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A few words about...™ Universal Monsters -- in Blu-ray

A Few Words About

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#21 of 83 bgart13

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Posted October 07 2012 - 01:22 PM

A short side story. When I was about to turn 11 or 12, I was put on the train to Manhattan and was told I was going somewhere with my father, who met me in NYC, and walked me to a friend's office. At that time, I had been working my way through the films that are the subject of this thread. I was in awe of their history, how they had been made, and the people who made them. Apparently, this was a set-up. When we arrived, I was ushered into a conference room, where a tall English gentleman was waiting for me. I spent the next hour learning about many of the Universal horror films of the 1930s and '40s. The English gentleman, who gave freely of his time, and who could not have been more kind... Mr. Karloff. RAH

That's a really boss story! I'm envious... :D

#22 of 83 Mark Oates

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Posted October 07 2012 - 01:28 PM

But some idiot monks always scrubbed all the grain from the paper.

Veining from the parchment. Let's use the correct technical terms. ;) (If anybody's interested) :D Illustrated manuscripts were prepared on calfskin or goatskin parchment with the finest quality being vellum. In preparing the writing surface for the ink, it would be abraded with pumice and then treated with a preparation of lime (Calcium Hydroxide). A certain amount of veining was inevitable due to the nature of the material and the finer and lighter the veining would have been an indicator of the quality of the parchment. Parchments could be wiped by abrasion and reused (called Palimpsests).
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#23 of 83 Robert Harris

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Posted October 07 2012 - 02:35 PM

Originally Posted by Mark Oates 


Veining from the parchment. Let's use the correct technical terms. Posted Image
(If anybody's interested) Posted Image
Illustrated manuscripts were prepared on calfskin or goatskin parchment with the finest quality being vellum. In preparing the writing surface for the ink, it would be abraded with pumice and then treated with a preparation of lime (Calcium Hydroxide). A certain amount of veining was inevitable due to the nature of the material and the finer and lighter the veining would have been an indicator of the quality of the parchment. Parchments could be wiped by abrasion and reused (called Palimpsests).

Very interesting.  Thank you!  The term palimpsest has been used recently for on line gathering of postings, has it not?


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


#24 of 83 JohnMor

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Posted October 07 2012 - 02:46 PM

Originally Posted by Mark Oates 


Veining from the parchment. Let's use the correct technical terms. Posted Image
(If anybody's interested) Posted Image
Illustrated manuscripts were prepared on calfskin or goatskin parchment with the finest quality being vellum. In preparing the writing surface for the ink, it would be abraded with pumice and then treated with a preparation of lime (Calcium Hydroxide). A certain amount of veining was inevitable due to the nature of the material and the finer and lighter the veining would have been an indicator of the quality of the parchment. Parchments could be wiped by abrasion and reused (called Palimpsests).


Oh, sure! Try to justify the scrubbing! You must be a shill working for the monks!  Posted Image


(Seriously, Mark, that is fascinating! Thanks! Posted Image )



#25 of 83 Kevin EK

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Posted October 07 2012 - 04:10 PM

Not to spill ink on someone else's parchment, but my full review of the set is now up.


You may find the Complete Review here.


It's a tiny bit longer than the usual review.



#26 of 83 Neil S. Bulk

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Posted October 07 2012 - 05:44 PM

Mr. Harris, I read your overview and I don't see The Invisible Man. ;)



#27 of 83 Larry Sutliff

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Posted October 08 2012 - 08:41 AM

This will be very viewing size dependent.  My grades are based upon the fact that there is no need for registration problems in a 2012 release, especially one like Phantom, for the all other attributes, inclusive of color, are exemplary. RAH

I'm sorry to see that there are problems with the PHANTOM transfer, as it's one of my personal favorites(if far from the best movie in this collection). I've seen other HD transfers of 3-strip Technicolor with registration problems(QUO VADIS comes to mind), but it was never enough to take me out of the film watching experience. Hopefully I'll feel the same way about PHANTOM.

