2001 compression & quality

Discussion in 'DVD' started by MikeUnc, Aug 21, 2005.

  1. MikeUnc

    MikeUnc Auditioning

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    Hello all. Hope you chaps can help me sort out a bit of a shouting match I seemed to start on Usenet talking about the horrid artifacting visible in stretches of 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    Most of the responses have been along the lines of "be sure you have your set and your DVD player set to 16:9, idiot" which is advice I don't need, but thanks. A few people have mentioned that some DVDs will look fine on a SD set an awful on an HD set, which was my sense of it: I never noticed the nastiness of some of the compression on this disc until I watched it on my HD WEGA tube set just the other night. I assume this is due to the much greater resolution, but await the enlightenment of you fine folks.

    I've seen a few others in various threads mention their particular problems with this disc. My opinion is it is a vast improvement over previous issues but still rather a mess for a film as important as 2001. There are halos aplenty, what I refer to as "blueing out" of the blacks and some blocky pixelization visible therein in some, though not all, of the space sequences. The problems seem exacerbated in the extreme in higher-contrast segments. I could sit down and make notes of each spot where I've seen a problem, and will if need be.

    I believe it's just a case of a sloppy authoring job. In spots the picture is no better than what I can produce right here with my own DVD burner. In other spots it's just fine.

    What are your thoughts? I have read other threads referring to a forthcoming special edition release, and concur with the hopes of some that the focus is not on a bunch of extra features but on a higher-quality compression job.
     
  2. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    It would help if you indicated which version of 2001 you're looking at. The original MGM release is not nearly as good as the Warner remaster.
     
  3. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Producer

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    I'd love (another) new transfer of "2001", but it seems the current one looks better to my eyes than to yours (viewing on a 53" widescreen set with image upscaled to 1080i via all digital HDMI connection).
     
  4. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Mike, offer some words about your equipment. Is it calibrated? And, per the question, which version of the film are you looking at? The MGM disc was a letterboxed 4:3-encoded disc; Warner's new version is 16:9-encoded. Other than some occasional haloing, the transfer is vastly improved over the original disc. It looks quite good, in fact.
     
  5. MikeUnc

    MikeUnc Auditioning

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    Whoops, should have mentioned that. I'm talking about the Warners disc, on a 36" Sony WEGA HD tube set, all 5,000 tons of it. Toshiba DVD player, the model number escapes me now, component in, properly set up for 16:9, system calibrated with Digital Video Essentials -- though I have a few questions about that, for another thread -- and double-checked with THX Optimizer. Not professionally calibrated, if that's the question; haven't got the money for that at the moment, or the backbone to deal with the wife's derision if a professional home theatre calibrator showed up at the house! [​IMG]

    Mostly it's EE and some bad haloing around light sources or particularly high-contrast sequences which gets my knickers in a knot.
     
  6. MikeUnc

    MikeUnc Auditioning

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    I will run the DVD in the next day or two as well, Jack, and offer some specifics as to moments I find egregious, and myabe we can all be looking at the same thing, OK?
     
  7. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Sure, fine.
     
  8. Craig Beam

    Craig Beam Screenwriter

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    My eyes are by no means professionally critical, but I was truly blown away by the Warner disc after suffering with the earlier MGM edition. It's been quite a while since I watched it, however... maybe I'll feel differently now that I've been spoiled on the visual splendor of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and THE MATRIX RELOADED.

    I also remember being blown away by BLADE RUNNER way back in the dawn of the DVD format... which looks really awful now. [​IMG]
     
  9. Andy_MT

    Andy_MT Second Unit

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    it is a mess to my eyes. while warner's 185 dvds are on the whole great, their 235s are another story. i find them to be very inconsistent. sometimes great, sometimes not. it's as if they use a different authoring houses for the two different ratios.
     
  10. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    Even the Warner version has HORRIBLE EE. Looks like forcefields around objects...
     
  11. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Mike also talks about the MPEG noise in the blacks...

    I've noticed that after going DVI to my projector..."noise blacks" became a real problem for me. I had to totally recalibrate everything to tone down their appearance until I got them to "blend away".

    It's possible that with some tweaking, you'll be able to get those MPEGgy blacks to look ok again. Your system is being accurate...many DVDs have awful noise in the blacks due to MPEG compression. The trick is to be accurate enough to let the good stuff through...but calibrate inaccurately enough to hide those MPEG nasties...
     
  12. MikeUnc

    MikeUnc Auditioning

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    Well here is a specific moment which I think is egregiously bad.

    At 1:44:20 or :21 or so, as the pod carrying Poole is entering the frame, there is a prime example of the kind of blueing I am talking about. The only way I can eliminate it is by dialing down the brightness to a point at which easily half the stars disappear. This is pretty much the case for this whole shot, and not for others surrounding it.

    What I would like to know is if I am just on crack or what? If you pop in 2001 and go to this point, freeze frame it and crank up your brightness for just a moment. Tell me if you see what I'm seeing, and at what point as you bring your brightness back down it goes away, and what else goes with it -- like stars.

    I Guess what I am saying is, I don't think it should be necessary to crank down half of the backrgound of the image to avoid the artifacting. But, I am also willing to accept the possibility that there is something dodgy with the equipment and there is something yet to be configured that would remedy this. But it sure seems to me to be part of the encoded image.

