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A few words about...™ General Della Rovere -- in Blu-ray

A Few Words About Blu-ray

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#1 of 22 Robert Harris

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Posted November 10 2013 - 04:34 PM

General Della Rovere, Roberto Rossellini's brilliant WWII drama is one of my favorite films of the era, and probably my favorite Rossellini production.  Starring filmmaker Vittorio de Sica, it captures your interest quickly and once you're in...

 

Criterion released the film on DVD not long ago, and the work is up to their normal standards.

 

Hoping that they would be the publisher to give us the film on Blu-ray, I was still thrilled to learn that Raro would be bringing it to market.

 

Unfortunately, that's where the thrills end.

 

I had a 16mm print decades ago, which was reduction printed from the domestic 35mm negative, and the quality was mind-boggling.

 

Raro Video's is mind-numbing.

 

What's gone wrong?

 

Virtually everything.

 

While the image quality is actually quite good, it seems to have come directly from some sort of machine, with no one ever caring to look at it.

 

The film is 1.33 or possibly 1.37.  I've always viewed it at 1.66, and I like it that way.

 

For some reason, no one felt that the film should have been cropped in any way.  And by that I mean that we see the camera aperture.

 

And all of the dirt that attached itself to the aperture during shooting.

 

Along with a few splice lines, and an occasional area that goes outside of the aperture, and shows a white vertical line adjacent to the sound track.

 

Most of the film was shot on sound stages, and it can take awhile to get used to the sometimes artificial look of the film.  What we don't need is anything continuously reminds us that we're watching that stuff with the holes on the side, and not any sort of drama.

 

I'd be embarrassed to release this.

 

If Raro did a quick recall, and redid the film in nicely cropped fashion, I believe they'd really have something.

 

As it is.  No.

 

Had they left the sprocket holes and track area exposed, I would have found it more entertaining.

 

Image - Actual picture quality - 4

             As released - 0.5

 

Audio - 4

 

Absolutely not 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 22 Ken Volok

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Posted November 10 2013 - 04:46 PM

Sad state of affairs.



#3 of 22 atcolomb

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Posted November 10 2013 - 06:42 PM

One of my favorite films of Vittorio de Sica as a actor and a great film too.  Maybe Criterion will re-release it on blu-ray in the future?

Would like to see one of his last great films as a director "The Garden of the Finzi Continis" released on blu-ray. The region 1 dvd from Sony is out of print but the region 2 UK dvd from Arrow Video looks very good.



#4 of 22 bgart13

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Posted November 11 2013 - 09:51 AM

Raro posted this comment this AM on Facebook, my guess is it's in response to your comments, Robert:

"The telecine of both versions of General Della Rovere was made with a full frame 4:3 standard, i.e. with a film projection standard, rather than with the more common but smaller television standard, which cuts at least 15% of the image. It is important to know that, in Italy and abroad, both films or programmes made for television and regular films broadcasted on television or published in VHS or DVD nearly always employ the television standard, which prevents a large part of the original projected film image being visible on your television
set. Employing the television standard, films shot with the traditional 4:3 aspect ratio (also known as the 1.37:1 or Academy ratio) will appear on your television set heavily cut on all four sides, while films with a wide screen (1.66:1 or 1.85:1) or scope (2.35:1) aspect ratio will appear cut on the left and right sides of the image. The illustration below shows a frame taken from one of the opening scenes of General Della Rovere. The original frame shows the complete filmed image (you can also see the black line rounded off at the corners). The first white line delineates the area visible on your television set (although this area may vary slightly from one type of television set to another) if videorecorded with the full frame standard adopted for this DVD edition. (Only spectators viewing the video version of the film through a computer or in a video projection will see the whole image). As you can see, the image seen is slightly smaller than the complete image. This is because the projection gate is narrower than the aperture plate used while shooting a sound film, the dimensions of this plate, for traditional 1.37:1 aspect or Academy ratio, being 22.05 mm x 16.03 mm, while those of the projection gate are 20.96 mm x 15.25 mm, with 9.63% less of the image being visible on the screen. Thus, what you see on the television set, with our full frame standard, is very similar to what you’ll see in a film projection. The second white line delineates the image seen on your television set when the film is broadcasted on television or reproduced from traditional VHS or DVD editions employing the television standard. (In this case, spectators viewing the video version of the film through a computer or in a video projection will see the image contained within the first white line). It is obvious that this format generates a further, rather annoying, loss of image with respect to the image visible in a film projection (as can be clearly seen in the way the opening credits of many video versions of films made using the traditional television standard are cut off at the sides). However, it is very easy to obtain our full frame image. Rather than using the traditional television standard normally employed in telecines, all that needs to be done is to zoom out in such a way as to achieve a wider aperture and record a greater portion of the original image! We hope that other video publishers will follow our example."

