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It, The Blot, La Terre, title availability, and other misc. Silent Film business

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Bill Burns, Oct 20, 2003.

  1. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    With Photoplay's restoration of It (1927) available on DVD November 25th, and La Terre (1921) and The Blot (1921) due on December 9th, I thought this might be a good time to generate discussion on these restorations -- I believe all of these Photoplays have been shown theatrically, on UK television, or both, and if anyone has the current edition of It, available from Kino, there might be some value in exploring what potential customers should expect in terms of improvements in/changes to the upcoming Photoplay version (which will be made available, as with the other two above-mentioned titles, from Milestone Home Video, a company that publishes through Image Entertainment). I have the current Kino DVD, which I find to have a weak contrast range (some scenes are better than others, and it inevitably looks best in close-ups of Clara), passable but unexceptional fine detail, and which I believe runs a touch fast (this is, of course, open to individual taste) ... and I'm not very happy with the maudlin documentary, though it offers a number of fine clips from various Clara Bow pictures. On the other hand, the new Photoplay/Milestone disc, as listed on Image's website, doesn't appear to have any special features (aside from a Carl Davis score), but one of the silent film websites states it will include both a commentary (by Jeanine Basinger) and a short film (Helen's Babies, 1924). I suppose we'll have to wait and see.

    It should be noted that The Chess Player (1927) and the Milestone/Image edition (not to be confused with the Shepard/Image edition) of The Phantom of the Opera (1925/1929) are the previous two titles, already available, in Milestone's Photoplay lineup. One last title, Nosferatu (already available in separate editions from both Image and Kino) is set to arrive in its Photoplay form via Milestone sometime in 2004.

    "One thread to rule them all ... and in the darkness bind them." Sorry, sorry, I couldn't resist throwing something out there to eager LOTR fans, for whom November and December will also be very big months [​IMG]. Hopefully by probing the value of these existing Milestone Photoplays, and the quality of the restorations to be used for the upcoming discs, we can help anyone on the fence about pre-ordering these titles. It should be noted that an extensive thread for The Phantom of the Opera alone already exists ...

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...hreadid=152346

    ... and those interested in reactions to that release should reference those comments. [​IMG] I should also mention that I'm aware of two other Photoplay restorations on disc: The Iron Mask, from Kino (see below), and The Gold Rush (silent version only), from Warner Bros.. Both of these, in Region 1, appear to be taken from PAL sources (note the Phantom thread for the reason I emphasize "appear"), and therefore exhibit some motion blur and ghosting, but are nevertheless very strong presentations of outstanding films. If the films were of even slightly less quality, though, and the transfers even somewhat weaker, the motion blur/ghosting would have kept me from buying them. As it is, I'm happy to own them.

    On a related note, I've recently discovered that all of the Kino Fairbanks "snapper" titles are listed on their website as "not currently available," though a return to availability is still listed as "mid-August 2003." A quick check of two e-tailers shows that all of these are similarly listed as unavailable or out of print (as of this post, the early morning of October 21st). The keepcase Fairbanks' available from Kino are still listed as available on their site, so I'm left to assume that the snapper editions were exhausted and are out of print until keepcase reissues are made available? That's strictly an assumption, and anyone with further info, please let us know. In the meantime, though, those looking for these titles may want to wait a bit (rather than hurrying to EBay) and see if keepcase versions aren't on the immediate horizon (I wish I'd waited, grumble grumble [​IMG]; I much prefer keepcases). The snappers I've noted are:

    1. The Black Pirate
    2. Robin Hood
    3. The Three Musketeers

    And the keepcase titles still available, per Kino's website, are:

    1. The Gaucho
    2. The Iron Mask
    3. The Mark of Zorro / Don Q, Son of Zorro

    For those looking into all of the Fairbanks titles on disc at the moment (from reputable companies), there's an Image edition of The Mark of Zorro (the sequel is not included) and also a very fine Image edition of The Thief of Baghdad (which may or may not be coming at some point in a new edition from Kino; either the Alloy Orchestra or Mont Alto, I can't recall which, has said they've recorded a new score for the film, and Kino listed the title as upcoming in a catalogue quite a while ago -- I don't recall if it was their 2003 or 2002 mailer -- but nothing further has been announced; in the event anyone's heard something more, don't hold back!).

