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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Mary Poppins -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Nov 27, 2013.

  1. haineshisway

    haineshisway Well-Known Member

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    Amen to this. I watched that whole sequence again and it's a stunner. I truly don't know what anyone is complaining about, but then again I'm no expert in lines or Xerox - I only know what my eyes tell me, and I can obviously reference it against the frame presented in this thread from a 35mm dye transfer print and it looks very close to that if not exactly like it.
     
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  2. Yorkshire

    Yorkshire Well-Known Member

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    I think I was referring to the comment:

    "Animator forums are up in arms about this, as well as the past couple of xerox films Disney has massacred." (emphasis mine)

    I accept there's a case for an animator to argue that a drawing has been changed. But even then, I don't see the changes as 'massacres'.

    With the context of a whole film, I'm absolutely certain the film hasn't been 'massacred'.

    In answer to your specific point, I think even if several lines of an actor's dialogue were changed, the film wouldn't be 'massacred', depending on the context. If the lines are changed so the actor is saying the exact opposite of what he originally said, then possibly, if it changes the whole meaning of trhe film, it might just be considered 'massacred'.

    If excessive DNR and/or EE is applied a film isn't necessarily 'massacred'.

    I've said before, the first time I saw The Godfather was on a small 4:3 portable, pan & scan (or open matte), and I got 95% of the enjoyment from that viewing that I now get from the gorgeous Blu-ray Disc.

    To 'massacre' a film you need to do something aking to the 'Love Conquers All' edit of Brazil.

    I think the word 'massacre' is massive hyperbole in 99% of the problems we discuss here, and certainly in relation to this release. Issues are problematic, damaging, unneccessary, heavy-handed, and disappointing, but rarely a 'massacre'.

    Frankly, you have to look pretty hard to spot the differences in the lines you mention - something I suspect most people won't be doing if they're actually enjoying the film, so to say the film is 'massacred' is a huge overstatement.

    Just my opinion.

    Steve W
     
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  3. Dave MJ

    Dave MJ Well-Known Member

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    I received my copy last night and popped it in, only planning to sample a few minutes. I ended up watching the entire movie. I have seen the film dozens of times, but never in a theater and seeing the new blu on a 100" screen was a revelation. The picture is very immersive, film like and detailed. The animation sequences do seem slightly more processed and DNR'ed than the rest, but still look fantastic. And the sound is very, very good. A far cry from the awful "home theater mix" on the DVD. I also enjoyed the new extra with Richard Sherman discussing Saving Mr. Banks. Hopefully this is a good sign of things to come from Disney, at least for live action films.
     
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  4. bigshot

    bigshot Well-Known Member

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    I should be receiving my copy in the next day or two, but I want to point out... Disney does not use DNR. They matte the characters out of the scene and clean them up by repainting them frame by frame. Then they re-composite the characters back into the scene with a cleaned up still frame of the background. This is entirely different than DNR and causes totally different sorts of artifacts. Instead of grain smoothing and blurring in fast motion, like you might expect with DNR, you should be looking to color accuracy, messed up optical effects (like ripple glass) and line degradation. It is much harder to matte a xerox line than it is an ink line, because xerox doesn't have a hard, clean edge. I think the problem here is that their restoration process compromises the lines, so they are forced to beef them up to black and shave off all the "hairiness" of the xerox to be able to composite them cleanly.

    They are the only studio that uses this process. And the films they rework this way have completely reworked color palettes, missing optical effects, glow effects underneath the character instead of on top of it, mistakes in painting areas on the character, degraded lines and a complete lack of film grain. Based on previous films, I don't hesitate to call this process a "massacre". I'll see what they did to the animated sequences in Mary Poppins when my disk arrives.

    Disney's live action films are generally very good on blu-ray. I saw a hidef copy of 20,000 Leagues from Europe and it looked fantastic.
     
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  5. bigshot

    bigshot Well-Known Member

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    The problem is... things like color palettes are things that audiences *feel* without really consciously thinking about it, and non-animators look past the lines to see the volumetric forms the animator is creating in the motion. But both color and line are vital parts of animated films. Changing colors from blue to turquoise, or smoothing out the thicks and thins and expression in the lines are things that general audiences might not notice. But to animators and artists who use lines and colors in their own work, it sticks out like a sore thumb. And you can bet that if they were alive, the animators who made these films would be hollering bloody murder.

