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Reed Grele

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Maybe we've all become used to watching the low-contrast TV prints from 60+ years ago. I've never had a problem with the way these films have looked from the VHS days until the HD Blu-rays. On the other hand, I've never seen one of these theatrically in 35mm, so I don't know what they're truly supposed to look like. All I know is that after comparing my HD Blu-rays to the new 4K UHDs, I prefer the look of the 4K UHDs.
 

cda1143

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I’ve scrutinized the Frankenstein disc, and specifically the scene with the monster and Maria, in my (projection) setup, and compared it with the previous Blu-ray disc. What I see is consistent with the capsaholic caps, reflecting a noticeable loss of detail in the 4K disc that is also apparent when the picture is in motion. Very disappointing.

I’m not talking about a loss of shadow detail. I’m referring to Frankenstein and the loss of detail in the actors’ hands and the reeds against the background of the lake.... but I’m seeing what’s demonstrated on the capsaholic site.

Ok... troublesome to me. Anytime information is not there...

It can be foolish to base judgements on screen caps alone, but based on compson's real world comparison of the discs themselves, Frankenstein is certainly in question. So far compson is the only one directly commenting on this specific issue. It would be nice to hear some more real world comparisons.

However, as bad as this particular screen cap appears,
... But wow - those 4k Frankenstein screenshots on Capsaholic are horrible compared to the blu-ray. The actual 4k disc looks that bad?

View attachment 115901
View attachment 115902

.... However the grain on the 4k is fake - it isn't the same as that on the blu-ray (it's completely different).

Why would they have processed away the detail on the original 4k scan from 2012? Was the scan for the blu-ray retouched for dirt and scratches at only 2k? So instead of retouching the whole scan again at 4k resolution, did they reuse the old 2k master? Blew it up to 4k, ran it through image processing again, and then finished it up with fake grain added?
the allegation of fake grain is pure conjecture.

Just looking at the 16 Frankenstein caps, I prefer 10 Blu-ray and 6 UHD caps. More importantly, it's quite possible the differences (and preferences) are due mainly to gray scale grading and contrast.

Screen caps can often be misleading. A good example is the 4th cap from Wolfman just posted. Center your selection on the horse. You will immediately notice that several things appear much sharper on the Blu-ray: the man's face, and the pattern on the front of his coach, the woman's face, and the iron grate behind her. At first glance, it certainly appears that there is more detail on the Blu-ray than the UHD. But is there? Or is it really due to added contrast and sharpening? Now take a look at the horses bridle. On the UHD you can very clearly see the decorative studs. These are completely absent on the Blu-ray. Also observe the circular pattern on the shoulder of the woman's shawl - much more information on the UHD. While looking at the woman, please also observe on the Blu-ray the very noticeable sharpening halo running all the way from the top of her head, down her right shoulder and arm to her hand. Same for the woman walking behind her. These sharpening halos are completely absent from the UHD.

One can legitimately prefer one over the other, but as to which is more accurate or more legitimate? I'll leave that to the experts.

There have been a handful of examples of studios making bad decisions with new transfers, and far too many examples of studios over-cranking HDR on films. But so far I don't see much evidence that Universal has done anything outrageous or negligent with this set.

I hope we hear more from Mr. Harris on these particular questions.
 

titch

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So far I've watched the new 4K UHD BD's of Dracula and The Wolf Man. I don't know how other's have their settings, but on my Sony 885ES (front projection) and LG C9 65" (OLED) the HDR looks nothing like those dark screen caps. And no, I'm not using a torch mode. Both are properly calibrated. I found that I needed no brightness boost on either one. Blacks are inky and defined and whites appear correct and not blown out. I am very pleased with what Universal has done to restore these classics to better than new condition!
From a projector (not a $25 000 VW-885ES laser projector), Dracula and Frankenstein are slightly darker than the blu-rays. On an OLED TV they will probably look perfect. This is the case with many UHD discs.
 

Will Krupp

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Screen caps can often be misleading. A good example is the 4th cap from Wolfman just posted. Center your selection on the horse. You will immediately notice that several things appear much sharper on the Blu-ray: the man's face, and the pattern on the front of his coach, the woman's face, and the iron grate behind her. At first glance, it certainly appears that there is more detail on the Blu-ray than the UHD. But is there? Or is it really due to added contrast and sharpening? Now take a look at the horses bridle. On the UHD you can very clearly see the decorative studs. These are completely absent on the Blu-ray. Also observe the circular pattern on the shoulder of the woman's shawl - much more information on the UHD. While looking at the woman, please also observe on the Blu-ray the very noticeable sharpening halo running all the way from the top of her head, down her right shoulder and arm to her hand. Same for the woman walking behind her. These sharpening halos are completely absent from the UHD.