    If I've overlooked a title, please be sure to mention it for the reference of anyone looking to complete their Fairbanks-on-DVD shelf. [​IMG]

    A collection of pictures by filmmaker Evgeni Bauer arrives on December 9th, also from Milestone (Twilight of a Woman's Soul {1913}, After Death {1915}, and Dying Swan {1917}), and one final silent title I wanted to mention between now and early December is the new Image edition of The General / Steamboat Bill, Jr., available today. Both of these are available from Kino, as well (in separate editions and offering the inclusion of two short films apiece; note that they're available in keepcase form when purchased as part of the 11-disc The Art of Buster Keaton set, but were available individually as snapper case product prior to the release of the set*; I'm unsure if the current single disc offerings from Kino are still snappers or not), but I believe Jack Theakston mentioned elsewhere that David Shepard (who produced the new Image edition) said something about a superior element for The General serving as the source for this new disc? The back cover scan at DVDEmpire doesn't indicate anything about picture quality ...

    http://www.dvdempire.com/Exec/v4_ite...1&tab=5&back=1

    ... only the new Alloy Orchestra scores (and a 26 fps speed for The General; while I know the running times are listed as essentially the same -- Kino lists 75m, Image 76m -- I wonder if this rate was used on Kino's edition, or if it might have been 24 fps? That would of course make it longer than Image's, not shorter, if the same cut has been used, but I learned to stop trusting running times listed on boxes long ago [​IMG]. It's odd that 1926/27's The General would be correct at 26 fps, but Buster's Steamboat Bill, Jr., from a year or more later, in 1928, would be correct at 24 fps) ... and, of course, the absence of the short films accompanying the two Kino discs. Did we determine if Shepard made any similar comments (vis-a-vis new elements) concerning Steamboat Bill, Jr.? Note that the musical scores on the Kino editions are billed as "original" (bear with me, I think I have this straight: the music was arranged and directed anew by Robert Israel for The General and three of the four shorts found between these two releases; Gaylord Carter provides the musical setting for Steamboat Bill, Jr. and one of the shorts found on Kino's The General; both feature titles, as with the new Image disc, and their accompanying shorts credit David Shepard as the video producer).

    DVD Empire lists The General (Kino) as unavailable (The General and Steamboat Bill, Jr. are still up for purchase at both Kino's website and Amazon, and Steamboat Bill, Jr. remains available at DVDEmpire). Here's a link to the back cover scan of The General (Kino) at DVDEmpire ...

    http://www.dvdempire.com/Exec/v4_ite...9&tab=5&back=1

    Any further info would be great, and of course if anyone's seen the new Shepard/Image disc and might be able to compare it with Kino's offerings, all the better. I have the Kino discs, and found them very pleasing, but it's been a while since I last viewed them.

    P.S. While not a silent, 1931's Platinum Blonde arrives November 4th. Together with the recent releases of Cover Girl (1944) and (today) You'll Never Get Rich (1941), and what I believe is a recent price drop for Angels Over Broadway (1940), I'm happy to see such a bevy of Columbia classics hitting e-shelves (if not B&Ms), and at attractive prices. [​IMG]

    * the eleventh disc is a "bonus," offering various bits of material; that bonus disc was exclusive to the set for a while, but has since been made available individually, I believe in a keepcase.
     
  2. Derek_McL

    Derek_McL Second Unit

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    I'm sorry Bill living in the UK I can't fill you in about the quality of the transfers of those Photoplay restorations coming soon to DVD. They may well have been shown theatrically but I don't recall any of them ever being shown on British TV. The last Photoplay restoration I recall getting an airing was John Ford's THE IRON HORSE a good few Christmases ago. This film is available in region 2 and its likely to be the next silent title I invest in.

    Actually silent films are likely to dominate my purchases in the next few months as I've got most of the classics I want from later decades (at least those that are currently available). So apart from Indiana Jones and an odd Walt Disney Treasure it will be silents for the forseeable future. Before going into what I plan to buy I thought I might give you a short progress report on recent silent film purchases.