    Perhaps this is what we are left with... films that get chipped away at bit by bit until they are something different than what they originally were. But if I'm going to put a word to that, it's going to be "massacre", not "restoration". Because these films are being "restored" to a state they never existed in before.
     
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  6. haineshisway

    haineshisway Well-Known Member

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    I think it's very important to remember that this is a thread about Mary Poppins, and repeatedly bringing in other films that are problematic has nothing to do with Mary Poppins. I think that's what this discussion should be limited to - once bigshot has seen the disc, then we can read his thoughts and comment on them. Those who've seen the disc seem to be very happy with all of it, including the animation. All I keep hearing is that some anonymous animators somewhere on the Internet are saying some nebulous things - all without links, so none of us have a clue as to who is saying what where.
     
  7. Dick

    Dick Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, well, POLLYANNA was supposed to come out last year (as were ASBSENT-MINDED PROFESSOR and SONOF FLUBBER). I'll believe it when I see it.
     
  8. Dave MJ

    Dave MJ Well-Known Member

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    Well, whatever the process, there is no grain during the animated sequences, even in the live action footage, whereas the rest of the film has a very natural looking grain structure. However, it still looks very good to my eyes. I do agree that some of the classic features have really suffered from the "restoration" process, particularly the revisionist colors. The colors in Poppins look very good to me. There was no attempt to modernize or over saturate.
     
  9. JohnMor

    JohnMor Premium
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    I was especially disappointed in the color changes to Pinocchio and Alice in Wonderland. It's not that I don't enjoy the blu-rays, but they're certainly not quite the films I fell in love with. And while I'm looking forward to picking up Mary Poppins today, I do think bigshot's point about changing animation is valid, even if it's "only" 10 minutes in this particular case. I doubt it will stop my enjoyment of the blu-ray, but I do understand the issue and why some are up in arms over it. I mean, the amount of space that was devoted across the internet (including here) to the change of a single gunshot in Vertigo could fill books. There will always be some who don't see it or hear it or don't care, but there are others who do see it or hear it and it makes a difference to them.
     
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  10. Mark-P

    Mark-P Well-Known Member

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    I just did a quick comparison of the Blu-ray to the 40th Anniversary DVD and the Gold Collection letterboxed DVD. The Blu-ray shows much more image than the substantially zoomed 40th Anniversary DVD. However the GC DVD from 2000 which was letterboxed at 1.85:1, has a tad more picture information on the sides than the new Blu-ray, but I think that transfer probably exposed too much, going nearly perf-to-perf. In any case this is definitely the least cropped Mary Poppins has ever been on video!

    Screencaps for illustrative purposes only

    2000 Gold Collection DVD:
    MaryPoppinsCGDVD.jpg

    2004 40th Anniversary DVD
    MaryPoppins40thDVD.jpg

    2013 50th Anniversary Blu-ray
    MaryPoppinsBD.jpg
     
  11. davidmatychuk

    davidmatychuk Well-Known Member

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    I watched the Blu-Ray last night, and I had a powerful feeling that what I was seeing really was what my 9-year-old self saw in the theatre in 1964. It's beyond subjective for me, because I couldn't reasonably expect to have a frame of reference for such a feeling, and frankly I was so delighted by what I was seeing that I'm sure I was getting carried away with myself a bit. But it just seemed "true" to me. And great, great, great!
     
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  12. Dave MJ

    Dave MJ Well-Known Member

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    I find it baffling that some people seem to dismiss revisionist color timing. It is a major issue and really changes the entire movie for people who are familiar with it. It seems to be more of a problem in the last 10 years as they studios have gone back to the camera negatives for HD masters (as opposed to a timed low contrast print), which requires new digital color timing. It seems the original timing is often thrown out at that point.
     
  13. bigshot

    bigshot Well-Known Member

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    It isn't a matter of timing of the negatives on the Disney animated features. They are going in and repainting the characters. I saw a comparison of the characters in the Mad Tea Party to the colors used on the cels and in the original video of the film, and there were areas that were clearly two quite different colors on the original that had been repainted the same color on the blu-ray.
     
