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GIGI - 1997 DVD vs 2008 DVD


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#1 of 60 OFFLINE   Chuck Pennington

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Posted November 07 2008 - 02:02 AM

Hey guys! Well, I got around to comparing the 1997 and 2008 DVD releases of GIGI. I certainly hope the delay with the Blu-Ray is because they are doing additional work, because as it stands this new edition corrects as many problems as it introduces. :-(

The Good: This new release shows more picture information on all 4 sides (save for a tiny sliver at the top), and the geometry of the image looks more accurate (the previous release was ever so slightly stretched vertically - but I don't know if that transfer was the accurate one and this new release is off). The print exhibits far less dirt, damage, and edge ringing, and overall detail is improved.

The Bad: The color timing for every scene, sometime from shot to shot, fluctuates wildly, often far too warm in tone. Now, the 1997 release had the same problem as far as the color blue is concerned, but to my eyes it seems more consistent. Neither release should win any awards, though I don't understand how terribly off fleshtones are on this new release when the previous release was superior. The screen captures don't show up how odd the blacks look on a calibrated HDTV, with shades dropping off into a dark magenta than a good, solid black. Again, the 1997 DVD had blacks that dropped off to a navy blue, but somehow I preferred that look, as incorrect as it was. The whites are also quite off much of the time, as can be seen in some of the screen captures, though it is more evident on a television. It's as if the color-correction wasn't entirely finished when this master was used for the DVD...

I haven't compared the sound yet, so more on that later. :-)


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#2 of 60 OFFLINE   Brian Borst

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Posted November 07 2008 - 03:37 AM

The 2008 dvd looks better to me, actually. Just because it looks different from the 1997 doesn't mean it's wrong, it could be the other way around (especially because it was done in the very early days of dvd). A lot of other restorations done by Warner look different in terms of color from their previous versions, and those don't have to be wrong in any way.
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#3 of 60 OFFLINE   Chuck Pennington

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Posted November 07 2008 - 04:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Borst
The 2008 dvd looks better to me, actually. Just because it looks different from the 1997 doesn't mean it's wrong, it could be the other way around (especially because it was done in the very early days of dvd). A lot of other restorations done by Warner look different in terms of color from their previous versions, and those don't have to be wrong in any way.


You're missing my point. NEITHER release looks correct, but the 2008 one actually looks much worse in some cases. Compare the color on the images below, keeping in mind that neither is probably correct.

Ever seen a sky go from blue to... What color IS that, anyway? And what happened to the whites?

1997
Posted Image
2008
Posted Image

And check out the facial tones here. They drop off to being quite red and ashy on the new DVD, yet they were far more natural on the older release. Why?

1997
Posted Image
2008
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Check out how the 1997 transfer is too blue, while the 2008 is too yellow/red. Neither looks right, but the 1997 one at least has more accurate whites. Why this new release reduces the blues and greens so much I don't know.

1997
Posted Image
2008
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My point is that neither release is satisfying, and that it appears more work needs to be done on GIGI. I saw the film in 1997 at a Library of Congress Film Registry Festival screening and it didn't exactly look great then (very soft and dupey), but I don't see why the new release introduces so many more problems than the previous release. Didn't anyone color correct this before release?!?!

#4 of 60 OFFLINE   Greg_M

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Posted November 07 2008 - 04:42 AM

I think the new DVD looks much better. I've seen the film in theaters and the print was never great (even when a new print was struck) "Gigi" always had film grain and a softness to it. The colors may be off on the new DVD, but it is an improvement over the old one.

How do the shots compare to the Blu-Ray "That's Entertainment" disc?

#5 of 60 OFFLINE   Chuck Pennington

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Posted November 07 2008 - 04:52 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg_M
I think the new DVD looks much better. I've seen the film in theaters and the print was never great (even when a new print was struck) "Gigi" always had film grain and a softness to it. The colors may be off on the new DVD, but it is an improvement over the old one.

How do the shots compare to the Blu-Ray "That's Entertainment" disc?

Again, you're missing my point. I stated the new release was sharper, clearer, etc. However, the color is just as off (perhaps even more so) than the previous DVD release, albeit at the opposite end of the color spectrum.

Let's hope Warner makes some improvements before the Blu-Ray version in 2009. Just some simple color correction would help a LOT...

#6 of 60 OFFLINE   Mark B

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Posted November 07 2008 - 05:29 AM

I agree, Chuck, that they seemed to have gone too far into the reds with this remaster. The shot of the red sky is an indisputable example.

I haven't picked this up yet. Did they manage to fix the highly damaged portion of the title song? On the 1980s P/S VHS they actually used still video frames of Leslie Caron from earlier in the film to cover the damage.

#7 of 60 OFFLINE   Chuck Pennington

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Posted November 07 2008 - 05:56 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark B
I agree, Chuck, that they seemed to have gone too far into the reds with this remaster. The shot of the red sky is an indisputable example.

I haven't picked this up yet. Did they manage to fix the highly damaged portion of the title song? On the 1980s P/S VHS they actually used still video frames of Leslie Caron from earlier in the film to cover the damage.