    In August online I bought the Kino ORPHANS OF THE STORM (sorry Bill the budget couldn't quite go to the Kino Boxset )which I enjoyed immensely (tints or no tints), Kino's edition of Von Stroheim's FOOLISH WIVES and the same company's HARRY LANGDON - THE FORGOTTEN CLOWN TRIPLE FEATURE.

    The Langdon films I enjoyed too : that set has beautiful prints. I plan to watch FOOLISH WIVES on Sunday so I'll get back to you on that if anyone's interested. I have watched the accompanying documentary on Von Stroheim's career which was extremely interesting but sadly had generally poor picture quality : some of the film clips look OK although the interview footage is blurry. The doc was made in 1979 and it certainly hasn't been touched up in any way but still its very revealing if you're at all interested in Von Stroheim. As for the main feature I've never seen the Image disc but I have seen it theatrically in London last year.

    I was in London this year too in August and managed to pick up four R2 Eureka titles for £30 /$45. These were THE LOST WORLD (comes in a nice yellow box!),F.W. Murnau's FAUST, a Russian documentary THE FALL OF THE ROMANOV DYNASTY and Buster Keaton's COLLEGE. I've watched all of these apart from the Russian title and they were all good but FAUST has become my favourite German silent.

    Interesting what you say about the availability of the Fairbanks' titles Bill. I went to the website I generally use for my R1 purchases (http://www.dc-dvd.co.uk) and found no THREE MUSKETEERS or ROBIN HOOD (there is a R2 of that though) but the others seemed to be there. I already have ROBIN HOOD, THIEF OF BAGDAD, THE BLACK PIRATE and THE IRON MASK. Of the remaining titles I'm most interested in THE ZORRO DOUBLE FEATURE but in the end I might well get THE GAUCHO too as I quite like Fairbanks Snr.

    I'm probably more concerned by the availability of a couple of the lesser Keaton features. I've got most of his films but bought Stonevision DVDs here in the UK and a couple of Eurekas (THE GENERAL and COLLEGE)so I don't want the Kino boxset. The titles I'm missing among his independent features are THE THREE AGES, THE NAVIGATOR and GO WEST. My DVD website lists the first two but no luck with GO WEST which appears to be out of print. I might chance an order of THE NAVIGATOR but the individual Kino Keatons are looking hard to get.

    I'm looking also at another Mary Pickford title but while SPARROWS which I've got is enjoyable enough it is a bit sugary for my tastes and I believe this is the Pickford feature with the hardest modern edge. The Pickford title I'm considering is MARY PICKFORD - A LIFE ON FILM which I think would be of interest to most silent film fans.

    A few other titles I hope to add to my collection in the coming months : the early Italian epic CABIRIA, a Demille sex comedy ;probably MALE AND FEMALE and WORLD WAR I FILMS OF THE SILENT ERA which combines actualities with a silent feature and documentary about films during the Great War. I've probably mentioned many of those before but if any new members own them please feel free to offer your opinions on transfer quality.

    Bill I think you discussed the various collections available of D.W. Griffith's BIOGRAPH SHORTS. Which is the best one ? I think I'm leaning towards the Kino because its cheaper.

    Of the new releases THE LON CHANEY COLLECTION is a certainty and I was also almost set on the new edition of Clara Bow's IT until Bill put some doubt on the extras. I don't have the Kino but Carl Davis' score is supposed to be excellent and any ghosting (a PAL-NTSC transfer!?) hopefully won't be too major or non-existent. I would think the print will be better than the Kino anyway.

    In the new year I will get the Region 2 Eureka edition of SUNRISE which is released here on the 26th January. Eureka also have other Fritz Lang/ F.W, Murnau titles in the pipeline for 2004 : THE LAST LAUGH, DIE NIBELUNGEN and DR MABUSE - THE GAMBLER. Does anyone have the Region 1s and if you have could you please comment on the films/transfers ?

    Oh yes I almost forgot I'm getting THE COMPLETE CHAPLIN BOXSET of the region 2 releases (all his features 1921 to 1957 but no First National shorts!?)for Christmas from my mother !
     
