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WHV Press Release: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (Blu-ray)

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ronald Epstein, Dec 15, 2009.

  1. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    What you seem to be calling pores on the skin in the DVD image are MPEG compression artifacts in the image.

    I could easily tell which half of the image was DVD vs BRD very quickly. It's just no comparison. The skin looks so much more like skin in the BRD. The skin, eyes, hair, wrinkle lines are much less detailed in the DVD half of these images.


    Edited to add: There shouldn't be any visible pores on the nose anyway. it's made of airbrushed latex....which would account for the airbrushed look.
     
  2. Flemming.K

    Flemming.K Stunt Coordinator

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    I disagree whole heartedly, I believe the problem in this specific example is in the ballpark of the difference/problem of this now probably famous comparison between a Gladiator theatrical/extended scene and that would be even more visible, had the FOTR DVD transfer had a direct to 1080 resolution from the original source. As it stands now, the FOTR BD image is exeptionally weak, taken in consideration it has 6 times the resolution over the DVD.

    [​IMG]

    Details above are blurred out by incompetence in the DNR appartment, exactly as the FOTR BD image and I believe the FOTR DVD image would resemble the Gladiator extended scene images in quality, had they just gotten a direct to HD transfer, without any digital manipulation at all.
     
  3. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Completely different business models. Criterion *relies* upon the niche enthusiast for the vast majority of their sales. Besides, Criterion uses DRS and DNR tools on every release - just look at their liner notes.

     
  4. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    Sorry, I just don't see what you are seeing. The BDR split image of Gandalf is head and shoulders much better than the DVD. But I guess in this world of EE and DNR, people will see grain where they really see MPEG blocking and vice versa.

    You have given no concrete example in your split-FOTR image of Gandalf of why the DVD is better. You've tried to explain it, but it seems the rest of us see the reason for this difference much differently than you do.

    Problems in the DVD image that do not exist in the BRD counterpart of your split-Gandalf comparison:

    1. Hair and moustache are soft, blurry and lack detail in individual strands of hair
    2. Pupils of the eyes are soft
    3. Reflections in the eyes are soft
    4. Wrinkles are not detailed and are blocky
    5. Skin is blocky from MPEG artifacts
    6. Eyelashes are a blur
    7. Reflections from lighting are not detailed on the skin texture. They look like a change in color rather than actual lighting refelctions would in real life.
     
  5. Michel_Hafner

    Michel_Hafner Supporting Actor

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    The DVD still has real world detail that the BD still has not because it was filtered away. And no, it's not all simply MPEG artifacts. On the other hand the BD still has also real world detail and sharpness the DVD still has not, because it's SD and BD is HD. What the BD has plenty is artifacts left behind by the bad quality filtering applied, well resolved and in your face obvious. So which is better? Take your poison. Neither looks remotely like the unmolested film image as it was shot, as far as textures are concerned. And that's the real bad news here. The best version is the HDTV version of LOTR1 that aired on various channels where the bad filtering is not present.
     
  6. Flemming.K

    Flemming.K Stunt Coordinator

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    Quote:
    "Rest of us" is quite a statement, considering who partakes in the debate or not. I know quite a few, who takes the same stance as I do in this matter and find the FOTR release problematic in regards to the issues I've raised.

    Fair enough you don't see what I do and the other way around. I fully agree with Michel_Hafners last post.
     
  7. Flemming.K

    Flemming.K Stunt Coordinator

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    Business models aside, I've seen plenty of examples on how Criterion restorates their titles. Old restorations done on Gimme Shelter and La Grande Illusion not to mention their newer efforts. I know it's a waste trying to compare 16 and 35 mm movies versus FOTR, but I'm pretty sure, Criterions almost 100% BD succes'es taken into consideration, that they wouldn't have messed such a blockbuster up, that could garner about the same amount of sold titles as their entire catalog added together. How is it possible to give the niche enthusisasts a perfect transfer each time, thus spending quite a few hours on each title, when the revenue on these titles must be quite mediocre, everything considered?

    If Criterion uses DRS and DNR on each release, they obviously manage that art better than the rest.
     
