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A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Bird with the Crystal Plumage -- in Blu-ray (1 Viewer)

Robert Harris

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Let's begin with several caveats.

I'm not a fan of giallo, never have been, and presumably, never will be.

But I respect the fact that there are numerous fans, and to them the films are of great importance.

BwtCP was shot in Technicolor's proprietary Techniscope (TS) process, which arrived in 1960, and was used primarily for "Spaghetti" westerns, and other low budget productions, as a cost saving device. It used half the raw stock, and added savings by not using Panavision, which was a far superior process.

Here's an image borrowed by Wiki.

Techniscope_2_perf_35_mm_film.png


Hundreds of productions used the process, inclusive of some studio favorites, such as American Graffiti. Most recently it was used for Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle, as much like its earlier incarnation in the '60s, a scan and finalization as DI, allowed first generation imagery.

During its prime years, all prints were first gen, as the printing matrices were produced directly from the 2-perf OCN. Films of that era, using the process were the "Dollars" films, The Good, The Bad..., One Upon a Time in the West, Two-Lane Blacktop and many others.

Because the negative was a wide screen image, it could be anamorphosized, and enlarged to 35mm 4-perf scope for projection. The downside was that the vertical image was very close to 16mm. This meant that shadow detail, grain structure, black levels, etc, could be problematic.

But dollars were being saved by the process.

Another anomaly, was that since splices would have destroyed a major portion of the image area, extras frames, generally one at the head and one at the tail of each shot, were left intact during negative cutting and conformation. That made splices a non-issue.

So you're going to release a film on Blu-ray. And that film was shot TS. Best of luck.

And that's precisely what the team involved with TBwtCP needed, as led by Arrow's James White.

A 4k scan of 16mm is generally not recommended, as there simply isn't 4k data involved. What you get is really beautiful grain. Grain that would have been reduced by the loss of overall resolution in the dye transfer printing process.

Dirt, damage and detritus doubles in size. Scratches being the worst offenders. Black levels become potentially problematic, along with the possibility of blown out areas.

And then there are all those errant extra frames, which must be accounted for and wrangled.

End of caveats!

So what does Arrow's TBwtCP look like on Blu-ray?

Far better than I would have surmised, and actually, quite lovely.

Grain pops just a bit. I'm seeing a tad of lack of shadow detail in certain shots. A few areas where there are unavoidable tramline marks, but beyond that...

the release is a delight, which I'm certain will thrill the fans.

A note to those who may compare this release to earlier video incarnations, which is a waste of time in any case.

The optical process by which both matrices, and IPs were produced, protected the edges of the film, especially from dirt which might find its way into the gate.

With a digital harvest, there is no need. An image can be extracted going beyond the edges of the frame, which means that a bit more picture area can be exposed. Optical camera setup also might create a situation in which the image might be balanced more to one side or the other by a couple of millimeters. This also no longer comes into play. Which means that positioning may be slightly different.

Extras?

Tons of them, in typical Arrow style.

Image - 4.75

Audio - 5

4k Up-rez - 5

Pass / Fail - Pass

Highly Recommended

RAH
 

haineshisway

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Thanks for this. I know why you're going on about the details of this, and you are right to do so, as the usuals are doing their usual quite vociferously, all based on screen shots and no knowledge of film (but oh do they think they have knowledge of film).
 

Robert Harris

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Thanks for this. I know why you're going on about the details of this, and you are right to do so, as the usuals are doing their usual quite vociferously, all based on screen shots and no knowledge of film (but oh do they think they have knowledge of film).

For the record, I'm one of those with little knowledge regarding the film, as I have no idea what it's supposed to look like. It's those times, when it nice to have Jame White at the helm.
 
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Alan Tully

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Actually Techniscope is not a bad format to go from. Because of the overcut, no movement on cement joins, & fades & dissolves weren't duped, so no faded dupe stock, & once the grading was okayed & an anamorphic dupe was made on an optical printing machine, the original negatives were put back in the can, no need to take them out again, so no wrecked negative, even on a very popular film. A print (or dupe) can be used as a guide for getting rid of the extra frames & working out the overlaps of the dissolves.

I did do a few transfers from Techniscope about 16 years ago, graded the original negatives on a Spirit onto Digibeta & editing did the rest, seems like ancient history now.
 
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haineshisway

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For the record, I'm one of those with little knowledge regarding the film, as I have no idea what it's supposed to look like. It's those times, when it nice to have Jame White at the helm.

