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Am I the only person who thinks AI is a lousy transfer?


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#1 of 47 Eujin

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Posted March 10 2002 - 03:45 PM

My wife and I just finished watching AI. After all the raves about transfer quality, I must say that I was very disappointed. There was grain everywhere! And not just grain that was inherent in the film. This grain does not give the transfer a more "film-like" look--it just makes the picture look like it's crawling. I know it's not my system because I just tested a bunch of other titles I own and they look fine. Am I alone in this universe? Does anyone else think this is a poor transfer? And before you ask, I'm using a RP56 going directly to a Tosh 50H81 via component cables (made from Canare L4CFB cable and connectors).

#2 of 47 Jeremy Anderson

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Posted March 10 2002 - 04:03 PM

Janusz Kaminski uses a lot of offbeat film processes to achieve that look (as he did in his directorial debut, Lost Souls). The result is an excess of grain, which I noticed even in the theater. Part of this is because they did skip-bleaching on the film, leaving the silver emulsion intact (which is why the image has such contrast). Personally, the DVD perfectly emulates what I saw on the big screen, and I think it's an outstanding transfer of the source material.

#3 of 47 Eujin

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Posted March 10 2002 - 04:11 PM

Jeremy, if what you say is true--and I have no reason to doubt you--then I'm just glad that I didn't see AI in the theaters. I know Kaminski has his style, but I thought it was just way overdone in AI. Oh well, I'm going to exchange my copy for some store credit tomorrow.

#4 of 47 Peter Apruzzese

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Posted March 10 2002 - 04:43 PM

It's not a poor transfer at all - it's what the film looks like. It's accurate and correct.
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#5 of 47 Joel C

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Posted March 10 2002 - 05:13 PM

I hope you aren't simply exchanging it because it didn't look the way you want it to. The transfer looks good to me because it is supposed to look that way. Taking out the grain would be like colorizing a B&W film.
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#6 of 47 Tim RH

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Posted March 10 2002 - 06:21 PM

There is nothing wrong with film grain. DVD owners seem to think that it is the fault of a bad transfer when this "artifact" shows up, but if you really want the most accurate representation of the movie, then it shouldn't bother you. In fact, I wish more DVDs had film grain (like Citizen Kane for instance).

In my opinion, A.I. has a splendid transfer, and I would have been displeased if they had mucked with the director and cinematographer's original intent. It is still far superior to VHS, so if you enjoyed the movie, please don't return the DVD, okay? Thanks. Posted Image

#7 of 47 Patrick McCart

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Posted March 10 2002 - 06:32 PM

A.I. was grainy when I saw it in the theater.

Grain isn't a very good thing to judge a transfer on.

#8 of 47 Robert Crawford

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Posted March 10 2002 - 06:46 PM

There are some members that believe "grain=poor video transfer" which is an incorrect way of thinking.


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#9 of 47 TonyD

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Posted March 10 2002 - 07:19 PM

just because it was intnded to look that way does that mean i can't say i didn't like it lookingt thjat way/ which i didn't.
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#10 of 47 Robert Crawford

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Posted March 10 2002 - 07:39 PM

Quote:
just because it was intnded to look that way does that mean i can't say i didn't like it lookingt thjat way/ which i didn't.

Disliking the look of a film is one thing but saying that look which was presented properly on dvd is a lousy transfer is simply wrong.


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#11 of 47 TonyD

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Posted March 10 2002 - 07:54 PM

I agree robert but if one hasn't seen the movie in a theater how could you know?
i saw it in a theater but my memory isn't that good to remember if it looked that way when i saw it.

maybe i just didn't notice or .....i may have chalked it up as being a bad presentation at the theater i was in.

if the theater had a bad copy how could someone know it was really supposed to look grainy? or not grainy?

maybr this thread should have been titled does anyone else think a.i. the movie had poor picture quality?
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#12 of 47 jeff peterson

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Posted March 10 2002 - 09:30 PM

There are many instances of film manipulation by the director/cinematographer. The greenish tint in the Matrix, the fire streaks in Saving Private Ryan, black and white Woody Allen movies. IMO, the title should be "Did anyone else dislike AI's filming style?" and the topic transferred to the movies forum.

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#13 of 47 Randy_M

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Posted March 10 2002 - 11:39 PM

I'm really glad I read this thread...didn't see this in the theater - rented the DVD this past weekend (loved the film, by the way)

I truly thought there was something wrong with my equipment as I watched this. Nice to know it was meant to be that way.