    I am trying a bunch of different things with the player itself right now, with little effect.
     
  13. MikeUnc

    MikeUnc Auditioning

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    To both Daves -- yes, I believe the EE problems are the real problem here. And the blacks just don't cut it. I understand the point about tweaking it until it looks OK, but I guess my point is, other films of comparable lengths with lots of high contrast white on deep blacks or strong light sources don't exhibit this problem. In fact very very few of my DVDs, and mostly the cheapies, exhibit this problem. So it kind of frosts me that I would have to change my setting sbecause of one crap encoding job or overly EE'd DVD! Oh well, I guess. I'd like to know if anyone can corroborate my specific notes above.

    Thanks all.
     
  14. Mark Lucas

    Mark Lucas Second Unit

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    I think it's safe to say that every home video version of 2001 has so far been subpar and disappointing. I'd say wait until it's properly done.
     
  15. TedD

    TedD Supporting Actor

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    You all do realize that 2001 was filmed on Eastman color stock, right? What you are seeing may be the best that can be done with the existing original elements.....

    Take a quick look at "Close Encounters Of the Third Kind" to see what happens when the source material has suffered from the dreaded Eastman Color film stock instabilities, possibly compounded by sloppy film processing.

    The 2001 DVD has way better blacks than Close Encounters does.

    Just a possibility....

    Ted
     
  16. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Ted et all,

    I saw a 35mm projection of 2001 at the Laffayette theater in NY last summer for their sci-fi film festival.

    The print was stunning. Perfect. Blacks were jet black and whites were pure white. There was no noise, nothing at all that resembles the "noisy blacks" in the DVD. The scenes in space were breathtaking...microscopic stars that looked like you were really staring into a night sky. Resolution was also oustanding...I don't think that even 1920 x 1080P transfer could capture all the visible information I was seeing.

    Watching this pristine print (granted, probably a better print than what was used for the DVD) was one of my al-time great film experiences.

    Ahhh...
     
  17. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    Damn your tease DaViD. I hope my LD player will hold out for years to come. Of the few LDs i have left my Criterion 2001, and Forbidden Planet look better than the DVDs of said titles. Course the only DVD of 2001 i had was the MGM. I never bought the WB one, and now i hold out for 2 disc special editions of both titles on DVD.
     
  18. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    Just because it is sometimes unclear what version people are talking about: There have been "sorta" three issues of 2001 on DVD:

    Original MGM non-anamorphic in keepcase:
    [​IMG]
    WB re-packaging of the MGM disc in snapper:
    [​IMG]
    WB "digitally restored and remastered" release in snapper:
    [​IMG]

    Only the latter one was enhanced for widescreen displays. I'm saying this just because someone reading this thread could see references to "The Warner one" and be confused since there were, in fact, two Warner releases. Technically, there was also a WB deluxe package including a soundtrack CD and various knick-knacks, but the included DVD was the same as the most recent remaster.

    Regards,
     
  19. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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    I know this is last minute... but for those nearby, or willing to make the trip, the Paramount Theater is closing out their annual classic film series with several 70mm classics, several of which are brand new prints!

    Why do I bring this up? Well first on the list is none other than 2001: A Space Odyssey [​IMG][​IMG]

    If that's not enough to interest you, how about a brand new 70mm print of Lawrence of Arabia, or a new print from the newly restored Gone with the Wind? OK, the last one isn't in 70mm... :b

    Still not impressive enough? Well it should be!

    How about watching these great films in one of the world's finest theaters?:

    [​IMG]


    Grab the next flight out, and I'll buy you a drink on 6th street to celebrate cinematic nirvana!


    Here is the schedule of the last remaining shows:


    [​IMG]
    2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
    (70mm)
    Thu 8/25/05 @ 7:30pm
    Fri 8/26/05 @ 7:30pm

    [​IMG]
    DOCTOR DOOLITTLE
    (brand new 70mm print)
    Sat 8/27/05 @ 3:30pm
    Sun 8/28/05 @ 3:30pm

    [​IMG]
    THE AGONY & THE ECSTACY
    (brand new 70mm print)
    Sat 8/27/05 @ 7:30pm
    Sun 8/28/05 @ 7:30pm

    [​IMG]
    THE REMAINS OF THE DAY
    (70mm)
    Tue 8/30/05 @ 7:30pm
    Wed 8/31/05 @ 7:30pm

    [​IMG]
    LAWRENCE OF ARABIA
    (brand new 70mm print)
    Thu 9/01/05 @ 7:30pm
    Fri 9/02/05 @ 7:30pm

    [​IMG]
    GONE WITH THE WIND
    (brand new print)
    Sun 9/04/05 @ 2:00pm
    Sun 9/04/05 @ 7:30pm


    I'm not sure what it would cost to build a home theater like the Paramount, but I know we will have to wait a very long time to have a chance at seeing any of these films in 4K... so don't hesitate... use those frequent flyer miles before it's too late! [​IMG]
     
  20. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Nice festival, Nils.

    We've had some really nice 70mm prints of The Film here in Los Angeles as well. Of course, I have enjoyed them tremendously.
     

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