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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. williammoore

    williammoore Extra

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    The original movie theatre release in 1978 was only in Dolby Surround, and BTW, my Blu of this legendary film looks great on my 1080P Pioneer plasma. Also, this was Geoffrey Unsworth's last film and there is a dedication to him in the credits.
     
  2. Worth

    Worth Cinematographer

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    Not quite. I think The Great Train Robbery was shot after this, and he also worked on Tess up until his death, when he was replaced by Ghiskain Cloquet.
     
  3. Message #83 of 131 Nov 7, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
    Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    Yeah that's what I'm getting here. Saying "fine detail is improved!" means nothing where there was never much fine detail in the first place. Oh sure its sharper....like 10% sharper. So ultimately you're basically only buying this for HDR.
     
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  4. Brett Lovett

    Brett Lovett Stunt Coordinator

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  5. Neil S. Bulk

    Neil S. Bulk Screenwriter

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    The Atmos mix is derived from the 2001 Thau re-mix, except the opening has been changed and is clearly from the six-track. The movie is supposed to open monophonically and it never did on the 2001 mix and it does now.

    The six-track is a revelation, as if a veil has been lifted on the audio. On video I've owned the mono CED disc, stereo widescreen Laser Disc and various DVDs and Blu-rays, some with the original mix in stereo only. Hearing it in discrete audio, as intended, is how the film should have always been in the discrete digital era. Finally, this movie sounds right.
     
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  6. Dave MJ

    Dave MJ Stunt Coordinator

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    Agreed, it's a revelation and about time we got it, even if it's not lossless. This is how the movie is supposed to sound. I can't stand the 2001 remix. Way too many changes and omissions and the music balance is off in many places.

    I think the image looks great, as good as it can given the source. It's sharper, the color is better (and it's natural and film like, not over-saturated or revisionist), the HDR is tastefully applied and there is no sign of DNR that I noticed. WB hit it out of the park with this release. Well worth the upgrade for the audio alone.
     
  7. Message #87 of 131 Nov 8, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
    Brett Lovett

    Brett Lovett Stunt Coordinator

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    The opening is certainly monophonic now on the original 5.1 DD. I couldn't detect sound out of any but the center speaker. However the transition of the sound from the "1930's" into the title sequence seems considerably more subtle to me. The Thau mix seems to have a very dramatic transition right at the first title swoosh as the curtains spread off the screen. The original gives me more of the impression of gradually and subtly building from the mono to stereo, holding back until the appearance of the "S" to make the multi-channel sound beyond the constraint of the screen dramatically apparent. The dialog on the original seemed extremely and surprisingly (amazingly) clear and appropriate except two instances I noticed. The lines of Glenn Ford/Jonathan Kent at the farm seemed a bit muffled and/or distorted, almost as if we're still listening from a distance behind him while we're looking at his face, and the same with the first scene of Jackie Cooper/Perry White in the office. I didn't take time to focus on comparing the dialog with the Thau mix. However, with quick samples of the Dolby True HD (Atmos) track for comparison I did get the impression that the Thau mix seems to bury the listener in the orchestra, rather allowing the impression of listening from the audience. I'll have to do some more comparisons later.

    I've long thought that the ultimate "Star Wars" home theater media would include all of the original 1977 soundtrack mixes (lossless of course). It would be nice to have the option of playing the 6-track from the 70mm prints, and both the Dolby Stereo and the unique monaural audio from the 35mm prints, to cover all of the original experiences of the way it was in 1977. I'd really love to have all of the original soundtrack mixes on most other movies as well.
     
  8. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I was going to wait to buy this 4K/UHD release, but the positive comments has led me to now wait so I'll have it on Friday for a weekend viewing.
     
  9. Stephen PI

    Stephen PI Supporting Actor

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    I think I'm right in saying this, the 70mm track on "STAR WARS" was a basic 4-track mix (LCRS) with bass enhancement in channels 2 and 4. It was encoded with Dolby noise reduction but was not the 'ground breaking' Dolby Stereo optical sound matrix that was developed for 35mm prints that replaced magnetic striping.
    All 35mm prints were Dolby Stereo and the track was 'mono compatible'. A regular mono optical reader would sum the two Lt /Rt channels. So I don't think there were mono prints as such.
    During mixing the Dolby Stereo soundtrack was monitored for phase accuracy through the DS4 (monitoring system for Dolby Lt Rt)and for mono compatibility.
    The 4-track stereo mix master stems of dialog, efx and music were stored separately and interlocked together and monitored through the DS4 to create the composite track.
     
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  10. Brett Lovett

    Brett Lovett Stunt Coordinator

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    On a slightly different subject, something that really bugs me with "Superman" is what I consider to be the cut-and-paste butchery done to John Williams score. The swapping and speed/pitch changing of portions of the main and end title music is the most egregious example, but the various cuts and splices to "Chasing Trains" is another. I'd be surprised if Williams wasn't somewhat offended by this, but perhaps with him and Donner both having worked on Gilligan's Island he was prepared for all this additional editing after scoring. I'd sure like to see the film edited to the way he scored it. Maybe it is just because I'm a lover of orchestral film scores, but I usually prefer films that way.

    I bring it up because with the original mix I found the speed/pitch transition during the main title to end title transition to be a lot less obvious than in the Thau mix. However I did find the cut in "Chasing Rockets" to be more jarring than I ever remember it being before, even though it's always been bad.
     