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  14. Cinescott

    Cinescott Well-Known Member

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    I've seen the Blu-ray and am quite happy with it. Coming from someone that knows little to nothing about color timing, the Blu-ray does look, well, a bit too blue.

    For a Technicolor film, the brightness of the colors seem a bit washed out to me. I realize that all of this is subjective and my opinion. I also realize (and this is rarely mentioned), that HD video and film are two different mediums, and it could very well be that this timing is the best it could be for the home environment.

    Other Blu-rays struck from Technicolor OCNs seem much more vibrant to me. Maybe this is the way the film originally looked; I have no idea.

    On the bright side, the clarity and sound quality are top notch.
     
  15. bigshot

    bigshot Well-Known Member

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    OK. It arrived today and I looked at it. The live action looks good. There is actually some grain here and there, even if it does block up a tiny bit from compression authoring. The overall color balance is shifted way to the cool side. I set my skin tone and hue settings on my projector all the way over to the orange side and boosted the saturation a bit and I got nice skin tones. Before that it was shrimp pink flesh and everything felt gray and cold. As long as it's within the range of adjustment, I'm satisfied.

    The animation was exactly as I feared, except they used a few new tricks to get around the live action / animation compositing problems. Scenes without any live action appeared to be cut out, scrubbed, then composited back in over a still frame of the BG. That is what Disney normally does. But the combo scenes were less refined. A scene of lambs jumping over the top of the live action was missing tons of lines, especially around the outside silhouette. Other fast action scenes with camera moves had the same problem.

    There were several places where lines popped on and off. This seemed to be because they were selecting the black lines and darkening and spreading them to make them bolder and thicker. Whenever the xerox got wispy, the lines fell off entirely, so there were places where lighter interior lines like on the horse's nose disappeared and crawled from frame to frame.

    The underdrawing in the Frank Thomas animation was scrubbed clean. He was had a very loose line that took to xerox really nicely. No more though. The construction lines in the key drawings of the Fox, Squirrel and Penguins had been erased completely. In fact, the Fox looked really bad, because the feathered lines on his tail had been dialed up to the thickness of magic marker. Big spiky blotches. I noticed just one scene where the original xerox lines were intact. It was the scene where it starts raining and the Fox jumps off the fence. I guess the optical of the rain effects over the top made it hard to monkey with the animation, so they just left it be.

    I noticed backgrounds not precisely matching camera moves, like the first scene of Dick Van Dyke and the Penguins dancing, and scenes where the composted animation was slightly transparent and you could see the background through them. There was also some of the sulpher screen yellow tinge around the edges of the live characters. These were probably in the original film.

    Well it's just ten minutes or so. I don't know why Disney feels the need to go out of their way to mess with stuff though. This is definitely not the way it used to look. It looks more like Saturday Morning TV animation clean up now, not the Nine Old Men.
     
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  16. bigshot

    bigshot Well-Known Member

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    Did anyone else notice how the opening titles were video over the top of the original film? Pretty obvious because as they faded out, the letters shrunk slightly.
     
  17. davyblu

    davyblu Member

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    Just watched mine, and found it beautiful. Did anyone else notice the wires were digitally removed, (like they did with the lion's tail wire in Oz?) The scene where she is holding the Audio-Animitronics bird has also had the control wire removed behind her hand, that you can see in the other versions.
     
  18. Oblivion138

    Oblivion138 Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes I'm glad I'm not an expert. I'm picky enough about image quality as it is.
     
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  19. moviebuff75

    moviebuff75 Well-Known Member

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    I can't wait to get this for Christmas!!!! It is going to be fantastic!
     
  20. RobertSiegel

    RobertSiegel Well-Known Member
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    These comments are quite facsinating. I too noticed a bit of a cool look to the video portion, and adjusted my projector just a bit for a warmer look. I cannot believe the soundtrack on this! In the overture, when the chorus sings "Chim Chim" I have never heard them sound like that-every other presentation whether it be on laserdisc, DVD or CD was not as gorgeous as this, and those cannon blasts inside the Banks home, plus the glorius sound of that orchestra throughout the film, it is amazing for 1964!

    For those of you interested in some Mary Poppins history, I posted an article here on the site:

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/topic/327969-mary-poppins-a-look-back/#entry4030257
     
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