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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Gangs of Wasseypur -- in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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The word of mouth about this epic-length (320 minute) Indian mob drama had me interested enough to prepare to view the entire film in one late-night session.

As full disclosure, I may do a few things moderately well, but foreign language skills have always eluded me.  Some people, much like not having a sense of direction, may simply be born without them.

So with the embarrassing fact that I neither speak nor understand any Indian dialects out of the way, I can still depend upon those things we've come to refer to in the cinema as "sub-titles."

Sub-titling a film is an incredible melding of art and technology, and I won't even begin to explain how they've been physically added to the long strips of film over the years.

I've created several sub-title bands, so the technology and necessities are known.

In the early days of sound, into the 1940s, they tended to be occasionally poorly translated, and very brief.  In many case, as with the Pagnol films, entirely missing the actual, sometimes bawdy humor.

Even if they were prepared properly, one could be stuck with watching an entire ten minute sequence, of people seated around a table, with a checkered tablecloth -- and half the words being unreadable.

Titles much translate the dialogue, making sense of what is being spoken, and yet get on and off the screen quickly, and at the same time be easily readable.

This is all preface to my proposed evening with Gangs of Wasseypur, which in the end was a odd failure.

I'm not in a position to give the film numerical ratings, although from what I saw and heard the quality of Cineliciouspics' Blu-ray seems to be fine.  The film was shot in S35, and taken to a 2k DI, toward a final scope format.

Let me return to the preparation of sub-titles for a moment.  The first thing needed is a translation.  That translation must then be whittled down to as few words as possible to allow the audience to understand the dialogue on screen.  Then the timing, when each line of titles appears and disappears from the screen is measured, hopefully hitting both artistic as well as technical requisites.

But this is why you'll find no numerical ratings, and no real review.

I never watched the film.

I wasn't able to.

Since I don't speak the language, I'm dependent upon those sub-titles.

And whatever entity prepared the titles for this film, and let's not leave out whomever did the QC failed at every turn.

If a line of dialogue as spoken might be something like "If they move, kill 'em," that's short enough to translate and get on screen.

Things change measurably, and annoyingly so, if those sub-titles read:

"Pike Bishop:  If they move, kill 'em."

or in the case of some of the titles on Gangs of Wasseypur might read:

"Really bad guy: Kill them all!  Kill the women and children!"

At around the ten minute mark, I gave up, as the sub-titling was so horrifically created, it made viewing unbearable.

So, unfortunately, there you have it.

The first "Fail" from A few words...

for epic fail sub-titling.

The Blu-rays should be recalled and re-titled by someone who knows what they're doing.

Definitely not recommended.  Save yourself the pain.

RAH



Update:

I'm told that the problem that I'm perceiving is not a problem, but rather, the way that the film was sub-titled, ie identifying the character speaking for viewers, when said character is off screen.

While I find it extremely disturbing, to a point at which I cannot stay in the film, some may not.

As noted, I've heard that the film is worth the time investment. If readers feel that it won't be disturbing, go for it.

This is a sub-titling function quite new to me. Those producing the discs are doubtless trying to be helpful, not creating problems.

RAH
 

McCrutchy

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Ouch. Perhaps an Indian company was involved? I believe some Indian labels tend to produce poorer English subtitles, like some South Korean and Hong Kong companies do.
 

Michel_Hafner

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The Blu Ray people can be reached here:

http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=256087&page=1

They are supposed to be a quality label. This is puzzling. I have this disc on order... Hm.


Meanwhile I can recommend some good Bollywood Blu Rays of movies I enjoyed for people interested in this industry:


- Swades (only remastered version)

- New York (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1328634/combined)

- English Vinglish

- Guzaarish

- Saawariya

- Wake Up Sid

- Jodhaa Akbar (French Blu Ray is best)

- Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela (Romeo and Juliet adaptation)

- 3 Idiots


Some good films have unfortunately only bad Blu Rays (Rang de Basanti) or discs with permanent visible watermarks (Bhaag Milka Bhaag). And the classics before the 90s don't exist on Blu Ray in any quality. :(
 

Ernest

Supporting Actor
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Messages
822
Wow I had pre-ordered this title then changed my mind and cancelled my order when I though about watching a 320 minute movie with subtitles from India. I decided it would be better for me to wait for the reviews and I am so glad I did.
 

EddieLarkin

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So am I to understand that with each new speaker, the subtitles on this disc state the name of the character first?
 

