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DVD Reviews

HTF DVD Review: DIVA (Meridian Collection)



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#1 of 23 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted May 28 2008 - 04:49 AM


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#2 of 23 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted May 28 2008 - 08:44 AM

Wow Michael...good fake out. You linked to this review in the 'evils of DNR' thread in the HD forum, so I thought for sure this edition was going to be a sad example of it. After that glowing synopsis/analysis, it sure was a major relief to hear this is 'safe' to buy now. I remember seeing this on Cinemax back in '82 or '83, and I remember it being a compelling experience. I've wondered since then if that reaction was mainly due to the novelty of its visual style at the time or my youth and limited frame of reference. I never remembered much of the actual plot besides all the chasing, but it sounds well worth checking out again. I may have to toss this into a DD order next week. Good to see Lionsgate finally exploiting some of the quality titles they have access to. I loved their Angelique set, and am looking forward to the Catherine Deneuve set in a couple weeks. My opinion of them has altered quite a bit in just the last month. Here's hoping they keep on this trajectory.

#3 of 23 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted May 28 2008 - 09:12 AM

Sorry, Paul, it wasn't intended as a fake-out. Posted Image

It was really surprising, though, to see how much of a difference noise reduction could make even on standard definition fare. We've been so busy talking about it in the hi-def forums that I'd kind of forgotten its other applications. Anchor Bay used to clean up a lot of its transfers, and I never thought too much about it. Doing this review made me realize that I should have.

M.
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#4 of 23 OFFLINE   Paul_Scott

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Posted May 28 2008 - 11:39 AM

Well it's really impossible to make any kind of call without a frame of reference. The Meridian edition sounds like the 'reference' edition for this film now ( on vid at least).
As I think about it, this was very likely the first foreign film I ever saw. Either that or La Boum Posted Image
The only reason I might hesitate on picking this up now is because it really would have make for an ideal Blu-ray selection. I still might.

#5 of 23 OFFLINE   Richard--W

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Posted May 28 2008 - 12:03 PM

I hope Warner Home Video and all the other DVD-distributors read your observation and comply.

#6 of 23 OFFLINE   Gary Tooze

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Posted June 03 2008 - 11:30 PM

Without sounding facetious - I own the new Meridian Lions Gate but must have a totally different edition to you as mine has French only menus and no English options on the extras. It's very strange - as if I have a 'Quebecois' version.
My Menu
Posted Image

The image must be different too as mine is cropped (see my comparisons with both the Anchor Bay and Fox/Lorber) quite a bit on the right edge and has edge enhancement. Skin tones look orangy and colors on the AB is far superior on my system and computer.

Lions Gate

Posted Image

Anchor Bay

Posted Image

If anyone has any idea why mine would differ from Michaels - I'd love to hear opinions.

Thanks,
Gary

#7 of 23 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted June 04 2008 - 12:55 AM

Then you must indeed have a different edition, because my menu is in English and the extras are as I described them. As for the image, I said in my review that I consider screen caps to be of limited utility in assessing the key differences between the Anchor Bay and Meridian editions. But in terms of color, I'd say that your stills are indicative of the general difference in "temperature" (not to mention detail) between the AB and the Meridian, and that I find the Meridian's director-approved transfer to be superior. Of course, everyone is entitled to their own taste. M.
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#8 of 23 OFFLINE   Gary Tooze

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Posted June 04 2008 - 06:13 AM

Hi Michael - yeah, mine too states it is 'Director Approved' and has all the extras yours does - just no option for English in the supplements.

This is a favorite film and although I found it improbable that Lions Gate would release two seperate editions - I am find it equally incredulous that the two editions - released the same day - by the same company - would have different transfers. I've phoned Lions Gate with no satisfaction yet.

I'll probably buy the 'US' sold edition, but, may I ask - do you see the extensive edge-enhancement on yours that I see on mine?

Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image

My 'Quebecois' or 'Canadian' or 'French' release (whatever it is) is virtually teeming with it... maybe this is a warning not to buy this in Canada.

I just don't want to but the US edition and find it still the same - manipulated, cropped and the colors off. (but, I will and report back - sigh)

Thanks for any input,

#9 of 23 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted June 04 2008 - 06:41 AM

Gary, my supplements don't have an "option" for English. The English voiceover just kicks in. If that's not the case on your version, then it may simply be a soundtrack difference. As for the image, I didn't note edge enhancement in my viewing on a 72" screen, but then again I didn't blow up stills to look for it. I judge EE by whether there's any that's visible to me on normal viewing in moving images, and there wasn't. I did not note any cropping, but it may have been hidden by overscan; the only computer viewing I did was to confirm that both Anchor Bay and Lionsgate had windowboxed the transfers to achieve 1.66:1. I certainly did not notice any obvious change in framing in my comparisons between the two editions, which I did on my 72" Samsung monitor. As for the colors, you and I just disagree. M.
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#10 of 23 OFFLINE   Gary Tooze

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Posted June 04 2008 - 09:14 AM

On my issue there is no English overDUB - it's all only in French language. How weird is this? I see the edge enhancemnent plainly, if not the specific halos, on my 43" set. I'll report back when I get another Lions Gate Meridian edition (with English menus). Thanks Michael, Gary P.S. If you can remember to look on the disc itself one day - does it say 'MAPLE' above the Lions Gate and Studio Canal logos. I think this may be there doing.

#11 of 23 OFFLINE   Bob Cashill

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Posted June 04 2008 - 11:26 AM

I have (from Amazon) the U.S. disc that Michael Reuben has. English menus and overdubs, no "MAPLE." Looks OK to me (watchable without complaint on my humble 27" setup) but I only have the wan Criterion LD to compare it with, not the Anchor Bay.

#12 of 23 OFFLINE   Gary Tooze

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Posted June 09 2008 - 02:01 AM

Thanks Bob,
The DVD producer has contacted me and we are working to find out what is devil is going on - with some possible missteps at the encode level.
The Lions Gate I own is also horizontally stretched (as well as the other noted deficiencies).

Anchor Bay LEFT - Lions Gate (Meridian) RIGHT

Posted Image

I'll report more once I have heard from Lions Gate themselves.

Cheers,
Gary

#13 of 23 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted June 09 2008 - 02:56 AM

Gary, I'm most interested in the report from Lionsgate. When I saw your side-by-side comparison, it struck me that the Anchor Bay images looked somewhat squeezed (truly, that was my first impression). After seeing this last post, I took my best shot at comparing the two discs I have on a computer screen, and it appears to me that the same difference exists on the U.S. disc I reviewed. It's sufficiently small that it takes screen grabs to see it. It was not at all evident when I flipped back and forth between two players running the discs on my standard viewing screen. At the moment, I couldn't say with any certainty which geometry is correct. And again, I doubt that anyone watching either disc would notice the difference. But the transfers are so different in so many ways that any information you're able to obtain would be valuable. M.
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#14 of 23 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted June 09 2008 - 06:52 AM

I really hope no one watches a movie zoomed in on like that. Posted Image

I got this release a few weeks ago but just now checked it and it does have what Michael said.

#15 of 23 OFFLINE   Gary Tooze

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Posted June 10 2008 - 12:47 AM

I doubt they do Michael E., but the zooming indicates that the Lions Gate edition I own has had a common form of digital manipulation which produces those, now visible, halos. This is commonly referred to as 'edge-enhancement'. What this means is the contrast has been adjusted, usually, in the encode process - in some cases black levels have been boosted to give the overall impression of being sharper but this then affects the spectrum of colors in the film and alter the entire balance. Sometimes brightness is boosted - this is often used to hide damage marks. It is tantamount to the DVD production attempting to fool you by deviating from a, usually, inferior master. If done selectively (like a Criterion) it can be considered 'restoration' but if utilized in a blanket approach it can fatally destroy the integrity of the film's colors. We really want to expose this and discourage companies from using this manipulation process - it has ruined countless film-to-DVD presentations.