  11. Message #91 of 131 Nov 8, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
    Brett Lovett

    Brett Lovett Stunt Coordinator

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    That's correct. The 'ground breaking' Dolby Stereo optical sound matrix was only used on 35mm prints. Star Wars was the first use of this Dolby "Baby Boom" format which repurposed the existing 6-track magnetic Todd-AO format by using channels 2 and 4 for low frequency effects as you describe, which might also be considered 'ground breaking.' 70mm Dolby 6-track was pretty popular over nearly the same time period as Dolby Stereo optical.

    This is the 'ground breaking' Dolby Stereo optical sound matrix that was developed for 35mm prints. You're right that this was "mono compatible." My understanding is that there were no dedicated mono prints for the exclusive first run release, but shortly thereafter a dedicated monaural mix was produced that was significantly different. That's why I referred to it as "the unique monaural audio." It was distributed on dedicated monaural (optical) 35mm prints to several theaters during the general release. I've also seen it suggested that there may have been some 35mm prints distributed with Cinemascope 4-track magnetic, but I haven't found anything conclusive about that.

    Star Wars (1977) - Dolby/Mono Mix Differences

    https://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Star-Wars-sound-mixes/id/15294

    I'm pretty sure I experienced the 35mm Dolby Stereo optical during the exclusive first run, and the monaural during the general release. Unfortunately I missed out on the 70mm Dolby 6-track. The theater I went to for the exclusive first run was capable of 70mm 6-track but didn't receive a 70mm print. I missed experiencing Superman in 70mm 6-track as well. Hearing that reproduced now is a real treat.
     
  12. Message #92 of 131 Nov 8, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
    DP 70

    DP 70 Supporting Actor

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    l am sure last true 6-track mix was Logans Run it was fantastic at the Empire in London.
     
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  13. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    According to the records at In70nm.com (which is problematic...to say the least), the last American made film released with conventional 70mm prints was The Blues Brothers in 1981, and apparently only in Europe.
     
  14. DP 70

    DP 70 Supporting Actor

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    In 1981 that would have been in 6-track Dolby Stereo, Logans Run in the UK was in full 6-track stereo including inner left and rights
    Dolby Format 40 unlike Dolby stereo with baby boom Dolby format 42.
    It does have a Dolby System Logo in the credits but the 70mm print in the UK was non Dolby also like some 70mm prints of
    CE3K and A Star is Born (1977) used in theatres that had not had the Dolby CP100 installed yet.
     
  15. ghostwind

    ghostwind Stunt Coordinator
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    I'm getting my 2nd Panasonic UB-820 player today, so tonight I will take a look at both the 4K and the Blu-ray simultaneously on two different inputs on my LG and report back. I can judge better that way, switching inputs fast between scenes instead of relying on memory while swapping discs on one player. Both inputs will be calibrated as best as possible - the SDR input for the Blu-ray with a 3D LUT for REC.709 and the HDR/Dolby Vision input with a 2pt grayscale (only thing you can calibrate for Dolby Vision or HDR without messing up the PQ curve and colors).
     
  16. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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    I watched it last night - overall, very impressed with it. I also liked the 5.1 track. Well worth the price.
     
  17. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    The Blues Brothers was not issued in Dolby PERIOD. The 35mm prints on it were optical mono and 4-track mag.

    Universal was sluggish to adopt to Dolby in general. For instance in 1979, Spielberg's 1941 was released with only mag stereo prints. It's the only film of his post-Jaws to not have a Dolby mix of some form at the time of release.
     
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  18. Spencer Draper

    Spencer Draper Stunt Coordinator

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    That would make sense as a number of places were slow to adopt Dolby, and few theaters equipped themselves early on and even fewer did proper installs. The Spy Who Loved Me is a four track stereo film but has no Dolby credit (Has anyone ever seen a mono print of this out of curiosity?) and it was only on Moonraker in 1979 that the Bond films went out as Dolby encoded.

    The Star Wars mono mix was custom made and is arguably the definitive mix for that film. Lucasfilm continued this practice and made custom mono mixes with differences for ESB and Raiders, with the custom mono for ROTJ being a folddown of the stereo but properly monitored to not lose any significant information. Ben Burtt has been quoted on the ESB stereo mix being designed to not have any important info outside the stereo mains so that if the Dolby unit went out or if the theater hadn't installed a center and surround that audiences could still follow the film.

    It sounds as if my suspicions were correct and that the letterboxed Laserdisc audio was from the 70mm mix.

    Superman also had a mono release but I've only seen it on ebay print listings. It's likely a fold of the stereo but you never know.
     
  19. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Producer

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    Neil has. I'm still confused as to how MGM was able to dig up a mag stereo master for Man With the Golden Gun that allegedly only played in London only to go mono for the Lowry master.
     
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  20. Spencer Draper

    Spencer Draper Stunt Coordinator

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    Wow!!!!!
    I had heard rumors of some of the Bonds having mag stereo runs but had never heard concrete evidence outside of some random online postings and John Glen's autobiography describing tearing out and installing proper surround channels for the OHMSS premiere in stereo.
    Then there are the rumored 70mm runs of YOLT, Spy, Moonraker, FYEO and several others which are unconfirmed. (Only Octopussy seems to be official.) I don't know why the series seemed to stick to simple standards other than perhaps Broccoli and Saltzman didn't really believe in stereo and 70mm at the time. The first nine films seemed to always be made with standard mono runs in mind so any news of alternate versions is fantastic. I knew there had to be a mono TSWLM somewhere but had never seen one.
    The other big question would be if Thunderball had an alternative release planned which caused the emergence of the alternate audio mix that MGM made into the stereo surround track.
     

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