I heard that rumor of an 80's VHS release that used such still frames. I have never seen that release myself, but the scene is intact on both DVD releases.

Again, the new release is better by way of being sharper, cleaner and more detailed, and the color is better much of the time. However, it falls far short of being what it could have been with some color correction. There is no good reason the earlier release has stronger blues/greens and sometimes more accurate whites and fleshtones than the new release.

Warner, PLEASE do the additional color correction needed before the Blu release next spring. :-) With some additional tweaks this can be a terrific video transfer of vintage musical on Blu, a genre underrepresented on the format.

I have heard complaints regarding the soundtrack from friends, but I have yet to compare that the same way I did the video.

#8 of 60 OFFLINE   Mark B

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Posted November 07 2008 - 06:34 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Pennington
I heard that rumor of an 80's VHS release that used such still frames. I have never seen that release myself, but the scene is intact on both DVD releases.

If you watch the 1997 DVD you'll see the damaged sections. It occurs in the middle of the number when Louis Jordan is calling out "Gigi!" followed by musical interludes accompanying his walk through the park.

Regarding the "reds," if you look at the fifth set of screen caps, you can see that the reds are overblown. Look at the wrinkles and folds in the tablecloth. The detail is missing from the new edition.

#9 of 60 OFFLINE   Garysb

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Posted November 07 2008 - 06:48 AM

I believe the blu-ray version of Gigi is being released in Europe this month.
I think it was delayed in the US to be a part of Warner's big classics promotion in 2009. The point being I don't think the blu-ray will have anymore restoration than the 2008 SD . It will hopefully look better because it is blu-ray but not because of additional work on the film.

#10 of 60 OFFLINE   BillyFeldman

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Posted November 07 2008 - 06:54 AM

Thanks to Chuck for this stellar example of what's wrong with the new DVD. I could not believe my eyes when I put the new DVD on. I immediately did what Chuck did and compared it to the earlier DVD - that's the one I'll be watching until they redo this correctly. For anyone who says the color is better in the new transfer, I would have to strongly disagree because, you know, skies are blue not brown. The skin tones are yellow in the new transfer. I happen to think that the color on the old transfer is much more accurate, but then I've seen Gigi multiple times projected and the color has always looked closer to the older DVD. No one looking at the main title card or the shot of Jourdan and Chevalier sitting at the table or especially the shot of the woman in the coach (the clearest example of how bad this new transfer is - look at the sky) can possibly think the new transfer is correct. It's awful. I think people confuse the image being sharper with thinking the transfer is better.

#11 of 60 OFFLINE   David_B_K

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Posted November 07 2008 - 07:22 AM

What is up with so many recent Warner re-releases going so far into the yellow/brown range with the color? Is the lighting bad at their facility? Do the people who run the software have color-blindness issues? Next week I will be receiving the new Quo Vadis which reputedly also tends toward yellow. It's always yellow!

#12 of 60 OFFLINE   Chuck Pennington

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Posted November 07 2008 - 07:29 AM

If some additional color correction can be done before the domestic Blu-Ray release, GREAT! This new version IS sharper and cleaner, and doesn't have as much of that "dupey" look that the 1997 release has. However, the color timing is WAY off in many scenes, especially in the low range when blacks fall off to a dark magenta. Granted, the 1997 release is off in the opposite direction, but it is easier on the eyes than this ashy alternative. If you just skip/scan through the new DVD it looks like every other shot is timed differently! :-(

Warner, just do some additional color correction before the Blu-Ray release, and include the original mix in a lossless format as an alternative. S'all I ask. :-)

#13 of 60 OFFLINE   Rob_Ray

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Posted November 07 2008 - 07:47 AM

I recently attended the Academy screening of Gigi with Leslie Caron in attendance. It was a new digital theatrical print that exhibited the exact same problems that the new DVD does, so I fear the Blu-Ray release won't be any different. Even on the giant Academy screen, the wallpaper in the Mme. Alvarez' apartment was a mess of red with no texture due to oversaturation. The old DVD with all its edge enhancement and other problems still had more texture and detail in the wallpaper and in the plush velvet furnishings.

I'm old enough to have seen Gigi theatrically, on network TV, on battered old TV prints and on all previous video formats including laserdisc. The color values have never looked like the new DVD. I like warm colors, but I'm afraid they went overboard here. The yellows and blues really suffer and the skintones and reds are oversaturated.

Still, it's far cleaner than before and the sound seems okay to me. Doug Pratt's review in his DVD/LD Newsletter said something to effect that each version had its own merits and you'd be hard-pressed to decide which version to marry and which to keep as your mistress.

I'm supposed to show Gigi to my film class next month and I'm still debating which version to show. Right now, I'm leaning toward the older version, with all its over-sharpened edge enhancement and film dirt everywhere, but also with that "miracle of elusive blue" in the skies and in Gaston's favorite chair.

#14 of 60 OFFLINE   BillyFeldman

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Posted November 07 2008 - 08:02 AM

Blue skies - what a concept.

