Jump to content



Sign up for a free account to remove the pop-up ads

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests and remove the pop-up ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

Photo
Blu-ray Reviews

The Sting Blu-ray Review



This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
54 replies to this topic

#1 of 55 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

Kevin EK

    Screenwriter



  • 2,819 posts
  • Join Date: May 09 2003

Posted June 04 2012 - 10:02 AM

The Sting debuts on Blu-ray this week with some significant picture quality problems for viewers with the larger displays.  The movie itself is an undisputed classic, an example of great casting and storytelling, surrounding Paul Newman and Robert Redford with a wonderful group of character actors who have as much fun conning the audience as they do each other.  The new Blu-ray ports over the extras from the 2005 DVD and joins them with three of the current 100th Anniversary featurettes.  Viewers with smaller displays will be able to enjoy the movie, but this will not be the case for those with the bigger screens.



http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/THE STING

Studio: Universal/Zanuck-Brown

Year: 1973

Length: 2 hrs 10 mins

Genre:  Period Confidence Man Comic Thriller


Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

BD Resolution and Codec: 1080p, AVC @ 30 mbps

Audio:  English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (@ an average 3.0 up to 3.8 mbps) French DTS 2.0 Mono

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Film Rating: PG (Language, Brief Violence)


Release Date: June 5, 2012


Starring:  Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Robert Shaw, Ray Walston, Eileen Brennan, Charles Durning


Screenplay by: David S. Ward

Directed by: George Roy Hill


Before we get into the body of the review, I need to first put in a word of thanks to Joe Kane for allowing me to screen this Blu-ray on his optimal projector and screen.  His counsel and advice about proper calibration and color values has been extremely helpful.  I strongly recommend readers to please visit Joe’s website at www.videoessentials.com and look over the materials.   I also want to put in a word of thanks to Robert Harris, whose kind advice has been a primary example of why I joined this forum in the first place.  I am grateful to both men for helping me deal with what has been a really difficult title to review.  The reason I’m taking this time is that this isn’t just a matter of a good or bad transfer, or whether I can recommend the title.  The issue here is that there is a serious problem with the picture on the Blu-ray, which does not become evident until you get into a larger display.  And the larger the display is, the worse the problem gets.  If the purpose of making this Blu-ray was just to make a nice disc for people with smaller or mid-range HDTVs, then this will be fine.  If the purpose was to make a future-proofed digital record that could be preserved and enjoyed for the next generation, then this release must be viewed as a failure.  That’s a hard statement to write but, having seen the evidence, it’s a necessary one.


Film Rating: 5/5


The Sting should need no introduction to cinema fans.  It’s a pure-bred classic, starring two of Hollywood’s most popular and charismatic actors, Paul Newman and Robert Redford, in a caper comedy that maximizes its period setting and feel in a way that invites the audience into the game rather than shutting them out.   If you’ve already seen the film, you already know this.  If you haven’t seen it, I’ll only briefly lay out the setup.  Johnny Hooker (Redford), a low-level conman in 1936 Illinois, recruits veteran con artist Henry Gondorff (Newman) to create an elaborate scam on mobster Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw).   The movie goes through a fair number of twists and turns, some more serious than others, but the whole enterprise is done with such a wink and a grin that it’s fairly irresistible entertainment.  The movie has a wonderful period look and makes terrific use of Scott Joplin ragtime piano music that may be anachronistic but still FEELS absolutely right in this movie.  And this is not to mention the supporting cast, which is a joy in itself – everyone shines, from Charles Durning as the local cop muscle to Ray Walston as a great deadpan conman to Dimitra Arliss’ wonderfully restrained performance as a local girl who catches Hooker’s interest.  If we were only talking about the quality of the movie itself, this would be a no-brainer as a purchase.  Alas, we are not.


