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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Rear Window -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Updated;

    This is a difficult one.

    After sampling a number of sequences for Rear Window, I'm of the opinion that it could have been better. Even using the dupe negative that we prepared in 2000, would have gotten things to where they are in most cases, with less expense. The work done here seems like a bit of a waste of digital energy.

    Or alternatively, recreating what we had done in the analogue world, but now digitally, would have yielded a far more highly resolved image in the dupe sections.

    There are things that disturb me with this project. We worked very hard to make Grace Kelly's initial appearance in the film to work properly from faded elements. Our final negative could have been used, but it appears that something else has been done.

    And it's left tracks.

    Look at the background of the sequence in question, and horizontal banding is all too obvious. It shouldn't be there. Is this a problem of bits? I'm not certain.

    Grain reduction has massaged the opening credits, leaving some odd digital artifacts in the background.

    Flesh tones, which have always been a problem, should have been better, along with the tracking of the color of Mr. Stewart's pajamas, which on this Blu-ray is done well.

    Bottom line is that for the casual viewer, this may be a beautiful presentation, but my eye is probably the wrong one to be viewing it. I could have been far happier if things had been performed differently -- and better.

    Again, and to be fair, I believe that most people will love the look of Rear Window on Blu-ray.

    One very interesting technical point.

    Those of you familiar with early 1950s Eastman Color productions, will be all too aware of cut-in printer functions. You'll notice that these look beautiful, as though the dupes are perfectly hidden.

    In this case, they aren't.

    All of what would have been printer functions, in this case, the fade in and outs, were all shot as original in camera.


    Image - 4

    Audio - 4.5

    RAH
     
  2. mikeyhitchfan

    mikeyhitchfan Well-Known Member

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    I would imagine that I will be happy as I never thought it looked that all good before, with all due respect of course. Is it the film stock used? Because only a year later with The Trouble With Harry things improved with resolution and color. Was is Vistavision lenses and different film stock?
     
  3. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Different stock, optics, cameras (format), processing. The two cannot be compared.

    RAH
     
  4. mikeyhitchfan

    mikeyhitchfan Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your reply. That's kind of what I thought. The screen caps do look much sharper, though.
     
  5. lukejosephchung

    lukejosephchung Well-Known Member

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    Robert, given your well-known history with this film, your judgment is understandably colored by the emotional baggage your experience gave you. The fact that you rate the job done by Universal in this case as positively as you do is actually somewhat of a pleasant surprise, at least for me. Hope to hear more from you on this thread regarding those experiences.
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    No "emotional baggage" whatsoever. Merely looking at the image, which doesn't lie.

    Last thing that Rear Window needs is banding.

    RAH
     
  7. Dr Griffin

    Dr Griffin Well-Known Member

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    Banding in an important movie such as this, in a set that costs $200 and the persistent comments about some of the other transfers will keep me from forking over my dough for this collection.
     
  8. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    http://www.deadline.com/2012/10/rear-window-headed-to-broadway/
     
  9. DavidJ

    DavidJ Premium
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    I'm disappointed to read this. Rear Window is one of my favorite Hitchcock films and one of my favs period.
     
  10. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    To be clear, my ratings are generally based upon the quality of a Blu-ray in comparison to what it could look like.
    I believe that most home theater fans will love this Blu-ray of Rear Window, as it services that need very well. My thoughts on these titles occasionally go more toward the concept of ultimate asset protection.
    This will be a very popular and highly rated release.
    RAH
     
  11. DavidJ

    DavidJ Premium
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    I did get that from your original post, but thank you for the amplification. I tend to be fairly picky as far as image quality is concerned, but I'm also lucky enough that I can still turn it off, so to speak, and enjoy the films in all but the most egregious cases. I imagine I will still be picking up this set.
     
  12. haineshisway

    haineshisway Well-Known Member

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    Mr. Harris's caveats aside (and he's right about each and every one), I've pretty pleased with this - I love this film large and it's just a nice transfer to watch, even with the problems. The majority of it has very nice color, very nice clarity, and it's a big step up from the previous velvet box DVD.
     
  13. mikeyhitchfan

    mikeyhitchfan Well-Known Member

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    It looks very good but I was hoping for a little better looking transfer than what we have here. It sometimes looks really good and then the skin tones look over saturated. Certainly the best I've seen it at home. Of course I watched this in it's entirety shortly after watching Vertigo, so...
     
  14. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Well-Known Member

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    Kevin's early review thread is inaccessable. So I thought I'd post here. IIRC, in Kevin's early review, he commented about an issue with the red misalignment during the credits. It caused a very bright red outline to be visible around each letter. I just popped in the DVD from the Velvet box set. I see it's there too. It's just not as obvious due to the lower resolution it appears to me. The DVD is certainly choked full of video noise! Or what could be assumed to be grain.
    There's a few shots of Grace Kelly's and Jimmy Stewart's faces that look a little on the yellow side, but would fluctuate from shot to shot.
    Overall, the blu-ray to my uneducated eyes seems to look from the same source as the DVD. There's one shot of Grace Kelly's white halter top blouse where it appears her flesh toned make-up has rubbed off her right arm on the side of it. Never saw that before.
    This is actually the first time I've seen the Velvet box DVD on my 65" VT30 plasma, before I was watching on a 50" plasma that was only 720. It sure has a lot of video noise!
    When Stella is giving Jeff a back rub, I never saw before the lotion was white! I'd say this new blu-ray is a step up.
    Could all the issues reported, minor as they are on this disc, be more obvious because they've always been there, but the increased resolution makes them more obvious?
     
  15. mikeyhitchfan

    mikeyhitchfan Well-Known Member

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    The credits look terrible. Looks like 3D titles without the glasses.
     
  16. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Well-Known Member

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    The credits do appear bad. But has it always looked that way? I'm no expert as to how the titles originally looked, but I took a screen cap of Rear Window from the Masterpiece Collection DVD set.
    I see the exact same shifted or out of alignment of the red color around each letter. Its just more pronounced on the blu-ray. The red around each letter is also on the DVD, its just not as obvious. The offset of the Copyright section below is the same.
    Which makes me wonder if the source material is identical to those used on the DVD.
     
  17. haineshisway

    haineshisway Well-Known Member

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    It's the look of the titles - not sure what shape the negative is in - I'm sure Mr. Harris must know, but I do believe this is a new scan and not what was used for the DVD. But the credits have pretty much looked like this, even in the dye transfer prints from the 60s.
     
  18. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Well-Known Member
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    I've just been looking at the Legacy DVD edition (the last released DVD of this title), and that same red outlining/fringing is also there.
     
  19. Scott Calvert

    Scott Calvert Well-Known Member

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    I noticed the red outline of the title too and chalked it up to a design choice. It is so pronounced I figured it couldn't have been a mistake. But the way this set is going, who knows.
     
  20. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Agreed. These are the titles, and are normal. I believe they may have gone to masters.

    RAH
     

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