DOWN WITH LOVE: Disappointment Transfer of the Year!

Discussion in 'DVD' started by GerardoHP, Oct 7, 2003.

  1. GerardoHP

    GerardoHP Supporting Actor

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    I don't have the technical knowledge of the guys who review DVD's here and on other sites, but I know a good DVD transfer when I see one, and I know when my heart is broken by a bad one.

    Maybe because I love Doris-and-Rock-type comedies, I found DOWN WITH LOVE an absolutely enchanting reworking of the formula, sparkling with brilliant Technicolor-like images, gorgeous sets and costumes, and spectacular CinemaScope (actually, Panavision) photography. I couldn't wait to own the DVD and watch it on my 65" TV.

    Given that audiences in general didn't much care for the story or the genre to make it a hit in theaters, I was seriously hoping Fox would take advantage of the DVD medium to showcase the visual side of this movie. I thought they would perhaps work the picture angle and market the DVD for the film's many aesthetic merits.

    Imagine my disappointment when I came home with the DVD today to find the image transfer to be the weakest since, well, the first LAWRENCE OF ARABIA comes to mind: dull, way too dark, extremely soft, weak overall, looking more like a tired VHS tape than a modern DVD.

    I was heartbroken.

    I just don't understand how these things can happen. I mean, this version of DWL has decent extras, including a director's track. You would think with the amount of work that went into it, someone might have raised a flag, especially since this title is not likely to be reissued anytime soon.

    My humble word of advice to anyone with high hopes for this title: beware, the picture quality is so bad it's distracting. If you enjoyed the movie as much as I did, you will find yourself wishing for what could have been and hardly able to enjoy what you've got.
     
  2. Peter Kim

    Peter Kim Screenwriter

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    Thanks for your review, Gerardo...a cursory search of the SW forum uncovered no other reviews, much less an official HTF review.

    Hopefully, we can get some other reviews in for corroborating evidence. I missed this movie during its theatrical run and am anxious to pick this dvd up but not at the expense of good picture quality.
     
  3. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

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  4. Xenia Stathakopoulou

    Xenia Stathakopoulou Cinematographer

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    Hmm, havent watched my copy yet, but in theatres the picture looked great, but a little soft and dark. I suppose the dvd transfer was intentional, so dont worry.Ill be sure to watch mine tonight to see.
     
  5. Michael Boyd

    Michael Boyd Second Unit

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  6. GerardoHP

    GerardoHP Supporting Actor

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    That "intentional" softness in the theatrical prints seemed to have been done with filters, possibly digital filters. That has nothing to do with the softness present on the DVD. Here it's a question of the transfer being video-soft to the point of going out of focus.

    Compare the film with the non-anamorphic excerpts in the extras, and you'll see what I mean. The extras look better.

    During pans or at any sudden camera movement, the video goes so soft it kind of breaks up. And in many stationary shots the characters are just plain out of focus. Make no mistake, despite the "filter" softness, the theatrical prints of this movie looked ultra sharp.

    DWL is going to go down as a classic example of how poor an anamorphic transfer really can be.
     
  7. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Gerardo,

    Disappointing to hear, since this is probably one of my most favorite films of the year. I might still pick it up, but still disappointing.

    Jason
     
  8. Yumbo

    Yumbo Cinematographer

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    get the DVD - the movie sings!

    looked intentional to me. it's a '50s set movie not a 2003 one.

    would have been distracting to see razor sharp pictures etc.
     
  9. TedD

    TedD Supporting Actor

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    Sorry, folks:

    I watched it last night and I was blown away by the quality of the color and the great detail.

    There is one thing that this transfer has NONE of: the dreaded EE in any shape or form.

    I wonder if we have forum members who have become so used to the artificially sharpened and EE'd look of most DVD's out there, that they are confusing it with real detail.

    I sure hope not, because after screaming about the ugliness of EE, I sure would hate to see the studios resume using it due to complaints like those expressed in this thread.

    Sorry, just my $.05.

    This was viewed from a seating distance of 15' on a screen 5' high by 12' wide, using an HTPC with WinDVD 5, FFDShow, and Zoom Player with a Runco DTV-991 CRT projector.

