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sbjork

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Someone mentioned Top Gun a few posts back, and it’s funny in that I had a few thoughts about that film from watching it last night.

Was revisiting my 3D edition last night and the disc went bad. I also have a digital copy which iTunes upgraded to the new 4K-sourced master, so I switched over to that to finish the film. While I can’t claim to be a Top Gun expert, I’m reasonably familiar with the film and certainly very familiar with the late 80s/early 90s visual style of Tony Scott/Simpson & Bruckheimer productions. Top Gun is a film that is meant to look *hot*. Lots of high contrast, overly saturated imagery pushing towards vivid oranges and reds to represent sun baked heat. It’s supposed to feel like 110 degrees during the daytime scenes. That look has more or less carried over in all of the previous home video versions and formats.

The new 4K has the same sort of redoing of the white balance to something more neutral as seen on the new Godfather master. There’s no heat in the image anymore. Clearly they’ve gone back to the original negative and made a choice not to time the film in a fashion similar to the original release because all of the saturation and contrast that’s a key part of the Tony Scott look is just gone. The new master looks perfectly lovely in that neutral, balanced way that’s objectively clean and crisp looking but lacking all of the stylization that was meant to be part of the presentation. Viewed as its own entity, it doesn’t look bad… but it doesn’t look like a Tony Scott film either.

Again, if this happens once or twice, it’s an accident. If it continually happens on each new remastering, as it does, we’ve moved out of the realm of accidents and ignorance and into the realm of conscious decision making.
That was me, and since I've never watched any previous iterations, I have no frame of reference of any kind. Well, that's not quite fair -- I've seen plenty of Tony Scott films from the era. I don't doubt what you're saying about the timing on Top Gun, but I don't think that they were all equally oversaturated. True Romance never felt quite that hot, and it was the same cinematographer, too. Well-saturated, yes, but not hot.

The constant smoke is more of Scott's trademark. I can picture him directing Top Gun:

(to Tom Cruise): "Act cockier!"

(to Val Kilmer): "Pout harder!"

(to the crew): "More smoke! I can still see the actors!"
 

tenia

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The way I read it, not so much “lower bit rate than the other disc”, but rather “the bit rate dips in the areas where the video gets especially problematic. Oh and by the way, those dips don’t occur on the 1080p disc”

Certainly a relevant point and not as reductionist as you make it sound.
That's indeed the point : not that the compression on disc A is worse than on disc B, but that the general practice on discs deemed properly encodes don't show this, while discs with issues tend to do, so if this one does, well, maybe that's a marker something's amiss, probably from an encode point of view, but also a source one.

For instance, Canal's Total Recall UHD encode dips very low on shots than end up extremely blocky. There's no reason for such drops, except possibly if the encode was done in a manner too automated. The Eagle Italian UHD doesn't drop this oow, and has no such issues.
There's also the Basic Instinct Canal UHD : the encode dips very low regularly during the movie. That's actually on all the scenes that have been smoothed out at the restoration stage.
None of these BDs show this.

So this isn't a matter of comparing the encodes with each other, no, but how the UHD encode strategy vs the BD one does tell us something.

Most people that purchase these discs are not viewing them on such projectors. It's obvious to me that Paramount has made a conscious decision to release The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance to consumers that like the look of this 4K release on their non-projector 4K displays.
I've been watching BDs on a 50inch Panasonic G20, and perfectly spot DNR, sometimes better than people with VPs. This isn't a question of material, this is a question of eye training and of assessment about whether what we're looking at looks wrong or not. Some people could have a 4k Laser VP perfectly calibrated and still miss egregious issues.

An example: I'm currently finishing up the Miklós Jancsó Collection from Kino, for a review to be posted later this week. I'm quite familiar with Jancsó, but my exposure to his films has been via VHS, laserdisc, and DVD. Even if I had managed to catch repertory showings of 35mm prints, what guarantee is there that the colors on those prints were still accurate?
Well, the B&W movies BDs are not encoded correctly and end up showing a slightly colored B&W to begin with, so it's hard to guess what's happening precisely on the color movies from this set.
 