  3. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    There's been a Fritz Lang discussion going on over at thedvdforums.com (apparently there's a rather good French release of Moonfleet, so I can't imagine a similar R1 can be far behind), I don't think DCH will mind me quoting him on Dr Mabuse - The Gambler;

    "The film is excellent - and this is the full length version which was thought lost until the late 60s. There's an excellent commentary track which you must listen to as well. The DVD is good enough - not a miracle like Eureka's Metropolis but for a film this rare an unpassable purchase."

    ---
    So many films, so little time...
     
  4. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    Derek wrote:

    Quote:



    In August online I bought the Kino ORPHANS OF THE STORM (sorry Bill the budget couldn't quite go to the Kino Boxset )which I enjoyed immensely (tints or no tints), Kino's edition of Von Stroheim's FOOLISH WIVES and the same company's HARRY LANGDON - THE FORGOTTEN CLOWN TRIPLE FEATURE.





    I love the Harry Langdon release -- that one's absolutely first rate. In an interview with Mark Zimmer back in 2000, David Shepard referred to it as a QUAD release (quick and dirty), but it's one of the best silent buys out there, to my eye. One of the pictures on the disc (I've forgotten now which it is -- Harry plays a soldier returning to the big city ... hmmm, winds up in a circus act, I think? ... meets a girl, etc.?) remains among the best looking silent transfers I've seen.

    I'd love to know how Kino's Foolish Wives compares to the Image disc, but I know you don't have the latter, Derek. I suggested them as a comparison for DVDBeaver, but that hasn't come to pass. I have yet to find any on-line reviewer who specifically compares the two -- if they're essentially the same transfer of the same materials, I'll stick with the Image, but if Kino has improved on the Image (in transfer; I know their disc has a few extras), well then that's another story.

    I'm glad to hear you're enjoying Orphans -- it's a powerful film, with or without tints. I believe it was Jack Theakston around these parts who asked David Shepard directly about this, though, and Mr. Shepard confirmed that it was licensed to Kino as a tinted product -- the omission of tints was apparently some sort of accident. I haven't heard anything about a replacement, though (unlike the missing audio channel on Kino's Intolerance). The Image has a problem of its own (a bit of repeated footage), but it's tinted -- six of one, half dozen of the other, I'd say. No tints vs. repeated segment. Either way, it's a fantastic picture!


    Quote:



    I'm looking also at another Mary Pickford title but while SPARROWS which I've got is enjoyable enough it is a bit sugary for my tastes and I believe this is the Pickford feature with the hardest modern edge. The Pickford title I'm considering is MARY PICKFORD - A LIFE ON FILM which I think would be of interest to most silent film fans.





    I'm not a big fan of Sparrows, myself, but I love Mary. I enjoyed Amarilly of Clothes-Line Alley quite a bit more, but I don't recall it well enough to address whether or not it had a modern edge of any kind -- I've been meaning to pick up a few more of the Milestone Pickfords, of which there are several -- in fact, a second series of titles, apparently planned by Milestone and mentioned by Barrie Maxwell in one of his articles at The Digital Bits, have yet to appear. I did recently pick up Milestone's Without Lying Down: Frances Marion and the Power of Women in Hollywood, which includes a bonus Mary Pickford feature, A Little Princess, but haven't had a chance to watch it yet. I believe Barrie reviewed this disc in one of his articles, though. I was impressed with the overall presentation of Milestone's similar release Captured on Film: The True Story of Marion Davies, which includes the feature Quality Street from a fair, unexceptional print -- still very watchable, and the disc as a whole is terrific. I'm looking forward to Without Lying Down, a documentary I caught on TCM a couple of years ago, and of course the accompanying feature.


    Quote:



    Of the remaining titles I'm most interested in THE ZORRO DOUBLE FEATURE but in the end I might well get THE GAUCHO too as I quite like Fairbanks Snr.





    Both are great titles, but The Gaucho is something very special, and one of my favorite films from any year.


