Heathers -New transfer THX looks worse than the old one (Too much DVNR)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian Lawrence, Oct 16, 2001.

  1. Brian Lawrence

    Brian Lawrence Producer

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    I don't know if this has been brought up before, but last night I put on the new Heathers dvd and was rather disappointed to see that it appears to be another victim of excessive DVNR (digital video noise reduction). The older non-anamorphic transfer was actually sharper and had a more detailed image (And no I am not talking about false detail caused be EE).
    I started switching back and forth between the two discs comparing scenes and it became more and more obvious. Take for example the first shot in which we see of Christian Slater sitting at the lunch table. On the older dvd we can clearly read the red lettering on the milk carton, but on the new THX transfer the lettering is blurry and hard to read (I even compared still frames of this).
    The new transfer also seems to smear out many of the fine details seen on the various textures of clothing.
    There is also an early scene in which Winona Ryder is writing in her diary while sitting on the school stairs. The older transfer reveals slight details like nicks and scrapes in the green paint of the steps while the newer version blurs them out. The whole image throughout appears much softer on the new dvd.
    Then I figured it out. I noticed that film grain was almost gone from this new transfer that was fairly noticeable in the older disc. It seems that Anchor Bay decided to eliminate the film grain by going overboard on the DVNR and in the process sacrificing image quality for the illusion of a cleaner transfer. [​IMG]
    I viewed these discs on a Panasonic A-300 on a 32" 4x3 monitor, The Panasonic does not soften anamorphic transfers in the process of down conversion like Sony players so I feel I can rule out equipment as being the problem. Even when I switched my players setting to 16:9 mode (No, I would never watch a movie like this) The stretched image with the full resolution of the anamorphic transfer still was still not as detailed as the the older non anamorphic dvd.
    [Edited last by Brian Lawrence on October 16, 2001 at 11:33 AM]
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    quote: I noticed that film grain was almost gone from this new transfer that was fairly noticeable in the older disc. It seems that Anchor Bay decided to eliminate the film grain by going overboard on the DVNR and in the process sacrificing image quality for the illusion of a cleaner transfer.[/quote] I've been noticing the same thing on a number of Anchor Bay discs. The disc publishers are in a can't-win situation. They can eliminate grain and sacrifice detail, or they can keep all the detail and have people whining about grain (for an example, look at the complaints about Godfather III).
    It appears that Anchor Bay is erring on the side of grain reduction, probably because they tend to publish films where the budget was low and the source material probably isn't pristine. Their new disc of Bad Boys is incredibly clean for a film of that vintage and budget, but I was painfully aware as I was watching it that it looked a bit too "processed".
    What kills me is when people cite such titles as examples of how much better a job [fill in the name of the studio] could have done with [fill in the title of a classic film]. With modern techniques, grain can almost always be eliminated, but at a price (and I don't mean a monetary one).
    M.
    [Edited last by Michael Reuben on October 16, 2001 at 01:03 PM]
     
  3. Sean Patrick

    Sean Patrick Supporting Actor

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    i'm disappointed to hear that Anchor Bay is using DVNR - to me that's just as bad as edge enhancement. They had been great about not using DVNR (Fulci titles like THE BEYOND were grainy but the detail was entact)
    ugh
     
  4. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    It's about educating reviewers that grain isn't (necessarily) as sign of a "poor transfer", as we often read.
    A transfer is good if it reproduces what the original film elements looked like. If the film elements used were the best available or reflected the artistic desire of the director (Aliens) then there's no problem with a bit of grain...or even some occasional scratches or other film-blemishes for that matter.
    I don't mind grain. It's part of the film process and is "ok" if it's something intended by the director to be a part of his final product.
    What I do mind are DVDs that are grainy because of a poor choice of film-stock when better elements exited (the early Willy Wonka) or a transfer that has been process and filtered for all detail to get rid of visible grain.
    What do I mind even more than that? It's reviewers who criticize a "transfer" as "poor" because of visible film-grain for its own sake. I've seen reviewers get down on the DVD of BraveHeart (perfecltly film-like) because of a few scratches here or there and the praise a positively video-looking DVD of another title for it's lack of "distracting" anomolies. Well, I call a blurry video-processed-looking image an anomoly that's 2 1/2 hours long [​IMG]
    Sort-of like the annoyance with a certain review of the Sound of Music that criticized the 4.0 soundtrack for having effects that panned distractingly accross the front soundstage when Fox should have done (in their opinion) a new 5.1 mix with dialog locked in the center channel.
    Ugh!
    -dave
    [Edited last by DaViD Boulet on October 16, 2001 at 05:18 PM]
     
  5. Brian Lawrence

    Brian Lawrence Producer

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    It's nice to know that I am not the only one who finds this to be a problem. It seems so many people have gotten obsessed with Edge Enhancement, while transfers like this seem to slide by under the radar.
    While I have not had much faith in THX of late, I now must say that their seal of approval means absolutely nothing at all. They don't seem to give a damn if a transfer is just being re-used from old LD masters, They don't give a damn if the transfer has excessive edge enhancement, They don't care if it has been softened at the cost of detail and in the past they have shown that they do not even care if a film is in it's proper aspect ratio! Just what in the hell do they care about? Have they at any point in the lifetime of dvd looked at a disc and said, NO we wont allow our name to be put on this? I would guess that they have not.
     
  6. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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  7. Ricky f

    Ricky f Supporting Actor

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    Greeting and Salutations
    I love HEATERS and I watched the movie again last night and the transfer was ok. No complaints from me, I am just happy to have the movie on DVD
    The grain is heavy at the end of the movie.
    I am happy all the same
    " Dear Diary, My teen angst bullshit now has a body count "
    Regards,
    Ricky
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    [​IMG]
    www.petitiononline.com/UncutDVD
     
  8. Robert George

    Robert George Screenwriter

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    Reading this thread got me curious so I pulled out Anchor Bay's first release to compare to the new special editon. Wow, am I glad I kept the first disc. In the areas of sharpness and detail, no contest. The first disc, despite a non-enhanced letterboxed transfer, is considerably sharper with visibly more detail than the newer transfer. In fact, this 16:9 transfer is so soft as to be almost blurry by comparison. Without knowing exactly what is going on with this new transfer, I would suggest it looks like too much of the high frequency video signal has been rolled off, perhaps to aid in compression. I also see more compression artifacts on the newer disc.
    The older transfer is also a bit darker with better black level and color saturation is at least as good, if not better than the newer disc. I will note I am using the Panasonic RP91 which has become well regarded among those who have used it for its scaling ability with non-enhanced transfers on 16:9 displays.
    I'll keep the SE for the supplements, but when I sit down to watch the movie, it will be the first edition.
     
  9. Michael St. Clair

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    Has anyone compared the first disc to the LD that used (I think) the same master? If the first disc is even slightly over-compressed, the LD may be the best transfer of this title available for Home Theater. Or, the DVD may be better, but I'd like to know.
     
  10. Sean Conklin

    Sean Conklin Screenwriter

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    quote: I love HEATERS [/quote]
    Ricky f.: I love HEATERS too, I live in Montana [​IMG]
    Just kidding we know you meant Heathers.
    I just picked up the older version for 12 bucks at Best Buy and I'm in heaven! "I'm a no rust build up man myself"
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    Sean
    "I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates who said.......I drank what?"
    [Edited last by Sean Conklin on October 21, 2001 at 11:58 PM]
     
  11. Ivan Luk

    Ivan Luk Agent

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    Speaking of grain, I seem to remember people complaining about the grain (and color) in the DVD transfer of Traffic. It seems like some people won't ever get it. [​IMG]
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