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A few words about...™ The Last of the Mohicans -- in Blu-ray

A Few Words About

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#1 of 54 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted October 13 2010 - 01:08 PM

I presume that most of you have heard the word "painterly" referring to a film's cinematography, or the phrase "painted with light."  Dante Spinotti, who photographed Michael Mann's pre-revolutionary war adventure, based upon the almost unreadable book by James Fenimore Cooper, does precisely that.   He paints with light.  Tiny bits of light that reflect and disappear between trees and leaves and moonlight.   Visually, this is a very low key Blu-ray, with numerous extremely dark scenes, which hardly shed a light on the subjects.  Even well lit scenes, not under trees, and outdoors have a low key look to them.   And that look, especially on well tuned systems, is absolutely gorgeous.  Many colorists, if presented with the look of this film, would have immediately cranked up the contrast.  But that would have merely made things heavier, and far less visible than the images on this Blu-ray.  When we need to see into the shadows, we can, as this release has been prepared with a delicate hand, and a knowledge of the benefits of light vs. shadow on film.  This is a beautiful rendering of image.   Sonically, the uncompressed audio is a treat, with directionality when necessary, and low resonating sub-sonic information during battle scenes.   The Last of the Mohicans is a quality adventure tale set during the French and Indian War, c. 1757, with superb casting and acting.  The Blu-ray shows off the brilliant military uniforms, as well as details in beads and leathers.  The forests are dark, sometimes foreboding, and a natural centerpiece to the film, which was shot in North Carolina.   A magnificent Blu-ray.   Highly Recommended.   RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#2 of 54 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted October 13 2010 - 01:27 PM

Mine is winging its way across The Pond; when I think 'painterly' I think Ford and Bert Glennon (or Ford and Winton Hoch). I'm expecting great things...
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#3 of 54 OFFLINE   benbess

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Posted October 13 2010 - 01:29 PM

I agree. I like that night really looks like night on this one...

#4 of 54 OFFLINE   Walter Kittel

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Posted October 13 2010 - 02:45 PM

I am extremely pleased with both the cut (version) and presentation of this release.  As I posted earlier on the HTF; finally a version (after 18 years) that does justice to the theatrical experience.  To be sure there are still differences but this cut is 'close enough' for me and I agree that the image is beautiful.   - Walter.
Fidelity to the source should always be the goal for Blu-ray releases.

#5 of 54 OFFLINE   urbo73

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Posted October 13 2010 - 05:56 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Harris /forum/thread/304950/a-few-words-about-the-last-of-the-mohicans-in-blu-ray#post_3739366 I presume that most of you have heard the word "painterly" referring to a film's cinematography, or the phrase "painted with light."  Dante Spinotti, who photographed Michael Mann's pre-revolutionary war adventure, based upon the almost unreadable book by James Fenimore Cooper, does precisely that.   He paints with light.  Tiny bits of light that reflect and disappear between trees and leaves and moonlight.   Visually, this is a very low key Blu-ray, with numerous extremely dark scenes, which hardly shed a light on the subjects.  Even well lit scenes, not under trees, and outdoors have a low key look to them.   And that look, especially on well tuned systems, is absolutely gorgeous.  Many colorists, if presented with the look of this film, would have immediately cranked up the contrast.  But that would have merely made things heavier, and far less visible than the images on this Blu-ray.  When we need to see into the shadows, we can, as this release has been prepared with a delicate hand, and a knowledge of the benefits of light vs. shadow on film.  This is a beautiful rendering of image.   Sonically, the uncompressed audio is a treat, with directionality when necessary, and low resonating sub-sonic information during battle scenes.   The Last of the Mohicans is a quality adventure tale set during the French and Indian War, c. 1757, with superb casting and acting.  The Blu-ray shows off the brilliant military uniforms, as well as details in beads and leathers.  The forests are dark, sometimes foreboding, and a natural centerpiece to the film, which was shot in North Carolina.   A magnificent Blu-ray.   Highly Recommended.   RAH
The first time I watched it, I wasn't sure what to think. I had not seen it theatrically, so I wasn't sure if the dim light was intentional or not. After thinking some more and reading the above, I'm convinced this is the way Mann wanted it shot. Mann showed Spinotti a couple of paintings for inspiration, and off he went. It's interesting, in that it has that Barry Lyndon "painted" look to it, and it takes place around the same time in the 18th century. Lyndon is still a natural light masterpiece (that I pray comes to Blu-ray one day - the right way), but this is very beautiful too.   Mann is interesting, in that he's always pushing a vision. He will go for crushed blacks, dim light, blown highlights, intentional noise, etc. to achieve his vision. Sometimes very extreme, and some don't like it. IMHO, Public Enemies (also shot by Spinotti) was a masterpiece in camerawork and pushing the digital boundaries.   Good stuff!