It really shouldn't concern DVD reviewers what system people are using to watch as they can span a myriad of options - from 8 foot projections to 26 inch CRTs. Regardless of the system - if the DVD has EE - it has EE no matter of whether you see it or not. You may not notice it on your system now, but hopefully the DVD will last a lot longer than your current display unit. The deficiences may become visible when you upgrade (and you will).

In my 'Canadian' Lions Gate Diva editition - you can see the results below:

Anchor Bay LEFT vs. Lions Gate RIGHT

Posted Image

Screen captures can be an extremely useful tool in making determinations about DVD quality - espcially when used in a comparison with other editions.

Michael R. - I don't *think* the AB is squeezed as the original Fox Lorber has the same proportions.

This is all probably moot as we aren't talking about the same DVD yet. Lions Gate have contacted me and are sending me the 'US' sold version but my Canadian sold one is cropped, stretched and manipulated - Canucks beware!

Cheers,
Gary

#16 of 23 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted June 10 2008 - 04:07 AM

I upgraded in 2001 so I know what you're talking about in regards to EE. Sorry you typed out that long post over a joke of mine but since you did: Very few people are hitting their zoom button to notice this stuff and quite often studios are taking heat from reviewers who do such things. If people zoom in or put their nose up to the screen then any transfer is going to be subject to criticism and to me, this really isn't fair since most people simply watch a movie and not inspect every single frame looking for something to stick out. Not that you did this with your examples here but there are reviewers who scream out "problem transfer" from a screener and then word gets around the internet of a bad transfer. Then, when the disc is on the store shelf, these people pick it up and don't see what is there. Is the problem there? More often than not the answer is yes but then again, not everyone is zooming to see it or notice it. Of course, reviewers also have to deal with one person's own personal preference in something like this. Your screenshots are great examples and I'm sure people would be split 50/50 over which one they prefer or which one they feel is correct.

#17 of 23 OFFLINE   Gary Tooze

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Posted June 10 2008 - 05:03 AM

I'm not as sure as you - people, when educated about what is a proper transfer will more likely choose the one most accurate to the theatrical appearance (coupled with other factors - supplements, audio etc.) In my experience those capture comparisons are like night and day.
Certainly you are not suggesting that reviewers ignore detailing these manipulations and consistently say everything is hunky-dory. What's the purpose of reviewing?
Regards,
Gary
P.S. The 'US' Lions Gate was couriored and arrived today. I'll look at it in a day or so.
P.P.S. Lions Gate has been a great DVD company the past few years but everyone missteps - in their email to me they actually appreciate being told and will strive not to let this happen again. I said - 'You're welcome'.

#18 of 23 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted June 10 2008 - 05:24 AM

Gary, what did Lionsgate actually have to say? Direct quotation would be appreciated. M.
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#19 of 23 OFFLINE   Gary Tooze

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Posted June 10 2008 - 05:40 AM

As you might appreciate Michael, I don't want to expose personal email communication with DIVA DVD Producer, Mark Rance and the unnamed person from Lions Gate but it starts:
(blush) I'll cover the US edition soon... Best, Gary P.S. This very well may be 'Maple' 's fault.

#20 of 23 OFFLINE   Gary Tooze

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Posted June 10 2008 - 06:05 AM

By the way Michael R. - I apologize for all this in your review thread - I initially just wanted to know why, the heck, my version was different. It was so strange to have the French only menus and no Eng in the extras. I had no intention of hijaking this thread away. I'll post the results to my own site. A quick glance shows it to be the same transfer but I will verify at Beaver. Regards, Gary P.S. You made an excellent point about the use (overuse) of DNR