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A Few Words About A few words about...™ An American Werewolf in London -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Oct 4, 2016.

  1. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    Thanks for the input!

    However, whatever they have done to it, I just don't like the look of it (grain-wise). I also see subtle blotchy artifacts in some scenes in motion (which are seen in the screencaps too) and when I look at new scans from similar eras, they look more natural in regard to this. I hope moving forward, this is not going to be a new standard practice of Universal especially given how nice remastered The Breakfast Club, Apollo 13, Spartacus, and most of the classic horror movies have looked.
     
  2. Mark Cappelletty

    Mark Cappelletty Cinematographer

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    I thought it looked great from my inital viewing last week (in a thread where people's heads were exploding) and am glad to be vindicated by RAH!
     
  3. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    It's only $10 at Best Buy, so I grabbed it. I have both blu's so whatever ends up looking best on my system, I'll have it.
     
  4. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    I watched it a couple of nights ago and thought it looked fine, too.
     
  5. Geoff_D

    Geoff_D Supporting Actor

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    Man, if the look of AWIL is the result of the slightest dab on the pedal re: compression and not some heavy-handed grain management then I dread to think what it'd have looked like had they been any more aggressive with it.

    It's unquestionably better than the old edition as the sharpening is gone and it's got a staggering amount of detail, but it looks downright weird with it, like it's slathered in splotchy RGB noise rather than grain. I've resorted to using the Reality Creation on my Sony TV to smooth away the grain/noise and although that can't restore any kind of filmic attributes, it can at least remove the most distracting component of the noise.
     
  6. Message #26 of 87 Oct 6, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
    tenia

    tenia Agent

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    So it's not grain management but the encode "has taken a very slight edge off the grain" = filtered the high frequencies.

    Not filtered, but filtered... Interesting.


    If part of the grain has been taken off, it’s grain management.

    If we’re discussing it, it’s because it’s not “a very slight edge”, otherwise nobody would have caught it.


    The movie has most probably always been soft / diffuse, but if the compressor had to visibly remove something, it means what's on the BD isn't transparent to the source, and thus to the original elements scanned.


    A compressor should be the most transparent possible to the RAW master. If it's not, ... it simply fails to do its job accurately. Or maybe Landis want it to be softer than the original elements are, but that's a totally different reasoning which has nothing to with the compressor setup, this would have been performed during the restoration step, so that BOTH the restoration AND the Blu-ray would conform to this request.


    So, even by following your reasoning, the conclusions would be :

    - Grain has been filtered.

    - The encoder hasn’t done properly its job.


    Hardly a proper defence, isn’t it ?


    Subsequent questions :

    - What David Lean has to do with 2010s technologies like encoding a BD ? I would guess that his preferred velvety look would be appearing straight ahead on photochemical elements of his movies, since it's his preferred look, not something you would have to replicate at a late digital step (especially for movie released 40 years before the birth of H264). It’s also interesting to note that the restored Coward / Lean movies, River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, Hobson’s Choice, A Passage to India all show a look on BD that does not look velvety at all, but rather a very sharp and normally grainy aspect (the related ones pretty much in par with their 4K-70mm workflow). I would put Doctor Zhivago aside because while the restoration looks good on BD, it has a distinctively older digital aspect that shows a lot when shown theatrically (sadly).

    - What's the point of doing a 6K scan of the OCN (thus obtaining an expensively fine scan) if it's to filter the high frequencies out of it afterwards and make it look like a 2K scan of an IP ? Wouldn't have it been way cheaper to just, well, 2K scan an IP ?
     
  7. Geoff_D

    Geoff_D Supporting Actor

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    Well, filmmakers were fully aware that what they were shooting on the negative was not going to end up on the screen in a 1:1 manner, that it would be duped down several times by the time it hit a regular 35mm release print, and the look of the grain changes from element to element. For that reason I fully believe that grain managem...no, er, we'll call it "oversight" instead...is an intrinsic part of the process these days when transferring things from the negative up because the grain is in such a raw, untempered state, and if the filmmaker wishes to ameliorate the grain in line with how successive elements looked then that's fine by me, as long as it doesn't look egregiously overcooked.

    Of course, one could argue that if they're content to allow all the detail on the negative through (not that this BD will have it all, I mean at the master level) then why not all the grain, isn't that something of a double standard? But film and video are what they are: two different beasts that don't always see eye to eye, but whatever they do to the image regarding colour, grain, density, detail etc it's the end product looking processed up the arsehole that I'm most concerned about. If it looks as natural as it can (or perhaps with a few minor blips) then that's fine by me, but American Werewolf threw me because it's so funny lookin' to my eyes.