I'm not taking a side since I haven't seen the UHDs as yet but, in fairness, hasn't it already been determined that THE WOLF MAN blu ray was not a restoration like the others were? I don't think it's fair to compare that to the UHD disc since it's obviously from a blu-ray master that was not afforded the same amount of care that the others were. Sharpening would likely be a given in that case and the UHD disc should naturally have a strong advantage, don't you think?
 

titch

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I'm not taking a side since I haven't seen the UHDs as yet but, in fairness, hasn't it already been determined that THE WOLF MAN blu ray was not a restoration like the others were? I don't think it's fair to compare that to the UHD disc since it's obviously from a blu-ray master that was not afforded the same amount of care that the others were. Sharpening would likely be a given in that case and the UHD disc should naturally have a strong advantage, don't you think?
Universal hasn't provided any information at all about the source for these UHD masters. However, the difference between the blu-ray of The Wolf Man, which has noticeable halos, grain-reduction and other digital artefacts and the UHD is so great, there must have been a new master created for the UHD. I also thought the UHD of The Invisible Man looked much improved, compared to the blu-ray. I didn't see noticeable differences between the blu-rays and UHDs of Dracula and Frankenstein on my projection set-up, apart from the fact that the UHDs were slightly darker.
 

Trancas

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However, as bad as this particular screen cap appears,

the allegation of fake grain is pure conjecture.
These are snippets from the PNGs on Capsoholic.
Look at Maria's skirt. There are detailed folds and crumpled areas on the blu-ray that are smoothed over with DNR on the 4k disc. Where's the sash around her waist? it's disappeared on the 4k (along with her fingers). Details are gone, but the grain has increased to uniform promenance. And the grain patterns on the 4k don't match the grain patterns on the blu-ray. Look at her arm. The grain is blotchy (because its from a dupe element) on the blu-ray, but it's uniform and coarse on the 4k.

Maria's dress comp.jpg


The 4k version of Maria's face is blurred and missing her nostril, left side of mouth, ear detail, eye detail, strands of hair at the back her head and the wrinkles on her sleeve. How did all that disappear and yet the grain is still coarse and evident everywhere. Couldn't be artificial grain, huh?

Maria face.jpg


And both discs are supposed to be from the same original 4k scan that Universal made in 2012.
 
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Robert Crawford

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These are snippets from the PNGs on Capsoholic.
Look at Maria's skirt. There are detailed folds and crumpled areas on the blu-ray that are smoothed over with DNR on the 4k disc. Where's the sash around her waist? it's disappeared on the 4k (along with her fingers). Details are gone, but the grain has increased to uniform promenance. And the grain patterns on the 4k don't match the grain patterns on the blu-ray. Look at her arm. The grain is blotchy (because its from a dupe element) on the blu-ray, but it's uniform and coarse on the 4k.

View attachment 115946

The 4k version of Maria's face is blurred and missing her nostril, left side of mouth, ear detail, eye detail, strands of hair at the back her head and the wrinkles on her sleeve. How did all that disappear and yet the grain is still coarse and evident everywhere. Couldn't be artificial grain, huh?

View attachment 115950

And both discs are supposed to be from the same original 4k scan that Universal made in 2012.
When playing the 4K disc those details are still there!
 

Robert Harris

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You play your discs to judge them? My god, man, what has come over you. ;)
To be serious, single frame auto-pass anomalies usually aren’t perceptible at speed. Even less so at the first frame of a cut.

When a film is as worn as these 90 year-old pre-prints, a certain amount of auto-pass becomes a necessity, with additional frame by frame corrections, if the budget allows.

Doing so will increase a budget measurably. And triple or quadruple the amount of time relegated to a single task.

We’re seeing the same sort of problems with Napoleon, especially the Brienne sequence with huge wear on snow shots.

If one has unlimited time, funds, and the people and infrastructure necessary, near-perfection is possible.

But at what cost?

I can relate from experience, that if achieving 90% perfection will cost $xxx.

95% perfection will run another 30-35% of budget.

And the problem is sometimes never-ending.

Fix problems of a certain type and size, and the same problem, which appeared minimal take there place.

