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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: Ben-Hur - Four Disc Collector's Edition (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED).



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#1 of 65 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

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Posted September 17 2005 - 03:32 PM


My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#2 of 65 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

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Posted September 17 2005 - 04:12 PM

Thanks for the review, Herb. This is one impresssive package, even if it does not meet everyone's high standards of perfection. I can't wait to actually find the time to watch all of it! Posted Image

- Steve

#3 of 65 OFFLINE   StevenFC

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Posted September 17 2005 - 05:45 PM

I don't know, it's a good set, but I was expecting more for a movie of this stature. Maybe a gift set version or something. But I certainly can't complain for 25 smackers.

The video is simply a matter of taste and that's all you can say since there are no actual "problems" with it. The new doc didn't really do anything for me--in fact I thought it kind of rambled a bit.

thumbs up Posted Image
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#4 of 65 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted September 17 2005 - 09:14 PM

Herb; thanks once again for another fine, common sense review.
So many films, so little time...
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#5 of 65 OFFLINE   Douglas R

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Posted September 17 2005 - 11:02 PM

Herb - The previous release was also 2.76:1 but cropped on all 4 sides.

#6 of 65 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted September 18 2005 - 12:01 AM

Correct. Aspect ratios alone are meaningless. RAH

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#7 of 65 OFFLINE   Larry Sutliff

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Posted September 18 2005 - 01:40 AM

Excellent review! I still haven't unwrapped my copy yet,but I can't wait to find the time to do so. The screenshots of both versions look great.

#8 of 65 OFFLINE   TedD

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Posted September 18 2005 - 02:43 AM

Only if you don't consider color mis-registration issues for approximately 20% of it's running time to be a "problem". Ted

#9 of 65 OFFLINE   Shane Martin

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Posted September 18 2005 - 03:00 AM

Regarding the reds, I'm flat out not seeing it. Whether my equipment is masking it or not is another story but I do know that the Pioneer 45 dvd player you are using does have the chroma bug so I wonder if that has something to do with it.
Pioneer DVD 45 Chroma Bug Link

#10 of 65 OFFLINE   Herb Kane

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Posted September 18 2005 - 03:40 AM

Thanks Douglas, I've clarified what I meant to type initially. Appreciate that. Shane, That's a possibility however, I've never quite experienced reds looking similar on other titles. And to be clear, it's not invasive or bothersome, but merely an observation. Just goes to show that the equipment used will certainly have varying effects on each and every title within our own HT environments.
My Top 25 Noirs:

25. 711 Ocean Drive (1950), 24. Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), 23. Desperate (1947), 22. Pushover (1954), 21. The Blue Dahlia (1946), 20. The File on Thelma Jordon (1949), 19. He Ran All the Way (1951), 18. The Asphalt Jungle (1950), 17. The Killing (1956), 16. I Walk Alone (1948),...

#11 of 65 OFFLINE   Paul Hillenbrand

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Posted September 18 2005 - 04:22 AM

As adults, we all should have an idea of how lasting the vivid memory of a 9 year old could be. Possibly taking a form that could last through ones life. For me, seeing Ben-Hur originally released in the theaters in 1959 had one particular lasting effect. It showed me my favorite color, RED.

Knowing that I love that color and to be more exact, that particular hue of the color red in my memory that was presented on the theater screen in 1959, similar, but not exactly the same hue of red that is representing the color in its digital rendering today, reminds me that the color RED was definitely a predominant color/accent/style or even possibly it could be called a (pseudo prop?) in the film.

Herb Kane mentions that the color red is "vibrant and lush, but reds are pushed (often looking exaggerated) and seem to suffer mis-registration issues." And to some extent I would have to agree, but just barely over the line drawn that would be called exaggerated and pushed and not "pushed" in the sense, where it would be affecting any other color or the total temperature of the film.

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#12 of 65 OFFLINE   TedD

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Posted September 18 2005 - 05:21 AM

Shane:

Who's using a Pioneer player?

I certainly am not. I am using an HTPC with the NVidia Purevideo decoders that most certainly don't have any chroma bug. I have confirmed this with DVE Pro test patterns. If a player has the chroma bug or any kind of color misregistration issues, then Moulin Rouge, specifically any scenes with the red lights on the windmill is an excellent test.

http://webpages.char...s/BenHurReg.png
http://webpages.char...BenHur_Reg2.png
http://webpages.char...BenHur_Reg4.png
http://webpages.char...BenHur_Reg5.png

clearly show the issue. It is present off and on for maybe 20% or so of the pictures running time. There are scenes where the red is perfectly registered, there are other scenes where red is offset to the right.

