Tony Bensley

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I've got the other blu-ray release of The Very Best of L&H. It will be interesting to compare the two transfers side by side.
Based on everything I've read about the above set, "The Definitive Restorations" will leave that one in the dust! I'm sure looking forward to getting my Blu-ray set, which I've just been informed has shipped!:rock:
CHEERS! :cheers:
 
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Mark Louis

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Mark Louis,

I return all due respect, and admiration for everyone involved in this huge project...

While I'm aware of the wonderful ongoing work performed by UCLA Film & Television Archive on these subjects, I've heard nothing about restoration work at the LoC. Perhaps I've just missed it, but would be interested to know what they've done. I'm aware that the disc packaging gives them credit.

As to The Music Box, a personal favorite of mine, I find the audio startlingly clear and almost otherworldly - like nothing I've ever hear before on this subject. Almost a reason in itself to add this set to one's library. It sounds as if one is virtually on-set.

I'm aware the the original camera negative survives on the film, but don't know whether it was that element scanned, or a fine grain. I'm presuming a fine grain, as I can see occasional positive dirt.

Other than that, the image is immaculate. Very nice densities, lovely shadow detail.

But as I've noted, to my eye, it appears overly processed, and superbly clean, not taking on a plastic-like appearance, but heading in that direction. Overall resolution is quite soft, and grain is virtually non-existent.

Again, I have no desire to damage this release, and am recommending that fans purchase it, but I must report what I'm seeing, which is nowhere close to what a quality modern image harvest would realize from either an OCN or a fine grain of this era, along with the requisite original grain.

It simply isn't there.
Robert Harris,
Did you even read your review and understand how it would be perceived? By any reasonable measure, it is a SCATHING REVIEW WITHOUT MERIT. Readers of a DVD review want to understand what is different about this release vs previous DVDs. We shouldn’t have to pull these details out of you. The main message of your review was negative and don’t bother watching it. Now that you’re getting pushback, you’re retreating. The public doesn’t need or want purely subjective “off the cuff” reviews without a serious detailed understanding of the subject material compared to previous. Another important point is the difference in DCP vs Blu-Ray vs DVD video definitions. Your audience is extremely sophisticated as are Laurel & Hardy as artists. So, your flippant perfunctory review of a significant new event in the world of Stan & Ollie shows a disdain for them and their audience.
 

Mark-P

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Robert Harris,
Did you even read your review and understand how it would be perceived? By any reasonable measure, it is a SCATHING REVIEW WITHOUT MERIT. Readers of a DVD review want to understand what is different about this release vs previous DVDs. We shouldn’t have to pull these details out of you. The main message of your review was negative and don’t bother watching it. Now that you’re getting pushback, you’re retreating. The public doesn’t need or want purely subjective “off the cuff” reviews without a serious detailed understanding of the subject material compared to previous. Another important point is the difference in DCP vs Blu-Ray vs DVD video definitions. Your audience is extremely sophisticated as are Laurel & Hardy as artists. So, your flippant perfunctory review of a significant new event in the world of Stan & Ollie shows a disdain for them and their audience.
It‘s called “A few words about...™“ for a reason. Succinct, cryptic reviews is the concept.
 

Rob W

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It seems to me people have gotten very short tempered lately as the lockdown has everyone tense and frustrated. The hostility shown to Mr. Harris here from some posters is quite uncalled for, especially coming from people who have not seen this set yet. Healthy debate is one thing, but things are going off in a direction unbecoming of our members.
Frankly, I'm surprised this thread has exploded as quickly as it has; it's great to know there are still so many L & H fans out there. This will be the release of the year for me no matter what.
 

Dan Cooper

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I have this tilte on preorder from deepdiscount for 40 dollars and will not be cancelling it for any reason.

I have a 77" LG OLED C9 and a panasonic 820 4k player and found titles that mr harris didnt like (its a wonderful life) to look just perfect on my system as i am sure will be the case with mr smith goes to washington. I certainly hope that this does look alot better than universal's prints of the marx brothers blu ray release and i very much believe it will.
 

Dan Cooper

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It seems to me people have gotten very short tempered lately as the lockdown has everyone tense and frustrated. The hostility shown to Mr. Harris here from some posters is quite uncalled for, especially coming from people who have not seen this set yet. Healthy debate is one thing, but things are going off in a direction unbecoming of our members.
Frankly, I'm surprised this thread has exploded as quickly as it has; it's great to know there are still so many L & H fans out there. This will be the release of the year for me no matter what.
We dont have a lockdown where i am and have been working business as usual 50-60 hour weeks since day one of all this. The county i live in hasnt had a case of this for over six weeks. The last case was a death of a person who fell down a flight of stairs at an old folks home and marked it as covid 19 until a person at my work demanded that the death certificate be changed to blunt force trama. I would say this happens more than people know.