I’m fully in Mr. Crawford’s camp on this one. Enjoy the film in motion.
 

dpippel

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From a projector (not a $25 000 VW-885ES laser projector), Dracula and Frankenstein are slightly darker than the blu-rays. On an OLED TV they will probably look perfect. This is the case with many UHD discs.
Dracula 4K is definitely darker than the Blu on my 65" LG OLED. I'm comparing the iTunes 4K stream to the Blu-ray, but I'm sure it's the same data that's on the new 4K disc.
 

Dave H

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From a projector (not a $25 000 VW-885ES laser projector), Dracula and Frankenstein are slightly darker than the blu-rays. On an OLED TV they will probably look perfect. This is the case with many UHD discs.

Despite the price, that Sony projector lacks true frame-by-frame dynamic tone mapping which is what front projection needs to really shine with UHD BD to the max. So it needs either Lumagen or madVR (unless one owns of the latest JVC projectors which has DTM built in).
 

Dave H

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Nice to see The Wolfman get real 4K treatment. Big improvement there over the BD.
 

Dave H

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But at what cost?

I can relate from experience, that if achieving 90% perfection will cost $xxx.

95% perfection will run another 30-35% of budget.

And the problem is sometimes never-ending.
Makes sense. It's almost analogous to buying high end A/V gear - you pay disproportionately more for that 'extra' bit of improvement - is it worth it?
 

compson

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At the risk of beating this horse into dog food, I’ll clarify to say that I’m not concerned about single frame anomalies in Frankenstein. In my setup, there are at least two scenes on the 4K disc with less detail than is visible in the moving image on the Blu-ray disc. In the scene with the monster and Maria, less detail is visible in 4K not only in the actors’ hands but also in the flowers Maria is holding and in the plants by the lake. In the scene at the 09:33 mark, the detail in Elizabeth’s face disappears as she rises and begins to cross the room to Victor. This loss of detail occurs only on the 4K disc and is illustrated, if a bit more starkly than I see, in screen cap 3 from capsaholic.

Are these issues enough to interfere with enjoyment of the movie? Certainly not. On receiving the set, I watched the disc oblivious to these issues and had a great time. I’m watching on a relatively large screen and in some setups, the loss of detail may not be visible at all. It’s possible, moreover, that they result from a conscious choice and there’s some offsetting benefit I’m not aware of. Still, given that the Blu-ray disc made from the same scan reveals greater detail, even if only occasionally, I have to wonder if what we have in the 4K disc—which is almost certainly the final version we’ll ever see of a movie I love—is as good as it might have been even at the same expense.
 

Robert Harris

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At the risk of beating this horse into dog food, I’ll clarify to say that I’m not concerned about single frame anomalies in Frankenstein. In my setup, there are at least two scenes on the 4K disc with less detail than is visible in the moving image on the Blu-ray disc. In the scene with the monster and Maria, less detail is visible in 4K not only in the actors’ hands but also in the flowers Maria is holding and in the plants by the lake. In the scene at the 09:33 mark, the detail in Elizabeth’s face disappears as she rises and begins to cross the room to Victor. This loss of detail occurs only on the 4K disc and is illustrated, if a bit more starkly than I see, in screen cap 3 from capsaholic.

Are these issues enough to interfere with enjoyment of the movie? Certainly not. On receiving the set, I watched the disc oblivious to these issues and had a great time. I’m watching on a relatively large screen and in some setups, the loss of detail may not be visible at all. It’s possible, moreover, that they result from a conscious choice and there’s some offsetting benefit I’m not aware of. Still, given that the Blu-ray disc made from the same scan reveals greater detail, even if only occasionally, I have to wonder if what we have in the 4K disc—which is almost certainly the final version we’ll ever see of a movie I love—is as good as it might have been even at the same expense.
I don‘t believe it’s a conscious choice.

Merely auto settings turned up a bit high.

I’ve revisited, and noted.
 

noel aguirre

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Too many conflicting reviews here to warrant an upgrade from the superb blu rays for me. Besides I just spent my horror money on the restored 3D & 4K Flesh For Frankenstein (my personal holy grail) and 4K Blood for Dracula coming out in the next upcoming months.
 
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Robert Saccone

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Has anyone done a critical comparison of the UHD of Frankenstein to the 4K stream on Apple TV? Curious if that encoding has the same loss of detail that‘s been mentioned.

Also when when these classic movies were remastered did they go back to the negative or were these done from something else?
 

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