#28 of 83 Guest__*

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Posted October 08 2012 - 08:45 AM

Larry, I know everyone will have different opinions, but I thought Phantom looked great on my setup. I am sensitive to registration problems, and didn't notice any.

#29 of 83 Larry Sutliff

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Posted October 08 2012 - 09:16 AM

Larry, I know everyone will have different opinions, but I thought Phantom looked great on my setup. I am sensitive to registration problems, and didn't notice any.

Good to hear, Eric! I'm not quite so sensitive to those problems, so I hope I find myself enjoying this transfer. The old DVD looked like it wasn't from a true Technicolor print, so just the fact that Universal used a real Technicolor source for the Blu-ray is good news to me.

#30 of 83 David_MSP

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Posted October 08 2012 - 01:29 PM

Mr. Harris, Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this release. The one question I'm having a hard time finding an answer to is whether the SD extras on the UK release are in 480p or 576p. I have ordered the UK release as well and am looking forward to it arriving in the next day or two. Thank you in advance for any light you might be able to shed on this. Regards, David

#31 of 83 Robert Harris

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Posted October 08 2012 - 02:16 PM

Mr. Harris, Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this release. The one question I'm having a hard time finding an answer to is whether the SD extras on the UK release are in 480p or 576p. I have ordered the UK release as well and am looking forward to it arriving in the next day or two. Thank you in advance for any light you might be able to shed on this. Regards, David

As everything is played via BD, the discs play fine in the US. Not certain what conversion machinations data may have passed through.

"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


#32 of 83 David_MSP

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Posted October 08 2012 - 02:22 PM

As everything is played via BD, the discs play fine in the US. Not certain what conversion machinations data may have passed through.

That's great to hear! Thank you very much!

#33 of 83 MichaelEl

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Posted October 09 2012 - 02:04 AM

I'm sorry to see that there are problems with the PHANTOM transfer, as it's one of my personal favorites(if far from the best movie in this collection). I've seen other HD transfers of 3-strip Technicolor with registration problems(QUO VADIS comes to mind), but it was never enough to take me out of the film watching experience. Hopefully I'll feel the same way about PHANTOM.

My impression is that most DVDs of early 3-strip films show registration problems. It's therefore no surprise the same problems show up on Blu-Ray, since the Blu-Ray is generally created from the same film elements as the DVD. The question is whether the studios are holding back on better quality prints. If the only choices are going back to the original Technicolor matrices or correcting misregistered sequences digitally frame-by-frame, then it's likely these problems will never be fixed. My guess is PHANTOM and most other early 3-strip films will always exhibit registration problems on home video, since better prints are unavailable (or unobtainable) and the studios are never going to pay millions of dollars for a proper restoration.

#34 of 83 Robert Harris

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Posted October 09 2012 - 08:04 AM

Originally Posted by MichaelEl 


My impression is that most DVDs of early 3-strip films show registration problems. It's therefore no surprise the same problems show up on Blu-Ray, since the Blu-Ray is generally created from the same film elements as the DVD. The question is whether the studios are holding back on better quality prints. If the only choices are going back to the original Technicolor matrices or correcting misregistered sequences digitally frame-by-frame, then it's likely these problems will never be fixed. My guess is PHANTOM and most other early 3-strip films will always exhibit registration problems on home video, since better prints are unavailable (or unobtainable) and the studios are never going to pay millions of dollars for a proper restoration.


Three-strip Technicolor films did not have registration problems.  They never did.


Improper conversions to Eastman dupes can have problems, but should not.


No uses matrices to do anything.  The scanning elements are negatives and masters.


A print is not the problem.  The problem is human error and a lack of desire to get it right.


And millions of dollars are not in discussion.


Simple.


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


#35 of 83 Jack Theakston

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Posted October 09 2012 - 08:07 AM

Three-strip Technicolor films did not have registration problems. They never did.

