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Warner to release Ben-Hur on Blu-ray in 2009 (?), or.....

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Paul Hillenbrand, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. Paul Hillenbrand

    Paul Hillenbrand Well-Known Member

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    Per the Digital Bits: Now that would be truly great!

    To those knowledgable few who know:

    The only concern is that I wonder about the capability and difficulty of transferring a crisp, clean and especially SHARP image from a native 70mm film source, that is, if they use the best possible film source print that is available.
    Problems with transferring native 70mm film sources in the past to disc became evident to me with the DVD "Oklahoma!", released in November of 2005, when a comparison could be made between the CinemaScope version (2.55:1) and the "native" Todd-AO Version (2.20:1) and the resulting softness of the image from the limitations of the transferring technology used at the time.[​IMG]

    Is the technology here now where a 70mm print like "Ben-Hur" can be transferred to (Blu-ray) with the films native sharpness, or will Warner have to use a 35mm copy for the best of todays transfer?[​IMG]

    Paul
     
  2. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Why wouldn't they be able to use the transfer they just did a couple years ago?

    I'd expect this release to be exactly like the current 4-Disc DVD, with the only difference being the film in HD.
     
  3. Paul Hillenbrand

    Paul Hillenbrand Well-Known Member

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    Paul
     
  4. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    I don't think the latest Ben-Hur transfer falls under that situation. It was done recently enough, with the best possible equipment, IIRC.

    EDIT: Release date of the 4-Disc Ben-Hur was 9/13/05. Robert Harris had high praise. I guess we don't know if the current transfer was sufficient for HD or not.
     
  5. Vincent_P

    Vincent_P Well-Known Member

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    That newer BEN-HUR transfer has some problems, or at least the 4-disc DVD release of it does. It's noticeably quite a bit softer than the older DVD, and beyond that there's some weird red color fringing going on in several shots.

    Vincent
     
  6. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Which, as far as I can tell re-reading the older thread I linked to, are problems that may not be avoidable.
     
  7. Paul Hillenbrand

    Paul Hillenbrand Well-Known Member

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    This concern was expressed here in my first post.

    That is why I asked the question if 70mm scanning technology has been perfected that can avoid a soft image in Blu-ray HD media?

    Paul
     
  8. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Well-Known Member

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    Yes.
     
  9. GregK

    GregK Well-Known Member

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    Maybe this time, WB will also include the original multi-track mix that won the Oscar for Sound. I want to hear what Franklin Milton mixed for audiences in 1959, not what mystery engineer-x did in the late 1990's. Yes.. it would need to be ever so slightly reconfigured to the 5.1 format, but it would still be very faithful to the original. But for that matter, I'm sure MGM has original 4 track versions of this title, as well as the original 6 track mix.

    WB .. if you want to keep the re-mix, at least offer the original as an option!
     
  10. Paul Hillenbrand

    Paul Hillenbrand Well-Known Member

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    Referring to "the question if 70mm scanning technology has been perfected that can avoid a soft image in Blu-ray HD media?"
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Thank you Mr. Hafner!

    Now hoping the 2009 Ben-Hur Blu-ray disc will be authored with this latest scanning technology, including lossless audio of the original multi-track Oscar-winning mix and I will be in - HEAVEN - pure nirvana!

    Paul
     
  11. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    The most obvious example of improvements in 65mm/70mm scanning technology would be the new Blade Runner set, where Warner went bat to the 65mm effects shots and scanned them at 6K to preserve as much definition as possible out of those elements.
     
  12. MatthewA

    MatthewA Well-Known Member

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    If Warner can scan the Vistavision seps of "The Searchers" at 8K, what is the current state of the art for 65mm negative? Is it Fotokem's scanner? They did the restoration of "South Pacific" at 4k and the theatrical version has softness issues, while the roadshow version seems sharper (what I've seen of each).

    Still, I'm hoping for the best.
     
  13. Douglas Monce

    Douglas Monce Well-Known Member

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    Where did you hear that they scanned the 65mm effects elements? There is nothing in the extra features that says that. I had assumed they scanned the 35mm reduction prints for the effects shots.

    Doug
     
  14. Mark Anthony

    Mark Anthony Well-Known Member

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    I read an article with the dvd's producer, the blade runner sfx were scanned from 65mm, I think anyone expecting a new transfer of ben-hur for blu-ray will be disappointed...the last one is 1080p and given the limited market for classics on blu ray the cost would probably be unwarranted.

    M
     
  15. Vern Dias

    Vern Dias Well-Known Member

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    The quality of the Ben-Hur SE transfer sucked big time. Bad color registration errors, no fine detail, etc etc. There is no way that this transfer would be acceptable for HD. Have you seen the HD DVD of Spartacus? That was a major dissappointment. Ben Hur from the existing transfer would probably look as bad or worse.

    Vern
     
  16. MatthewA

    MatthewA Well-Known Member

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    That market could increase between now and then. But if the market is small, going the cheap route for Blu-Ray transfers will make it smaller because the people who buy these films care about the quality of their presentations.
     
  17. Mark Anthony

    Mark Anthony Well-Known Member

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    The Spartacus HD-DVD used the old universal HD transfer as a basis, not the criterion HD transfer - if that was used on HD or blu-ray the quality difference would be much more noticeable.

    Similarly the actual 1080p transfer of ben hur, although possibly with certain issues of it's own relating to the source materials, is also a lot better than a standard dvd could ever show, the same transfer on blu-ray possibly with a little additional digital clean-up will certainly look much sharper than the SD which is the main issue of the DVD.

    As for "the cheap route" this is the second high-def transfer of BH in 5 years, this time from 65mm (no doubt due to complaints of the first one not being from 65) which is not cheap by any stretch of the imagination! New technologies and restoration techniques come along all the time, but I think it's reasonable to assume the last transfer of ben hur will be the one on HD at least until well into the next decade.

    M
     
  18. Paul Hillenbrand

    Paul Hillenbrand Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]
    Hope Warner is reading this thread. [​IMG]

    This is the 50th anniversary of Ben-Hur and that is for everyone who had anything to do with the production all the way up to the theatrical experience of the audience, and if that doesn't justify a re-scanning of 65mm elements - for a pristine improvement in sharpness and for other do-able corrections - I don't know what will, or if I'll ever have the experience in that light in my lifetime.[​IMG]

    Hope the anniversary excitement takes hold for all concerned - building a campaign for a phenomenal release and a profitable success.[​IMG]

    Paul
     
  19. Mark Anthony

    Mark Anthony Well-Known Member

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    Paul the elements were scanned in 65mm less than 3 years ago,by a home video arm renowned for high quality work. What revelatory transfer technology are you aware of that has become available, at reasonable cost, that would render it necessary to re-transfer the film again in such a short space of time?

    In fact it has been said had they used a 35mm reduction print instead of 65mm it would look even sharper, but unless you've viewed the 1080p master how do you know it doesn't contain the increase in sharpness you seek?

    An ntsc dvd is no real judge of the master it is downconverted from, as has been proven several times on blu ray's released thus far from same 1080p transfer that the dvd was converted from, that look head and shoulders better in areas of sharpness, colour and general clarity.

    M
     
  20. john a hunter

    john a hunter Well-Known Member

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    And WHV can you do the Overture, intermission music,etc correctly this time on a BLANK screen instead of those stupid still frames taken from the titles. They ruin the effect that was intended. You got it right for 2001, but not for Mutiny, Bulge and Grand Prix.Wake up!
     

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