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We are entering a precipitous juncture in our relationship with 4k UHD, in which films in no way ripe for the technology are receiving it nonetheless.

A perfect example is Jane Campion’s The Piano, a 1993 film, shot on 35/4, and showing every bit of it’s grain structure like a war-time medal.


It’s a beautifully shot, high quality film, with no more than moderate resolution, that looks fine in its latest Criterion incineration, in both Blu-ray as well as 4k UHD versions.

I mention that precipitous juncture, as we seem to have come to a time when everything can eventually be released in 4k, whether it benefits the film or not, except when sitting with one’s nose to the screen.

I’m unable to speak to Dolby Vision, as I sampled my viewing via projection, which is seemingly the best means of eeking everything out of a 4k release.

Comparing the Blu-ray to the 4k, what I’m seeing is a bit more highly resolved edge to grain. That’s it.

There is simply nothing else to resolve.

So now we’ll ask the big question.

Am I happier with 4k than Blu-ray, even if a noticeable different cannot be seen at a nominal seating distance?

I am.

For the simply knowledge that I’m getting everything out of the original negative that can be harvested, especially in projection.

Can I see a different seated ten or twelve feet away?

Not a chance.

But the bragging rights are in place.

I’ll bring up that precipitous juncture once again, as Criterion is also releasing A Hard Day’s Night in 4k – a film for which the entire original negative does not survive.

Am I happy to have it in 4k?

Yup.

Is it necessary?

Nope.

All a matter of dollars.

Would I pay an additional $7 to have a film in 4k, even if it doesn’t need it?

Yes.

What have we learned?


I believe that at this juncture we can bring out everything in 4k, unless the format makes it a worse experience. Have at it.

Image – 5 (Dolby Vision)

Audio – 5 (DTS-HD MA 5.1)

Pass / Fail – Pass

Plays nicely with projectors – Yes

Makes use of and works well in 4k – 3.25

Upgrade from earlier Blu-ray – Absolutely!

Highly Recommended

RAH
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JoshZ

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I'm unable to speak to Dolby Vision, as I sampled my viewing via projection, which is seemingly the best means of eeking everything out of a 4k release.

The projector may not be able do to Dolby Vision, but it will still fall back on the HDR10 base. Does this film benefit at all from HDR?
 

Robert Harris

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The projector may not be able do to Dolby Vision, but it will still fall back on the HDR10 base. Does this film benefit at all from HDR?
Minimally. It’s generally a dark film. Bottom line, this is a superior disc to previous versions overall, based upon the new image harvest. 4k and HDR are frills and extras. It’s worth owning even for the new Blu-ray
 

Vincent_P

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One thing to consider is, beyond "resolution", UHD is always going to better Blu-ray in terms of color. Even SDR UHDs will have 4-times the color "resolution" (540 X 960 on Blu-ray vs. 1080 X 1920 on UHD), and UHDs are usually 10-bit color (again, even SDR UHDs) vs. 8-bit for Blu-rays. And even if one dislikes "HDR" in terms of nits and such, the color space of HDR UHDs will be greater than the Rec. 709 standard on Blu-rays and SDR UHDs.

Vincent
 

JoeDoakes

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Ray
We are entering a precipitous juncture in our relationship with 4k UHD, in which films in no way ripe for the technology are receiving it nonetheless.

A perfect example is Jane Campion's The Piano, a 1993 film, shot on 35/4, and showing every bit of it's grain structure like a war-time medal.

Comparing the Blu-ray to the 4k, what I'm seeing is a bit more highly resolved edge to grain. That's it.

There is simply nothing else to resolve.

So now we'll ask the big question.

Am I happier with 4k than Blu-ray, even if a noticeable different cannot be seen at a nominal seating distance?

I am.

For the simply knowledge that I'm getting everything out of the original negative that can be harvested, especially in projection.

Can I see a different seated ten or twelve feet away?

Not a chance.

But the bragging rights are in place.

I'll bring up that precipitous juncture once again, as Criterion is also releasing A Hard Day's Night in 4k - a film for which the entire original negative does not survive.

Am I happy to have it in 4k?

Yup.

Is it necessary?

Nope.

All a matter of dollars.

Would I pay an additional $7 to have a film in 4k, even if it doesn't need it?

Yes.
Do you need bragging rights? More particularly, is wanting 4K in such cases where, even with whatever superior theater set up you must have does not improve your experience from a 4K release, a matter of wanting overall superior film preservation, even if you do not experience the benefit of it? Is that what you are saying?
 

Robert Harris

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Do you need bragging rights? More particularly, is wanting 4K in such cases where, even with whatever superior theater set up you must have does not improve your experience from a 4K release, a matter of wanting overall superior film preservation, even if you do not experience the benefit of it? Is that what you are saying?
Two different situations, unless you’re referring to the immense restorative efforts needed in order to return to this particular OCN. Rumor has it, that no film in the modern era has been mishandled as badly as The Piano. Over-printed, improperly stored (humidity and high temperatures).

Criterion gets huge kudos for financing this restoration.

On a projection screen, however, at a nominal seating distance, the difference between BD and 4k UHD is minimal at best.

I’m always pleased in the case of incremental upgrades, and this is such a case - when comparing vs the new BD, based upon the same image harvest. I’m not comparing vs any earlier release.
 
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titch

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Criterion gets huge kudos for financing this restoration.
Shouldn't the credit go to StudioCanal? They performed the 4K restoration of The Piano for its 25th anniversary. The region B blu ray was released in 2018.

 

Robert Harris

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Shouldn't the credit go to StudioCanal? They performed the 4K restoration of The Piano for its 25th anniversary. The region B blu ray was released in 2018.

Whomever it was should be canonized, as this film has been desperately in need of restoration.

It hasn't even been released in color, as only an old black & white print has been previously available. Material had been stored, and somehow lost in the outback.
 

B-ROLL

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Whomever it was should be canonized, as this film has been desperately in need of restoration.

It hasn't even been released in color, as only an old black & white print has been previously available. Material had been stored, and somehow lost in the outback.
Perhaps someone was trying to sell it frame by frame ;) ...
 

Robert Harris

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A couple of points re: The new 4k release of The Piano.

First, my comparison of the new 4k vs Blu was the 4k vs the NEW Blu. There is no comparison to the looks transfer.

and second, a comment from Criterion’s Lee Kline, for which I have approval to quote;

”Jane and Stuart [the DP] always had one idea that drove the look of the film - It should look like the inside of a fishbowl. That was the inspiration on the color scheme. The 4k Rec2020 UHD DolbyVision color finally shows that.

In my humble opinion, it looks fantastic. Definitely one we’re pretty proud of around here after seeing the final result. There are some limitations to what’s on the film in a few places, but when it shines it shines.”
 

Mike_Nepo

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You wouldn't by chance have the previous Blu for comparison's sake? I'm just curious if the new Blu is also a better buy than the previous incarnation.
 

titch

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No question that the new blu ray is better. I had the old Miramax BD-25 from 2012. It did not look nearly as nice projected as the blu ray which StudioCanal released in 2018 (Criterion has used the same master for their blu-ray). And the Miramax had zero bonus material. Treat yourself.
 
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