    I watched it again this morning with my custom mono mix (man, the 5.1 remix blows, but that's a whole 'nuther discussion), I got up early to put the bins out and thought I'd spin it again, it's the healthy way to start the day. Anyhoo, I've gotta say that viewing distance is an absolutely crucial factor when watching this remastered disc, at least on a direct view display. At 6ft from my 55" (so about 2.6x picture height) it really does look so filtered and blotchy, the only other time I've seen grain look like RGB noise is on the 4K remaster of Good, Bad and the Ugly. But at 3.5x picture height, about 7.5ft away, the ugly blotchiness virtually disappears, leaving all that crisp detail and a very fine veneer of "grain" which although still rather frozen is a lot more pleasing.
     
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  8. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Dear Lord, everyone is an expert about "grain management" "grain" and everything else. As someone rightly points out, you think we went to the movies and looked at the grain? No one noticed the grain other than maybe the popcorn-size yellow grain in opticals where it was truly egregious. Where do these terms originate - "grain management"? I understand people liking what they like but it doesn't make them an expert because a huge percentage of them never even saw these films in a theater and comments are all based on home video releases. 99% of the experts have never been in a room where a transfer is being done, have never even handled film, seen an original camera negative or an answer print. I now have to buy this damn Blu-ray so I can chime in, I guess.
     
  9. Message #29 of 87 Oct 6, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
    questrider

    questrider Supporting Actor
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    I watched this last night on my 50" Panasonic plasma and it looked fine to me. No complaints here. It looked the best I've ever seen it considering the old blu-ray looked like it was being broadcast on a snowy UHF channel in the late 70s. As far as I'm concerned with this release, I'm happy.
     
  10. Geoff_D

    Geoff_D Supporting Actor

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    Here you go Bruce: http://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/04/10/restoring-jaws-for-bluray-michael-daruty-on-grain-management-making-changes-for-spielberg-more/

    And also this, a slide from a webinar by them Kodak peoples:

    [​IMG]

    Come on, be honest, you guys are just sore because us armchair experts (guilty as charged, m'lud) are now using catch-all buzzwords that y'all didn't come up with. Times they are a' changin' :D

    But seriously though, is it not the case that film grain wasn't a major thing noticed by people in cinemas (aside from the dupey yellow/blue grain in opticals, as you say) because of all the little steps inherent to that process and even how it was displayed? Grain got filtered down by the time it hit a release print, then there's the inherent instability of film projection reducing the resolvable information, then there's the projectionist themselves doing whatever to soften the image (deliberately or not). But here's the rub: video has its rigid, repeatable resolutions & parameters to which the more organic non-linear response of film (grain, gamma curve etc) can't always be appropriately coralled, it always seems like grain is more abundant on video (and even more so in the UHD era) than on film film for those sorts of reasons. And even certain display types do more to dither the image than others (like plasma's sub-field drive vs sample and hold LCD) so it's no wonder that so many people see different things these days. They'll be telling us they see dead people next...

    Look, if it comes to a dick measuring contest then I've got but the tiniest acorn versus RAH's 12-inch monster - I haven't restored any all-time classic films, last time I checked - but I come in peace nonetheless. You'll just have to put up with my misguided ramblings.
     
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  11. Message #31 of 87 Oct 6, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
    Oblivion138

    Oblivion138 Second Unit

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    I don't know where the term "grain management" originated, but the first time I heard it, the person saying it worked for Universal's film restoration department. So I'd say it's worth mentioning in discussion regarding a new Universal "film restoration."
     
  12. Message #32 of 87 Oct 6, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
    tenia

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    And of course, there was the wonderful article for Sight & Sound by Nick Wrigley about the "Crimes against the grain".

    You don't need to have built your own houses' electrical wirings for 25 years to know there's a problem if your automated garage door opens by itself everytime you switch on the lights in the bathroom.

    For instance, Mr Harris himself is very knowledgeable when it comes to restoring a movie from physical elements (and he has done wonders there, eg Spartacus, My Fair Lady, or the Roadshow IAMMMMW) but managed to originally give a 5 stars to Criterion's Madame de. It's only when baby armchair experts like me pointed out this was simply wrong that he heavily edited his "few words" since the restoration licenced from Gaumont was actually so bad and so filtered Gaumont threw it away and re-did it from the start for their own French release (which had to be delayed by a few months to accomodate that).
    Mr Harris should know, though. He has been in rooms when transfers are being done, he has handled film, seen an OCN or an answer print.
    And yet.

    On the other end, I'm quite certain that many of the people you would call an expert have no idea about many aspects of the digital reproduction of a restoration (again, Mr Harris has just shown that he doesn't by blaming the compressor for the look of AWIL new BD).

    What about Children of Paradise ? People who did this restoration also were experts who handle film, do transfers, see OCNs.

    Ah experts... Always there for the "argument from authority". But the first thing I learnt about experts is that they can be wrong. They're just human. Statistical studies actually showed they were even more prone to be wrong than non-expert people (see Daniel Kahneman studies on cognitive biases).

    But hey, what do I know : my parents weren't even born when most of the movies I'm watching were released theatrically. Nothing beats a good ol' argumentium ad antiquitum.