#6 of 54 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted October 15 2010 - 09:37 AM

With negative comments popping up around the web in regard to LotM on Blu, the point should be made that there is nothing defective about the release.  Those with either lower end viewing environments, or quality hardware that is not properly tuned can have problems, as black levels are extremely delicate, which is what makes them beautiful.   Anyone who has spent time in a forest on a moonless night will relate to the images, which have a palpable translucency to  them.   The disc of LotM precisely as the filmmakers intended it to be seen.  Scanned from the original negative, with neither noise reduction nor de-graining, the only digital manipulation was in a few effects shots which needed a bit of help, as well as interpolation of a some missing frames necessary in making the connective tissue of the replaced shots as transparent as possible.   When an HD master is properly produced, it meets certain standards and parameters.  When compressed toward the creation of a Blu-ray, those standards and parameters should remain intact.  Please keep in mind that while the majority of Blu-rays will run perfectly well on low and even mid-range equipment, there are certain releases which raise the stakes and cry out of quality hardware and proper tuning of that hardware.   RAH

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#7 of 54 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted October 15 2010 - 10:34 AM

RAH,


 


As indicated in this review thread most of us are happy with the video presentation of this BRD.


 


 


 


 


 


Crawdaddy

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#8 of 54 OFFLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted October 16 2010 - 10:25 AM

Hear, hear!   Got mine yesterday (and had to pay customs), but it was worth it (both, the wait and the money  ).   I'm very pleased with this blu-ray version and I'm waiting to add the theatrical cut as well - without any desire to part of this one.     Cees

#9 of 54 OFFLINE   RickER

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Posted October 16 2010 - 10:38 AM

The only issue i had with this disc was the audio. It didn't help that I watched it at night, and was trying to keep it a little lower for my sleeping wife. Anyway, I would have to turn it up past my NORMAL listening level during the frequent whispering. Then of course turn it back down before the gun shots would rattle the windows.   I just like to hear people, in movies whisper at a level that I do not have to turn it up, and then not be blown away when the sound is normal again.   I had no issue with how dark it was...but I am reminded of the Dracula Blu-ray. Yea, I brought it up!

#10 of 54 OFFLINE   Yumbo

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Posted October 16 2010 - 07:53 PM

I didn't feel it like I did when it first came out.   Sound atmosphere was not the same for me.   The score is still sublime, and makes the movie.

#11 of 54 OFFLINE   ManW_TheUncool

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Posted October 18 2010 - 04:23 AM

Took the plunge (before Amazon bumped the price up) and watched it over the weekend.  Yes, it was a tad dark, but it does seem like that was by-and-large intentional (and mostly effective IMHO).  Most of the darker daytime scenes out in the clearings look like they were in deep overcast or in misty/foggy conditions (very likely shot that way intentionally for artistic reasons).  Probably not what most of us are used to seeing, especially in a (relatively) popular movie, but the film definitely has a more artistic photographic look/feel that's actually quite common in still photography, which I do appreciate as an amateur stills photographer.   Actually, if anything, I thought a few scenes, particularly at the fort, might not be "dark" (or rather contrasty) enough when considering how the rest of the film was done.  Those campfire lit scenes look flatter than they probably should on my DLP, but maybe that's partly the fault of the gamma limitations of my DLP setup (even though other scenes did not have that same issue).  I'm sure trying to squeeze so much picture detail into such a narrow spectrum will be difficult at best at each part/phase of the shooting/transfer/encode/reproduction/presentation chain, and taken as a whole will likely present a problem for at least some of our display setups.  Definitely a big test for any home display setup, assuming the transfer/encode was done right for those scenes.   To be clear, I could see everything just fine in those campfire lit scenes, but maybe a tad too easily because certain parts of the spectrum might not be dark enough (at least on my setup).  Yes, it's probably just a nitpick (which is likely at least partly due to my own setup), but it's one that's at least partially inspired by the artistic look of the rest of the film (for me anyway).   Anyway, really enjoyed this BD much more so than I remembered the last time I watched (years ago) on DVD, including the "definitive" recut aspects, which definitely lends more poetry to the overall proceedings than I remembered.   And thanks, RAH, for another high quality "few words" (and pointers on the art) as usual...   _Man_

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#12 of 54 OFFLINE   Richard--W

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Posted November 25 2012 - 09:41 PM