As for short tempered i have always been like this from the day i was born 53 years ago to the day. I guess thats why i work all night shift for the last 15 years.
 
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Malcolm R

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Could something have happened in the replication of the discs? It wouldn't be the first time there was a noticeable difference between what the restored master looks like and what the retail discs look like.

Are those involved with the project viewing the final blu-rays, or some sort of internal masters or digital files from those masters that may not reflect what's actually on the discs?
 
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Tony Bensley

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We dont have a lockdown where i am and have been working business as usual 50-60 hour weeks since day one of all this. The county i live in hasnt had a case of this for over six weeks. The last case was a death of a person who fell down a flight of stairs at an old folks home and marked it as covid 19 until a person at my work demanded that the death certificate be changed to blunt force trama. I would say this happens more than people know.

As for short tempered i have always been like this from the day i was born 53 years ago to the day. I guess thats why i work all night shift for the last 15 years.
Happy Birthday, Dan! :)
 

Trancas

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Eric
So a person reviewing the set on Amazon (although it appears he has only seen the restorations on the screen, not on blu ray) says:
"The producers took great pains to improve these worn old masters. The work was done in two steps: first a photochemical restoration, in which the film elements were processed and enhanced in the traditional manner, under film-laboratory conditions. Then, the improved masters were FURTHER enhanced digitally, removing stray marks and debris, and stabilizing the image so the picture is rock-steady."
How does one process and enhance worn old masters photochemically in the traditional manner? Is a third or fourth or fifth generation print made? Doesn't that further degrade the image quality? Or are they buffering or plasticizing or somehow improving the emulsion or base of the "worn old masters" (that sounds risky)?
 

Robert Harris

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Robert Harris,
Did you even read your review and understand how it would be perceived? By any reasonable measure, it is a SCATHING REVIEW WITHOUT MERIT. Readers of a DVD review want to understand what is different about this release vs previous DVDs. We shouldn’t have to pull these details out of you. The main message of your review was negative and don’t bother watching it. Now that you’re getting pushback, you’re retreating. The public doesn’t need or want purely subjective “off the cuff” reviews without a serious detailed understanding of the subject material compared to previous. Another important point is the difference in DCP vs Blu-Ray vs DVD video definitions. Your audience is extremely sophisticated as are Laurel & Hardy as artists. So, your flippant perfunctory review of a significant new event in the world of Stan & Ollie shows a disdain for them and their audience.
No disdain for L & H. The review really didn’t concern them, or their work.

It specifically regards the Image quality of the films in the set, of which I’ve probably sampled 75%.

My reviews measure the image quality, based upon extant film elements available for image harvest, and how those (presumably .dpx) files make their way through digital clean-up, color, compression, and authoring to a Blu-ray disc.

Some publishers, such as Criterion, include a booklet, which gives viewers specific details as to what film elements were used as the basis of the release, as well as how they were scanned and processed. With the serious nature of this release, as well as the claims made as to the perfection of its contents, I presumed that such information would be included in the packaging, and actually rechecked my copy for such a booklet. Perhaps one was produced, and I received an early production copy for review.

With the publicity surrounding this release, mentions of pristine, original nitrate elements, 2 and 4k scans, I was prepared to be as blown away by the image content, as I was by the audio on The Music Box. I was pleased that air was left at the top end of the various old original tracks, and they work for me.

It is possible, that something occurred in final compression. Using TMB as an example of something that could and should have been able to replicate the fully organic nature of film, I was unable to find it. It may be in the master, which I’ve not seen. Overall, the film, as presented on disc, did not appear like film, but rather something derived from an extremely high quality element, that was processed and turned into a more video compliant image.

The Roach productions, in a general sense, were low-budget affairs, with technical attributes that tended toward the basic. It was almost a miracle, that L & H were able to work within the system provided to them and create the magic that they did.

But in the end, film is film, which today, can finally be beautifully mimicked digitally, and attain a fully organic appearance. Film doesn’t lie.

For whatever reason, that’s simply not what I’m seeing, and I have no answer as to why, as I don‘t know the specifics as to how these discs came to be.

If the answer cannot be found in compression, possibly it’s within the digital clean-up and processing software. I’d love to know what program(s) were used, and by what post-production entity.

To be clear, my words have zero to do with Mr. Laurel, Mr. Hardy, or their work. It’s all about Kodak products, how they have been exposed, processed, replicated, handled, preserved and brought into the digital world. It ain’t personal.
 

Michel_Hafner

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Let's wait for stills and clips. When Mr. Harris says it does not look as it should I believe him. He knows a thing or two about how film looks when faithfully transferred to digital. I'm not ordering for now and I never intended to as I always wait for feedback and real data to make my decisions. So much can go wrong at any stage, intentionally (e.g. with good but misguided intentions) or unintentionally.
 

