A Few Words About A few words about...™ Becoming Jane -- in Blu-Ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist

    Feb 8, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Real Name:
    Robert Harris
    While I'm not certain precisely how much of the story of Jane Austen's life as a late teen / early twenty something-year old is fact or fiction, Miramax's Becoming Jane (Disney) is a delightful confection.

    Filled with beautifully photographed Irish countryside, the film to Digital Intermediate (DI) to Blu-Ray disc shows off the pastoral nature to perfection.

    I should make note of something that's going to get more and more common as we move along into the digital era, and that is that as a DI, there is no transfer per se. There is no interpositive or dupe negative running through a device to capture an image for video.

    Any positive or negative dirt on the original negative should have been cleaned up before release, and the final product as it hits high definition disc should be pristine.

    I believe this is important to keep this in mind, as more and more films, even those that have no "special effects" are being routed through the DI process for final color and control.

    With Anne Hathaway and James McAvoy at the helm, Becoming Jane is a charming film, and one that may have me finally picking up some of Ms. Austen's work to see what all the fuss is about.

    As an aside, first editions of Ms. Austen's books are in league with her popularity, with Pride and Prejudice topping the scale at almost $150,000.

    These will NOT be the copies that I'll be picking up for reading.

    Disney has done a beautiful job of translating the Becoming Jane data files to Blu-Ray, and the resultant disc comes Recommended.

  2. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

    Feb 24, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Thanks RAH. This is getting ordered pronto.

    Your comments about the use of DI and how that changes the concept of a "film transfer" is an important one... similar to analog musical session recordings which are mixed and mastered in the digital realm rather than being produced on analog masters. The A/D conversion process happens after the first signal capture, and then subsequent "mastering" decisions (like color timing in the case of film, EQ and effects in the case of audio) are all done in the digital realm with only the final result being printed back to film for release. But the "master" is a digital file.

    This can have good and bad. The good is that no additional signal losses are accumulated from back/forth analog stages. The downside is that the fidelity of the final signal can only be as good as the *initial* conversion to digital.

    I watched all three Blu-ray Disc versions of the Resident Evil series (surprisingly good films) and kept scratching my head trying to figure out why 3 films made by the same film crew just one year apart from each other showed such a dramatic improvement in clarity and image resolution from the first film to the last. Obviously camera and film negative quality hadn't been the source of the improvement... those things were the same for all three films and those technologies have been mature for decades.

    Then it hit me: the softness and lack of detail I was seeing in the first film was due to the limitations of the original film-scanning equipment used to generate the DI.

    Why can't the image quality of the first film be improved? Since all "mastering" of the film was then done in the digital domain after that initial scan, we can never go back and obtain full resolution from the original film elements without completely re-creating the entire movie all over again ($$$).

    I think a lot of films from the early 2000's that look "filtered" on 1080p HD media are actually looking soft because we're seeing the limits of the original (non-optimal) film-scan performed for the DI. It's not much different than many 1980s "ADD" or "DDD" albums which were mixed and mastered on less-than-transparent 16-bit 44.1 equipment which lacked the fidelity of today's 24/96 signal processing.
  3. Reagan

    Reagan Supporting Actor

    Aug 23, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Trophy Points:
    Real Name:
    Interesting points.


Share This Page