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#14 of 47 Rob Gillespie

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Posted March 11 2002 - 12:08 AM

What always puzzles me about so-called 'grainy' movies is that in a cinema (on a good print) the grain is noticeable but not instrusive. When the DVD arrives, the 'grain' is now more noticeable relative to the size of the screen. If a film looks 'grainy' on a 70ft screen, but 'very grainy' on a 32" TV, there's something wrong somewhere.

I remember A.I. having a somewhat grainy look when I saw it last year, but to my eyes the DVD looks 'more grainy'. My eyes aren't trained enough to determine whether the DVD 'grain' is real 'grain' or just compression artifacts, but the fact remains that the 'grain' is more noticeable to me on the disc, on a 32" TV than it was coming from film on a large screen, filling field of my vision.
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#15 of 47 James Miller

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Posted March 11 2002 - 12:57 AM

I imagine the better the resolution of the monitor / better cable input the less obvious ( grain will be. Moving up to component inputs, progressive scan DVD, Digital TV will likely reduce resolution related grain.

#16 of 47 Eujin

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Posted March 11 2002 - 01:41 AM

Quote:
IMO, the title should be "Did anyone else dislike AI's filming style?" and the topic transferred to the movies forum.


Not having seen the movie in the theater, it wasn't possible for me to determine if the amount of grain present was intentional, hence my assumption that it was a flaw in the transfer. That said, I want to clarify that I'm not opposed to grain in and of itself. However, in the case of AI I found the grain so excessive as to be distracting--something I didn't think would be part of the intended look of the film. If this IS the way that AI was meant to be seen, does anyone know the reasoning behind this stylistic choice? I can see why this style would fit well with other Spielberg/Kaminski collaborations like SPR and Schindler's List, but it seems a little incongruous with the world of AI.

#17 of 47 Ken_McAlinden

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Posted March 11 2002 - 02:11 AM

Quote:
What always puzzles me about so-called 'grainy' movies is that in a cinema (on a good print) the grain is noticeable but not instrusive. When the DVD arrives, the 'grain' is now more noticeable relative to the size of the screen. If a film looks 'grainy' on a 70ft screen, but 'very grainy' on a 32" TV, there's something wrong somewhere.
I did not get this impression, but I did have the exact opposite reaction to "Eyes Wide Shut". The grain on the release print I saw on opening weekend looked almost grotesque, but the DVD, while still appearing "film-like" looked to be much more finely textured, which seemed odd considering the limitations of video resolution.

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#18 of 47 Michael Reuben

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Posted March 11 2002 - 02:43 AM

Quote:
What always puzzles me about so-called 'grainy' movies is that in a cinema (on a good print) the grain is noticeable but not instrusive. When the DVD arrives, the 'grain' is now more noticeable relative to the size of the screen. If a film looks 'grainy' on a 70ft screen, but 'very grainy' on a 32" TV, there's something wrong somewhere.

After many years of reading messages at HTF, I've observed that people often watch their TV screens much more critically than they do movie screens (assuming they even go to movie theaters, which many HT people do not). For example, the orange flares in Private Ryan were spotted instantly on video, but many of the people asking about it swore up and down that they weren't there in the cinema.

I suspect that part of it is the psychology of owning the movie and the equipment. It's yours, you expect to keep it, and so you scrutinize it more closely than you would with a one-shot deal. (I know I was like that when I first got laserdiscs.) In a movie theater, you tend to watch the movie; on your home setup, you tend to watch the disc.

I think that scale may also be a factor. Certain elements of a film are much easier to pick up on a smaller display area that you can easily take in all at once, as opposed to a larger one where you can't focus equal attention on all parts of the screen simultaneously.

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#19 of 47 TonyD

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Posted March 11 2002 - 03:35 AM

Quote:
the orange flares in Private Ryan were spotted instantly on video, but many of the people asking about it swore up and down that they weren't there in the cinema.


i think it's easier to recognize "artistic" filming styles on home equipment because if you see something that you find unusual or appearring to be a flaw or mistake you just hit the pause and rewatch it.

in the movies you mite say "did you see that the way i did?" but you werent sure and you can't rewind. you could go see it again but then you have to go to the movies again.Posted Image
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#20 of 47 Brian-W

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Posted March 11 2002 - 05:02 AM

What gets me anytime I see a "Poor Transfer" thread is how anyone could derive that what they viewed was a poor transfer? Let's be real, even the print you see in the theater is a copy of a copy, and not representative of where the HD/DVD master was generated from.

Considering practically no one here has access to the master prints (or even generational subsequent prints) how can anyone here say the transfer for any given film is poor when you have zero access to the print it was made from?

The film may not have that look you expect, but that doesn't mean the transfer was poor.

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