the film world and though I know that home video is a long way away from looking like projected film (in some cases it actually looks better!) I still think that standards should have been set for image and sound quality. Howards End was very well photographed, for blow up to 70mm, and this disc does not represent that.
     
  2. Danny_N

    Danny_N Well-Known Member

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    There is a image standard for HDTV. It uses the REC709 color space, D65 illuminant and a gamma of 2.3. If you get your HD display ISF calibrated, it will be calibrated according to this standard. If your display is not calibrated according to this standard then chances are that your problem with the BD of Howard's End is purely display related.
     
  3. 24fpssean

    24fpssean Well-Known Member

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    No, you don't understand. "Standards" means not technical specs, but visual integrity. And here we have the crux of the problem.
     
  4. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Well-Known Member

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    Sean,

    You mentioned you have your display set on "low contrast and sharpness", but the issues you mentioned (mainly in the darker regions of the image) aren't quite that relevant to a display's "contrast" (or rather, white level) setting AFAIK -- in fact, if anything, too low contrast may actually have the opposite desired result. What kind of display do you have? LCD (like another poster w/ the same issue)? If yes, I can imagine less-than-ideal black level/depth (and dark-to-mid gray presentation) could be a problem for the kind of issues you mentioned.

    That would be my first guess into the problem anyway (on top of whatever actual issues exist w/ the transfer and encode themselves).

    Also, you mentioned turning down sharpness, but are you sure the display isn't still applying some amount of edge enhancement anyway? In the old days, some/many displays (even the more expensive, big name ones) would literally force EE on the image even if you turn sharpness down to zero/minimum. Since you do not give all that much detail on your setup (nor actually indicate it's been ISF calibrated and fine-tuned/tweaked by a solid ISF tech), it's hard to know whether some of the problem is not coming from your own setup making this BD look worse than it could.

    I'm admittedly no expert on the immediate matter, but it does sound to me like this BD could look better than what you're getting from it.

    RE: this particular issue, (somewhat) ironically, other than what Criterion already seeks to do by involving the original filmmakers in the transfer as much as possible, what exactly would you propose in order to ensure "visual integrity"?

    I guess they can shoot for the use of answer print instead and maybe give the transfer work to a qualified independent 3rd party who may understand the actual transfer process better than the original filmmakers (and also avoid situations where filmmakers try to impose some sort of undesirable revisionism, especially if that revisionism is imposed at the expense of preserving the original rather than to provide a potentially desirable, simultaneously available alternative).

    _Man_
     
  5. 24fpssean

    24fpssean Well-Known Member

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    I have a 50" Panasonic Viera Plasma and have run up and down the scales of my brightness, sharpness, color, contrast, every bloody thing I can alter and it still looks like garbage. Bottom line is: it's a lousy release on blu ray. No other blu ray I own looks like this, they all look great. Again, I am an editor in the film industry and am very particular about what my monitor looks like.

    If all other blu rays look good, how can this one be normal if its image falls apart in a mass of digital noise? AGAIN, absolutely no blu ray should require a viewer to recalibrate their television if all other blu rays look great on that television. Since all other blu rays look normal and this one does not, it is not the monitor. Period.
     
  6. 24fpssean

    24fpssean Well-Known Member

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    Clearly this isn't sinking in. Yes, they pull in the original cinematographer and that is wonderful. But there are many steps taken to getting that timed image onto the discs and out into the public. Something was clearly unplugged. Again, I work as an editor at a major studio, brought the disc in for viewing on our top of the line equipment, and the mouths of everyone standing there (all three of us...) fell open at how hideous this image looks. A good friend of mine was the editor on Howards End and even he thought it was garbage.
     
  7. 24fpssean

    24fpssean Well-Known Member

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    Sorry, I don't mean to be peevish, but this is frustrating to repeatedly go over this subject. I'll try to stay coolheaded next time. I wonder if people would be so doubtful of the truth of my claims if it was a favorite film of theirs that had received this lousy release rather than a favorite of mine.
     
  8. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Well-Known Member

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  9. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    I wasn't doubtful of your claim, Sean, when I asked my question. I'm still wondering what "monitor dependent" means...or how it would work in a well-calibrated world.
     
  10. PattyFraser

    PattyFraser Well-Known Member

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    Sean..

    I am throwing up my hands. How NO OTHER DISC could look this bad is beyond me. From now on, I will always netflix my discs first. I had actually pre-ordered HE first and had canceled the purchase (I was going through a phase where I was trying to discipline myself to save money--hah!) and then I netflixed it later, with the thought of going ahead and buying it. Man, when I saw it, I was very glad to have been spared the purchase! Too bad, because I am a big Merchant Ivory Fan.

    But I refuse to keep changing the settings on my display between every disc, and up to this disc I've never had to. Display sensitive? How can that possibly be a wise decision when trying to sell many copies?
     