    Quote:



    A few other titles I hope to add to my collection in the coming months : the early Italian epic CABIRIA, a Demille sex comedy ;probably MALE AND FEMALE and WORLD WAR I FILMS OF THE SILENT ERA which combines actualities with a silent feature and documentary about films during the Great War. I've probably mentioned many of those before but if any new members own them please feel free to offer your opinions on transfer quality.





    Cabiria's a fine title, but another that I believe Kino released at the same time, The Last Days of Pompeii, is for my money even more entertaining, and the source element(s) for the latter are absolutely terrific. Both are great, though, and neither, I'm happy to say, show any signs whatever of ghosting or blur in their Region 1 editions -- terrific product.

    Male and Female's a good disc from Image, but it's been years since I last watched it.


    Quote:



    Bill I think you discussed the various collections available of D.W. Griffith's BIOGRAPH SHORTS. Which is the best one ? I think I'm leaning towards the Kino because its cheaper.





    You know, I have both of these (the Image and the Kino), and of course the Biographs disc that came in the two disc Kino The Birth of a Nation ... five discs of shorts in all (many repeats between Image and Kino, of course, but a few that are exclusive to each, which is why I "double dipped") ... and I still haven't gotten around to watching them! Ack. The outstanding Warner Legends set has occupied my attention for a number of days now, and I'm actually revisiting Kino's very good The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari at the moment (interesting note: while the feature looks great -- apart from the opening segment's strange, intense highlights and blue tones, very different from the Image edition -- and shows no signs of blur or ghosting, and the 43-minute condensation of Genuine also looks great, with no blurring or ghosting, and both films run at a very pleasing speed ... the brief excerpts of the director on the set of a religious epic run much too fast, and blur and ghost like crazy! I wonder if Kino used some bizarre PAL source for those clips, an existing master that was not speed corrected? 25 fps for segments that should probably run around 20? I dunno, but it looks awful; happily, though, this only affects the brief supplemental clips, and in no way impacts the fine presentations of both the feature and the Genuine condensation), but I should make it to the Biographs soon.


    Quote:



    Of the new releases THE LON CHANEY COLLECTION is a certainty and I was also almost set on the new edition of Clara Bow's IT until Bill put some doubt on the extras. I don't have the Kino but Carl Davis' score is supposed to be excellent and any ghosting (a PAL-NTSC transfer!?) hopefully won't be too major or non-existent. I would think the print will be better than the Kino anyway.





    Ditto on the Lon Chaney Collection (how could I have failed to plug it in my opening post? Just one short week to go!), but I wouldn't worry about Milestone's It just yet -- Image's website doesn't list any extras, but I have a feeling that's an oversight. There's a long-standing silent film website (I don't link 'em because they occasionally review DVD-Rs of questionable legality) that insists the release will have both the aforementioned short film and a commentary -- given that they name both the short film and the participant in the commentary, I'm guessing this information was either given to them in a press release or picked up in communications with Milestone. I can't imagine where they'd have otherwise generated the info, so I'm tentatively hopeful that it's accurate.

    As to the ghosting/blurring ... I just don't know. I haven't yet picked up Milestone's Phantom of the Opera, and so can't confirm if the blurring some have described looks like the same sort of thing I'm seeing on Warner's The Gold Rush and other titles. Dennis Doros insists, it seems, that it is not a PAL conversion (he actually said it isn't due to a PAL conversion, which unfortunately skirts the most important question: is it a PAL conversion?), but rather the fault of "tape-to-tape" speed adjustments performed by Photoplay before Milestone got their hands on the master. But that leaves me confused: if Photoplay produced the master, was it produced in NTSC? Because Photoplay is based, I believe, in the UK, and creates their masters first for the UK audience. This is why, I've always assumed, the Kino edition of The Iron Mask and WB's silent Gold Rush (which, unless I'm mistaken, unlike the sound version was not "restored" by MK2) blur and ghost as they do. If Milestone commissioned a new NTSC master, more power to 'em, but if they did so, why not stipulate the methodology of speed correction that works flawlessly on so many other silent films? And if they used an existing master ... why would an NTSC master exist for this title, but not for The Iron Mask or The Gold Rush, and if, indeed, native NTSC masters do exist for those titles, why in the world didn't Kino and WB, respectively, use them?

