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Stephen_J_H

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David, what special challenges have you encountered in authoring and encoding, particularly in reference to effects-heavy films? Particularly, I'm thinking of Flash Gordon which has a lot of optical work.
 

titch

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Even with that size of disc, my strategy is always to do a lot of noise reduction and compression on the bonus features, to make room on the disc for all the grain. This just makes sense becuase nobody really cares if a video interview isn't presented with its original video camera noise intact, but preserving the original grain is essential for a high quality presentation. So the bonus features use a tiny portion of the disc because they're very compressable with a lot of pre-optimization. CINEMA PARADISO is another example of this, if I recall correctly the feature is on there at CBR 95mbps. The bonus features had to be recompressed for the UHD BD because they were originally interlaced (UHD BD doesn't support interlaced formats), so we took the opportunity to redo them in HEVC and compress them further. More room for the film.
Thank you very much for your answers. I had been wondering a bit at how you had converted all the bonus features for Cinema Paradiso, as Arrow Video's original blu-ray came out in 2013, which was three years before the 4K UHDs started appearing.
 

dmac

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David, what special challenges have you encountered in authoring and encoding, particularly in reference to effects-heavy films? Particularly, I'm thinking of Flash Gordon which has a lot of optical work.

From a compression standpoint, the most obvious problem is that sometimes the encoders will under-allocate bits when they get to any kind of optical shot. The overall picture has less high frequency content because of the softer optically printed film source (relative to the rest of the feature which is from the negative and has sharper grain and sharper everything). The default algorithms are often a bit too confident in their own ability to drop the bitrate in certain parts of the feature.
 

titch

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From a compression standpoint, the most obvious problem is that sometimes the encoders will under-allocate bits when they get to any kind of optical shot. The overall picture has less high frequency content because of the softer optically printed film source (relative to the rest of the feature which is from the negative and has sharper grain and sharper everything). The default algorithms are often a bit too confident in their own ability to drop the bitrate in certain parts of the feature.
Default algorithms - is a lot of the mastering process automated? How long would you typically need to master a delivered scan for a 4K UHD? Does it require more time than for a blu-ray or DVD?
 

Vern Dias

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The encoders (which are computer programs) use rules that are defined when the program was written. There are some tuning parameters that affect what overall levels of compression will be applied (max bit rate, target size, for example) but the algorithms used by the program are constantly making adjustments to optimize the final size of the output file.
 
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Joseph Barrett
There was a comment earlier regarding Lowry restorations. I felt they did a terrific job with Dr. No, From Russia, With Love, Goldfinger and Thunderball. I ask why You Only Live Twice has a blue tint to it, On Her Majesty's Secret Service has definite color issues and Diamonds Are Forever shifts colors thru out. I recently viewed them on Amazon Prime and they looked terrific. Will we ever get to see these Bond titles perfected? I have seen them enough times since their release theatrically to know what they should look like. This is also why I haven't prerecorded the upcoming The Good The Bad and The Ugly. Having seen it almost 80 times theatrically since its initial release in 1967, I KNOW what it should look like and the recent Kino release (I thank them for the original UA Transam logo!) still doesn't resemble what I saw. There was an older Italian out of release Region B disc for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly that looked beautiful. I would love to hear some comments and thank you.
 

Ronald Epstein

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There was a comment earlier regarding Lowry restorations. I felt they did a terrific job with Dr. No, From Russia, With Love, Goldfinger and Thunderball. I ask why You Only Live Twice has a blue tint to it, On Her Majesty's Secret Service has definite color issues and Diamonds Are Forever shifts colors thru out. I recently viewed them on Amazon Prime and they looked terrific. Will we ever get to see these Bond titles perfected? I have seen them enough times since their release theatrically to know what they should look like. This is also why I haven't prerecorded the upcoming The Good The Bad and The Ugly. Having seen it almost 80 times theatrically since its initial release in 1967, I KNOW what it should look like and the recent Kino release (I thank them for the original UA Transam logo!) still doesn't resemble what I saw. There was an older Italian out of release Region B disc for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly that looked beautiful. I would love to hear some comments and thank you.

Yes, but didn't Lowry screw up big time on LIVE AND LET DIE? I remember that the initial release had completely incorrect colors in the opening credits.
 