The Sting is being released on Blu-ray this week as the latest of Universal’s 100th Anniversary Collector’s Series releases. The Collector’s Series Blu holds a new 1080p AVC transfer and a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix, along with the special features from the 2005 Legacy Edition DVD release, as well as three of the 100th Anniversary featurettes from this year.  The Blu-ray package includes the DVD copy of the movie on a second disc and a 44 page booklet.  Instructions for downloading a digital copy are also included in the package.  As a minor note, this is another Blu-ray from Universal this year not to have a top menu.  When you start the disc, the movie starts up, and you’ll need to access any functionality via the pop-up menu.


VIDEO QUALITY  2/5


The Sting is presented in a 1080p AVC 1.85:1 picture that has already been discussed by Robert Harris in his A Few Words About… column, and I’m going to embellish the details further here.  The picture here is from a new transfer, and it shows in an improved color range from what had previously been seen on the HD-DVD release.  The problem here is something that will not have a great impact on the viewer until we get into the larger HDTVs.  If watched on say, a 32” or a 40” monitor, this Blu-ray will look great.    But as you get into larger and larger monitors, the truth about the transfer becomes evident.  To roughly paraphrase Al Pacino in The Insider – the more truth it tells, the worse it gets. 


What happened here looks like a digital manipulation of the image to remove grain in some areas or to clean up the image in others.  On a smaller monitor, which is what I suspect the transfer people were using, this will actually look very good.  (The manipulation was not done as a blanket idea of just turning up the dial and walking away.  This was done on a shot-by-shot basis.  And we can see clear evidence of this in the transfer, as I’ll get into here.)  However, on a larger monitor – say 90”, the image goes soft and loses cohesion.  Wider shots don’t seem to have a clear area of focus – for example, the wider shots of the alley where Hooker and Luther con the bagman, or the master shot of the gambling parlor Hooker visits with Crystal.  Dupe shots, such as the character titles at the beginning, have good focus on the credits but the film footage in the background is way too soft.   But this isn’t consistent.  When the shots are close-ups, like an OTS to Luther from Hooker, or the mutual closer shots of Hooker and Luther at his apartment, the shots are sharp and detailed, without the softness.  Trying to watch a movie like this is maddening – you go from a soft master to a sharp close-up to a soft mid-shot, and back.  I have a rule about this kind of thing – I can tolerate a lot of picture issues, so long as I am not jarred from the movie itself.   This is why I enjoyed the transfer of Pillow Talk even though the grain levels were lower – because it was a transparent experience where I could simply watch the movie and enjoy what was on the screen.  In the case of The Sting, watching on a 90”+ screen, I wasn’t only jarred – I was practically ejected from my seat, which is a profoundly depressing experience.  


To be fair, there are some shots where there are definitely issues with the source material.  The opening tracking shot that establishes the street scene and takes us to the stairs and the feet shows not only softness but something on the lens itself obscuring part of the picture.  An early shot of Hooker arriving at a burlesque house is quite soft all the way through.  But there’s not that much of that problem – and we should remember this is a movie that earned Robert Surtees an Academy Award Nomination for Cinematography.


To double-check the quality, I was given the chance to view the HD-DVD of the same movie, and found the earlier HD transfer to have more noticeable grain but a much more consistent picture quality without the softness issues.  (The two shots I mentioned above notwithstanding – they will be soft in whatever iteration of the movie you see.)  The HD-DVD doesn’t have the color range of the Blu-ray but it’s easier to watch – simply because the picture isn’t constantly varying wildly from focus levels.


As a third check, I watched the Blu-ray in its entirety on my own 65” Panasonic.  At 65”, the softness issues are far less noticeable.  There are some signs of digital work, particularly within the patterns of some of the period suit coats, but this is simply a smaller reflection of the softness that wrecks havoc with the larger monitors.  If you look closely at the 65” screen, you can detect the softness in many of the shots, but you’d have to be looking for the problem – it certainly doesn’t take you out of the movie.   This tells us that for most viewers – people with monitors of up to 65”, the problem I am discussing will not be a significant factor.  And that’s probably taking us up into over 80-85% of viewers, if not higher.   An argument can be made that this transfer will look great as a digital copy seen on an iPad or an iPhone.  I’m not even going to touch that – other than to see that I seriously doubt that people who believe that to be a good idea are spending much time on this forum…