#15 of 60 OFFLINE   Brian Borst

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Posted November 07 2008 - 09:17 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuck Pennington
Again, you're missing my point. I stated the new release was sharper, clearer, etc. However, the color is just as off (perhaps even more so) than the previous DVD release, albeit at the opposite end of the color spectrum.

Let's hope Warner makes some improvements before the Blu-Ray version in 2009. Just some simple color correction would help a LOT...

I'm sorry, you were right. Those colors look off.
And about the Blu-Ray, a dutch review of the Region B version can be seen here. The pictures look as off as the screencaps you posted. I don't think Warner is going to do some additional color correction on this title.
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#16 of 60 OFFLINE   GlennH

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Posted November 07 2008 - 10:32 AM

I have the 1997 but not the new 2008 one. So I can only compare and judge differences by the screen caps. Thanks for taking the time to post them.

I see the problems noted with color in both versions. Neither looks correct. But for me, and completely leaving improved framing and sharpness out of it, I think the excessive blue tinge in every frame of the 1997 is more annoying than the overdone red/yellow in the 2008. Yes, the lack of blue sky isn't very pleasing. But the excessive blueness of everything else in the 1997 version bothers me much more. It also leads me to believe that maybe the sky wasn't actually so blue when it was filmed. Hard to say. Neither version looks correct, but the 2008 color is more pleasing to my eyes. That is only enhanced by the improved sharpness and framing (especially lack of vertical stretch, most noticeable on the faces). If I had to pick one it's easily the 2008 for me. As it is, I wouldn't buy it in SD again, so I'll wait for Blu-ray. It's just a shame they couldn't do the color right. Can somebody with some clout appeal directly to Warner for them to fix the color?

#17 of 60 OFFLINE   BillyFeldman

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Posted November 07 2008 - 11:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by GlennH
I have the 1997 but not the new 2008 one. So I can only compare and judge differences by the screen caps. Thanks for taking the time to post them.

I see the problems noted with color in both versions. Neither looks correct. But for me, and completely leaving improved framing and sharpness out of it, I think the excessive blue tinge in every frame of the 1997 is more annoying than the overdone red/yellow in the 2008. Yes, the lack of blue sky isn't very pleasing. But the excessive blueness of everything else in the 1997 version bothers me much more. It also leads me to believe that maybe the sky wasn't actually so blue when it was filmed. Hard to say. Neither version looks correct, but the 2008 color is more pleasing to my eyes. That is only enhanced by the improved sharpness and framing (especially lack of vertical stretch, most noticeable on the faces). If I had to pick one it's easily the 2008 for me. As it is, I wouldn't buy it in SD again, so I'll wait for Blu-ray. It's just a shame they couldn't do the color right. Can somebody with some clout appeal directly to Warner for them to fix the color?

It's not an excessive blue tinge - it's the correct blue tinge - it's the way the film looked and was designed. The color is terrible in the new transfer.

#18 of 60 OFFLINE   Vern Dias

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Posted November 07 2008 - 11:22 AM

Not good and not excusing the blown out reds, however we all need to take into account that the elements are also 11 years older and have possibly suffered from additional fading. BTW, skies can also we white as in overcast.

I did notice the Eastman color portions of the HD version of "That's Entertainment" shows clear examples of additional fading over the DVD box.

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#19 of 60 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted November 07 2008 - 11:56 AM

Red levels look a little hot in some captures for the restored edition, but I can't imagine how the old DVD is worth anything. The "blue sky" shot looks artificially boosted on the old disc. If it were late afternoon, it would fit. Between those blue tinted white levels and edge enhancement, I don't know why it's even being compared to.

Then again, I'm not surprised to see yet another outcry on a restoration being different from a decade-old DVD. Posted Image

#20 of 60 OFFLINE   Chuck Pennington

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Posted November 07 2008 - 12:09 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick McCart
Between those blue tinted white levels and edge enhancement, I don't know why it's even being compared to.

Then again, I'm not surprised to see yet another outcry on a restoration being different from a decade-old DVD. Posted Image

I'm not saying everyone should scour shelves for the older edition. Again, you're missing my point entirely. This new edition could be better. It improves some things while making other things worse. Why the compromise for sharpness over color balance?

When one switches back and forth in real time, I'm not sure which version one would choose to view. A lot of the film looks similar as far as color goes between the two versions. However, there are many scenes (like the ones for which I posted screen captures), in which this is clearly not the case.

My point is: Neither version appears to be correct or as good as it could be. I wanted to see if other people could see what I saw. I wanted to make my opinion known, perhaps in the hope that someone in the know would see the problems for themselves and - who knows? - maybe some future release will get a little extra TLC to avoid what befell this release.

I think it's perfectly valid to view past video releases and compare them to never releases. What other reference do we have? However, in this case, I don't even think the 1997 pics are needed for someone to see there are definitely some strange things going on in regards to color on this new release.

Mark my words, this isn't the last "restored" version of GIGI we're going to see. Let's hope the next version is better, that's all.


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