Mark-P

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Not to mention that (judging from a screencap at DVD Beaver) the subtitles are below the frameline making it a pain for constant-height setups!
 

Robert Harris

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EddieLarkin said:
So am I to understand that with each new speaker, the subtitles on this disc state the name of the character first?
Precisely

Forcing the viewer to take time away from attempting to watch the film, and think, "huh, who..."

There is no viable way to watch this film and take in these subs simultaniously.

One of the most inappropriate uses of titling I've ever come across.
 

cinemiracle

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Robert Harris said:
The word of mouth about this epic-length (320 minute) Indian mob drama had me interested enough to prepare to view the entire film in one late-night session.


As full disclosure, I may do a few things moderately well, but foreign language skills have always eluded me. Some people, much like not having a sense of direction, may simply be born without them.


So with the embarrassing fact that I neither speak nor understand any Indian dialects out of the way, I can still depend upon those things we've come to refer to in the cinema as "sub-titles."


Sub-titling a film is an incredible melding of art and technology, and I won't even begin to explain how they've been physically added to the long strips of film over the years.


I've created several sub-title bands, so the technology and necessities are known.


In the early days of sound, into the 1940s, they tended to be occasionally poorly translated, and very brief. In many case, as with the Pagnol films, entirely missing the actual, sometimes bawdy humor.


Even if they were prepared properly, one could be stuck with watching an entire ten minute sequence, of people seated around a table, with a checkered tablecloth -- and half the words being unreadable.


Titles much translate the dialogue, making sense of what is being spoken, and yet get on and off the screen quickly, and at the same time be easily readable.


This is all preface to my proposed evening with Gangs of Wasseypur, which in the end was a odd failure.


I'm not in a position to give the film numerical ratings, although from what I saw and heard the quality of Cineliciouspics' Blu-ray seems to be fine. The film was shot in S35, and taken to a 2k DI, toward a final scope format.


Let me return to the preparation of sub-titles for a moment. The first thing needed is a translation. That translation must then be whittled down to as few words as possible to allow the audience to understand the dialogue on screen. Then the timing, when each line of titles appears and disappears from the screen is measured, hopefully hitting both artistic as well as technical requisites.


But this is why you'll find no numerical ratings, and no real review.


I never watched the film.


I wasn't able to.


Since I don't speak the language, I'm dependent upon those sub-titles.


And whatever entity prepared the titles for this film, and let's not leave out whomever did the QC failed at every turn.


If a line of dialogue as spoken might be something like "If they move, kill 'em," that's short enough to translate and get on screen.


Things change measurably, and annoyingly so, if those sub-titles read:


"Pike Bishop: If they move, kill 'em."


or in the case of some of the titles on Gangs of Wasseypur might read:


"Really bad guy: Kill them all! Kill the women and children!"


At around the ten minute mark, I gave up, as the sub-titling was so horrifically created, it made viewing unbearable.


So, unfortunately, there you have it.


The first "Fail" from A few words...


for epic fail sub-titling.


The Blu-rays should be recalled and re-titled by someone who knows what they're doing.


Definitely not recommended. Save yourself the pain.


RAH

This film was released in two parts in India in 2012. I imported both dvds when they were released in India in 2013. The film was very highly rated on Rotten Tomatoes -95%. I just re-watched the first 20 minutes but failed to find the bad subtitles that you mention. Do you know the exact minute in the film, where you read them? I found all the subtitles on the Indian dvds to be almost 100% perfect. I only found the letter 's' (meaning plural) when it should be singular, for one word. Where was the bluray subtitled? Maybe this was the problem. No subtitles are ever 100% perfect. I would have to re-watch the entire 5 hours to see if there are any other errors. I have imported many dvds/blurays from India over the years and never had any problems with English subtitles. GOW was one of the first Indian films to have gay content and full frontal male nudity. (correct me if I am wrong).
 

Paul Scott

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Robert, are you sure you didn't have close captioning selected by mistake?

The Beaver has a cap up showing a subbed frame and there is no identifier in front of the dialogue.
 

EddieLarkin

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There's only one subtitle track on the disc according to Beaver. And the subs in that one cap may not be from a new speaker.
 

Robert Harris

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Paul Scott said:
Robert, are you sure you didn't have close captioning selected by mistake?
The Beaver has a cap up showing a subbed frame and there is no identifier in front of the dialogue.
I'll recheck cc, but did check my titles, and only found none and English. The identifiers are not on every title, but rather, seemingly on the first title of each character, during each sequence.

