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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Patton -- in Blu-Ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, May 28, 2008.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Edwin-S, Vincent_P and others...
    Here's where I'm coming from.
    This isn't simply about a blu-ray disc.
    This is about people.
    We're dealing with probably dozens of people, beginning with those that go through the inventories to pull elements, to the vault people -- who somehow know where everything is around the world -- to those who inspect the elements that potentially will be master material, onward to those who do the mastering or harvesting of an image, and finally...
    to the folks who take that image and, based upon what the studio has told them to do, creates what we see on DVD.
    And this is precisely why I cannot give a project that has made its way through this long line of studio workers, and which may or may not have met a problematic fate with one individual...
    a bad review.
    While DNR, or whatever the programs might be called, can have a negative affect on the final look, the film has made its way along a long line, being handled respectfully and cautiously by many people.
    And it is their work that I also respect.
    What we are seeing is affected at the final point, which to my eye is unfortunate, but everything up to that point has been handled meticulously and sometimes, lovingly, by a group of people.
    Somewhere there is a HD master of Patton without the DNR, and it is this "artifact" that I would welcome on Blu-Ray -- a system that has the capability to take an image -- grain and all -- and send it to a high end home theater.
    Blu-Ray is here, and it is or can be -- in the right hands -- nirvana for home theater aficionados.
    All that we need to do is treat it well and use it properly.
    That is the trick.
    I hope this helps in understanding where I'm coming from, and why I tend to look at the larger picture.
    RAH
     
  2. DavidJ

    DavidJ Premium
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    I really appreciate where you are coning from on this Mr. Harris. In addition, I completely agree with the comments that Crawdaddy made in The Longest Day thread about supporting classic films on Blu-ray and understand that you would still recommend the films. They are the best that they have ever looked on a home format and a lot of work went into making them as good as they are. Could and should they be even better? Well, a lot of us think so. So my stance is to pick up and enjoy the films in the best looking form available to me and try to find some means of providing the studios feedback.
     
  3. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    Mr. Harris
    Thank you for your excellent reply. I think the clarification of your position applies more to me than to Vincent-P. Vincent-P seemed to be a little more in tune to your way of thinking, when it came to your review, than I was.
    I have to admit that I only focussed on the final result when I made my original comments about taking a firmer stance. I was not taking into account the efforts of the various people who work on bringing these films to our homes.
    I now understand more fully the level of respect you have for the people who work on these films and their efforts. As such, I must say that I have the utmost respect for the position you have taken. I will have to rethink my own position on this issue in light of your explanation.
     
  4. David Wilkins

    David Wilkins Supporting Actor

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    That is one of the most beneficial roles that forums such as this one can play: banging the drum about this issue, and helping to channel the spread-thin time and energy of concerned members, toward the specific contacts at the studios who are most responsible for making these decisions. This has probably taken place in the past with other issues. Perhaps I'm just restating the obvious.
     
  5. Mike Williams

    Mike Williams Screenwriter

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    Personally, I appreciate that Mr. Harris is able to recommend a BD presentation while pointing out the one negative he finds in that presentation; one which he fully realizes most people won't find issue with at all.
     
  6. Travis Brashear

    Travis Brashear Screenwriter

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    Edwin-S, don't feel too bad. I, too, recently took Mr. Harris to task for giving a highly recommended rating to a title he had just lambasted for leaving off a massive amount of the bonus features found on the SD-DVD, so I've shared with you a difficult time processing the (to my thinking) somewhat schizophrenic nature of his reviews. I'm a bottom-liner, too, but since Mr. Harris' offerings are so unique and insightful, both here and in his paid work, I'll content myself with agreeing to disagree on a holistic vs. bottom-line approach to reviewing.
    One question I do still have from the current dialogue is this--the term "high ferequency information" has been bandied about rather carelessly and often in this thread, without a truly meaningful definition provided to those of us not in the know. The SD vs. HD screenshot comparisons for PATTON make the HD look stunning in every way (though I am most certainly not a grain hater, nor an advocate of its unnecessary removal); Mr. Harris himself states that the loss of this high frequency data is hard to convey in screenshots, but since screenshots mimic the final product's image (though, admittedly, on a shruken scale), if you can't see the effect, what's the problem? In other words, what will I not be seeing with the PATTON Blu-ray, other than the original film grain, that I should be seeing?
     
  7. Mike Williams

    Mike Williams Screenwriter

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    Travis, just because people like you and me don't quite know what we're missing in regard to "high frequency information," nor know it's technical definition, you really think the people who use the term are doing so CARELESSLY????
     
