A Few Words About A few words about...™ Grand Prix -- in HD-DVD

Robert Harris

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Let's be honest.

Grand Prix is a beautifully mounted production, by one of our most respected filmmakers.

But it isn't one of the "great" films.

With a storyline more steeped in soap than racing, the film's value comes from its large format (65mm) cinematography of some of the finest Formula One racing footage ever exposed to film.

And this is precisely where Warner's HD-DVD of Grand Prix shines. The studio produced a specially matted 35mm interpositive element for the transfer, and the final result -- the first 65mm on high def, but the second large format, after Searchers -- is visually stunning.

Recommended, especially for large viewing surfaces.

RAH
 

Dennis Maricic

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Excellent news.

Been waiting to add this to my library since the first days of DVD. Glad I waited till the HD version became available.

Thanks Robert

Dennis
 

David Wilkins

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Robert,

I'm sure that I speak for many, when I say that it's always a pleasure to tune-in and find another installment of "A Few Words About...".

I'm curious about the up-coming release of "Spartacus" on HD. Given your perspective, is there any advance word, or curiosity, that gets you especially primed before the first viewing?
 

Robert Harris

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I'm as curious re: Spartacus as anyone, and remain hopeful.

RAH
 

dkny75

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Great to hear about Grand Prix. Looking forward to receiving my copy from Amazon next week.
 

Stephen PI

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Robert, could you go into a little more detail about this IP. If it is anamorphically squeezed on the element, wouldn't it have an effect on the quality, as it is no longer spherical, as opposed to doing a telecine of a 65mm IP?
When you say matted, that refers to the protection of the original aspect ratio, likewise on the "My Fair Lady" IP, correct?
 

Robert Harris

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Precisely, Stephen...

No, there really isn't a degradation in quality for one simple reason.

The current functional 65mm transfer equipment are basically dinosaurs, with very, very little control over image.

The creation of a 35mm IP, derived from the O or restoration 65mm neg will yield an image with any number of fewer problems.

This is the way that we did it on MFL, and the way that Warner has been producing their elements.

IMHO, this is currently the way to go.

With a single caveat.

The IP must be of spectacular optical quality. Pacific Title has been, and is currently doing beutiful work on these.

RAH
 

TedD

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Exactly right and thats why every scan done from 65mm so far has has major problems. These problems are clearly visible on the DVD versions of:

Sound Of Music
Ben Hur
Oklahoma
The Toad-AO shorts

They include:

Color registration issues and
No fine detail

Ted
 

MatthewA

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From what I understand the R2 South Pacific looks great, and the R1 coming in November will be identical.


Too bad The Muppet Movie wasn't in 70mm; this is the format they'd have used!
 

Stephen PI

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What is the status of the forthcoming Todd-AO version of "Oklahoma!"? Will it be the same bad transfer as last year?
 

Joseph Goodman

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Fotokem's 65mm Imagica scanner setup (used for "South Pacific") is probably the one exception to Mr. Harris's comment, at least in regards to home video masters.
 

MatthewA

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Since they needed to restore the film and reconstruct the longer version from a faded 70mm print, the Imagica was used on South Pacific.

I wouldn't mind 4k scans on large format films for HD transfers and beyond (even on 35mm material), in fact I encourage them, but they are not cheap.

Stephen, what's this you say about a new Oklahoma! I've heard nothing whatsoever about this or even replacement discs for the abominable treatment of the Todd-AO version on last year's DVD set.
 

Stephen PI

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"Oklahoma!", I am certain, is in the new Rodgers and Hammerstein box set due in November.
I was hoping they might have a new transfer done during the year, if it isn't it will obviously be the one issued last year.
 

TedD

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I have the region 2 South Pacific and the transfer is certainly nothing to brag about.

Ted
 

TedD

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The "problem" is that the image quality isn't up to par with the best that can be done today on DVD. It's slightly soft and lacking in fine image details. Don't get me wrong, it's not bad looking, but it's certainly not comparable to the image detail present on the Grand Prix DVD (or the Moulin Rouge DVD).

For something reputedly done on a "state of the art" 65mm digital scanner, it just doesn't have that much detail. Of course, the compression to DVD is impacting what is displayed on the screen as well.

Played on an HTPC using Theatertek, ffdshow, lanczos2 scaling, DScaler sharpen, and displayed by a Qualia 004 at 1920x1080 at 5'x12' constant height screen.

Ted
 

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