https://www.facebook...ubstory_index=0

PS - There was no image posted with it, so I've inquired about it so it can posted here too later (perhaps?).

PPS - they've also added: "This a detailed explanation written by Adriano Apra' (the curator of this publication) on the choice of the Film aspect ratio."

Edited by bgart13, November 11 2013 - 11:06 AM.


#5 of 22 theonemacduff

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Posted November 11 2013 - 02:33 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong but films are not shot using aperture plates, they are simply projected using aperture plates. And the use of the word "annoying" is interesting, as it recalls a lot of the debate around some Hammer releases over the last couple of years, i.e., the substitution of the curators' aesthetic criteria in place of factual material (where recoverable) about what the film-makers intended for an aspect ratio. Oi vey, as one might say.



#6 of 22 Robert Harris

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Posted November 11 2013 - 02:48 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong but films are not shot using aperture plates, they are simply projected using aperture plates. And the use of the word "annoying" is interesting, as it recalls a lot of the debate around some Hammer releases over the last couple of years, i.e., the substitution of the curators' aesthetic criteria in place of factual material (where recoverable) about what the film-makers intended for an aspect ratio. Oi vey, as one might say.

 

Films are both photographed as well as projected with aperture plates.

 

The projection plate has a smaller image, as one would not wish to see full camera ap.

 

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 22 Robert Harris

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Posted November 11 2013 - 02:49 PM

Raro posted this comment this AM on Facebook, my guess is it's in response to your comments, Robert:

"The telecine of both versions of General Della Rovere was made with a full frame 4:3 standard, i.e. with a film projection standard, rather than with the more common but smaller television standard, which cuts at least 15% of the image. It is important to know that, in Italy and abroad, both films or programmes made for television and regular films broadcasted on television or published in VHS or DVD nearly always employ the television standard, which prevents a large part of the original projected film image being visible on your television
set. Employing the television standard, films shot with the traditional 4:3 aspect ratio (also known as the 1.37:1 or Academy ratio) will appear on your television set heavily cut on all four sides, while films with a wide screen (1.66:1 or 1.85:1) or scope (2.35:1) aspect ratio will appear cut on the left and right sides of the image. The illustration below shows a frame taken from one of the opening scenes of General Della Rovere. The original frame shows the complete filmed image (you can also see the black line rounded off at the corners). The first white line delineates the area visible on your television set (although this area may vary slightly from one type of television set to another) if videorecorded with the full frame standard adopted for this DVD edition. (Only spectators viewing the video version of the film through a computer or in a video projection will see the whole image). As you can see, the image seen is slightly smaller than the complete image. This is because the projection gate is narrower than the aperture plate used while shooting a sound film, the dimensions of this plate, for traditional 1.37:1 aspect or Academy ratio, being 22.05 mm x 16.03 mm, while those of the projection gate are 20.96 mm x 15.25 mm, with 9.63% less of the image being visible on the screen. Thus, what you see on the television set, with our full frame standard, is very similar to what you’ll see in a film projection. The second white line delineates the image seen on your television set when the film is broadcasted on television or reproduced from traditional VHS or DVD editions employing the television standard. (In this case, spectators viewing the video version of the film through a computer or in a video projection will see the image contained within the first white line). It is obvious that this format generates a further, rather annoying, loss of image with respect to the image visible in a film projection (as can be clearly seen in the way the opening credits of many video versions of films made using the traditional television standard are cut off at the sides). However, it is very easy to obtain our full frame image. Rather than using the traditional television standard normally employed in telecines, all that needs to be done is to zoom out in such a way as to achieve a wider aperture and record a greater portion of the original image! We hope that other video publishers will follow our example."

https://www.facebook...ubstory_index=0

PS - There was no image posted with it, so I've inquired about it so it can posted here too later (perhaps?).