I presume that most of you have heard the word "painterly" referring to a film's cinematography, or the phrase "painted with light."  Dante Spinotti, who photographed Michael Mann's pre-revolutionary war adventure, based upon the almost unreadable book by James Fenimore Cooper, does precisely that. He paints with light.  Tiny bits of light that reflect and disappear between trees and leaves and moonlight. Visually, this is a very low key Blu-ray, with numerous extremely dark scenes, which hardly shed a light on the subjects.  Even well lit scenes, not under trees, and outdoors have a low key look to them. And that look, especially on well tuned systems, is absolutely gorgeous.  Many colorists, if presented with the look of this film, would have immediately cranked up the contrast.  But that would have merely made things heavier, and far less visible than the images on this Blu-ray.  When we need to see into the shadows, we can, as this release has been prepared with a delicate hand, and a knowledge of the benefits of light vs. shadow on film.  This is a beautiful rendering of image. RAH
With negative comments popping up around the web in regard to LotM on Blu, the point should be made that there is nothing defective about the release.  Those with either lower end viewing environments, or quality hardware that is not properly tuned can have problems, as black levels are extremely delicate, which is what makes them beautiful. Anyone who has spent time in a forest on a moonless night will relate to the images, which have a palpable translucency to  them. The disc of LotM precisely as the filmmakers intended it to be seen.  Scanned from the original negative, with neither noise reduction nor de-graining, the only digital manipulation was in a few effects shots which needed a bit of help, as well as interpolation of a some missing frames necessary in making the connective tissue of the replaced shots as transparent as possible. When an HD master is properly produced, it meets certain standards and parameters.  When compressed toward the creation of a Blu-ray, those standards and parameters should remain intact.  Please keep in mind that while the majority of Blu-rays will run perfectly well on low and even mid-range equipment, there are certain releases which raise the stakes and cry out of quality hardware and proper tuning of that hardware. RAH
The blu-ray is too dark. I share your appreciation for this masterwork and for the lighting by Dante Spinotti, but the transfer is too dark. I can't explain where or how the light and dark values go wrong, but they do in fact go wrong. My Sony Bravia is correctly calibrated and fine-tuned, and it shows the transfer is too dark. I saw the film projected many times. Even when it dropped off into darkness, it never looked muddy. You could see detail in the darkness. You could see the foreground faces standing out from the background darkness. There are times when the transfer just looks indistinct to me. Indistinct and muddy. It was dark and low-lit in the theater, but not like this. This is different. This transfer has the sharpness and resolution it should have but the darkness robs it of delineation. So I'm going to disagree with everybody. I love this wonderful film, and the transfer is too dark.

#13 of 54 OFFLINE   Billy Batson

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Posted November 26 2012 - 04:08 AM

I'd have to agree with Richard--W & disagree with Robert Harris. The Blu is too damn dark! If the Blu is correct, then what I saw at the cinema was wrong, the fine looking DVD is wrong. That's the problem with scanning the original neg, you get to have a revisionist view of the film. Ooo, lets make it nice & dark this time. Happily I didn't buy this Blu, I saw it at a friends house. I asked him how his kit was set up & he popped in a couple of other blu's to show it was fine. I'm just too long in the tooth now to be told something is correct when it's so obviously wrong (& that also goes for the green Fellowship Of The Ring).

#14 of 54 OFFLINE   willyTass

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Posted November 26 2012 - 06:33 AM

LCD or led backlight LCD are a horrible way to watch movies with lots of black See them on a Sony BVM broadcast monitor or a pioneer kuro and you can't go back

#15 of 54 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted November 26 2012 - 06:44 AM

IMO, I think it was an artistic decision to make this film very dark to reflect the colonial times of America.  Can you imagine walking in the woods during those times, when they were mostly untouched by man.  I bet you could hardly see any sunlight.

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#16 of 54 OFFLINE   Billy Batson

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Posted November 26 2012 - 07:05 AM

IMO, I think it was an artistic decision to make this film very dark to reflect the colonial times of America.  Can you imagine walking in the woods during those times, when they were mostly untouched by man.  I bet you could hardly see any sunlight.
Ha, this will run & run. If you find yourself in a thick forrest (& there are a few left in England), you'll be in the shade, but it won't seem that dark, as your brain will adjust (unless it's a very dull day). But as I remember there's not that many shots where they're in thick forrest with no sky visible. But it's a two-way street, they can release what they like, & people can decide whether or not they want to buy it.

#17 of 54 OFFLINE   Walter Kittel

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Posted November 26 2012 - 07:42 AM

The only suggestion I would make to those who find the image too dark is - If you have not done so, try viewing the Blu-ray at night in a low light environment. Personally, I am still quite pleased with this release. - Walter.
Fidelity to the source should always be the goal for Blu-ray releases.

#18 of 54 OFFLINE   Doug Otte

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Posted November 26 2012 - 07:57 AM

The only suggestion I would make to those who find the image too dark is - If you have not done so, try viewing the Blu-ray at night in a low light environment. Personally, I am still quite pleased with this release. - Walter.
Agreed. I watched it in a dark room via a plasma, and it looked fine to me. Admittedly, my only point of reference was seeing it at the Uptown in DC during its initial release, and I remember it looking about the same, light-vs-dark-wise.

#19 of 54 OFFLINE   Richard--W

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Posted November 26 2012 - 11:07 AM

The only suggestion I would make to those who find the image too dark is - If you have not done so, try viewing the Blu-ray at night in a low light environment. Personally, I am still quite pleased with this release. - Walter.
Well, that's how I watched it. In the dark. Then I compared it to the old DVD which is too bright but closer to how it's supposed to look. The blu-ray is too dark.

#20 of 54 OFFLINE   Peter Neski

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Posted November 26 2012 - 11:31 AM

Gee this came out a long time ago





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