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Robert Crawford

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I've been watching BDs on a 50inch Panasonic G20, and perfectly spot DNR, sometimes better than people with VPs. This isn't a question of material, this is a question of eye training and of assessment about whether what we're looking at looks wrong or not. Some people could have a 4k Laser VP perfectly calibrated and still miss egregious issues.
There is no question about that, as I've admitted my eyes aren't as discerning as others regarding those issues and edge enhancement. TBH, I'm glad my eyes/brain doesn't process those issues like you do, otherwise, I would be in a pattern of constant disappointment.
 

RMajidi

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Trying to digest all this:

Grain Manipulation / Faux Grain

Pros:
  • Eye candy for most, who aren’t necessarily looking for origin-integrity
Cons:
  • Look and feel different to original movie
  • Filmmaker intent not upheld/respected
  • Loss of subtle detail
  • Sleepless nights for film connoisseurs


No Grain Tampering

Pros:
  • Retain the intent and characteristics of the original film
  • Good enough presentation (possibly even better) for the ‘uneducated’, less discerning masses [I fall into this camp]
  • Nirvana for the educated connoisseur
  • Cheaper to produce!
Cons:
  • ??? [None offered so far as I can see]


Is this right?
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Almost makes me wonder why we didn't just get some sorta Dolby NR/degraining/grain-management and/or color filtering/management layers (that are presumably higher quality/efficacy than generic, standard, broad-stroke DNR and color biasing, whether typically done in mastering or in playback hardware, and can be optionally applied on-the-fly, maybe even frame-by-frame, at player level) on top of Dolby Vision for the 4K format, LOL.

Seems like something right up Dolby's alley, if there's actually all that much real demand for the degrained/denoised/color-neutered/homogenized/etc look (while also allowing purists to have our film grain, color fidelity, etc), no?

Maybe that's the next thing coming from Dolby and can be added to the format? :lol:

_Man_
 

sbjork

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Well, the B&W movies BDs are not encoded correctly and end up showing a slightly colored B&W to begin with, so it's hard to guess what's happening precisely on the color movies from this set.
I just went and played both of them again in my home theatre on my RS2000/Oppo 205 combo, and they both still look wonderful. So out of curiosity, I tried them out on the Blu-ray drive in my old laptop, and they have almost a sepia tone on that display -- which ironically enough, isn't calibrated. Something that only affects certain combinations of players and displays, perhaps?
 

OliverK

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What possible point could those creating the digital versions of those images have toward purposefully creating damaging problems to make those people happy…



If they’d be just as happy with quality imagery.
This is the most important question to me - wouldn't they be just as happy? I think the answer is yes.

We could also test this hypothesis by looking for people who prefer Paramount releases over those from Sony or Warner Archive releases. So far I have yet to find people expressing that opinion.
 

lark144

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I just went and played both of them again in my home theatre on my RS2000/Oppo 205 combo, and they both still look wonderful. So out of curiosity, I tried them out on the Blu-ray drive in my old laptop, and they have almost a sepia tone on that display -- which ironically enough, isn't calibrated. Something that only affects certain combinations of players and displays, perhaps?
The Jansco B&W's don't look sepia toned on my Sony display and player either. They look perfect.
 

ManW_TheUncool

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Almost makes me wonder why we didn't just get some sorta Dolby NR/degraining/grain-management and/or color filtering/management layers (that are presumably higher quality/efficacy than generic, standard, broad-stroke DNR and color biasing, whether typically done in mastering or in playback hardware, and can be optionally applied on-the-fly, maybe even frame-by-frame, at player level) on top of Dolby Vision for the 4K format, LOL.

Seems like something right up Dolby's alley, if there's actually all that much real demand for the degrained/denoised/color-neutered/homogenized/etc look (while also allowing purists to have our film grain, color fidelity, etc), no?

