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A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Last Temptation of Christ -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Mar 5, 2012.

  1. seely

    seely Auditioning

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    To the best of my knowledge:
    HDCam can't do 24p. It can only do interlaced. Also, it only does 3:1:1 color at 1440x1080p which is up-resolved to 1920x1080p. It can hold only four channels of audio. The bit rate is 135Mbps.
    HDCamSR can't do 24p either. It can only do interlaced. It can do 4:4:4 RGB color at 1920x1080p and can do more than 5.1 channels of audio. The bit rate is 440Mbps standard mode and 880Mbps HQ mode. It also has a better compression algorithm and smaller metal particles than HDCam.
    So, neither HDCam nor HDCamSR does true/native 24p.
    But, there is a way to "trick" HDCam and HDCamSR into recording and playing a true 24fps (24p) image. This is called psf, or progressive segmented frame. (This is also why I wrote above that both HDCam and HDCamSR do 1080p instead of 1080i).
    HDCam/HDCamSR 24psf divides a single whole image frame into two individual half frames - one with odd lines and the other with even lines. The odd lined frame and the even lined frame originate from the exact same moment in time. When the odd and even psf frames are combined, they make one full image frame.
    By using 24psf, HDCam/HDCamSR can store and play 24p media without adding false frames and can play the media on interlaced-based media equipment. Basically, it makes 24p films able to be played on interlaced and also progressive players. The two frames can be merged together to make a perfect whole frame image of a single instant in time.
    Psf is different than interlaced because, with interlaced, the two frames (one of odd lines and one of even lines) do not originate from the same moment in time. On the other hand, the two psf frames do originate from the same moment in time. This makes 24psf video vastly superior to interlaced video for storing and playing 24fps (24p) media.
    HDCam/HDCamSR 24psf is a legitimate way to capture, store, and play media that originated at 24fps (24p). Of course, HDCamSR is more desirable than HDCam given the better data rates, color space, compression algorithm, and amount of sound channels, not to mention true 1080p resolution instead of up-resolved 1080p with HDCam.
    The above information regards the current generation of HDCam/HDCamSR. I believe that the first generation of HDCam was not able to do 24psf, but could only do true interlaced....but I am not 100% sure of this.
    So, the master could be on HDCam at 24psf or HDCamSR at 24psf or possibly a wide variety of other forms of media. I really have no clue where Criterion got the master to their current Blu-ray release from, nor have I seen the new Blu-ray release of this amazing film, but I hope to see it soon. I just wanted to add some information to the HDCam/HDCamSR debate.
    Best wishes.
     
  2. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    Thanks, I always wondered what PSF was, now I know.

    Sean's accusation is that Criterion used a 12 year old master, if that's the case it was from before HDCAMSR hit the market. I suppose the studio could have used another format for their master, but I don't think D5 would have made a difference and I'm drawing a blank on what other formats other than data they would have done... but I imagine that Criterion's master for the DVD was regular HDCAM or Digibeta. The other blurays they've done from the pre HDCAMSR mastering era of dvd releases have all had new telecines, that's why it's so puzzling that according to Sean they sourced this release from a 12 year old 1080i master.
     
  3. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    BTW, I just watched the criterion bluray of Head last night, and they managed to include the breaking/burning off the film during the end credits for that film. So it makes it all the more puzzling that they didn't bother to properly represent the end credits for this title.
     
  4. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I'm told that the master us an early 1080p transfer. The sequence in question will be found in all video material, as it is part of the scanned IP. Apparently some optical anomalies going on here, but it's part of the film. Not pretty. But part of the film.

    I have double checked more footage, and while the disc is a quality affair, I'm lowering my original numbers just a bit.

    While one is not supposed to rush through reviews, occasionally problems will pop up. Best that can be done is to correct them.

    RAH
     
  5. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    to clarify, are the problems with the pillar of fire part of the Interpositive or are they an artifact of a very old image harvest done on now outdated equipment?
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    From what I've been told, they are in the original negative, which is the basis of the IP used for the transfer.

    RAH
     
  7. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    How could such artifacts manifest themselves optically in the analog world of film? Sean seems very adamant that such artifacts were never visible in film prints, and are digital in origin, that they could not be present and are not present in any film element.
     
  8. EnricoE

    EnricoE Supporting Actor

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    this is indeed a very good film and i'm looking forward to this release. however, criterion once more, omits the original theatrical trailer. can it be really that hard to include them?
     