    Ted
     
  10. GerardoHP

    GerardoHP Supporting Actor

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    Ted, I am not confusing focus and softness with EE. I despise EE.
     
  11. Xenia Stathakopoulou

    Xenia Stathakopoulou Cinematographer

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    I finally watched it, in my opinion its pretty close to what i saw in the theatre.
     
  12. Paul-Gunther

    Paul-Gunther Stunt Coordinator

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    I saw it in the theater, and the DVD looks better than the print I saw.
     
  13. Ryan Wong

    Ryan Wong Stunt Coordinator

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    Is it something to do with the DVD player we use, or the way Fox deal with the picture?

    When I first bought Star Wars Episode 2's DVD, I really think the image is really.... soft. But after I bought a new DVD player with 12 bit 108 MHz video DAC, everything become so sharp so detailed.

    Anyway, we love this movie, don't we?
     
  14. Brian W

    Brian W Stunt Coordinator

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    Gerardo-

    I couldn't help but recall that you had problems with the Adventures of Robin Hood transfer as well. That to me is probably the most outstanding transfer of a 1930's Technicolor film to date, and has been winning praise. So I'm sorry, but I have to wonder regarding your strong disapproval of this transfer as well. That said, I haven't seen DWL yet, picked it up and plan to see it this weekend.

    I'll post again after I see it. I sure hope that I disagree with you and that FOX did a good job transferring this.

    I am a HUGE Pillow Talk fan too, Doris and Rock. My disappointment is that Universal hasn't tied in with this release. Maybe DWL could have given them a reason to do a new anamorphic transfer like they did with Charade and Truth About Charlie (also a box office disappointment, yet they still did a new anamorphic transfer of Charade to add to the Truth About Charlie DVD release). Guess because this is a FOX film and Pillow Talk is a Universal title there was no chance that this was looked at. I am still waiting for the day when Pillow Talk is re-released with a new spiffy anamorphic transfer.
     
  15. GerardoHP

    GerardoHP Supporting Actor

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    Brian, ROBIN HOOD is outstanding. My housekeeper had pushed the wrong button on my remote and thrown my TV out of whack, which I then fixed. RH is one of the best discs I have and perhaps I pushed the panic button too soon on that one.

    DWL is a different story, and a quick check of the reviews that are coming out indicate that I'm not that off with my take. Several reviewers have noticed the color bleeding on it, the blurriness and the murkiness of the picture. Perhaps I'm more disappointed than most because I thought this movie was eye-popping in the theater and I wanted it to wow me on DVD, but I stand firm on what I said.

    I look forward to hear what you think.
     
  16. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Films with odd color timing or a look which deviates from what is considered "ideal" often can be considered sub-par.

    Even hardware can make things look odd.

    There are so many fantastic transfers out there that are labeled as poor just because they don't look how the viewer wants them to.
     
  17. Yumbo

    Yumbo Cinematographer

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    I agree with Patrick.

    DWL did not bleed or look blurred or murky to me.

    It seemed to be an accurate presentation artistically and I loved it on a 50" plasma.

    no remote buttons to mess up picture here.

    it is possible it looks bad on other setups - it's known to happen.

    bottom line, it's a great movie. unfortunate experience for some I guess. [​IMG]
     
  18. Brian W

    Brian W Stunt Coordinator

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    Gerardo-

    That is funny about your housekeeper because I just interviewed my first ever last evening! Told her that the home theater room is the only room off limits to her because I am, shall we say, just a little fussy about my equipment? I would rather continue to do my own dusting and cleaning in that room, with good reason!
     
  19. GerardoHP

    GerardoHP Supporting Actor

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    Brian, I trained her well but she stumbles maybe once every 6 months, which I prefer to cleaning the room every week. And then I get a title I've been waiting for all my life like ROBIN HOOD and I think I'm going insane! [​IMG]
     
  20. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Well, I just picked it up and watched a little bit of it last night. The transfer seems to be fine. It does look a little washed out, but I think it is supposed to. This isn't a Technicolor film...

    Jason
     

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