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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. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    Yeah this is an open matte film shot on 35mm in 1981. I don't think there's enough information there to suggest the level of overkill a 6k master would require.
     
  2. Reggie W

    Reggie W Producer

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    It's the educational chats like this that keep me hanging around here.
    Universal cow.
     
  3. Geoff_D

    Geoff_D Supporting Actor

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    At the risk of sending everyone's eyes rolling into the back of their heads with my amateur sleuthing, it may very well have been a 6K scan for a 4K finish, owing to the necessities of oversampling (or so I've heard). You want 4K from an ARRISCAN, you've got to set it up to do a double-flash pass due to the 3K sensor, so therefore the 'scan' is 6K by default (data which can be output as is or downrezzed to 4K on the fly). You want 4K from a Northlight, then depending on the model it'll be a 6K or 8K scan at source, again with data that can be downsampled on-site or output in full-res form. Other datacines like the Scanity don't have a greater than 4K res perf-to-perf (AFAIK) but due to the way that it builds the scan from multiple passes using Time Delay Integration (because buzzwords) this helps to avoid the artefacts which the otherwise more regulation oversampling is also designed to prevent.

    Did they actually finish it at 6K, RAH? If so then that means two things: my post above is moot (when are they not, eh Bruce?) and that I fully agree with the above statement: 6K is overkill. And remember kids: Colt 35mm works every time.
     
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  4. Message #64 of 87 Oct 7, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2016
    tenia

    tenia Agent

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    Them damn goalposts never moved. Just give us a digitally un-filtered picture.

    But on the other end, you're right. Instead of having people like at Vinegar Syndrome or Criterion or Sony curating pin-sharp 4K restorations that look nothing than a good ol' dupey faded projection print, sometimes with the help of people like Mr Harris, I suggest the following instead :
    - no one copy to have the same color timing
    - 5 different framings
    - 1 out of 25 copies to have damages and splices and scratches un-removed
    - 1 out of 25 copies to have heavy sound distorsion
    - 1 out of 50 copies to be battered and faded beyond any repair
    - 1 out of 100 copies to have missing frames (some might even be missing a full sequence, up to a full reel)
    - 1 out of 100 copies to have incorrect 2.35 mask applied
    - 1 out of 200 copies to stop at about 25 minutes in and then starting from the beginning again
    - 1 out of 200 copies to have the soundtrack covered by a drunk old man yelling during the whole movie
    - 1 out of 250 copies to have random foreign burnt-in subtitles (possibly even a double subtitle like Russian + Chinese)
    - 1 out of 500 copies to have the movie freezing about halfway through and then stopping as if the film got stuck and dissolved in the projector (that's the rarest, they'll be real collectibles !)

    If you're lucky enough, you'll get a copy with a combination of these. I'd love to get myself a nice BD of Verhoeven's Hollow Man with the drunk man AND the heavy sound distorsion. I mean, that REALLY will be how the film was shown in my theater !

    Criterion, Arrow, VS, MoC, the BFI, Synapse, Shochiku, The Film Foundation, L'immagine Ritrovata, Sony and all these... they just don't know how much they were in the wrong for all these years, spending all dem resources on doing pristine restorations that don't look at all like how the movies were shown in theaters.

    I feel for them, really.

    I mean, that's why we get these pointless re-releases like the new Spartacus or My Fair Lady. The older discs wer way closer from what I saw in theaters ! It wasn't that sharp and detailed like on the new discs. Why did they do that ? Don't these people know better ?
     
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  5. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Doubtful 6k finish. Nothing to gain.
     
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  6. Message #66 of 87 Oct 7, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2016
    RMajidi

    RMajidi Screenwriter

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    Pardon my pointing it out, but your distortions appear to be suffering mild digital grain removal.
     
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  7. SAhmed

    SAhmed Supporting Actor

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    I'm sure the grains are heirloom and not gmo !
     
  8. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Good job missing the point. I merely pointed out that many people on the boards want transfers to look like the film would have been projected in a theater. If you're saying no one has ever said that, I'll just tell you you're incorrect in a rather major way. As to My Fair Lady and Spartacus, saw them both many times in 70mm during their original runs - looked great then, of course, and Mr. Harris did a masterful job on both transfers. In fact, what IS your point other than to belittle and obfuscate? Just curious. You complained elsewhere that Mr. Harris belittled you - I think the posts here show who is being confrontational and who is trying to diffuse that.
     
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  9. tenia

    tenia Agent

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    Bruce, I wrote numerous times here already that your answers to my technical questions have been nothing but general and usually filled with sophisms (it is frustrating, isn't it ?). I merely took your point (which I didn't missed at all, on the contrary) and extremise it to show the extents of what it would mean. It seems that it wasn't such a good idea, so I'll try and be less confrontational here.