PPS - they've also added: "This a detailed explanation written by Adriano Apra' (the curator of this publication) on the choice of the Film aspect ratio."

 

Sorry, but this makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.  Projection apertures never equal camera apertures.  They're totally different, and for different purposes.  No one is suggesting that films be prepared for modern digital dissemination for TV aperture.  Modern transfers prepare an image for full theatrical aspect ratio.

 

Here is a frame from The Godfather Part II - camera aperture:

 

GF 2 - Open Matte.jpg

 

And projection aperture:

 

GF 2 - Projection.jpg

 

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


#8 of 22 bgart13

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Posted November 11 2013 - 04:42 PM

'Twas only the messenger! ;)

#9 of 22 Jon Hertzberg

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Posted November 12 2013 - 09:33 AM

 Oi vey, as one might say.

 

Or, oy vey.



#10 of 22 Jon Hertzberg

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Posted November 12 2013 - 09:39 AM

For what it's worth, Adriano Apra is a preeminent Rossellini historian.  Just happened to open my newly arrived Rossellini-Bergman set last night, after reading this thread, and Apra is featured prominently in that set's supplements.  I suspect something may have been lost in translation, in his response above, from Italian to English.



#11 of 22 Robert Harris

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Posted November 12 2013 - 11:14 AM

For what it's worth, Adriano Apra is a preeminent Rossellini historian.  Just happened to open my newly arrived Rossellini-Bergman set last night, after reading this thread, and Apra is featured prominently in that set's supplements.  I suspect something may have been lost in translation, in his response above, from Italian to English.

 

A real possibility.  The problem, however, is not with his words, but with the release, which reminds me -- in its entirety -- of those 16mm shots one might see in documentaries, frame dirt and all.

 

I found the presentation unappealing.  And while I had only previously seen the film in 1.66 -- even the 16mm prints were matted as such -- the aspect ratio at 1.37 isn't the problem.  It's all in presentation.

 

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


#12 of 22 McCrutchy

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Posted November 12 2013 - 02:40 PM

Raro posted this comment this AM on Facebook, my guess is it's in response to your comments, Robert:

"It is important to know that, in Italy and abroad, both films or programmes made for television and regular films broadcasted on television or published in VHS or DVD nearly always employ the television standard, which prevents a large part of the original projected film image being visible on your television set. Employing the television standard, films shot with the traditional 4:3 aspect ratio (also known as the 1.37:1 or Academy ratio) will appear on your television set heavily cut on all four sides, while films with a wide screen (1.66:1 or 1.85:1) or scope (2.35:1) aspect ratio will appear cut on the left and right sides of the image."

 

This portion is very confusing to me, given that DVDs in the US and Italy have respected OAR as standard for some years now. Is Mr. Apra speaking of some kind of "television standard" form of video mastering, whereby a film is zoomed in from its theatrical aspect ratio before it is mastered for DVD, or is he speaking about the old pan and scan process that produced 1.33:1 TV masters, VHS, LDs, and DVDs of widescreen films?  It sounds like the latter, but how is that justification for presenting a film that should be 1.66:1 in (as I understand it) some kind of full camera aperture presentation?



#13 of 22 Jon Hertzberg

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Posted November 12 2013 - 03:48 PM

It sounds like the latter, but how is that justification for presenting a film that should be 1.66:1 in (as I understand it) some kind of full camera aperture presentation?

 

Criterion's now OOP DVD was presented 1.33:1.  How that framing compares to the new Blu-ray, or if that was correct or as it "should be," I'm not sure.  I have the Raro disc (but haven't had time to unwrap it yet) and I do not own the Criterion version.



#14 of 22 Robert Harris

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Posted November 12 2013 - 04:06 PM

This portion is very confusing to me, given that DVDs in the US and Italy have respected OAR as standard for some years now. Is Mr. Apra speaking of some kind of "television standard" form of video mastering, whereby a film is zoomed in from its theatrical aspect ratio before it is mastered for DVD, or is he speaking about the old pan and scan process that produced 1.33:1 TV masters, VHS, LDs, and DVDs of widescreen films?  It sounds like the latter, but how is that justification for presenting a film that should be 1.66:1 in (as I understand it) some kind of full camera aperture presentation?