The thing is, if you’re picking up this Blu-ray, and if you’ve invested in a large home theater setup, you have every right to expect that the picture quality will be even better with a larger screen.  A 1080p transfer should not be having a large quality drop like this.  I have always thought of HD transfers as working better on the larger screens – the bigger you go, the better it should look and the more you should see.  An HD transfer that works in reverse is troubling.   A more disturbing issue arises, in that these new transfers are supposed to be the way the movies are preserved for the long term, for the way that audiences may enjoy them in the future on, one can only wonder, 4K monitors or higher, in better home theater environments.  A transfer like the one used for The Sting will only look worse in that situation.  And that is no way to honor the legacy of the movie or to preserve it for posterity.



AUDIO QUALITY  4/5


The Sting is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix in English that works very well to present the dialogue and the music with great clarity.  Marvin Hamlisch’s Oscar-winning score adaption of the Joplin rags comes through all the channels, including a good use of the subwoofer for the bass lines.  A French DTS 2.0 Mono mix is also included.  I should note that the English 2.0 mix from the 2005 DVD is not included here, or on the DVD in the packaging.


SPECIAL FEATURES   3/5


The Blu-ray Collector’s Series presentation of The Sting comes with a trailer and the Making-of documentary from the 2005 Legacy Edition DVD, coupled with three of the 100th Anniversary featurettes from earlier this year.  The DVD edition, containing the same bonus features minus the 100th Anniversary pieces, is included in the packaging.  The packaging also includes a 44 page booklet and instructions for downloading a digital copy.


My Scenes – The usual Blu-ray bookmarking feature is available here, allowing the viewer to set their own bookmarks throughout the film.


The Art of The Sting (56:14, 480p, Full Frame) (AVAILABLE BOTH ON DVD & BLU-RAY) – This three-part documentary is carried over from the 2005 DVD.  It’s a fairly thorough piece, including interview material with Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Ray Walston, Eileen Brennan, Dimitra Arliss, Charles Durning, Marvin Hamlisch and David S. Ward.  There’s a pretty full accounting of how Ward’s script wound up with director George Roy Hill and how the cast was assembled.  Newman in particular has a great time recounting how much fun he had playing a key card game scene with Robert Shaw, and later in a practical joke war with Hill at the studio.  Walston is full of stories about how Hill ran the set and how the cast worked together.  Brennan and Arliss both contribute good stories about how the set operated and how Hill worked with them.  The last section of the documentary is more of a fond look back at Hill, with Brennan becoming a bit more emotional at that time.  Based on the participants and their apparent ages when interviewed, I strongly suspect that this documentary was actually assembled in the late 1990s for a potential Signature Laserdisc Edition that never happened once the DVD idea took over.  The interviews mention Hill in the present tense, albeit being quite ill and no longer in the business, where a documentary assembled in 2005 would have to have mentioned the passing of Hill and Walston.


Theatrical Trailer (2:13, 480p, Non-Anamorphic Letterbox) (AVAILABLE BOTH ON DVD & BLU-RAY) – The re-release theatrical trailer (which spoils a good part of the plot) is included here as one additional extra not found on the 2005 DVD.  The picture quality is not that great – looking very dark and murky.


100 Years of Universal:  Restoring the Classics (9:13, 1080p) (BLU-RAY ONLY) – This high definition featurette is repeated from the To Kill A Mockingbird and All Quiet on the Western Front Blu-rays.


100 Years of Universal:  The ‘70s (11:01, 1080p) (BLU-RAY ONLY) – This high definition featurette showcases selected Universal releases of the 1970s, discussing the time as one of great freedom for filmmakers.  The Sting, Jaws, Smokey and the Bandit, and inexplicably, The Jerk, are all provided as examples here.  Of course, the featurette leaves out other elements of the 1970s, such as the three sequels made from Airport, and the sequels that stemmed from Jaws.  More offbeat fare like Silent Running aren’t even included in the discussion.  Nor is the whole era of Sensurround, which Universal used to spice up the subwoofer effect for movies like Earthquake, Rollercoaster and even the theatrical release of Battlestar Galactica.  The 70s era of Universal television, which kept the lot running at past full capacity for years is also not discussed.