  8. Brian Borst

    Brian Borst Screenwriter

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    Somehow I doubt that creating new DIs for the LOTR movies (i.e. spending money on them) wouldn't pay back handsomely. These are extremely popular movies, no matter how you put it. It might be apples and oranges, but if the restorations for TWoO and GWTW are financially justified, then shouldn't these movies be justified as well?
     
  9. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    You are right. I should have phrased that differently.
     
  10. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    Well, this is a question of short term investment vs. long term investment. The $5-6 million spent on the older films is from a budget for long term investment in restoration that doesn't expect an immediate return. This is an extremely rare occurrence. It simply isn't done very often, and the fact that Warner does it at all is pretty remarkable.

    Should LOTR qualify for such long term investment? I guess. But all films should qualify for such long term investments in an ideal world. But they don't. So the cutoff is made somewhere, and LOTR gets put into the business model of the short term investment, which means the bean counters need to justify a budget they expect to get a positive return on with this release.

    As for what needs to be done to make a new DI, that would possibly include re-doing some of the visual effects, and as we know with Lucas' Star Wars tinkering, that's its own double-edged sword.
     
  11. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    I'd like to know why the effects would have to be redone for a blu-ray release? Blu-ray still doesn't have quite the resolution of 35mm film. This series of movies, with the present effects work, were shot on film and projected on screen sizes vastly larger than 99.9% of home theater rigs and the effects work looked pretty damn good. So why would the effects work have to be redone for new DIs of these films?
     
  12. Brandon Conway

    Brandon Conway captveg

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    I may have misread this, but it was my understanding that some of the effects work was done in post after the 2K DI work. That may be a complete misunderstanding on my part. If that's not the case then, yes, there would not be a need to redo any of the effects. But if some of the effects were at the very least touched up with DNR-like tools in post production on FOTR in 2001, then yes, they would need to be redone. It's not a matter of resolution, but rather a matter of actually having the effects there and finished.
     
  13. Douglas Monce

    Douglas Monce Producer

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    I thought there were many effects shots that were dodgy even in the original release. I don't think that is a reason to redo them however. I do think the film cold benefit from a rescan of the original film elements, and a new 4K DI. I suspect that many of the problems that are being reported on this release, originate in the original DI for the films.

    Doug
     
  14. Jesse Blacklow

    Jesse Blacklow Screenwriter

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    Quote:
    This is ridiculous. The DVDs are well-known for being extremely heavily filtered, and Flemming's screenshots portray as much. What's especially surprising is that you've previously said (and others have agreed) that some shots in the DIs and 35mm versions of the LOTR films already had serious DNR applied, which would mean the DVDs would suffer from the same ill effects. We have evidence that the DVDs have heavy filtering already, and you believe that the prints have serious DNR, both of which makes your above statement hard to take seriously.

    Quote:
     
  15. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    I sorta agree w/ Michael Hafner's assessment as well, but the split-image comparisons are flawed though. You need to compare the exact same split-halves from both for it to be valid, and those split-views are comparing different halves (although they look like they're opposite halves from the same shot).

    _Man_
     
  16. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    FWIW, maybe a large part of the reason why Warner has not gone back to redo the DI (and any updating of the SFX) for FotR is Peter Jackson (and maybe WETA as well) is too busy for that at this time. Maybe Warner is just waiting to do that for whatever uber version BD set that will heavily involve PJ, et al. Afterall, they already plan on releasing at least another version (ie. the EEs) on BD that will likely involve PJ more, so it makes business sense to not put too much extra effort into this release -- although the seemingly excessive DNR on FotR was probably a botched job (somewhere in the production chain) nonetheless.

    Hopefully, when PJ, et al. gets around to it, they'll also address various flaws/issues w/ the EE versions as well for that ultimate "final cut" of the trilogy.

    As for myself, think I'll try renting the FotR BD first and see how it actually looks on my own setup. I can probably just hold off on owning the trilogy on BD, especially since this isn't the definitive set for me anyway -- I actually have rather mixed feelings between the OT version and the EE version (as alluded above).