MatthewA

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Lowry fucked up a bunch of Disney movies in the 2000s IIRC. Weren't they responsible for the "wrongly restored" Cinderella?
 

Ray H

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There was a comment earlier regarding Lowry restorations. I felt they did a terrific job with Dr. No, From Russia, With Love, Goldfinger and Thunderball. I ask why You Only Live Twice has a blue tint to it, On Her Majesty's Secret Service has definite color issues and Diamonds Are Forever shifts colors thru out. I recently viewed them on Amazon Prime and they looked terrific. Will we ever get to see these Bond titles perfected? I have seen them enough times since their release theatrically to know what they should look like. This is also why I haven't prerecorded the upcoming The Good The Bad and The Ugly. Having seen it almost 80 times theatrically since its initial release in 1967, I KNOW what it should look like and the recent Kino release (I thank them for the original UA Transam logo!) still doesn't resemble what I saw. There was an older Italian out of release Region B disc for The Good, The Bad and The Ugly that looked beautiful. I would love to hear some comments and thank you.
Much of Lowry's work on the Bond movies was done in the mid '00s and I fear they don't hold up all that well. Their software can lead to a lot of distracting artifacts I noticed when viewing the Connery films in 4K via iTunes a few months back.
 

titch

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Much of Lowry's work on the Bond movies was done in the mid '00s and I fear they don't hold up all that well. Their software can lead to a lot of distracting artifacts I noticed when viewing the Connery films in 4K via iTunes a few months back.
I've recently watched the Connery Bonds up to You Only Live Twice, plus On Her Majesty's Secret Service, from the blu-rays, projected onto a 130 inch screen. There were surprisingly few artifacts to be seen and I suspect the steaming versions on iTunes introduce compression artifacts that are not present on the blu-rays. The only transfer that is noticeably problematic, is Thunderball. Those Lowry digital scans and restorations from pre 2008 must be among the first performed in 4K resolution.
 

Robert Harris

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Our project began with research and prep around August of 2006, which continued well into test scanning around January of 2007. Search for elements continued throughout the entire process, and up until the final color and clean in the summer of 2007.

I can't speak to Mr. Crisp's dates, but I know we were working concurrently on both coasts.
 

Capt Cheese Pro

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After six years of 4K discs and 15 years of Blu-rays, there is still little transparency regarding the various companies which are responsible for the authoring of the video masters. There are exceptions - some of the discs have a title card clearly identifying who has been responsible for a restoration - if the film has been restored. There seems to be a tendency for some reviewers to assume that the publishing company has actually done the authoring for the video master, but this is often not the case. On this forum, there are many knowledgable insiders and I have learned a few names to look out for and respect.

I read with great interest Robert Harris' thoughts about the "above the title" restoration credits before Brute Force and Naked City and have thought a bit about this during the last few months. I would prefer to know in advance who the team responsible for the restoration efforts and mastering of the video author are, as it seems like there is a connection between the company and the quality of the published disc.

https://www.hometheaterforum.com/a-few-words-about-brute-force-naked-city-in-blu-ray/

I have purchased 50 4K discs from Europe and the US last year and the quality varies tremendously. Also, 4K discs which have previously been published by one company in Germany, are later published in the UK (e.g. Crash and Oldboy). I would like to know if the master and authoring efforts used by both companies is identical. Arrow Films provide the information on the booklet of their 4K discs but precious few others do. StudioCanal is an example of how their titles can be a crapshoot, as they use many different companies and don't themselves bother to provide this information on their discs (but a quick title card right at the end of their films, after the end credits, can provide this information). Out of StudioCanal's output for 2020, Breathless was restored by L’Immagine Ritrovata, Le Cercle Rouge and Total Recall by Hiventy, Mandabi by VDM, The Elephant Man by Fidelity In Motion, The Ladykillers and Flash Gordon by Silver Salt. Of these released on 4K discs, Breathless, Elephant Man, The Ladykillers and Flash Gordon were reference quality. Total Recall and Le Cercle Rouge - not quite. Is this because of the company doing the restoration and mastering? The Koch Media 4K discs of Showgirls and Dog Soldiers are terrible - which company did the mastering?