  8. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    By High Frequency Information (HFI) I'm referring to a part of the image which would contain minute detail information...
    Information which reproduces not only on Blu, but on SD.
    Stubble on an actor's face, along with facial details such as tiny scars or marks seen in close-ups -- look at the worst of it and skin becomes "plastic" as in The Untouchables. Patton has this problem. Flesh has imperfections, even if heavily made up;
    Detail in hair;
    Detail on the walls of buildings, which when DNR'd looks smooth; Look at an exterior wall, be it stucco or brick and you'll see heavy detail. Look at the buildings in Patton and there is nothing.
    Grass, and not just a mass of green, but the ability via BD to differentiate;
    Trees, and not just trees, but the leaves moving, rather than being mass of green;
    In Patton...
    Dirt on a Mercedes staff car, a Jeep or a motorcycle; not just an overlay of beige dirty color -- DIRT!
    Blu-Ray allows this.
    Leather that isn't simply shiny black, but shows imperfections, grain and wear;
    And lastly, background information that isn't simply a mass of color.
    The point here is that the Blu-Ray process has the capacity and the ability to reproduce fine detail magnificently.
    Remove grain incorrectly, or use the wrong process, and you lose every bit of detail that has been captured within those bits of grain, and things become, well...
    pretty and clean...
    and not only totally non-representative of film.
    But no longer representative of the work that some might attempt to replicate.
    This isn't simply about grain, which DONE PROPERLY as I've explained, can be totally removed without losing a single bit of detail, or lowered to replicate any film stock ever produced. Had Warner wanted their high def of Bullitt to look like it had been shot on early '90s 5247 rather than late '60s 5254, they could have done it. They chose not to, and the proper -- original -- look of Bullitt is there in high definition.
    This is about making something look clean and wrong concurrently.
    This is something exceedingly easy to do correctly.
    Two appended final points:
    1. This cannot be seen in screen grabs.
    2. On smaller screens, for example anything under around 35", this is almost moot, as the image with or without heavily applied DNR will look very similar unless one knows what they are looking for. On my 30" Sony HD CRT, Patton looked fabulous.
    And this presents yet another problem. If someone is working on a project and using a smaller professional monitor as opposed to viewing on a large screen, they may not see the damage that is being done.
    RAH
     
  9. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    Your latest post makes me sad and angry about "what might have been", Mr. Harris. To have the ability to show show so much detail in our technical grasp, only to THROW IT AWAY for marketing purposes is ridiculous...
     
  10. Mike Williams

    Mike Williams Screenwriter

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    Yes, Mr. Harris' latest post does seem much, much worse than I originally anticipated. I like being able to differentiate between leaves on a tree and individual blades of grass. I like noticing the texture on a building wall that is a revelation to me on Blu-ray. I love all those little details that Blu-ray affords, and now I just feel sad that one of my favorite movies of all time . . . well, now I'm just sad.
     
  11. Travis Brashear

    Travis Brashear Screenwriter

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    If not everyone in a dialogue understands the terms being used, and a meaningful definition isn't provided to the members of the group not in-the-know, then yes, I term that "careless". It wasn't an insult, just a request that the smart kids let the short bus kids in on the details of some of their speaking points.
     
  12. Travis Brashear

    Travis Brashear Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the explanation--so it is a size factor at issue, and the reason why screen captures fail to highlight your complaints. Got it. Oh, and I hope I didn't rankle you, sir. Your post reads to me as a little irritated having to explain yourself, but I honestly just didn't know what specifically was meant by the term "high frequency data". If I misread your tone, never mind...
     
  13. Ken Koc

    Ken Koc Screenwriter

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    I must have my 60" HD Sony Wega on some sort of a different setting. I had a showing last night with some of my friends who also love Patton. We were all blown away by the detail....in the pores of Scotts face ( too much of his heavily made up eyebrows)....to the detail of the ruins of Carthage....to the intricate detail of the ceiling in Patton's room in the last scene before intermission.
     
  14. Mike Williams

    Mike Williams Screenwriter

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    Ken Koc, I hope my experience next week mirrors yours. I've also read that you can see the netting in Scott's hairline and eyebrows where the eyebrow piece was applied.
     
  15. Ken Koc

    Ken Koc Screenwriter

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    Yes...I sure can see that!
     
  16. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Screenwriter

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    Travis, you were not alone in your confusion over this term. Robert, I appreciate your detailed explanation as well.
     
  17. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Please, make no mistake. There is a high level of detail in Patton, and the BD disc is beautifully done. As I've noted, it is my opinion that the huge majority of the potential audience for this disc will be thrilled.
    My problem is not what it is, but rather, what it could have been.
     
  18. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    Mr. Harris
    I'm curious. What screen size would you have to be projecting at to start noticing some of the missing detail that you talk about? >70" or would some of the missing detail be noticeable at much smaller screen sizes?
    Or is the missing detail something on a more subliminal level?
     
  19. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    It actually becomes more difficult than that. As a guess, I would think that one would notice a difference above 42" or thereabouts, but if one doesn't know what it could or should like it, the difference may be moot.
    I can tell you that at 30", the image was beautiful, with little real ability to make a determination.
    I cannot make this point enough. To most people this simply isn't going to matter.
    Many people will review this disc, give it raves, and will not be incorrect. If you don't know that something is missing...
     
  20. Peter Neski

    Peter Neski Supporting Actor

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    "but devoid of high frequency anything."

    sorry, but does this mean this High Frequency Detail is on the standard dvd??

    or the Blue ray could have been even better?
     

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