Not "the" film as in this film - the usuals profess to be know-everythings and yet 99% of them have no knowledge of film whatsoever. This film or any other film. Most of their comments are based on screen shots, previous video incarnations, or what THEY prefer. They don't know from Techniscope other than what they've read, they don't know about the edges or IPs or how any of it works - and they especially don't know about color. But on they go because that is the way of things. I'm looking forward to getting mine shortly.
 

Robert Crawford

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I'll be purchasing this disc at some point in the future so thanks for your thoughts on this matter. I assume those negative opinions about this release are being expressed elsewhere and if so then let's leave it there.
 

John Hermes

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I had a 35mm Techniscope print of Rough Night In Jerico and thought it looked very good compared to Panavision films, Of course, being IB Tech didn't hurt. I've always thought the Techniscope films I've seen have had nice sharpness, even with the smaller image area.
 

Robert Harris

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Not "the" film as in this film - the usuals profess to be know-everythings and yet 99% of them have no knowledge of film whatsoever. This film or any other film. Most of their comments are based on screen shots, previous video incarnations, or what THEY prefer. They don't know from Techniscope other than what they've read, they don't know about the edges or IPs or how any of it works - and they especially don't know about color. But on they go because that is the way of things. I'm looking forward to getting mine shortly.

I should have used the term "this." We're on the same page?
 

Charles Smith

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Got mine. I saw it on first release, and as my first Argento, it's always carried the extra weight of nostalgia. Good to read these comments. I always wondered about the look of this one as compared to some of his subsequent films.

Not a HUGE fan, in the scheme of things, but I do enjoy these. I'm really appreciative of the TLC being put into them by the likes of Arrow and Synapse.
 

Reggie W

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I confess to being a fan of these films and loving them for their Euro-Hitchcock vibe and their beautiful photography...hey, this picture was shot by Vittorio Storaro and you can tell!

I have the Blue Underground release but will double dip for this fantastic package. Thanks for providing your thoughts on this one, Mr. Harris.
 

tenia

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Black levels become potentially problematic, along with the possibility of blown out areas.

How choosing to scan 16mm film in 4K rather than 2K makes black levels potentially more problematic along with the possibility of blown out areas ?
 

Scott Merryfield

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Thanks for your views on this release, Robert. I'm a fan of Argento's films, so this is one I'm looking forward to. Mine should hopefully be here this week, as I pre-ordered it quite awhile ago. I already sold my Blue Underground BD version.
 

tenia

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They don't know from Techniscope other than what they've read, they don't know about the edges or IPs or how any of it works - and they especially don't know about color.

How many people actually have this kind of knowledge ? And how many of these people post on dedicated boards like this one about restorations-on-BD releases ?

The utmost majority of HT enthusiasts, or even the majority of BD reviewers, don't have this knowledge.

On the other hand, I've read some very dubious BD reviews from people extremely knowledgeable when it comes to physical film elements, so it's not as if it's a seal of quality whatsoever.
 

haineshisway

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If they don't have this knowledge - the majority, as you state - then they should stop posting as if they actually knew from whence they speak. Comment, sure, but with the caveat that the only thing they're basing their comments on is what they prefer, what they THINK a movie should look like without any knowledge or, in most cases, never having seen it theatrically or on film at all, and that their comments are based all on previous home video releases. Then we'd all know to just skip those comments, which means we'd be spending a lot less time reading through them because, like a train wreck, it's hard to look away and not marvel at them. :)
 

haineshisway

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They happen on many forums - it's an epidemic and worth discussion, I think, because it's extremely harmful to something we all love. You're not suggesting we not be able to discuss these things, are you? Just want the lay of the land here.
 

Robert Crawford

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They happen on many forums - it's an epidemic and worth discussion, I think, because it's extremely harmful to something we all love. You're not suggesting we not be able to discuss these things, are you? Just want the lay of the land here.
To have a discussion that is prolonged on this forum isn't going to stop such postings on those forums. It's been that way forever on the internet and will not change a thing. My fear is some of those people come here and we have confrontations that won't push for change, but instead engage in personal attacks which in turn brings down the quality of this forum. I'm not going to let that happen.

Furthermore, it detracts from the value of this thread which is to educate people on the quality of this BD release. You've made your point which I agree with to a certain extent, but I see no value in continuing to belabor that issue on this forum. Perhaps it's best to confront those people on those forums.
 
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Robert Crawford

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Thanks for your views on this release, Robert. I'm a fan of Argento's films, so this is one I'm looking forward to. Mine should hopefully be here this week, as I pre-ordered it quite awhile ago. I already sold my Blue Underground BD version.
Amazon is now showing this release as currently unavailable with no in-stock date.
 

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