Criterion use masters made by many different companies (sometimes they write that they have done the restoration themselves), but they don't always bother to divulge who made the master for them. And the same films released by different companies on both sides of the pond can have quite different audio and video presentations - Sweet Charity, to name one example.

Am I the only one who who like to know which company has done the transfer? Is this relevant? Are there some companies which are consistently better than others? I'd like to know if the authoring of the forthcoming 4K UHD of My Fair Lady is done by a separate entity than that of the 4K streaming master. Seeing how StudioCanal outsources all their restorations and mastering efforts, do Hollywood studios such as Sony, Warner, Universal and Paramount do everything in-house, or they also outsource this job? If I know in advance that Fidelity In Motion or Silver Salt are responsible for restoring and authoring, I wouldn't need any reviews to know that I'm likely getting a superb product. Nor do I hesitate if I know that Robert Harris or Grover Crisp have personally been responsible for supervising the authoring.
Thanks Kevin, with knowledge comes power. The power to be able to desern by the information at hand in choosing our titles more judicously and with greater assurence of presentaion quality. The companies doing the heavy lifting on our behalf is information I think we would all like to have out in the open.
 

Bartman

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The Lowry early Bond Blu-rays certainly had their own 'look', not filmic but very reminiscent of the Criterion laserdiscs that I've always found appealing. Thunderball on video has always been a 'difficult' movie. The laserdisc and early DVD had big problems, the Lowry DVD then Blu-ray much less so.
I've alway researched Blu-ray purchases based on picture quality. I totally rely on the reviews here, at Blu-ray.com and DVDbeaver to make a purchase decision. The problem is, many of the reviews are old. What looked good on a plasma or LCD TV back in say 2010, may not look so good on a recent OLED. That said, I've had very few disappointments.
My most impressive recent purchases are Women In Love (from film) and Zodiac (from digital video), both reference quality.
It's getting more difficult to find worthy Blu-rays. I'm not upgrading to 4K UHD discs because I've already been thru laserdisc and DVD cycles and don't have the space for another cycle. Also I'm unsure if my vision could discern the increase in resolution on my 55" TV, despite having my eyes tested last summer and new glasses, my ability to focus on the image varies from morning to night.
 

Stephen_J_H

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The Lowry early Bond Blu-rays certainly had their own 'look', not filmic but very reminiscent of the Criterion laserdiscs that I've always found appealing. Thunderball on video has always been a 'difficult' movie. The laserdisc and early DVD had big problems, the Lowry DVD then Blu-ray much less so.
I've alway researched Blu-ray purchases based on picture quality. I totally rely on the reviews here, at Blu-ray.com and DVDbeaver to make a purchase decision. The problem is, many of the reviews are old. What looked good on a plasma or LCD TV back in say 2010, may not look so good on a recent OLED. That said, I've had very few disappointments.
My most impressive recent purchases are Women In Love (from film) and Zodiac (from digital video), both reference quality.
It's getting more difficult to find worthy Blu-rays. I'm not upgrading to 4K UHD discs because I've already been thru laserdisc and DVD cycles and don't have the space for another cycle. Also I'm unsure if my vision could discern the increase in resolution on my 55" TV, despite having my eyes tested last summer and new glasses, my ability to focus on the image varies from morning to night.
Just remember that the resolution increase isn't the only thing; there's also improved contrast and colour fidelity, which becomes more apparent on newer features than older ones. Still, I totally understand your POV.
 

OliverK

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Who did the over the top digital scrubbing on Patton a.k.a. House of Wax?

That would have been HTV/Illuminate.

The also worked on other titles and I would say that both The Agony and the Ecstasy and Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines are not that great looking when compared to Dr. Dolittle or Oklahoma! but still a lot better than the first Patton release.

What is really stunning is that they are still somehow proud of what they did to Patton with their "Advanced Restoration Toolkit":

1651671430849.png

 
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Bartman

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Who did the over the top digital scrubbing on Patton a.k.a. House of Wax?
While I've not watched Patton since getting an OLED TV, it looked fine on my previous plasma, perhaps there was a secret remaster? (like Gladiator). I'll pull it out and rewatch. I know when they were first released both Patton and The Longest Day were heavily criticized for DNR, The Longest Day certainly deserved it, it was awful. Has there ever been an acceptable remaster of The Longest Day?
 

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