1.37.  1.66.  It makes no matter.  It's everything else.

 

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


#15 of 22 EddieLarkin

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Posted November 24 2013 - 01:23 AM

When Raro posted the Adriano Apra explanation on Facebook, it referred to an image that was conspicuously absent. That image can be seen in the following link, from the booklet accompanying an earlier DVD:

 

http://img43.imagesh...3/8400/38rq.jpg

 

Please consider the image and then re-read the text. Here are the relevant parts, emphasis mine:

 

The illustration below shows a frame taken from one of the opening scenes of General Della Rovere. The original frame shows the complete filmed image (you can also see the black line rounded off at the corners). The first white line delineates the area visible on your television set (although this area may vary slightly from one type of television set to another) if videorecorded with the full frame standard adopted for this DVD edition. (Only spectators viewing the video version of the film through a computer or in a video projection will see the whole image). As you can see, the image seen is slightly smaller than the complete image...Thus, what you see on the television set, with our full frame standard, is very similar to what you’ll see in a film projection.

 

The second white line delineates the image seen on your television set when the film is broadcasted on television or reproduced from traditional VHS or DVD editions employing the television standard. (In this case, spectators viewing the video version of the film through a computer or in a video projection will see the image contained within the first white line). It is obvious that this format generates a further, rather annoying, loss of image with respect to the image visible in a film projection.

 

Basically, Apra is saying the inner white line is the television standard, which loses essential information, whilst the outer white line is what they have opted for restoration. Except, on Raro's presentation, they haven't. If they had, none of the rounded corners or camera aperture would be visible. Clearly, someone messed up at the telecine or transfer stage, and included everything. The explanation from the booklet, posted on Facebook, directly contradicts what is on the disc.

 

So RAH is right, this should be recalled.


Edited by EddieLarkin, November 24 2013 - 06:28 AM.


#16 of 22 Mark-P

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Posted November 24 2013 - 11:30 AM

Faulty logic. Their argument may have held up 15 years ago when TVs had overscan but not today. It's the same reason that windowboxed credits are no longer necessary.

#17 of 22 EddieLarkin

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Posted November 24 2013 - 11:50 AM

Their argument is perfectly sound. They're simply saying, the outer white line is preferable to the inner white line, which it is! But the outer white line is still some way inwards from the very edge of the element, and yet it is the edge of the element and beyond that ends up on the Blu-ray. So they messed up somewhere, and then didn't even notice that the argument they put up on Facebook actually supports RAH's comments!



#18 of 22 Mark-P

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Posted November 24 2013 - 12:22 PM

Their argument is perfectly sound. They're simply saying, the outer white line is preferable to the inner white line, which it is! But the outer white line is still some way inwards from the very edge of the element, and yet it is the edge of the element and beyond that ends up on the Blu-ray. So they messed up somewhere, and then didn't even notice that the argument they put up on Facebook actually supports RAH's comments!

I read their explanation to mean that the whole camera image is on the video but the overscan on your TV should allow you to see the image represented by the first white line. "(Only spectators viewing the video version of the film through a computer or in a video projection will see the whole image)."  Meaning the whole camera aperture, rounded corners and all. It's like they expect your television to act as a projection plate and crop the image properly.


Edited by Mark-P, November 24 2013 - 12:31 PM.


#19 of 22 Moe Dickstein

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Posted November 24 2013 - 12:43 PM

Eddie, you SHOULD have the film cropped to the outer white line, as the film would be in projection.

Their mistake is that they've encoded too much image in the disc and so when TVs have no overscan they show too much of the image.
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#20 of 22 EddieLarkin

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Posted November 24 2013 - 12:53 PM

Hmm, I hadn't considered that. I thought when they say video version, they're referring to the telecine stage. But it could just be poor translation. If you're correct, then that means they expect you to crop the full image yourself, which is one thing on DVD, but really inappropriate when it comes to Blu-ray.





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