Are you thinking about going 'soft' on 4:3 transfers?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by [email protected], Aug 14, 2003.

  1. Frank@N

    [email protected] Screenwriter

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    As a LD guy from the early 90's, I wasn't in a big hurry to embrace DVD.

    I didn't have a TV that supported component video and the inital round of 4:3 DVD software didn't seem that earth shattering.

    Then, in 2001 my TV broke and it seemed like a great opportunity to start over.

    I picked up my first player, a modest direct-view set with 16x9 mode, and began to reap the benefits of used DVDs.

    No double-dipping missteps, I wanted enhanced transfers only.

    Around that time, I made a list of 4:3 discs to avoid.

    A few years later, I'm at the point where these are the bulk of the movies I'd like to have but don't.

    The recent Abyss re-re-re-release in 4:3 led me to consider that some of these movies may never get done properly on the DVD format.

    So, I've re-evaluated my list per existing disc reviews:

    Good 4:3 transfers: Copland, The Game, Goodwill Hunting, The Mask, Planet of the Apes (68), Abyss, Rounders, Truman Show, Titanic, Broken Arrow, Strange Days, and Mission Impossible.

    I just caved and bought Strange Days for $9 and MI for $7. If nothing changes, I'll probably pick up the rest of these as affordably as possible.

    Marginal 4:3 transfers: The Doors, Backdraft, Civil Action, Nixon, Office Space, Pushing Tin, Big, Breakdown, ConAir, Ghost & the Darkness, Metro, Never Been Kissed, White Squall, Snake Eyes, Scream, Summer of Sam, and Slums of Beverly Hills.

    I caved recently and bought The Doors (2 disc) for $7. The rest of these I may eventually buy with one eye closed.

    Poor 4:3 transfers: Born on the 4th of July, Ms. Doubtfire, Rainmaker, Rocketeer, While You Were Sleeping, Days of Thunder, House of Games, Outland, Quiz Show, True Lies, Father of the Bride 1/2, The Rock.

    Despite liking these movies, I'll most likely not pick these up unless they hit the $5.88 bin at WalMart.

    I hope this list has been helpful for other folks who are/were holding out for better transfers.

    Questions:

    1) Do you think I've misclassified the quality of these transfers for better or worse?

    2) Are you aware of any plans to redo any of the movies on this list? I think I heard something about True Lies.

    3) Could anyone comment on the transfer of Primal Fear? I can't seem to find any reviews.
     
  2. Christopher Cheadle

    Christopher Cheadle Stunt Coordinator

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    Just a question, when you refer to 4X3 transfers are you talking about non-16X9 enhanced widescreen transfers, (dreaded) full screen transfers or both? Just wanted to know out of curiosity and I think it might help frame some discussion.
     
  3. Frank@N

    [email protected] Screenwriter

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    We're talking non-16X9 enhanced widescreen transfers only.
     
  4. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    From context, it's clear to me that he is talking about non-anamorphic transfers.

    I would much rather see a good non-anamorphic transfer than a shoddy 16x9 transfer. It would be great to have everything, but lack of 16:9 has never been a deal breaker for me on a film that I like.

    Regards,
     
  5. Andrew W

    Andrew W Supporting Actor

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    On rare occassions, I will buy a widescreen movie that is not 16x9 enhanced. True Lies comes to mind in this category.

    I would never consider buying a P&S version no matter how much I like the movie. For example, I still don't own The Sting.
     
  6. Frank@N

    [email protected] Screenwriter

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  7. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    I'll probably get a 16x9 monitor in about 6 years, so 4:3 transfers don't bother me....if they're good.

    The Abyss, Some Like It Hot: SE, Young Frankenstein, and Criterion's Charade all look fantastic...they just lack that 33% increase in resolution.

    I really don't have many films I want which are like this (some have been reissued like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Roger Rabbit, and 2001) so I don't really need go soft.
     
  8. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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  9. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Never Been Kissed
    The Rock

    Both now available in 16:9
     
  10. Frank@N

    [email protected] Screenwriter

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    Here's a few reviews of some 4:3 discs that have already found their way into my collection:

    Good 4:3 transfers: Dazed and Confused (found used for $7)

    Marginal 4:3 transfers: 2010 (mislabeled as 16x9), The Arrival (soft spot for this one), and Mountains of the Moon (can be had for $5).

    Poor 4:3 transfers: The Apostle (great movie, lots of shimmer), and Rambling Rose (great movie, can be had for $5).
     
  11. Lyle_JP

    Lyle_JP Screenwriter

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    Add Arachnophobia to the list of good non-enhanced transfers. Oh yeah, and add The Rocketeer to the list of bad ones.

    -Lyle J.P.
     
  12. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie

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    Personally, I will only buy a non 16:9 transfer if it is highly unlikely that a 16:9 transfer will be made available. Fox is rumoured to be prepping a new Abyss:SE in the crappy Digipak cases they've adopted as of late for 2-disc editions. No word on if it'll be a new transfer though.
     
  13. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

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    Vertigo is one of the best transfers out there, anamorphic or no.

    Office Space is also a pretty good transfer as well.
     
  14. Will_B

    Will_B Producer

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  15. Eric Eash

    Eric Eash Second Unit

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    widescreenreview.com gives some of the ones you spoke of for ex. The Rock a 4.5 out of 5 for pic quality. i own this disc and have never thought of the quality as poor. movies that are only available in 4:3 i can understand not buying like Full Metal Jacket or My Blue Heaven, as long as they are widescreen, i'll buy them and watch. definately check them out for yourself on your system and try to come up with your own opinion. i don't have a calibrated eye like the magazines so most of the time i don't care, we could all still be watching VHS. thank god we're not.

    eric
     
  16. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie

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    Full Metal Jacket was never meant to be released in widescreen. Kubrick wanted all of his later work released open matte so the telecine engineers wouldn't screw it up.
     
  17. LarryH

    LarryH Supporting Actor

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    In my case all things are relative: A 16x9 transfer gets extra points in my mental analysis of whether or not to make a purchase. A movie high up on my "want" list can overcome that difference and still be purchased, while a less-wanted movie that I would have bought in a 16x9 transfer stays on the shelf.

    Of course, there is disappointment, sadness, and anger at having to purchase an inferior product.

    Finally, if a highly desirable movie already purchased 4x3 shouild be released re-masteres at 16x9, I'm willing to double-dip and just be glad for the improvement.
     
  18. Britton

    Britton Supporting Actor

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    I don't think the reissue of the Abyss is anamorphic. In fact, I believe Van Ling said in his last HTF chat that he wishes he could go back and do it in 16x9.
     
  19. Nick Laslett

    Nick Laslett Stunt Coordinator

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  20. Frank@N

    [email protected] Screenwriter

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    Regarding The Rock, I was basing my impressions on this review on currentfilm.com :

    "Besides the rather soft nature of some of the movie, there are a few sequences where some aliasing pops up as well. This is one of the earliest Disney releases and it's seriously unfortunate that more effort was not put into the image quality. It's a watchable image, certainly, but it's one of those discs a little more effort would have likely produced an image that was stunning."

    I'll upgrade this one to Marginal based on Eric's recommendation.

    As noted by Jeff, there is a Criterion collection release for The Rock which is 16x9.

    Not sure if I was that fond of the movie to pay the premium, but it's something to think about.
     

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