    A 35mm OCN has a perceived vertical resolution that 2K can't even record entirely. A projection print has a perceived vertical resolution lower than 1080 lines. A projection print would also look damaged, with possibly variable framing, fading, and with an overall loss of definition. Properly scanning the OCN and properly restoring means that you're going to get something that not a lot of projection prints would have shown.

    What you're suggesting instead is that this would be improper, and that Universal is in the right to filter out details and decreasing the picture sharpness because 35mm movies never looked that sharp in theaters.

    It goes a long way to support a practice which has always had shortcomings and always reduce the picture quality of the restorations using them. On the contrary, the utmost majority of restorations being acclaimed don't use them (because of the quality reduction it generates).

    That's why I spontaneously was confrontational (probably too much, and I apologize for that) : it condones the use of digital filters that shouldn't be used in such a visible way because it deteriorates the picture quality. There's a reason why somebody like Nick Wrigley (who knows what he's talking about) called that "digital f*ckery").

    We were talking about how AWIL now looks like a high quality scan of an IP : it doesn't even look like that (see many restorations made by/for Arrow at 2K from IPs).
     
  10. Mark Anthony

    Mark Anthony Second Unit

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    Having gone round to many friends houses over the years, all keen to show off their latest and greatest new DVD / BD / HD / 4K / Player / TV / Projector one thing remains consistent. The vast majority of people can't tell a decent / accurate level of picture quality and very few calibrate the sets properly out of the box. I've lost track of the number i've times i've seen Films in HD or 4K looking like a TV soap from decades ago, overly bright, all filters and picture modes on full - sharp, but completely unnatural.

    I was watching Luke Cage in 2K at a friends, from Netflix, on a very expensive £2K TV a week ago & thought "what was the cinematographer thinking, this looks terrible", sharp, but terrible lighting and colour, then I rewatched again on my calibrated projector, albeit several years older, and it looks fare more like the DP intended and that he didn't have cataracts after all.

    The more "problematic" films with less than ideal picture quality on the OCN tend to fair even worse in the above situation.

    So I guess what i'm saying is, maybe some of the anomalies are down to calibration / set-up or lack of. I know Mr Harris can & does calibrate his, very expensive, equipment, do you?

    M
     
  11. Message #71 of 87 Oct 8, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2016
    Konstantinos

    Konstantinos Screenwriter

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    Although I don't know very much technical stuff, i completely agree.
    Shout's The Thing, which is a 2K scan from an IP from what I understand, looks much better than AWIL which is a 6K scan of an OCN!
    Isn't that ironic?

    With all due respect to Mr. Harris, if this gets 5 out of 5 stars in video quality, then what should Spartacus or other excellent restorations get?
    I'm just saying there should be some fixed criteria according to which reviews and stars are given.
    Because in this way now, it seems - to me personally - that it's implied that the restoration of AWIL is on the exact same level with Spartacus'.
    Which I'm sure many will agree it's not.

    Ok, yes, it's better than the previous bluray, but that doesn't make it a stellar restoration, which the 5 implies.
    It reminds me of the proverb: in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
     
  12. Message #72 of 87 Oct 8, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2016
    Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I believe the problem may be that some viewers are looking too closely at some digital representations of films.

    In order to assess AWiL, after reading comments, I had to stand at the screen, and see the affected grain structure, which still passed as not appearing digital, and hence the IP analogy. It's less precise, and has a more homogenized appearance than OCN grain. It is not, however, problematic.

    A film may be oversampled at 6k, to achieve a better overall 4k image for further digital work. And the entire cleanup, color, stabilization processes all remain at 4k.

    But the image must then be taken down to 2k, 1920 x 1080, and this is achieved by compression. Films finished in 2k are best cropped to lose the 1028 unwanted pixels.

    There was no DNR applied to AWiL. No digital trickery. Neither smoke, nor mirrors.

    From what I've been led to believe, and I believe it, there was either a problem with the setup of the compression, or human error, which unfortunately did not get picked up in QC.

    That's it.

    But the resultant image, as it made its way through to final discs, is not a rejectable image. It simply doesn't appear to be what it was in its final approved digital state, before compression.

    When performed correctly, compression should be either transparent to, or nearly transparent to, the original digital source.

    That isn't what occurred in this instance, and it's a pity, but viewed from a normal distance, I'm seeing zero problems, and that, at least to me, brings us back to taking a seat in a theater, and viewing, not a scratched, faded print, but a premiere print, through decent glass, via a decently aligned optical system, on a reasonably clean screen.

    When I report upon perceived problems, as I did with one of the recent John Wayne WB releases, I do so after seeing a problem at a normal viewing distance, and then confirming.

    I'm not standing at the screen, searching for problems.