    More seriously though : to each its own, but resorting to rebuking people rather than discussing the doubts and reasonings of people isn't doing any good. I tried to discuss Mr Harris' theory about the blame being on the compressor, I was willing to discuss points and ask questions in a very down-to-earth way, and all I got is getting called an armchair expert which is too young to know anything (despite this thing called "learning").

    To some extent, I actually don't mind. But at least, that claim needs also to be supported by down-to-earth arguments, not just random sophisms. Did Lee Kline see many of the Criterion movies he supervise in theaters when they were released ? What about Davide Pozzi ? Juliane Maria Lorenz ?
    Hell, it's because regular people on DVD Classik yelled about the Criterion release that Jerome Soulet had Gaumont throw away their Madame de restoration and had Eclair do it all over again. I give him myself a direct feedback about it.
     
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  13. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    I cannot comment on this release until I've actually seen it - my comments thus far in this thread are simply general comments about what I read on the Internet. For every example you cite an example of a transfer with crappy color or people railing on about something only to be proven incorrect can also be cited. I remember people railing on about Breakfast at Tiffany's and The Ten Commandments when they came out. I just scratched my head and ate a biscotti.
     
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  14. tenia

    tenia Agent

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    But they are general, and that was the background motivating my post. You can't just say "ah but it's always like that". That's again a fallacious reasoning. Because this BD has been incorrectly bashed, that one can't be wrong ?

    I'm not saying that AWIL new BD isn't better than the old one, because it is.
    I'm just saying that people may have genuine reasons to doubt the absence of filtering, and that it's not with general reductive comments that the discussion about whether or not the look of the new BD is normal that the discussion will move forward in any productive way.
    And also that you can't say "there's no filtering" and then explain that the encode has filtered out high frequencies, that's just saying one thing and its opposite in the same sentence (and would mean that the end-result of the restoration is different from what is on the disc, but that's another discussion).

    I'd have a pretty hard time finding an issue on The Ten Commandments !
    This being written, reading non-sense negative feedbacks about The Wizard of Oz BD is what decided me to write my own reviews, so here you go.

    But still, all these don't have anything to do with AWIL. Different matters, different people, different results. The Ten Commandments having been incorrectly railed on about doesn't transform Children of Paradise in a good restoration, for instance. It's just a side argument.

    (fun fact : I didn't want originally to buy Children of Paradise, because the initial backlash was just so bad I was happy with my Criterion DVD release. Then, people accused me to judge without having seen the BD in motion and to be judging only through reviews and screencaps - which was true - . I bought the BD and 24.99€ later, well, the restoration is crap, just as read and expected and told. What a twist. Not really a surprise, though : after all, a 1080p encode simply is a succession of 24 1920x1080 still frames per second).
     
  15. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Please do me a favor, and don't make me think about Les Enfants...

    As to AWiL, I've just taken another stroll, uprezzed to 4K, which could also have an affect. Digital algorithms were never our friends.

    Facts:

    This is a new image harvest from the OCN, approved by Mr. Landis.

    There are a number of post houses, doing compression and authoring.

    From what I've been led to believe, and I do believe it, this disc made it all the way through the production chain, and after the fact, it was found that there was a tiny, and I mean tiny, anomaly in compression, that for whatever reason, took the edge off the grain, as would an IP / IN.

    One can see it, as the film doesn't appear to have come from the OCN, but has.

    Not to sound like Ethel Mernen, but "these things happen."

    They shouldn't, but the do, and someone should have caught it in QC.

    I'm not at all disturbed by it. If I were, I'd be vocal.

    If we want to discuss exposures on the original negative, that's an entirely different discussion, as there are problem shots, which now look as good as they can.

    For those, the fix is to reshoot the film.

    While obviously not appearing to be what it is, I'm very satisfied with what it appears to be, ie a high resolution scan from an IP.

    Thanks for bringing up Les Enfants...

    RAH
     
  16. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Is there a chance that Landis asked for some of the detail to be obscured, or for what went on to have been intentional? I just recall reading an interview with Landis about the new transfer, where he made it seem that he was somewhat horrified at the level of detail visible in the new scan - he acknowledged that it looked breathtaking, but also revealed details and faults in the makeup that had never been visible on release prints. Could Landis have asked for something to have been done to give it more of the appearance of an IP than an OCN?
     
  17. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    What's funny to me is that everyone always says they want these things to look like what they saw, like the film they saw (IF they saw it or something shot on similar stock). But that's not what they're getting from an original camera negative scan. What they saw was never that and frequently what they saw was several generations down the food chain. So, if Mr. Harris is correct and this whatever happened thing is causing this slight looking like an IP that's STILL better than what they'd have seen on a release print in terms of grain and everything else. And so it goes. Again, I haven't seen this disc.
     
  18. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member

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    Is Les Enfants the new Frau Blucher?
     
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  19. Richard V

    Richard V Cinematographer

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    "He was my BOYFRIEND!!!!!"
     
  20. B-ROLL

    B-ROLL Cinematographer

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    Careful you might end up with a horse's head ...

    ... And it's Blücher !;)
     
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