    _Man_
     
  17. cafink

    cafink Producer

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    I don't see any reason to think the comparison is flawed. Yes, different areas of an image could in theory have different levels of detail and other characteristics. But in practice, does anyone believe that to be the case with the specific image of Ian McKellan above? The two halves are very similar to one another, and the complete image of both versions was posted earlier, anyway, so anyone who cares to check them can do so.

    But maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're saying. What do you mean when you say that "they look like they're opposite halves from the same shot," and how does that differ from "comparing different halves"?
     
  18. cafink

    cafink Producer

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    [FONT= 'Lucida Grande']…[/FONT]
     
  19. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    If one needs to look at the comparison side-by-side, then one should really do it properly and compare the different versions of the exact same half of the image, not opposite halves which may or may not have different issues to different degrees.
    The split-image comparisons presented so far can be slightly misleading -- not saying that's intentional or anything like that, but just pointing out something that might be causing some of the differences in opinions.

    Our perception of comparisons can be distorted/altered by how they are presented afterall, so if you want a solid, side-by-side comparison, it's probably better to do the split-image comparisons w/ the same halves of the image -- or at least present it both ways.

    OTOH, I guess the truth in this particular case is probably simply that this BD version of FotR is a mixed bag and not necessarily a significant upgrade from the old DVD, which is more or less what Michael Hafner pointed out (w/ which I agreed based on the available stills). Yeah, it seems to have *some* extra details and definition in some areas, but also *some* nasty extra (DNR-type) smearing of the image in others -- or maybe it's just revealing how bad the DNR was on the HiDef master (or the original DI) used for this release.

    _Man_
     
  20. Roy Batty

    Roy Batty Second Unit

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    I consider myself something of an "archivist" when it comes to my compulsive collector habits, be it music, comic books or movies, meaning that, no matter if there's a new, improved version (let's say, a better printed, hardcover collection of some old monthly comic books), I always like to have the originals, I always strive to be able to enjoy them the way they were released, warts and all, because I value that historical factor.


    While I am trying to explain is that, while I loved the extended edition of the LOTR Trilogy, and I bask in their trove of additional features, for me, skipping the original, theatrical cut was never an option. I want BOTH, the theatrical and the extended, for different reasons.


    My point here is that I was not one of those on the fence about this release, wondering whether to get this to satisfy my LOTR immediate cravings, or to avoid it and wait for the foreseeable boxset, the one that Michael Pellerin and even Peter Jackson have mentioned some times.


    So I was more than willing to buy this set now, and then, whatever pumped-up mega boxset they throw us later in the future.


    But then, I started reading about the PQ issues... And while I am as demanding as the next guy, I am also quite aware that there's always a lot of noise in the Net, and a lot of people to just want to show you that they are more discerning than the rest of us. So I tried to be sensible about it, and just wait and see, and try to form my own judgement.


    And then, the first screen captures started to show up, and… well, it was certainly discouraging, but I tell myself to remember that still images NEVER tell the whole story about quality transfer, at least, not the way that the image in motion do. Many apparent artifacts will be not so apparent when you actually get to watch the movie on your display of choice. And, of course, there's also the matter of how those still images were captured and compressed, and how much that can be a factor in their quality, too.


    So, I tried to remain positive.


    And then… Then I happen upon these:


    http://comparescreenshots.slicx.com/comparison/43821

    http://comparescreenshots.slicx.com/comparison/43820

    http://comparescreenshots.slicx.com/comparison/43823

    http://comparescreenshots.slicx.com/comparison/43824


    Well, if any of you can not clearly see the difference there, if you can not appreciate the healthy, detailed grain of the HD broadcasting, versus the blurry, waxed look that is typical of poorly aplied, unprofessional noise reduction…


    Just let's say that, sorry, but your eyes are clearly not trained enough.


    The image quality of LOTR: THE FELLOWSHIP… is simply UNACCEPTABLE for blu-ray release, at least, if we want to strive for the high standard we all know the blu-ray format can offer us, instead of letting it slide backwards to the washed out compression that the studios are trying to force on us.
     

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