100 Years of Universal:  The Lot (9:25, 1080p) (BLU-RAY ONLY)– This high definition featurette gets into the backlot itself and the various famous stages and settings.  The ever-present Studio Tour is mentioned in passing – one of the interesting parts of shooting at the Universal Backlot is that you will regularly see Tour trams roll by your set.  The famous “Phantom” soundstage where the set of the opera still stands is shown.  The Bates House is also shown, including some information on how it originally only had the two sides you saw in Psycho but was later augmented to finish it off.  Selected areas of the backlot exteriors are also shown, including the lake, the Western area, a Roman forum built for Spartacus and a pass by the other streets.  (For the record, the European Street is a very interesting construct on the side of a hill which both looks realistic and is fairly simple to film.)  But, of course, no mention is made about the fact that since the late 60s, it hasn’t been the movies but rather the TV shows that kept the lot constantly humming.  Speaking from the experience of my crew, I can attest that during the 1970s, there was a heck of a lot of TV work and feature work keeping that lot running like a factory.  In many cases, people actually worked for the LOT, and not for individual productions.  Construction workers would report to the mill and then be sent off to the various stages to do work assignments for the different TV shows, reporting back to the foremen when done with each task.  This is a part of the business we’ve lost over the years, and it’s one that probably hasn’t been documented that well.  It’s the same sort of idea mentioned in the Wizard of Oz commentary by Margaret O’Brien – how in the 1930s, actors would be under contract to a studio and would report to the Makeup Building at their calltime in the early morning before being dispatched to whatever stage their current movie was filming…


SD DVD – (1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen) – As a bonus, the digibook also contains a standard definition DVD of this new transfer.  The sound is presented in an English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix (at 448 kbps) and a French Dolby Digital 2.0 mix.   The DTS 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 mixes from the 2005 DVD are not included here, presumably to make room for the “Making of” documentary.  The documentary is included on the disc, where in the 2005 edition, it was put on a 2nd disc.  The trailer is also included on the disc.


Booklet – A 44-page commemorative booklet is included in the packaging.  There’s a nice introduction by Leonard Maltin, followed by a few pages about the cast, some material on George Roy Hill, Marvin Hamlisch and costume designer Edith Head.  A couple of pages of an early draft script with Hill’s notes are included, along with poster and ad art for various releases and awards campaigns, and some fun telegrams and correspondence to and from Hill.  The booklet actually gets in a mention of David Maurer’s book The Big Con, a major source for the material in the script (and the subject of a lawsuit settled a few years after The Sting was released.)  Not surprisingly, no mention is made of the disastrous sequel attempted in the 1980s.


Digital Copy – Instructions are included in the packaging for downloading a digital copy of the movie to your laptop or portable device.  The instructions include a deadline of December 31, 2013 for activation. 


The movie and special features are subtitled in English, Spanish and French. The usual chapter and pop-up menus are present.  As I said, there is no Main Menu, but you can access everything you need via the pop-up option.  I will again note that this tendency is a bit annoying, in that you have no option but to start the movie right away.  You can pause it in its first moments, but I’m not a fan of the idea of being thrown right in.  I’m sure that there are many readers who will have the opposite impression and would rather get on with it, but this is not a trend of which I’m a fan.



IN THE END...


The Sting is a classic caper comedy thriller that continues to entertain today, now nearly 40 years after its release.  I wish I could recommend this title for purchase, particularly given the work that has been going into this year’s crop of Universal catalogue material.  But I cannot – simply because the transfer on this title has the issues I have discussed above, and because that transfer should not be used for the future life of this movie on 4K and beyond.  Viewers with monitors of up to 65” will likely have very few problems, but viewers with the larger displays will have some serious questions.


Kevin Koster

June 4, 2012.


