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HD masters without a blu-ray (yet)


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#1 of 51 benbess

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Posted May 05 2011 - 02:11 AM

I'm puzzled by the existence of spectacular HD masters that don't have a blu-ray release. For many it's probably just a matter of time, and sooner or later we'll get that blu-ray. But for others perhaps the studio has an HD master that it just uses for broadcast, cable, and streaming, but doesn't think a blu-ray has enough commercial potential. I don't know.


Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder, for instance, has a fine HD master on Netlifx. I assume it's just a matter of time before the blu-ray comes out, but I'm puzzled it hasn't been scheduled already. Maybe they are seeing if they can do a 3D blu-ray release too?


Here's another. For about the last year I've been seeing on my list of HD films available for streaming at Netflix the film Funny Girl, directed by William Wyler and starring Barbara Streisand (who won an academy award for her role). This is a spectacular big budget musical filmed in 70mm that has been fully restored. It looks amazing. It's a good movie too, if you like musicals, and me and my musical-enjoying 9 year old daughter have for the first time just watched this long film up to the intermission (school holiday today), and now we are taking a break.


Clearly someone spent a lot of money making Funny Girl look close to perfect. Or maybe it is perfect. But where's the blu-ray? Streisand has a huge fan base, and so I assume they'll get to it, but....why the delay?


Anyway, does anyone have any thoughts out there about this phenomenon of HD masters without a blu-ray? It is really that expensive to release things in physical format? I thought the expensive part was doing the restoration?


If anyone out there can identify other HD masters without a blu-ray release, please let us know about them.


Anyway, I think some of you wanted to see The Wild Wild West from the 90s in HD. It's also available on Netflix streaming in HD with 5.1 sound.


Here's a little something I found about this restored print of Funny Girl:



A restored print of Funny Girl (1968), Barbra Streisand's film debut, will reignite the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ “Monday Nights with Oscar” series on Monday, November 15, at 7 p.m. at the Academy Theater at Lighthouse International in New York City.

"Monday Nights with Oscar" has been on hiatus for most of 2010 as the theater underwent major renovations.

Posted Image

Directed by veteran William Wyler and based on the 1964 Broadway musical that also starred Streisand, Funny Girl tells the story of Fanny Brice, the Jewish ugly duckling who became a Ziegfeld Follies star and fell in love withOmar Sharif.

A major box-office hit at the time, Funny Girl earned a total of eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. Tellingly, William Wyler — whose 12 nominations in the Best Director category remain unmatched — was left out. In truth, Wyler had done much better work elsewhere, e.g., These Three,Wuthering HeightsThe LetterThe Little FoxesThe Heiress, etc.


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#2 of 51 Brianruns10

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Posted May 05 2011 - 02:51 AM

Often times, there's more to it than just having an HD master to releasing a blu-ray.  There's rights, for one thing.  The Criterion Collection for example, has been mastering in HD for quite some time, yet the vast majority of those films have not yet been released on blu-ray, partly because they can only release so many films at a time, but mostly because they have to renegotiate the license agreement, because a high definition release is a new beast, a different revenue stream, and the holders of the copyright will want extra for that priviledge.  I believe this was why the Von Sternberg silents did not get a corresponding blu-ray release...CC did not, or was not able to get the HD/Blu-ray license from the rights holders.

It could also be that the means by which the HD master was made is no longer suitable.  10 years ago, the technology wasn't really in place for, say, transfers from original 65mm/70mm elements, so films like Patton were mastered from 35mm reduction prints.  Other films were mastered only in 1080p or 2K, which really doesn't resolve 35mm...you need 4K for that, and 6-8K for large format.

Then there's color correction and redoing any restoration effects.  I believe when CC revisited Seven Samurai for their new HD master, they had to redo all their image restoration work.

And then, sadly, there is the profit motive.  No doubt about it, the home video market has taken a beating.  the DVD market has collapsed, streaming and VOD has taken a bite out of the market, and studios got burned on DVD releases, and even the blu-rays of their crown jewels have underperformed (The Wizard of OZ and Gone with the Wind blus were reportedly financial disappointments).  Some are just plain skittish about investing the money to do proper transfers/restorations/remasters of titles and releasing them on blu-ray.  It's why Criterion has been making inroads with the studios of late, and releasing more top shelf titles like "Paths of Glory" and "Kiss Me Deadly," because now, there isn't as much of a profit motive for the owners, and they'd rather just outsource it to a boutique label like CC, and pocket cold hard cash from the license agreement and royalties.



#3 of 51 mgdvd0

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Posted May 05 2011 - 03:22 AM

Re funny Girl !

Streisand paid for the restauration of Funny Girl herself -  and as far as I know is also the owner of the film so it should be possible to release  the problem here I think is DISTRIBUTION  and the cost of pressing the disc


#4 of 51 GMpasqua

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Posted May 05 2011 - 04:40 AM

SONY has a number of catalog films ready to go on Blu-ray : But they are not releasing them because they don't think they will sell.