  11. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Well-Known Member

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    And even if they did, what relevance does it have to their ability to review the quality of Blu-ray releases? The "they-must-like-to-play-video-games" slur gets trotted out every time someone wants to infer a group of people are immature, unobservant philistines. It gets tiresome. There are people here who should start realizing there are a lot of individuals on this forum who like to play video games, as well as watch movies.
     
  12. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Well-Known Member

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  13. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Well-Known Member

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    Originally Posted by 24fpssean
     
  14. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Well-Known Member

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    Quote:
    As far as I understand it, "well-calibrated" does not actually equal perfectly matching *nor* perfectly accurate (as we might often like to think), especially in the real world where these various displays (and display technologies) reside -- and so far, none of the complaints in this thread are even claiming that the sets have been calibrated and tweaked by solid ISF techs (or equivalent) despite being asked explicitly (although maybe Sean feels his film editing credentials make him equivalent to a solid ISF tech?).

    IMHO, it's perfectly reasonable that some issues may become exacerbated/exaggerated (or de-emphasized) depending on the particular display (and/or display tech) -- and that's just on our side as consumers, not to mention the BD producers' side where they must also translate the analog film (in this case w/ HE) into a digital video medium using whatever imperfect tools, et al at their disposal.

    Whatever display (or display tech) you choose and however you choose to set it up will always involve some sort of compromises, even if you're a solid ISF tech who knows what he's doing. And depending on the chosen compromises, certain issues may get exacerbated/exaggerated (or de-emphasized) accordingly. I'm guessing in most cases we're just tolerant enough of such variances (given a reasonably good, fixed set of calibration settings), but in this particular case, the issue apparently sticks out like a sore thumb for some like Sean (and his setup), but not for some others like RAH (and his setup).

    Consider this example for instance. Sean mentioned above that he considers the WoOz and GwtW BDs to be great quality transfers, but I recall at least one or two folks being just as vocally critical about the quality of those transfers too -- and the complaints were made by folks who also love and have apparently seen those films (or at least films w/ likely similar PQ context/parameters) many times before on both the big screen and home video.

    I'm not at all suggesting that the HE BD transfer is actually nearly as good as WoOz and GwtW -- heck, I haven't even seen my copy of HE yet -- but just agreeing that issues can indeed be "monitor dependent" like RAH suggested above. Well, that plus our eyes can also be "dependent" too (even as Sean wondered in part w/ the comment about whether one is just more critical w/ one's favorite films)...

    _Man_
     
  15. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I've now been able to sample HE on four different systems, and can acknowledge what some are seeing, which appears as rather unpleasant granular characteristics in lower light situations, which may also be mixed with video noise. The actual transfer, which is 1080p, goes back just a few years, and that time element should not be the problem.

    What is being discussed seems to be the product of either the setup or the "look" attained by the use of the C-Reality Datacine, or the combination of the result of that scan combined with certain cleaning or DVNR software. I'm afraid I don't have the specific answer to that one. Possibly Torsten can chime in.

    The bottom line does seem to be that of perception and what I noted earlier as the specifics of the playback system and how that system interrelates with the disc. We don't see many of these, and the final result can be either very acceptable or quite troublesome dependent upon how one is viewing. Certainly an interesting anomaly. I don't see Criterion revisiting this title in the near future, but I presume that they may be steering clear of C-Reality image harvests in the future.

    RAH
     
  16. 24fpssean

    24fpssean Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Patty. It's all rubbish and I will Netflicks from now on, too. Good idea. The HE blur ray I will use as a coaster for my scotch and soda.
     
  17. Yumbo

    Yumbo Well-Known Member

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    FWIW, I'm using:

    Samsung BD1600
    HDMI
    Yamaha 3900
    HDMI
    Panasonic AE2000
    Da-lite High gain 185"

    Howard's End:
    Picture 7/10
    Sound 9/10
     
  18. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Well-Known Member

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    I also wonder if this is not at least partly BD player dependent too. Afterall, there probably can be some room for variance from player to player as the video decompression/decoding process is not a 1-to-1 mapping process. Certainly, "video noise" is something that could be attributed to such variance me thinks...

    _Man_
     
  19. 24fpssean

    24fpssean Well-Known Member

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    You're probably right, I'm sure that must factor too, somehow, if even in a small degree. I wonder how much SD will hide the granular noise when Criterion re-releases the DVD in Feb. It is certainly pretty well hidden on the last DVD release, which is really beautiful. I hate to plop down more money for it just to see if it's sharper than the last DVD release but cleaner than the wretched BD.
     
  20. 24fpssean

    24fpssean Well-Known Member

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    Plopped more money down for the new Criterion DVD release, from the same master, and all of those horrible flaws visible in the BD are invisible in the DVD. The image is really spectacular, standard def hides the chalky, brittle look of the BD and makes it a picture worth looking at. Also, the strange, Tetris-like grid that marches throughout some of the darkers shots on the BD is mercifully missing from the new DVD release. It is cleaner and sharper than the 2005 DVD release. Worth the money spent. Same beautiful packaging as the BD.
     

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