  9. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    Here's another DVD comparison, this is different from Beaver, you mouse over the image and it toggles between the SD and HD. Note that Sean has declared the muddy and ugly SD to be more watchable than the HD. I find this bizarre as the HD is clearly superior in every way, except the DVD perhaps didn't reveal the problems of the pillar of fire scene.. I've yet to see any visual evidence of the apocalyptically bad digital artifacts in the one scene in question. I am amazed that Sean had the foresight in the eighties to carefully watch for digital artifacts when seeing the film in theatres so that he could later compare his memory to future HD home video releases.

    http://www.caps-a-holic.com/hd_vergleiche/comparison.php?cID=945#auswahl
     
  10. Felix Martinez

    Felix Martinez Screenwriter

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    Interesting. Framing is different too. It does not appear that Criterion recycled the HD master used for the DVD.
     
  11. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Cinematographer

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    I did see the banding in the temptation in the desert sequence, and this is far from a perfect transfer. But I do think it's a big improvement over the DVD, and much of the time it looks gorgeous.
     
  12. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Cinematographer

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    I rewatched parts of this BD last night. I also noticed some banding in the scene where Jesus meets Martha and Mary after his forty days in the wilderness. I wonder if this is something inherent to the original film, as I know it was shot on a limited budget? I still think most of it looks very nice, but the banding is strange to see in a fairly well lit scene.
     
  13. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Closely examine any original photographs of Jesus, and you'll see the same thing. Especially noticeable on the original glass plates.
     
  14. Larry Sutliff

    Larry Sutliff Cinematographer

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    :laugh:
     
  15. Bryan Tuck

    Bryan Tuck Screenwriter

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    I'm not an expert on banding or filtering, but I can totally see the problem that Sean is talking about in the desert sequence. It is there not only on the pillar of fire, but also on some of the close-ups of Jesus. This is on a rear-projection TV, and it looks just as bad as he describes it.
    However, when I look at the same sequence on an LCD screen, the problem is completely absent. Granted, this screen is also smaller, but there is absolutely no trace of the mess that shows up on the other TV, and it looks quite nice.
    These are also 2 different players, so that could also account for it, but it's really a significant difference. Does that kind of thing happen often?
     
  16. Guest

    Mine was lost in transit (along with a different order.) I told the rep. to just give me a refund, so I won't be checking this disc out for Easter this year.
     
  17. 24fpssean

    24fpssean Stunt Coordinator

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    Criterion did recycle the master used for the DVD. The end titles are the same as on the DVD. As I have stated countless times before, the original end titles of the feature film on 35mm film are white titles over an off-white cinema screen, not the tawny gold that it darkens to between the "burning" of the film and the first pop on of the end titles. Another reviewer said he saw a print of the film a short time ago and that the end titles did indeed darken to a tawny gold, but this must be a post first release decision by Scorsese. I am absolutely certain what I saw, countless times, at Universal that hot August of 1988.
    Think about it: if the film is "burned" off of the screen by the power of god, wouldn't the end titles project on a blank movie screen? Why would it deliberately darken to beige or gold? A visual move like that has no artistic value and has no connection with anything we've seen up until that moment in the film.
    Also, the audio... the original Criterion DVD drops Judas' line, "It's Magdalene. She deserves it" while the BD restores that line. Universal's 100th anniversary DVD, released in conjuction with Criterion's Blu-ray, also has the line dropped. But both that DVD and Criterion's BD have the gold end titles... window boxed. Why window boxed? Anyone who knows this film knows that all the end titles pop on and off in clusters well inside "TV safe". No, they are all based on that 12 year old master.
    And regarding my comment the the original DVD looks better than this abominable BD - sharper is not better. We've come to an age where every nerd wants every film to look sharp enough to cut the eyes. But with older films that does not work. You can sharpen the hell out of them but you are not getting even close to what the film looked like projected theatrically. So yes I would prefer the smudgey DVD over the storm of blocking and pixels and banding that the BD has to offer.
    But I've very curious about the claim that the film, on 35mm, now has darken end titles. I have not seen the film projected since its first run in 1988, when I saw it countless times, so I wonder if this was a post first run change that was made so people could indeed read those titles? I remember thinking in '88 that those would be very hard to read for some. If that change has been made, that is unfortunate. The visual experience of seeing the film burned out of the projector, leaving us all to watch a blank screen while Peter Gabriel's score played was really something.
    If Universal ever bothers to do a new harvest of Last Temptation, as they did with Out of Africa literally a year after their first god awful BD, then perhaps the truth will come to light. I know it will.
     

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