Among them "From Here to Enternity" "Oliver!" "Bye Bye Birdie"


"Guns of Navarone" is finally coming - but so is "the Caine Mutiny" - a prime example of the kind of film that won't sell large numbers on Blu-ray (one reason because it's Black and White")


Of course "In Cold Blood' would have been a big seller and "Jason and the Argonaunts" would also break the bank - so SONY's planning department seems to be made up of friends and relatives of Studio executives who's only qualitifcation for employment is being a relation



of course "Lawrence of Arabia" is being held until 2012's 50th anniversary



#5 of 51 trajan

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Posted May 05 2011 - 04:50 AM

FUNNY GIRL was not filmed in 70mm. It is a blowup to 70mm.



#6 of 51 Patrick McCart

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Posted May 05 2011 - 04:54 AM

The Caine Mutiny was shot in 3-strip Technicolor.



#7 of 51 benbess

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Posted May 05 2011 - 04:55 AM



Originally Posted by trajan 

FUNNY GIRL was not filmed in 70mm. It is a blowup to 70mm.

You are quite correct. Thanks. It still looks amazing. Have you seen the restored version?


Here are the specs from imdb:



Technical specifications for
Funny Girl (1968More at IMDbPro »

Laboratory
Technicolor

Film negative format (mm/video inches)
35 mm

Cinematographic process
Panavision (anamorphic)

Printed film format
70 mm (blow-up)
35 mm

Aspect ratio
2.20 : 1 (70 mm prints)
2.35 : 1




#8 of 51 benbess

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Posted May 05 2011 - 04:56 AM



Originally Posted by GMpasqua 

SONY has a number of catalog films ready to go on Blu-ray : But they are not releasing them because they don't think they will sell.

Among them "From Here to Enternity" "Oliver!" "Bye Bye Birdie"


"Guns of Navarone" is finally coming - but so is "the Caine Mutiny" - a prime example of the kind of film that won't sell large numbers on Blu-ray (one reason because it's Black and White")


Of course "In Cold Blood' would have been a big seller and "Jason and the Argonaunts" would also break the bank - so SONY's planning department seems to be made up of friends and relatives of Studio executives who's only qualitifcation for employment is being a relation



of course "Lawrence of Arabia" is being held until 2012's 50th anniversary

Interesting info. Thanks. Yes we watched Oliver! in HD many months ago, I think. It looks quite good iirc...





#9 of 51 benbess

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Posted May 05 2011 - 05:00 AM



Originally Posted by Patrick McCart 

The Caine Mutiny was shot in 3-strip Technicolor.



Quite Correct. Wow. You folks are sharp. I've never seen this one, but I'll probably pick it up when it comes out. I heard that the director wanted to make it a 3 hour film, but the studio insisted that it be 2 hours, which might possibly have made it better?  I don't know.



Technical specifications for
The Caine Mutiny (1954More at IMDbPro »

Laboratory
Technicolor

Film negative format (mm/video inches)
35 mm

Cinematographic process
Spherical

Printed film format
35 mm

Aspect ratio
1.85 : 1




#10 of 51 benbess

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Posted May 05 2011 - 09:07 AM

Another mystery HD master is Giant, that sprawling Texas epic with James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Liz Taylor. It looks great, and I like what I've seen of this movie, but have to admit I've had trouble getting through it all the way without falling asleep.

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#11 of 51 benbess

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Posted May 05 2011 - 09:10 AM



Originally Posted by mgdvd0 

Re funny Girl !

Streisand paid for the restoration of Funny Girl herself -  and as far as I know is also the owner of the film so it should be possible to release  the problem here I think is DISTRIBUTION  and the cost of pressing the disc



Really? Do you have a link for that? Seems like a very expensive thing to do, but I guess she's rich. And I somehow doubt Columbia/Sony would sell her such a hit and academy-award winning movie that cost them about $9 million dollars in 1968. That's about $60 million in today's money, and it looks every penny of it....But maybe? Again, any chance of a link?


That would be an interesting trend, if it exists, of stars paying for the restoration of their own movies.


I remember Coppola had to ask Spielberg to beg the studio to restore The Godfather trilogy. Without that intervention I don't think it would have happened.



#12 of 51 GMpasqua

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Posted May 05 2011 - 11:49 PM


Thanks Patrick. I 've never seen this film and always thought it was in Black and White for some reason. I'll have to check it out at some point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick McCart 

The Caine Mutiny was shot in 3-strip Technicolor.






#13 of 51 Peter Neski

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Posted May 06 2011 - 08:28 AM

Almost everything on MGM HD is new or better than the dvd' Like Woody Allen Films,or stuff like King of Hearts


BADLANDS has been in HD for Cable TV Channels like HD Net and TCM yet no Blue Ray,Picnic at Hanging Rock

has a nice HD transfer which was shown on TCM HD yet no BR Here,Sounder,Support Your Local Sheriff and many

more all with No BR Release in site


#14 of 51 Doug Otte

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Posted May 06 2011 - 08:33 AM

I've seen a lot of great (and even so-so) films on MGM HD, and I'm glad to have that channel.  However, not all of their transfers look that wonderful.  Sure, they are better than an SD version, but many of the prints they used as masters have a lot of dirt and scratches.  That would be one additional factor - they'd probably want to do newer masters and clean them up before releasing them on BD.


