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UHD Review A few words about...™ Superman: The Movie -- in 4k UHD Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Nov 2, 2018.

  1. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Cinematographer
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    Another screen cap comparison that shows the 4K's strength:

    https://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?a=1&x=245&y=231&d1=12539&d2=12538&s1=124655&s2=124648&l=0&i=9&go=1

    The 4K looks much more natural and reveals detail without artificial enhancement. Look at the water, particularly to the left of the Army vehicle. On the 4K the film grain in the water is even and smooth. On the Blu-ray you can see all sorts of artifacts from artificial enhancement and the image clearly has an artificial contrast boost that looks fake.

    Mark
     
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  2. Spencer Draper

    Spencer Draper Stunt Coordinator

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    FINALLY it looks like the teal is gone! For years I've been discredited for mentioning the fact that the color work on all the new masters in the Anthology box were messed up (I and II theatrical, III and IV) and there were the youtube comparison videos that first brought it up.

    This looks incredibly better in mostly subtle but very noticeable ways. All four Supermans have always been made to look very flat on video and it has been very hard to get away from that. The VHS looked bad, the LD looked bad, the DVD looked bad, the BD looked bad etc.

    I'm dying to check this out. Why does 4K have to be so pricey? If the lossy 5.1 is indeed the 70mm mix it's very likely they already had it laying around in the digital domain somewhere.

    Does it have the opening mono to stereo surround transition? If so that would indicate my long held belief that the 1990 letterboxed LD audio (which so far is the best sounding version anywhere) is derived from the 70mm mix. The opening to the Laserdisc has the opening child's voice and musical cue locked to the center channel in ProLogic decoded form and then it swells to full stereo for the opening titles and then the opening swooshes go into the surround for full stereo surround. The rest of the film has a much better surround presence unlike the rather flat and dull 2.0 Dolby Stereo.


    The film was released in three formats: Dolby Stereo, Dolby Stereo 70mm and mono. Each mix was done separately at the mixing stage one at a time. I think it's silly to dump the 2.0 Dolby Stereo since there's obviously the space for it and the 70mm audio should have been lossless. All three tracks should be there.
    And of course nobody cares about poor mono mixes. The mono for this film doesn't seem any different outside of being single channel but I've only heard samples.


    Ultimately this is the first and only time a video release really looks like the 1978 release print. This looks darn near close to the pristine nonfaded print I saw three years ago.
     
  3. Spencer Draper

    Spencer Draper Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm almost positive that Donner and Thau listened to the rather dull and unimpressive original Dolby Stereo when first preparing the SE. If they had looked up the 70mm mix, the new 5.1 mix would have been unnecessary.
    It would be interesting if anyone ever found the split surround 70mm test mix that was never used.
     
  4. WillG

    WillG Lead Actor

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    To be fair, we will never know for sure what a real Donner directed version of SII would have been. The Donner cut is at best an approximation but nothing more. There really is no such thing as a “Donner Cut” and there never will be.
     
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  5. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    The Richard Donner Cut is a rough assembly of what Donner's Superman II would have been at the time he stopped working on it. Obviously, once they decided to use the turn back time ending for Superman: The Movie, they would have had to come up with a new ending for Superman II.

    I would love to see the movie that Superman II would have been had Donner been able to complete it originally.
     
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  6. WillG

    WillG Lead Actor

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    But that cut still had to use a fair amount of Lester footage. There was no way a real Donner cut could ever have existed.
     
  7. Message #47 of 225 Nov 4, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
    Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    No director shoots every frame of their movie. There are multiple units and assistant directors shooting chunks of the film. As long as he participated in editing the film, and it represents his vision, I'm satisfied that it's called the "Donner cut" even if he didn't direct all the footage.
     
  8. Message #48 of 225 Nov 5, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
    ghostwind

    ghostwind Stunt Coordinator
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    Funny, I was just looking last night. The "problem" with caps-a-holic is you can't compare HDR to SDR, as the 4K UHD HDR is converted to SDR. So the colors will always look different. You can however compare resolution, and of course compare Blu-ray to Blu-ray which are both SDR. That being said, when comparing thew new 2001 4K vs. Blu-ray, I can see a clear uptick in resolution. For Superman, not really. Just added HDR effects.
     
  9. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    If you look at Lois Lane, the blinds, and antenna, you can see finer detail. But more so, film grain with better encoding is more clearly rendered on the UHD BD. The grain on the BD looks more blocky and digital making the UHD BD look much more filmic for sure. It also appears the contrast boost of the Blu-ray (as was the case with many older BDs) is gone.

    https://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?go=1&a=0&d1=12539&d2=12538&s1=124660&s2=124642&i=4&l=0
     
  10. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Cinematographer
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    My copy from Amazon shipped and is scheduled for delivery tomorrow. I'm going to watch it tomorrow afternoon/evening. And I'll watch it again when I get my Panasonic UB9000 player.