On a 90 minute film I might have tried to live with it, but not for five hours plus.
 

Robert Harris

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Mark-P said:
Not to mention that (judging from a screencap at DVD Beaver) the subtitles are below the frameline making it a pain for constant-height setups!
Placement should not be a problem, as most players allow for positioning.
 

Robert Harris

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Paul Scott said:
Robert, are you sure you didn't have close captioning selected by mistake?
The Beaver has a cap up showing a subbed frame and there is no identifier in front of the dialogue.
There is no closed caption option on the discs.

A typical sub-title reads as follows:

[Worker:] The mine is
getting water logged...
 

Cinelicious

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Hey there folks.

We're looking into this subtitling issue right now.

We just popped a disc in here at the office and are not seeing what Robert Harris is seeing (so far no one else who's received a copy has mentioned this issue either)

The only instances we've seen in which a character name is added to a subtitle is when/if that character is not on screen. In all the other instances it's just the dialogue as you'd expect in any subtitled film.

The "Women, kids...just shoot who ever you see." scene he quotes from in fact has no character names on screen at all.

2015-07-10%2012.07.50.jpg


(sorry for the awful photo, but we're trying to get to the bottom of this quickly.)

The question we need to figure out is why he is seeing them. Because if he's seeing them, it's bound to crop up with someone else soon.

My first guess is perhaps some metadata in the subtitle file that his particular blu-ray player is pulling from? Could be a setting on his player?

We're investigating. I'll follow up when we learn some more.

Thanks so much for bringing it to our attention. We're on it.


Craig
 

Mark-P

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Robert Harris said:
Placement should not be a problem, as most players allow for positioning.

Change the word "most" to "very few" and I would agree with you. My BD players certainly do not have that ability.
 

Cinelicious

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After trying to duplicate the issue described by Mr. Harris on numerous blu-ray players and contacting other people who were sent pre-release copies, it's our conclusion that the only time a character name is noted in the subtitles is when they are speaking off screen (which makes sense).


The subtitle files came from the Indian production and should be the same that were used on other releases.


We've screened it, numerous other review outlets have screened it and no one else has had any issue with the subtitling.


If Mr. Harris (or anyone) finds something else, please post or send us a screen capture or photo as we cannot find any problems.


Thanks much,


Craig
 

Robert Harris

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Cinelicious said:
After trying to duplicate the issue described by Mr. Harris on numerous blu-ray players and contacting other people who were sent pre-release copies, it's our conclusion that the only time a character name is noted in the subtitles is when they are speaking off screen (which makes sense).

The subtitle files came from the Indian production and should be the same that were used on other releases.

We've screened it, numerous other review outlets have screened it and no one else has had any issue with the subtitling.

If Mr. Harris (or anyone) finds something else, please post or send us a screen capture or photo as we cannot find any problems.

Thanks much,

Craig
Craig,

Welcome to HTF.

The problem may well be with OS dialogue, but whether OS or on, characters names should not be seen.
 

Robert Harris

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Cinelicious said:
Hey there folks.

We're looking into this subtitling issue right now.

We just popped a disc in here at the office and are not seeing what Robert Harris is seeing (so far no one else who's received a copy has mentioned this issue either)

The only instances we've seen in which a character name is added to a subtitle is when/if that character is not on screen. In all the other instances it's just the dialogue as you'd expect in any subtitled film.

The "Women, kids...just shoot who ever you see." scene he quotes from in fact has no character names on screen at all.

2015-07-10%2012.07.50.jpg


(sorry for the awful photo, but we're trying to get to the bottom of this quickly.)

The question we need to figure out is why he is seeing them. Because if he's seeing them, it's bound to crop up with someone else soon.

My first guess is perhaps some metadata in the subtitle file that his particular blu-ray player is pulling from? Could be a setting on his player?

We're investigating. I'll follow up when we learn some more.

Thanks so much for bringing it to our attention. We're on it.


Craig
Possibly the wrong title to quote. I was having a Peckinpah moment.

I believe you're correct that characters names are / may be included when anyone is speaking off screen. Unfortunately, there's quite a bit of it.
 

Michel_Hafner

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I also find the addition of names/descriptions in subtitles annoying, off screen speakers or on screen. There should be a difference between subtitles for deaf people and for people who don't know the language (well) but can hear (and see) just fine. Subtitles are by their nature intrusive for the imagery and the more compact they are (while staying correct) and the faster they can be read the better.
 

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