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#15 of 51 Josh Steinberg

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Posted May 06 2011 - 08:46 AM

Also, a lot of the HD transfers you might see on HDNet or similar channels might have been done before Blu-ray and before 1080p was a home standard -- there's a pretty decent chance that at least some of the HD transfers you see on television or through streaming were done at 1080i ten years ago, which would have been great for doing a kick-ass DVD, but not suitable for the best Blu-ray experience.  Those will all have to be redone.


I think the biggest issue with classic titles is finding something current to tie them into.  Even "The Ten Commandments", a movie which really doesn't need a sales pitch, was released around Easter because that's typically when the film pops into people's heads.  "It's A Wonderful Life" on Blu-ray came out, as I recall, near the holiday season.  Those are two of the big sellers that really don't need an extra bit of promotion, but they wait anyway.  With traditional video stores basically gone, and with the big box retailers only stocking a very limited selection of classic titles, I understand why studios feel the need to wait for some kind of occasion that might be added incentive for a retail outlet to give it a decent shelf presence and promotional push.  In a perfect world, every title that had a master suitable for Blu-ray would be available at least on that studio's website, with the big commercial push to come at whatever the best moment would be, but that's not gonna happen.  But at least we have things like TCM or Netflix streaming so we can see some of these new masters before the release comes.  (I was very happy to have seen the HD master for Kubrick's Lolita on TCM late last year I think, and that Blu-ray's not out yet.)  It's not a perfect situation, and being patient isn't exactly one of my strong suits to begin with, but I think that's really the cause of a lot of the delays - wanting to find the best occasion they can to get a release out when they have the best chance of selling the largest number of copies.



#16 of 51 mattCR

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Posted May 07 2011 - 03:35 PM

I know there is an HD Master of "An American President" (1995; pretty much this was the dry run of sorts for Sorkin which led to West Wing..)   I can say that because it's been seen in HD broadcast, Amazon has it in HD streaming.. the DVD is a DISASTER.  It is 4:3 only, non-anamorphic, badly overcompressed on a single layer disc. 

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#17 of 51 Josh Steinberg

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Posted May 07 2011 - 03:55 PM



Originally Posted by mattCR 

I know there is an HD Master of "An American President" (1995; pretty much this was the dry run of sorts for Sorkin which led to West Wing..)   I can say that because it's been seen in HD broadcast, Amazon has it in HD streaming.. the DVD is a DISASTER.  It is 4:3 only, non-anamorphic, badly overcompressed on a single layer disc. 


I agree the DVD is a disaster; that's one of the handful of DVDs I have in my collection that I haven't actually watched, which is a shame because I love the movie.  Even though it's not the effects heavy kind of blockbuster that screams out "Blu-ray upgrade!", I'd buy a Blu-ray of that movie in a heartbeat when it's made available.  I bet whatever comes out probably won't have any bonus features, but if they felt so inclined as to spend the money, it would be great to get a look back with the cast and crew, maybe a feature about how it led to the West Wing - with both American President and West Wing distributed by Warner, that actually doesn't seem too farfetched.  (And hey, if they'd like to do a West Wing BD set down the line...I'd get that too.)



#18 of 51 Matt Hough

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Posted May 08 2011 - 12:46 AM



Originally Posted by Josh Steinberg 




I agree the DVD is a disaster; that's one of the handful of DVDs I have in my collection that I haven't actually watched, which is a shame because I love the movie.  Even though it's not the effects heavy kind of blockbuster that screams out "Blu-ray upgrade!", I'd buy a Blu-ray of that movie in a heartbeat when it's made available.  I bet whatever comes out probably won't have any bonus features, but if they felt so inclined as to spend the money, it would be great to get a look back with the cast and crew, maybe a feature about how it led to the West Wing - with both American President and West Wing distributed by Warner, that actually doesn't seem too farfetched.  (And hey, if they'd like to do a West Wing BD set down the line...I'd get that too.)


I agree completely. After reading the reviews, I didn't even buy the DVD. I still only have the film on laserdisc.




#19 of 51 Eddie W.

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Posted May 08 2011 - 02:05 AM

VUDU has a ton of movies mastered in HD that haven't made their way to Blu Ray yet.  I was surprised to see a vast amount of Hitchcock and a lot of other old stuff I've been waiting for.


Haven't movies been mastered in HD since almost the beginning of DVD though?  I remember seeing on even some of the earliest packaging that the film was 'mastered in high definition', even though it wasn't presented that way (obviously) on the DVD.



#20 of 51 benbess

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Posted May 08 2011 - 02:17 AM

Sorry to be ignorant, but what is VUDU? And can you name some specific Hitchcock titles you've seen that aren't on blu? Thanks.






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