Equipment now in use in this Home Theater:


Panasonic 65” VT30 Plasma 3D HDTV – set at “THX” picture mode

Denon AVR-3311Cl Receiver

Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray Player

PS3 Player (used for calculation of bitrates for picture and sound)

5 Mirage Speakers (Front Left/Center/Right, Surround Back Left/Right)

2 Sony Speakers (Surround Left/Right – middle of room)

Martin Logan Dynamo 700 Subwoofer

http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/



#2 of 55 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

    Studio Mogul



  • 40,572 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 03 1997

Posted June 04 2012 - 10:19 AM

You know, I realize we are talking about Universal here
who's HD releases over the past few years has been

questionable. We know they have been called out on the

carpet for some of the stuff they have put out, and I know

they have promised to do better.


The Blu-ray format is now 5 years old.  We no longer should

be dealing with excessive digital manipulation to these prints.

Every studio pretty much understands the importance of making

their prime movies look the best that they can be -- and as close

to the way they looked when they originally appeared theatrically.


To hear that Universal has once again botched up the

transfer of another one of their "greats" is truly disheartening

to learn.

How do you celebrate 100 years of film by not doing the

best you can for the very best tiles you release under that

banner?  Are the corporations that have taken over the film

company simply looking at these assets as quick-moneymakers

or do they have a real interest in preserving these movies for

generations to come?


My copy of "The Sting" has already been shipped.  Now, I
realize that my enjoyment of the film has already been compromised

even before I have had the chance to watch it.  Sad.


 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

 Click Here for the latest/hottest Blu-ray Preorders  Click Here for our complete Blu-ray review archive

 Click Here for our complete 3D Blu-ray review archive Click Here for our complete DVD review archive

 Click Here for Blu-Ray Preorder Release Schedule  Click Here for forum posting rules and regulations


#3 of 55 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

Steve Tannehill

    Producer



  • 5,535 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 06 1997
  • Real Name:Steve Tannehill
  • LocationDFW

Posted June 04 2012 - 10:26 AM

There are two versions of this being released on blu-ray, one with the digibook, and a cheaper one without. I got the cheaper one.

#4 of 55 OFFLINE   EnricoE

EnricoE

    Supporting Actor



  • 516 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 13 2003

Posted June 04 2012 - 10:40 AM

so in other words... if you have the hd-dvd, then there is no reason to upgrade! :P

#5 of 55 OFFLINE   KPmusmag

KPmusmag

    Second Unit



  • 317 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 09 2011
  • Real Name:Kevin Parcher
  • LocationHenderson, NV

Posted June 04 2012 - 10:41 AM

Well, along with APOLLO 13 this is one more HD-DVD that is going to remain on my shelf. I am so happy with PILLOW TALK that I had high hopes - but first Mr. Harris' comments and now this. One of my top favorite films - FILM. My stomach hurts.

#6 of 55 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

Kevin EK

    Screenwriter



  • 2,819 posts
  • Join Date: May 09 2003

Posted June 04 2012 - 11:10 AM

Steve, thank you for the correction.  You're absolutely right.  I just reviewed the version they sent, which is in the digibook.


Enrico, yes, if you have the HD-DVD, you can stay with that.  It has the documentary and the trailer, which were simply ported over into this release.



#7 of 55 OFFLINE   Steve Tannehill

Steve Tannehill

    Producer



  • 5,535 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 06 1997
  • Real Name:Steve Tannehill
  • LocationDFW

Posted June 04 2012 - 11:40 AM

The artwork in the review is for the non-digibook version, I believe...it's the original poster artwork.

#8 of 55 OFFLINE   jauritt

jauritt

    Agent



  • 42 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 13 2011

Posted June 04 2012 - 11:46 AM

If it's true that 80-85% of the people will be viewing this on monitors under 65", wouldn't it make more sense for someone reviewing the PQ to base his opinions on a screen-size closer to what that 85% will be using (certainly not a 90" screen), or at least provide an alternative review for the benefit of those folks? As valid as the information in the review might be, it appears geared only to a small minority, and as one who is in the majority (50" screen), doesn't seem all that useful to me because I really don't know exactly what to expect and, instead, it seems like the review - for my purposes anyway - is just an educated guess instead.

