OliverK

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This situation could become a master’s class in film restoration. But everything begins with accurate facts. I’m not sure that we’re even at a starting position as yet.
I'd say we are far from that. Issues could already be seen with the UHD releases of Grease and Forrest Gump and King Creole on Blu-ray does not seem to have fared very well either so this is a studio wide policy of "managing" grain that would have to be adressed. And then please fix all the other issues with To Catch a Thief and perhaps turn it into another Spartacus or at least Patton where a much improved release follows the earlier compromised one.
 
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OliverK

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Caps-a-holic finally posted the new version, the work that Paramount stands by.

Whatever caused the delay now everybody can see the amount of detail from that 6k scan that ended up on the disc:

the textures in fabrics and clothing:

and how detail in faces and fine detail in hair and fur is handled:
 
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AlexNH

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This is a disgrace to the master of suspense's memory. Paramount retains the rights to this one Hitchcock film. The disc needs a recall.
 

haineshisway

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I’ve been working on a presumption of grain reduction and / or DNR.

That my not be the case. An alternative would be a critically out of focus scan, that went unnoted.

“QC? QC? We don’t need no stinking QC!”
This would actually make some sort of sense, now that you bring it up.
 

OliverK

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OliverK

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This would actually make some sort of sense, now that you bring it up.
If that is indeed true then they probably spent more time producing that little promotional / defense write-up than doing QC.
It would also explain their claim that they did not have to use DNR - of course not if your scan is that much out of focus.
 
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Trancas

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I’ve been working on a presumption of grain reduction and / or DNR.

That my not be the case. An alternative would be a critically out of focus scan, that went unnoted.

“QC? QC? We don’t need no stinking QC!”
How many reels of camera negative would there be in a VistaVision production? Wouldn't scanner focus have been checked after each reel was loaded in place? And then there are those additional YCMs that needed to be scanned for the damaged portions, as well as the reels of yellow record to replace the negative fading. Would it be possible for the scanner to be that same slight degree of out-of-focus for all those different pieces of film?
 
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OliverK

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How many reels of camera negative would there be in a VistaVision production? Wouldn't scanner focus have been checked after each reel was loaded in place? And then there are those additional YCMs that needed to be scanned for the damaged portions, as well as the reels of yellow record to replace the negative fading. Would it be possible for the scanner to be that same slight degree of out-of-focus for all those different pieces of film?
Indeed I find it less likely that this is the reason for what we are seeing, just look at this cap from Grease:


Doesn't look much different to me from what we see with To Catch a Thief.
It is just not as consistently obvious in Grease.

I am sure many would be willing to help Paramount and to offer guidance as to how to do things differently and I assume that if they work with outside vendors it would help to just go with their judgement most of the time as these companies also work with other studios that do not share the views that certain decision-makers at Paramount hold. But for this to happen these people would have to do something else or be willing to change their basic approach to film grain as being something bad and something that has to be "managed" and preferably obliterated.

I think it would be best if these people changed their ways but as long as this doesn't happen there will be only varying degrees or pastiness, softness and artificial looks in many Paramount releases of classic movies shot on film.
 

Robert Harris

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How many reels of camera negative would there be in a VistaVision production? Wouldn't scanner focus have been checked after each reel was loaded in place? And then there are those additional YCMs that needed to be scanned for the damaged portions, as well as the reels of yellow record to replace the negative fading. Would it be possible for the scanner to be that same slight degree of out-of-focus for all those different pieces of film?
Off the top of my head, and guessing, there are probably ten A rolls that encompass the Thief negative, and dependent upon printer functions up to an equal number of B rolls.

Masters would normally be exposed in half rolls for VVLA, which would total around 20 for a single record, plus main and ends.

As to whether a focus problem is possible, the answer is absolutely. But very dependent upon which lab did the scanning, as some are far more scrupulous with checking focus than others.

Stuff happens...
 

Robert Harris

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Things are getting more and more interesting.

What I'm learning is that there is more than one way to look at film, or in this case a Blu-ray. And we must be open to the opinion of others.

I heard, late last night, that the new restoration of Paramount’s To Catch a Thief, has received one of the most prestigious awards in the international archival field – the Cecilia Giménez Parchment – awarded for special recognition by the University of Turino.

I reached out early this morning and was able to speak with Professor Antonio Sfocato. While we had just a few problems in translation – he’s far more fluent in English than I am in Italian – he was able to bring an interpreter in for our brief chat.

A transcription is as follows:

RAH: Good evening, professor, thank you so much for taking my call.

AS: My pleasure, Robert, I have with me, my aid, Annette, who can help us.

RAH: Can you explain what you seek in deciding to give out this prestigious award?

AS: We look for, how you say… pretty. We see the ancient cinema of the twentieth century as something very much (speaks with Annette), very much stuck in manners of times gone by. We seek glorious images, bright colors, but never painful to the eyes. When we look at our own cinemas of the past, like The Stolen Bicycle, we see the huge moving silver pieces, how you call…

ANNETTE: Grain?

AS: Yes, grain, as interrupting the flow of art to the brain through the eyes. When we see something like Mr. Hitchcock’s film, finally as he meant it to be seen, without all the interruption, we said, “yes!” perfection.

RAH: I’ve seen it, and came away disturbed because it appeared overly soft, grain-less, and blown out—

AS: Sorry, what is this “blown out…”

RAH: An overall loss of bright areas, basically going clear, and without detail…

AS: Ah, but this is what we love. You have been to Morano?

RAH: Sorry, Morano?

AS: Near Venice, where glass is an artform.

RAH: I’ve not.

AS: You must visit. Please understand that clarity is most important to us in art. One can add colors, and in the cinema, can make it appear to move, but clarity is essential.

RAH: So, you’re looking for a more transparent image?

ANNETTE: I believe he’s looking for “clean.”

RAH: Did you see the new Blu-ray of the Michael Curtiz film, King Creole?

AS: Of course, we preview all of the American Blu-rays. And there are many fans of Mr. Presley here in Italy.

RAH: And no award for—

AS: No, no. It was very sharp, and beautiful. You could slice prosciutto with the main titles, they were so sharp, but not good. Too much grain. Not for us.

RAH: But Thief was perfect?

AS: In every way.

RAH: Will the award be shipped over, or—

AS: We will present the award at the Venice Festival this fall. And now I must go.

RAH: Thank you for speaking with me.
 

Robert Crawford

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Things are getting more and more interesting.

What I'm learning is that there is more than one way to look at film, or in this case a Blu-ray. And we must be open to the opinion of others.
As I stated beforehand in this thread, there is a large segment of people that actually prefer less grain in their video presentation because it looks better on their display. Again, I haven't seen this new BD so I'm going by what has been described here. Also, this same group of people don't care about color accuracy, what they care about is how beautiful the picture appears on their display. Unfortunately, it's sad, but, it's what they care about in this self-serving world of ours.
 
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