    Mark
     
  11. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    Mine is arriving tomorrow although probably won't get to watch it until later in the week.

    I also see it will be playing at a 96 foot wide screen in my area later this month and next. :eek:
     
  12. Stephen PI

    Stephen PI Supporting Actor

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    I was present at some of the mixing at Pinewood in Theater Two. There were two shifts, day and night, to get the track completed on time. There were some opticals that were still not completed and didn't make it to the final theatrical print. Gordon K. McCallum was in charge. I remember he was rehearsing the main title music with effects using the newly introduced split surround format. I believe the configuration for the intial 70mm release was channel one: Left; channel two: Split surround left (above 500hz) below, baby boom; channel three: Center; channel 4: Split Surround right (above 500hz) below, baby boom; channel five: Right; Channel six: Mono Surround.
    My role on the film was as a cutting room assistant. There was a huge cutting crew and we occupied the upper floor of the old film library. I had to take rolls of 35mm film of flying background plates and show them to Andre De Toth on a steenbeck. He would select what was to be used and specially graded prints were prepared for projected backgrounds behind Christopher Reeve.
     
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  13. Neil S. Bulk

    Neil S. Bulk Screenwriter

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  14. ghostwind

    ghostwind Stunt Coordinator
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    Yes, it looks a bit better in some scenes, probably overall. But we'll never know about the colors. I think that's mostly due to the new encode, not necessarily the 4K rez. But the HDR stuff bothers me here, unlike in 2001. Anyhow, no thanks to WB for not releasing a new BD alongside, and using the 2011 transfer. Boo!
     
  15. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    The highlights are far better on the UHD BD. Just look at Jor-El alone. Seems the HDR has been done tastefully and expanding higher range. There is excessively clipping on the BD. Considering they reportedly went back to the ON, I would put my money on the UHD BD color which even on my cheap monitor here looks more naturally rendered but I will have to watch this on my set-up. If I do see this at the theater, I will also make note of how it compares to the UHD BD.
     
  16. Paul_Warren

    Paul_Warren Second Unit

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    Watched mine yesterday it looks fantastic! So much grain & rich colour. Such a natural looking UHD.

    Saw some new detail as well. Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine from ROTJ & Star Wars the Prequels) appears @ 12:02 in a brief few frame background uncredited cameo semi smirking for the camera in one of the Krypton high council scene's!
     
  17. Message #57 of 225 Nov 6, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
    DP 70

    DP 70 Screenwriter

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    I did attend a 70mm screening at the Odeon L Square for a cast and crew screening and this was the only 70mm screening in London as
    the print went back to the USA after.
    I know Max Bell from Dolby was at the remote desk in the theatre but cannot remember if this was screened in Split Surrounds
    (Format 43) but i think it was screened in ( Format 42) as the Odeon was not wired for Split Surrounds yet.
     
  18. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    It's been well documented that the film only played with mono surrounds in 1978. This is due to the facts that the Format 42 decoders weren't ready at the time and the team at Pinewood only using them on a handful of sequences.
     
  19. Message #59 of 225 Nov 6, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018
    DP 70

    DP 70 Screenwriter

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    This film did screen in the USA in Split Surrounds at Northpoint where they used an SA-5 Surround Unit with a Dolby CP100 as this was a test before Apocalypse Now came out, so Superman was the first 70mm to be shown in 70mm Dolby Format 43.
     
  20. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Cinematographer
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    Let's see.. I saw 'Superman' in the theater three times in 1978. I had purchased my first VHS VCR about 1 year earlier, in 1977. When 'Superman' was released on VHS cassette I got together with a friend and we connected our VCRs to make copies for ourselves. Yeah, I know, shame on me... but my penance is what follows...

    I purchased the first Laserdisc version of the film in 1983. It was pan & scan.
    I upgraded to the widescreen Laserdisc version in 1990.
    I purchased a DVD version of the film in 2001.
    I purchased a DVD box set of all of the films a few years later.
    I purchased the HD DVD version of the film in 2006.
    I purchased the UK Blu-ray Anthology set in 2016.
    I purchased the Special Edition/Extended Blu-ray version in 2017.

    And I just purchased the 4K version.

    Santa is bringing me a $1,000 4K Blu-ray player for Christmas (which might not arrive until January), the Panasonic UB9000. The film I'm most looking forward to try in it is, you guessed it, 'Superman'.

    When will the madness end? :)

    Mark
     
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