#9 of 55 OFFLINE   Todd J Moore

Todd J Moore

    Second Unit



  • 353 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 26 2005
  • Real Name:Todd Moore
  • LocationPhiladelphia, PA

Posted June 04 2012 - 12:48 PM

I actually kinda agree with the above. I have only a 42" screen, so does that mean that THE STING will look great on my TV? Is it "not recommended" only for people who have 90" or bigger screens? A little clarification may help.

Viewing a 3D movie in 2D is kinda like viewing a Scope movie in Pan and Scan.


#10 of 55 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

Kevin EK

    Screenwriter



  • 2,819 posts
  • Join Date: May 09 2003

Posted June 04 2012 - 12:50 PM

Steve, thanks for the correction.  I completely missed that.  I've now fixed the imagery here and on the product page.


Jay, I'll try to be a little more specific.  I watched the Blu-ray on my own 65" monitor and on a 90"+ projection screen.   On the 65" monitor, the image looks very good, with a few hints of digital adjustment, which appear in terms of softness here and there if you look for it, and in terms of the patterns of some backgrounds or suit coats not resolving correctly.  On a smaller monitor than 65", the problems will appear less and less.  You should be fine with a 50" monitor viewing the movie.  The caveat is that if you upgrade to a larger monitor or to a higher definition monitor in the event that 4K becomes a doable idea, you will once again need to get another upgrade of the title.


The strange thing here is that I used to be criticized for using a 40" monitor for my reviews since I could not see the problems we were being warned about by the people who had the larger sets.  I have now addressed that issue but have instead gone into the reverse issue - of having too large of a monitor.   I'll just try to balance the reviews as best I can.


The thing with this picture transfer is the smaller your monitor, the better it will look.  That's understandable, but it's the reverse of the way this process is supposed to work.   And I'm not in any way saying that 50" or even 40" is a small monitor - those are large monitors that I'd be happy to have.  But we're trying to address the issue for the whole spectrum.   Hope I've been able to clarify this a little.



#11 of 55 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

Kevin EK

    Screenwriter



  • 2,819 posts
  • Join Date: May 09 2003

Posted June 04 2012 - 12:52 PM

Todd, yes.  You'll see a great picture on your 42".  You may notice a tiny amount of softness here and there, and some shimmer in the coat patterns but it won't distract you from the movie.
And when you see the softness in the two shots I specified, be aware that's an issue with the negative and no transfer could have done anything to correct it.



#12 of 55 OFFLINE   MattAlbie60

MattAlbie60

    Supporting Actor



  • 561 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 21 2010
  • Real Name:Stephen Lilley
  • LocationBaltimore, Maryland

Posted June 04 2012 - 10:37 PM

I'm on a 55" and to my relatively untrained eye, it looks pretty great. But I enjoy *everything* about a particular title's transfer. I don't plan on this 55" being the last TV I'll ever buy, and one day I'd like to own something bigger, and if I'm going to have to rebuy THE STING when that day comes on whatever the next format is, it's good to know now :)

#13 of 55 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

Robert Harris

    Lead Actor



  • 7,598 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 08 1999
  • Real Name:Robert Harris

Posted June 05 2012 - 12:22 AM

Originally Posted by Kevin EK 

Steve, thanks for the correction.  I completely missed that.  I've now fixed the imagery here and on the product page.


Jay, I'll try to be a little more specific.  I watched the Blu-ray on my own 65" monitor and on a 90"+ projection screen.   On the 65" monitor, the image looks very good, with a few hints of digital adjustment, which appear in terms of softness here and there if you look for it, and in terms of the patterns of some backgrounds or suit coats not resolving correctly.  On a smaller monitor than 65", the problems will appear less and less.  You should be fine with a 50" monitor viewing the movie.  The caveat is that if you upgrade to a larger monitor or to a higher definition monitor in the event that 4K becomes a doable idea, you will once again need to get another upgrade of the title.


The strange thing here is that I used to be criticized for using a 40" monitor for my reviews since I could not see the problems we were being warned about by the people who had the larger sets.  I have now addressed that issue but have instead gone into the reverse issue - of having too large of a monitor.   I'll just try to balance the reviews as best I can.