    The only time that I'll constantly check an image two feet from the screen, is for my own work, as I know, with specificity, what I'm checking, and it must be transparent.

    The organization that I've come to call the "new" Universal, is an entity that strives to create digital representations of their films that are as closely transparent to the originals as technologically possible.

    They know about DNR, as introduced by post houses that they no longer use, and every other anomaly that may rear its head in our digital world.

    Errors occur, and this is a tiny one, probably more troublesome to the people working on the project, who did not as a final result, receive transparency of their work, than to any home theater fan.

    My suggestion, is to sit back, at a proper viewing distance, and enjoy the film.

    As an aside, the new Blu of It's a Wonderful Life is coming from Paramount, and I'm looking forward to it, so that I can replace the old disc, which had major digitally affected grain problems, apparent from across the room.

    That was a problem release, which I'm thrilled has been re-visited.

    An addendum to my Wonderful Life comment:

    I've asked the Wonderful Life question, as to it being new, and did not receive a definitive answer.

    While I'm hopeful, I suggest that interested parties do not pre-order, and wait for reviews.


    RAH
     
  13. willyTass

    willyTass Supporting Actor

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    Superb news
     
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  14. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Ah, but that's where you're wrong and I think what I've been saying is pretty obvious - I'm not "suggesting" anything. I'm pointing out what OTHERS have said on the Internet. Do you think I do not understand what going from a camera negative means or provides? Think again. I don't need a history lesson on this stuff, but thanks. If you read my posts and don't misinterpret them (which I know is fun) you will see that I am clearly saying what I've READ on the Internet, NOT what I think, desire, or believe.
     
  15. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Can't we all just get along?
     
  16. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Well, this is it in a nutshell. If you sit in the first row of a movie theater and watch a projected new 35mm print it won't look very good - it will be soft, it will have the appearance of clunky grain and all sorts of other things. If one has to have to sit so close for an immersive experience then one will see what one sees. In these instances I wonder if they have the disc or are looking at caps - we know the latter happens a lot. But if they're looking at the disc how close are they sitting, are they pausing and blowing up the frame - these questions must be answered before we can interpret and respond. As someone else points out above, everyone's systems are different. In the end, I watch (again, I haven't seen this particular disc) and assess on MY equipment and tell it as I see it. That's not the be all and end all of anything for that very reason.
     
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  17. Geoff_D

    Geoff_D Supporting Actor

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    I have the disc and usually sit 6ft from my 55" 4K. The wonderful thing about 4K res sets is that they lack the visible pixel structure of 1080p direct-view displays when you get within a certain distance, so at that kind of range my viewing is unhindered and doesn't normally expose a disc so ruthlessly as it does with AAWIL. But as I previously said upthread, sitting just 1.5ft further back suddenly made it look a hell of a lot less weird, the overly-smooth backgrounds and noisy, sluggish grain appearing to melt away. Still looks a touch hinky but nothing too egregious, it's crazy the amount of difference it makes.
     
  18. tenia

    tenia Agent

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    There's what you write, and how it reads.

    I know you're not suggesting anything, you're just quoting non descript "people on the internet" who vastly seem not to reflect at all what is acclaimed and what is rejected on the market PQ wise. People are yelling when unnecessary digital filters are applied and acclaim pin-sharp restorations. Where are then the "people on the internet" asking BDs to get the "Universal grain management" treatment ? (Except maybe in the Amazon comments)

    It might not be what you desire, think or believe but it still reads as quite a weird indirect way to condone a release which simply isn't optimal (even RAH is now saying it has issues that should have been caught by the QC) (and Universal are "lucky" the first BD of AWIL is filtered as hell because that's quite a nice anchor they set up there) and makes unhappy people look silly (those armchair experts with dem moving goalposts).

    Maybe you dont do it on purpose, it happens, but nevertheless, you're sending a message towards the release being unfairly attacked. Otherwise, nothing in this discussion would have happened, and everything would have been kept technical.
    (Except maybe the few posts written by a high Mr Harris)
     
  19. tenia

    tenia Agent

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    Oh and I have a 50" plasma and am sitting about 2.3m from it. And still see a weird smooth flat lifeless picture with no high frequencies without pausing nor zooming (the lack of high frequencies is actually even more visible in motion).
     
  20. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Well, there seems to be a disconnect doesn't there, because Mr. Harris is saying in order to see ANYTHING untoward he had to go stand next to his screen. So, you're seeing one thing, he's seeing something else - folks can listen to and believe whomever they so choose. And did you really just suggest that Mr. Harris was high? He has also been told there is NO DNR anywhere on this transfer and he was told that by, you know, people who are in the position to know these things. As to other things in your response to me, Tenia, I simply do not understand them because, and perhaps you don't mean this, I'm a little bored of you putting words in my mouth. So, until I get this disc I'm through parrying with you.
     

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