Maybe that's the next thing coming from Dolby and can be added to the format? :lol:

_Man_

Hmmm... actually, if there's real demand for such, I imagine they could just call it some sort of Dolby Vision Profile 2 (and/or 3) layer or some such and not necessarily call too much attention to the details (about noise/grain and/or color management) for the general public (though insiders and enthusiasts will know) for PR sake (for all involved)... ;):cool:

That might even allow hardware makers to offer new products/lines and sell more/new hardware (and content providers the new potential for redips/revisits in 4K, if they see enough interest) for those who'd want that (while purists can just go w/out in the hardware... and possibly buy new releases from Paramount, et al that provide such option)... :cool:

No, not likely at all to happen, especially at this point in the declining disc market (and the logistics probably wouldn't translate well for streaming to share the investment/development/implementation/benefit w/ that), so... ah well...


Hmmm... actually, if there's interest, they could also even market/sell it as a separate (perhaps downloadable?) add-on perhaps on a per-title or per-studio-series basis (eg. for that Paramount homogenized "house" look or for some "signature" look for certain specific titles perhaps specific to some directors and/or cinematographers or for optional colorization of B&W :eek::rolleyes:, etc) so that (good, previously unmanipulated) releases would not (all) need to be remastered for that optional layer(s)... a bit like how Dolby Vision HDR can also currently be "artificially" applied (to non-DV titles) during playback... No, still not that likely at all, but maybe a bit more realistically viable (and possibly appealing for some studios)...

_Man_
 
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tenia

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TBH, I'm glad my eyes/brain doesn't process those issues like you do, otherwise, I would be in a pattern of constant disappointment.
Fortunately, issues like here actually are quite rare nowadays. Which is why the more problematic works are sticking out even more so.

I just went and played both of them again in my home theatre on my RS2000/Oppo 205 combo, and they both still look wonderful. So out of curiosity, I tried them out on the Blu-ray drive in my old laptop, and they have almost a sepia tone on that display -- which ironically enough, isn't calibrated. Something that only affects certain combinations of players and displays, perhaps?
If you properly take screencaps of these 2 movies and analyse the PNG files, you'll see they're not pure B&W like they're supposed to be, so it's baked in the discs. Probably an encode issue.
 

Robert Crawford

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Fortunately, issues like here actually are quite rare nowadays. Which is why the more problematic works are sticking out even more so.
It's my perception that there seems to be some kind of criticism for many releases.
 

Robert Harris

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Interesting. Don’t know this other dude, but reading this review from Mr. Scott, I just ordered a copy. I love natural grain.

”One thing I did notice was that film historian and preservationist, Robert Harris, was displeased with how the grain seems to have been scrubbed slightly and considers it a slightly botched transfer. Personally, I nearly always agree with Robert Harris’s opinion on things of that nature, but respectfully I have to disagree, as while there may have been some light grain scrubbing, it’s so slight that you can hardly tell, and the benefits of the transfer far outweigh any minor issues with the grain (which really DOES look fantastic).”

Note: This Harris dude never said that grain was “scrubbed slightly.”

I went back, and read his piece - found it on a site called HTF - and he definitely alludes to a Brillo effect, covered with coriander seeds.
 

Douglas R

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This is available in the UK as an exclusive release from Zavvi. I never had the Blu-ray and having seen the film so many times, I wasn't sure whether I wanted to buy it on 4K or not. However, this controversy has peaked my interest in wanting to see for myself so I've ordered it. RAH has done a good selling job for Paramount!
 

Robert Harris

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This is available in the UK as an exclusive release from Zavvi. I never had the Blu-ray and having seen the film so many times, I wasn't sure whether I wanted to buy it on 4K or not. However, this controversy has peaked my interest in wanting to see for myself so I've ordered it. RAH has done a good selling job for Paramount!
They consider me to be on an inverse commission. The worse the review, the larger the bi-annual checks.

If this keeps up, I’ll be able afford sneakers.
 

bujaki

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Precisely. All of this sturm und drang over a unique print lost for decades in the perafrost of the Yukon.
You're coming up with more and more bejeweled daggers.
Careful that all the Sturm und Drang does not contribute to a burst blood vessel. We need a bona fide watchdog.
 

Bartman

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The only new Paramount Blu-ray releases I've purchased this year is Don't Look Now and La Dolce Vita, both come from other sources, StudioCanal and Cineteca di Bologna at L’Immagine Ritrovata respectively, and don't appear to have the DNR problems mentioned in this review.
 

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