Not in shooting, but in processing and printing, they absolutely did. Uneven shrinkage (due to the drying of the negs in separate stages), misaligned splices, and good old fashioned pin mis-registration caused quite a bit of registration issues in the early films, which is why you'll see fringing in certain shots of IB prints of titles like WIZARD OF OZ and ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD that were never fixed until they were brought into the digital realm. The new composite print of PHANTOM, which was overseen by Scott MacQueen, did not have any issues of registration. I don't know where this came up on the Blu-Ray.
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#36 of 83 Robert Harris

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Posted October 09 2012 - 08:21 AM

Originally Posted by Jack Theakston 


Not in shooting, but in processing and printing, they absolutely did. Uneven shrinkage (due to the drying of the negs in separate stages), misaligned splices, and good old fashioned pin mis-registration caused quite a bit of registration issues in the early films, which is why you'll see fringing in certain shots of IB prints of titles like WIZARD OF OZ and ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD that were never fixed until they were brought into the digital realm.
The new composite print of PHANTOM, which was overseen by Scott MacQueen, did not have any issues of registration. I don't know where this came up on the Blu-Ray.

While splices could create single frame anomalies, registration was usually not an issue.  When it was, it was generally well hidden by the low resolution of the prints.  And by "prints," I referring to original runs.  Most shrinkage problems arrived decades down the line.  And nitrate as a base, was far fewer problems than safety.


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


#37 of 83 Robert Crawford

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Posted October 10 2012 - 11:45 PM

Originally Posted by Robert Crawford 

There is a difference of opinion regarding yours and Kevin's thoughts on Phantom than what some other reviewers and regular posters are saying about it.  I do attribute that difference to various HT equipment used to view this disc as well as more critical or better yet more knowledgeable eyes regarding what this film should look like on this BD.  Anyhow, I'll probably get my UK box set on Tuesday so Phantom is first up due to these opinion differences as I'm curious to see which group my personal opinion will agree with.  Apparently, The Wolf Man and The Creature from the Black Lagoon are two other discs in which differences of opinion are noted, but for different reasons than Phantom.  Unfortunately, the studios aren't better at producing high quality Blu-ray releases without this same song and dance that's been going on since the beginning in the home video era with each and every improved video format.

I viewed Phantom in its entirety yesterday and though it looked good for the most part, I could see the registration problems RAH and Kevin noted.  I don't know if I would have picked up on that issue if I wasn't looking for it throughout my viewing.  Also, after watching this version of Phantom of the Opera, it reminded me why I used to fall asleep watching this film at night during my childhood viewings of it.  This is by far my least favorite of the films in this boxset.  I rather they included Son of Frankenstein or some other horror title.


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#38 of 83 Paul Penna

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Posted October 11 2012 - 05:27 AM

I viewed Phantom in its entirety yesterday and though it looked good for the most part, I could see the registration problems RAH and Kevin noted.  I don't know if I would have picked up on that issue if I wasn't looking for it throughout my viewing.  Also, after watching this version of Phantom of the Opera, it reminded me why I used to fall asleep watching this film at night during my childhood viewings of it.  This is by far my least favorite of the films in this boxset.  I rather they included Son of Frankenstein or some other horror title.

I did some extensive sampling of Phantom, via my JVC DLA-HD350, projecting the image to about 8.5 feet wide. I noticed the occasional misregistrations, but overall I'd term them mildly annoying, certainly nothing even approaching those in, for example, the Warner Dodge City DVD. I pretty much agree with your opinion of the film as a piece of entertainment. It's gorgeous to look at, which counts for a lot with me, but I'm pretty sure I'll only watch it in its entirety with Scott MacQueen's commentary playing, which my sampling indicates is fascinating.

#39 of 83 DavidJ

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Posted October 11 2012 - 04:05 PM

Thanks RAH the "words" and Kevin for your review. I'm still waiting on my set to arrive from the UK, but my anticipation has now been heightened.

#40 of 83 Guest__*

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Posted October 11 2012 - 06:09 PM

Well, tonight is the big night! I'm showing "Frankenstein," "Bride of Frankenstein," and "The Wolf Man" at SkyDome Cinema. It warms my heart that so many people are excited about coming over..this will be my biggest audience yet! And for 70-80+ year-old films!





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