OliverK

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Let's wait for stills and clips. When Mr. Harris says it does not look as it should I believe him. He knows a thing or two about how film looks when faithfully transferred to digital. I'm not ordering for now and I never intended to as I always wait for feedback and real data to make my decisions. So much can go wrong at any stage, intentionally (e.g. with good but misguided intentions) or unintentionally.
I made the mistake to preorder and have now tried to cancel my preorder, waiting for caps to have a look myself before possibly ordering it again.

I would not be surprised if at some stage something went very wrong as considering who is involved both on the production / releasing and the reviewer side this seems the only logical reason for what I am reading in this thread. As for grain reduction it wouldn't be needed if excessive digital cleanup already took most of it, this has happened before. And I am not saying it happened in this case but it would be a possible explanation.
 

BobO'Link

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No disdain for L & H. The review really didn’t concern them, or their work.

It specifically regards the Image quality of the films in the set, of which I’ve probably sampled 75%.

My reviews measure the image quality, based upon extant film elements available for image harvest, and how those (presumably .dpx) files make their way through digital clean-up, color, compression, and authoring to a Blu-ray disc.

Some publishers, such as Criterion, include a booklet, which gives viewers specific details as to what film elements were used as the basis of the release, as well as how they were scanned and processed. With the serious nature of this release, as well as the claims made as to the perfection of its contents, I presumed that such information would be included in the packaging, and actually rechecked my copy for such a booklet. Perhaps one was produced, and I received an early production copy for review.

With the publicity surrounding this release, mentions of pristine, original nitrate elements, 2 and 4k scans, I was prepared to be as blown away by the image content, as I was by the audio on The Music Box. I was pleased that air was left at the top end of the various old original tracks, and they work for me.

It is possible, that something occurred in final compression. Using TMB as an example of something that could and should have been able to replicate the fully organic nature of film, I was unable to find it. It may be in the master, which I’ve not seen. Overall, the film, as presented on disc, did not appear like film, but rather something derived from an extremely high quality element, that was processed and turned into a more video compliant image.

The Roach productions, in a general sense, were low-budget affairs, with technical attributes that tended toward the basic. It was almost a miracle, that L & H were able to work within the system provided to them and create the magic that they did.

But in the end, film is film, which today, can finally be beautifully mimicked digitally, and attain a fully organic appearance. Film doesn’t lie.

For whatever reason, that’s simply not what I’m seeing, and I have no answer as to why, as I don‘t know the specifics as to how these discs came to be.

If the answer cannot be found in compression, possibly it’s within the digital clean-up and processing software. I’d love to know what program(s) were used, and by what post-production entity.

To be clear, my words have zero to do with Mr. Laurel, Mr. Hardy, or their work. It’s all about Kodak products, how they have been exposed, processed, replicated, handled, preserved and brought into the digital world. It ain’t personal.
And this is why I read, and trust, Robert's opinions. He talks about image and audio quality with insights I might never consider. He's worked with film and knows how it is supposed to look. I never have. I don't read his "A Few Words About" for reviews of the performances, direction, etc. I can get that elsewhere from people who only cursorily mention overall A/V quality which is often from an end user perspective - not a professional one.

Like many "boomers" I grew up watching Lauren & Hardy on TV on a very regular basis. I love them and always have. I have this pre-ordered solely based on the few pre-release images and video comparisons put out so far. In spite of owning copies of their material on several DVD releases, including "The Essential Collection," I have no plans to cancel that order.
 

Robert Harris

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And this is why I read, and trust, Robert's opinions. He talks about image and audio quality with insights I might never consider. He's worked with film and knows how it is supposed to look. I never have. I don't read his "A Few Words About" for reviews of the performances, direction, etc. I can get that elsewhere from people who only cursorily mention overall A/V quality which is often from an end user perspective - not a professional one.

Like many "boomers" I grew up watching Lauren & Hardy on TV on a very regular basis. I love them and always have. I have this pre-ordered solely based on the few pre-release images and video comparisons put out so far. In spite of owning copies of their material on several DVD releases, including "The Essential Collection," I have no plans to cancel that order.
Nor should you cancel, as the probability of a better release is slim to none.

Should those behind this release go a volume 2, my only suggestions would be to lighten up on digital work, and allow more of the film, regardless of wear, shine through.

That, and do less publicity raising one’s expectations of unattainable quality.
 
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Skretvedt

Agent
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Aug 16, 2007
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29
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Randy Skretvedt
Since our friend BobO' Link mentioned them, here are some comparisons of the new release versus the 2011 Universal/Vivendi DVD...
Hog Wild: Me and My Pal: Their First Mistake:
And here's the new release compared to what we saw on TV as kids --
Come Clean:
Here are some frame captures directly from the Blu-rays:
HOG WILD Blu-ray capture.png
THE CHIMP Blu-ray capture.png
ONE GOOD TURN Blu-ray capture.png
COME CLEAN Blu-ray capture.png


Draw your own conclusions as to whether or not there is adequate film grain.
--Randy Skretvedt
 
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