Here are some other screen caps with red:
http://webpages.char...s/Moulin_01.png

This one is particularly worthy of note as it shows the capabilities of the NVidia Purevideo decoder and ffdshow processing from a DVD when feeding a high resolution display.
http://webpages.char...ias/NYMin_1.png

This one is also an acid test for players with the chroma bug....
http://webpages.char...ias/zp40048.png
Make sure you display the images at full size.....

You don't say what your viewing environment is....

Ted

#13 of 65 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted September 18 2005 - 05:50 AM

I can see the misregistration of the red on my set up as well. it is not consistent thru the film, but it is there at various points throughout. i wonder if that is one of the culprits as to why the film appears slightly blurry and ill-defined. in regards to the look of the colors in general, i actually thought the more golden look was wonderfully rich compared to what i have seen of the original transfer. in this regard i would check the new CE as an improvment. and of course, you pick up the peripheries of the image that were cropped out of the earlier version. on the other hand, watching the "Epic That Changed Cinema" feature it appears that they are using the clips from the older transfer within and the difference between the two is startling (to me) with the older transfer coming across as much more dynamic and visceral in regards to the level of clarity. in terms of just resolution of detail , those clips looks like hi-def compared to the same scenes within the feature. after watching the film, i watched some of the special features, and after seeing the clips in that feature, i immediately wanted to run out and pick up the earlier disc to 'upgrade'. looks to me like the CE is several strides forward (framing, color, black level/detail) and one giant step back (clarity, resolved detail)

#14 of 65 OFFLINE   ScottR

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Posted September 18 2005 - 06:41 AM

The misregistration is in the original disc too......look at the torches on the walls early in the film.....they have severe red fringing.....and it is also on the original disc.

#15 of 65 OFFLINE   Shane Martin

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Posted September 18 2005 - 09:22 AM

Herb is. My point was NOT directed towards you Ted.

#16 of 65 OFFLINE   TedD

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Posted September 18 2005 - 09:23 AM

Scott:

Sorry, but if you see red fringing on the original disc, you have a convergence problem with your equipment. Edit: Or you could be seeing the dreaded chroma bug.

http://webpages.char...ias/Torches.png

Left is the original DVD, right is the new DVD.

Also, I did some careful studying of the three examples we have of a single scene.

http://webpages.char...as/combined.png

Warning!!!! Large file (~3 MB, don't try this unless you have a high bandwidth connection.

Top to bottom:
70mm re-release trailer (DVD 4), New DVD, previous DVD.

Make sure you display at full res (1920x2322)

2 things really jumped out at me when I did the comparison.

The first is the total lack of visible film grain on the current SE DVD. This is never a good sign WRT transfer quality, because if you can't see grain, you can be sure of not seeing fine details either. The second is that the current DVD is the only one of the three versions that has visible EE on it. This tells me an attempt was made to enhance the sharpness.

If you really want to study it, download it to your HD and then open it with Windows picture and fax viewer. Zoom in some more and look at the multiple halos at the edge of the letterbox bars which are a sure sign that EE has been applied. Look at each area of each frame and make some comparisons.

These are not the exact same frame, but are as close as I could get without taking an excessive amount of time.

Ted

#17 of 65 OFFLINE   ScottR

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Posted September 18 2005 - 09:41 AM

It's not my tv, or my player. The fringing occurs in the exact same spots on both discs, but is a little harder to see on the original...but it's there. The pictures you posted aren't the torches I'm talking about..they are on the right side of the screen when Stephen Boyd arrives and is taking his armour off. Also, like Robert Crawford observed, the crosses at the end of the film do not exhibit fringing on my copy...they are the exact same brown as on the original.

#18 of 65 OFFLINE   Jay Pennington

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Posted September 18 2005 - 10:19 AM

Look at Jesus' left thumb in the middle picture. The outline of the thumb's position in the previous frame, just to the left, is visible. This is a sign of overzealous DVNR.
-Jay

#19 of 65 OFFLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted September 18 2005 - 10:24 AM

Ted, By what algorithm were the images enlarged and why? It's generally preferable, if you want to study a DVD image, to leave it at the exact resolution it has on disc. Those lines along the upper and lower frame edges are, IMO, not conclusive for EE, it could be compression artifacts as well. Or on the original film: note that part of the film is cut off in the upper and lower images. In fact, I see no evidence of EE in the new (middle picture) except some lines (look at the lower curve of the right - = upper in the image - hand and arm of the Man) that are present in all three - and could very well be compression artifacts as well, or movement. If you look under the right hand of the man, you'll even notice that it isn't present on the new DVD image, while it is on the other two. Of course, as you said, the frames are not all three the same. My copy hasn't arrived yet, so I cannot give an opinion based on own observations. Sorry for that. Cees

#20 of 65 OFFLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted September 18 2005 - 10:27 AM

Or simply a result of movement. Don't forget that you may be looking at still frames, but the original is a movie. And look more carefully: it's actually there in all three. Cees





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