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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Black Rain -- in HD (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

Senior HTF Member
Feb 8, 1999
Real Name
Robert Harris
Black Rain is an interesting film. Anything that the Brothers Scott place on screen is going to be interesting.

Is it one of the great films of the '80s. No.

What it is is stylish, ultimately entertaining, and worth the price of admission.

How does it translate to HD?

This is where it gets interesting.

Seated at the proper Boulet distance, the film looks fine, with black blacks and good color. Grain is definitely there, but not troublesome.

But looking at it closely, I noted something that I hadn't seen elsewhere.

Ever see one of the extreme high speed photographs of a traveling bullet?

Look closely at a neutral area in Black Rain, and you'll see two things.

The grain doesn't seem to move.

When something else moves, the grain seems to part, as if being forced
apart by some unseen entity.

Is it problematic?

Certainly not, although the stagnant grain looked odd to my eye.

All in all, a very acceptable HD disc, while not something that one would necessarily pull off the shelf for demonstration purposes.

As an aside, this is the first time that I've noted among the extras -- and there are good extras on this disc -- an HD version of the film's trailer.



Cees Alons

Senior HTF Member
Jul 31, 1997
Real Name
Cees Alons
Interesting phenomenon!

If it's not moving, it could be caused by the optical parts of the scanning system, one would say. E.g. the lenses or the photo sensor chip. The latter would be more probable, given the "parting" effect. If the scanning was performed a bit darkly, other elements in the picture could "overwrite" the grain.

But the most logical explanation, of course, would be compression effects: they would stay at the same place in the picture where no movements occur and change where it does. I'm not sure how variable bandwidth is applied these days, but if it can be adjusted inside the frame, that would be a possible "suspect" too, I guess.

The film itself might be a bit problematic to begin with. I seem to remember many rather dark ("Blade Runner" type) scenes.

I like this film. It's not a masterpiece-of-the-era indeed, but it's a very nice and even interesting one. Four years before I saw Black Rain in the cinema, I had been visiting Osaka myself, and Ridley Scott's "dark and crowded" view of that city was a special experience indeed (although perhaps not really fair to that nice city

I'm very glad you can confirm that the picture is excellent when viewed at normal distances. I'm going to order this one for sure!


Marko Berg

Supporting Actor
Mar 22, 2002

I think Mr. Boulet should be looking at trademarking the phrase similarly to A Few Words About...™ especially now that it has RAH Approved usage


Senior HTF Member
Feb 18, 2004
Real Name
This isn't the much-discussed Film Grain Modelling, is it? I'm not sure whether compression noise in a wavelet codec would be fixed like MPEG block noise, or move around uneasily like MPEG truncation noise.

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