The thing with this picture transfer is the smaller your monitor, the better it will look.  That's understandable, but it's the reverse of the way this process is supposed to work.   And I'm not in any way saying that 50" or even 40" is a small monitor - those are large monitors that I'd be happy to have.  But we're trying to address the issue for the whole spectrum.   Hope I've been able to clarify this a little.


I just read Kevin's review, and it's tells a very accurate picture.


My position is, and has always been, very simple.


When a Blu-ray is released, it should hit certain standards of quality that eliminate any discussion of screen sizes.  Get it right the first time, offer a product that looks great on larger screens, and everything else falls into place.


Blu-ray releases should not necessitate different reviews for each screen size.  One review should fit all.  The Sting doesn't do this.


My first experience with the Blu-ray of Patton was on a Sony XBR 30", and it looked generally terrific.


With today's technology, there is no reason why everything, short of element problems, cannot attain the high standard necessary to look great on even the largest screen, and I'm thinking up to 15 feet in width.


No reason to buy a Blu-ray more than once, based upon poor quality work.


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


#14 of 55 OFFLINE   Frank Ha

Frank Ha

    Second Unit



  • 353 posts
  • Join Date: Jun 21 2003
  • Real Name:Frank Harrison
  • LocationLand of mole, tlayudas and chapulines

Posted June 05 2012 - 12:47 AM

When a Blu-ray is released, it should hit certain standards of quality that eliminate any discussion of screen sizes.  Get it right the first time, offer a product that looks great on larger screens, and everything else falls into place. Blu-ray releases should not necessitate different reviews for each screen size.  One review should fit all. RAH

Well said, Mr. Harris. You hit the nail on the head.
"And in the end, the only thing you really own is... your story.  Just trying to live a good one" - The Drover 

#15 of 55 OFFLINE   jauritt

jauritt

    Agent



  • 42 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 13 2011

Posted June 05 2012 - 01:07 AM

I just read Kevin's review, and it's tells a very accurate picture. My position is, and has always been, very simple. When a Blu-ray is released, it should hit certain standards of quality that eliminate any discussion of screen sizes.  Get it right the first time, offer a product that looks great on larger screens, and everything else falls into place. Blu-ray releases should not necessitate different reviews for each screen size.  One review should fit all.  The Sting doesn't do this. My first experience with the Blu-ray of Patton was on a Sony XBR 30", and it looked generally terrific. With today's technology, there is no reason why everything, short of element problems, cannot attain the high standard necessary to look great on even the largest screen, and I'm thinking up to 15 feet in width. No reason to buy a Blu-ray more than once, based upon poor quality work. RAH

Steve, thanks for the correction.  I completely missed that.  I've now fixed the imagery here and on the product page. Jay, I'll try to be a little more specific.  I watched the Blu-ray on my own 65" monitor and on a 90"+ projection screen.   On the 65" monitor, the image looks very good, with a few hints of digital adjustment, which appear in terms of softness here and there if you look for it, and in terms of the patterns of some backgrounds or suit coats not resolving correctly.  On a smaller monitor than 65", the problems will appear less and less.  You should be fine with a 50" monitor viewing the movie.  The caveat is that if you upgrade to a larger monitor or to a higher definition monitor in the event that 4K becomes a doable idea, you will once again need to get another upgrade of the title. The strange thing here is that I used to be criticized for using a 40" monitor for my reviews since I could not see the problems we were being warned about by the people who had the larger sets.  I have now addressed that issue but have instead gone into the reverse issue - of having too large of a monitor.   I'll just try to balance the reviews as best I can. The thing with this picture transfer is the smaller your monitor, the better it will look.  That's understandable, but it's the reverse of the way this process is supposed to work.   And I'm not in any way saying that 50" or even 40" is a small monitor - those are large monitors that I'd be happy to have.  But we're trying to address the issue for the whole spectrum.   Hope I've been able to clarify this a little.

Thank you gentlemen. I do understand and appreciate the issues that may be involved with reviewing BDs such as The Sting and Patton, where the size of the screen on which it is viewed will have a much greater impact on the PQ than most others. My only point was that it made more sense to me for the review to be based on what most people will be seeing rather than a small minority, but after reading your responses I can see that reviewing via a smaller screen would not necessarily reveal the issues that one might find if viewed on a larger screen.

#16 of 55 OFFLINE   Kosty

Kosty

    Supporting Actor



  • 861 posts
  • Join Date: May 30 2012

Posted June 05 2012 - 02:06 AM

Thank you gentlemen. I do understand and appreciate the issues that may be involved with reviewing BDs such as The Sting and Patton, where the size of the screen on which it is viewed will have a much greater impact on the PQ than most others. My only point was that it made more sense to me for the review to be based on what most people will be seeing rather than a small minority, but after reading your responses I can see that reviewing via a smaller screen would not necessarily reveal the issues that one might find if viewed on a larger screen.

Yep. Pretty much any Blu-ray will look good on a screen under 40 inches. But keep in mind consumers are buying larger screen sizes year after year and us home theater enthusiasts that are already there how a Blu-ray transfer looks on a large screen is an important consideration.

#17 of 55 OFFLINE   HDGeorge

HDGeorge

    Auditioning



  • 11 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 10 2008

Posted June 05 2012 - 02:16 AM

Nice review Kevin. I'm also viewing on a 65" Panny, so we'll see. After all these 'not the optimum' transfers (many if not most from Universal), I sense one of two things, or both, are going on. Some encoders simply aren't educated properly to know what they're doing (who trains these people?) and/or studios are purposely doing this to milk consumers with another release down the road. How many ULTIMATE Editions does one need? Either way, we lose. Very sad.

#18 of 55 OFFLINE   dpippel

dpippel

    Producer



  • 3,297 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 24 2000
  • Real Name:Doug

Posted June 05 2012 - 03:05 AM

Thanks for the review Kevin. Sounds like another disappointment from Universal. You just saved me $12, which I'll use to purchase a Blu-ray release from a studio that exhibits more respect and care for their classic films. It's depressing, really.


Careful man, there's a beverage here!


#19 of 55 OFFLINE   Joseph Bolus

Joseph Bolus

    Screenwriter



  • 2,193 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 04 1999

Posted June 05 2012 - 04:10 AM

I'll be viewing this on a 96" FPTV system -- but anchored by a projector with a native resolution of 720p. So .. the question is "Will this look better on my system than the 2005 SE DVD?" I suspect that it *probably* will since the issues complained about here -- erratic softness --- mostly surfaced as well on that disc. The 2005 SE also manifested EE in a few scenes. If those at least are gone -- and I suspect that they are -- then this BD will be a step up from the DVD. If I can find it at Walmart today I'm probably going to give it a try ...
Joseph
---------------

#20 of 55 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

Kevin EK

    Screenwriter



  • 2,819 posts
  • Join Date: May 09 2003

Posted June 05 2012 - 04:28 AM

Doug, I just want to note that Universal has released several titles this year that have shown, in my opinion, a greater standard of respect and care.  To Kill A Mockingbird, All Quiet on the Western Front, the revised Out of Africa and Pillow Talk are all solid pieces of work.  I want to be careful not to tar all the releases this year just because of this one being a miss.


Joseph, I think you should rent the Blu before buying it.  You're going to find that even at 720p, it will show the erratic softness at the size screen you're employing.  Also, this is not the same transfer used for the 2005 DVD and 2007 HD-DVD.  This is a new transfer that was done in 2012 and the softness issues are unique to it.  There are the two major shots I mentioned that are actually soft or problematic on the negative itself and you'll find those on any transfer.

Finally, George, I don't think the studio is doing this as a deliberate action to get you to buy a new transfer later.  I think their people did this on a smaller monitor and honestly thought they were doing a good job with it.  To their mind, this was a good job that would be future-proofed.  It is not, but they couldn't see that when they were doing the work.  Hopefully, discussions like this will help them see it now.