    A lot of questions. [​IMG] Few answers. On-line reviews, and brief comments here from Roderick Gauci, seem to support the first Milestone Photoplay, The Chess Player, as a solid transfer free of ghosting/blurring ... but I haven't gotten the sense that anyone is absolutely sure (I believe Roderick said he hadn't actually paused it and frame advanced to see if the problem was present). I'd love definite word from someone who owns the disc, because if Milestone and Photoplay have indeed issued a blur and ghost-free product as the initiation of their partnership (The Chess Player), then there's good cause to anticipate a continuation of that quality. Much like Kino, of course, it's always possible that a number of good NTSC-native titles will nevertheless be followed by a conversion, but ... well, it's all guesswork without the DVDs in front of us. I greatly appreciate and admire Milestone's long-standing dedication to quality, and hope to see that reflected in the use of native NTSC masters for their Photoplay product. I expect the best, but I can't say I'm confident without having seen either the discs themselves or captures from the discs on-line, or without having heard definite word from someone who's seen ghosting/blurring before and can check The Chess Player accordingly.

    Barring any of that, my personal plan is to make It my first Milestone/Photoplay purchase. I should have it in early December (filling out an order), and I'll check it myself. If it's free of blurring, I'll go ahead and pick up other Milestone/Photoplay discs, both those already out and those upcoming (as budget allows), but if it blurs and ghosts ... then all bets are off for me, barring definite word that one of the other releases does not display the same. I have high hopes, and anticipate It will be a solid transfer, free of ghosting and blurring, but that's strictly personal optimism, as without definite word on The Chess Player, and given the strange situation with Phantom, the evidence just doesn't offer any kind of certainty.

    I think It a good example because it's an American film -- when various archives must be consulted for films rarely seen outside of their native countries, it's understandable that a PAL master would be the priority -- bringing the film to the people of the country that made it should be the first concern, a point of national pride, and I support that. But if an American film is shipped overseas, produced into a PAL master, and then that PAL master converted to NTSC, leaving North America in the lurch for quality ... that gets my ire up. Many American films must rely on materials found in overseas archives, of course, and God bless those archives for the good work they do, so my theory isn't perfect, but ... still, it seems to me that if It blurs and ghosts, there's real cause for concern on films that originate in PAL territories to begin with.

    But I should emphasize that I do have high hopes, and expect It to turn out beautifully. I'll definitely check in with reactions once I've seen it, but that won't be until December. As to supplements, again, I expect the silent film website is correct, but ... well, we'll see. DVDEmpire, which usually posts back cover scans for discs once the release date nears, unfortunately doesn't have any listing at all for this release -- they continue to show the Kino version alone. There are a number of silent releases DVDEmpire has never listed, however, and others they do, so ... that's par for the course. Without a back cover scan, though, we're forced to make assumptions based on various on-line reports, rather than check the box ourselves, which is never ideal. Ah well. I'll know when it arrives!


    Quote:



    Oh yes I almost forgot I'm getting THE COMPLETE CHAPLIN BOXSET of the region 2 releases (all his features 1921 to 1957 but no First National shorts!?)for Christmas from my mother !





    Are those the MK2 restorations (native PAL, so happily free of blur and ghosting)? I believe that makes you son of the year. [​IMG] [​IMG] Even with the ghosting/blur solved, I'm worried about the cropping and contrast on City Lights, based on the clip found on the Region 1 WB The Gold Rush (Image's disc of City Lights was much superior), but in general those native PAL MK2s should be terrific.

    John -- the two-disc set of Mabuse is good, if you're a fan of the film (or rather films, as it's in two parts). I find it rough going, personally, as the print is rather flat, so a real interest in the story is a necessity; the image isn't going to enthrall the way, say, the Region 1 The Iron Mask (despite blurring/ghosting) enthralls. Along with Lang's Die Nibelungen (Kino), these are fine sets of epic Lang, but his filmmaking is very different from that of some of his most illustrious contemporaries (I believe the Mabuse scholar on the commentary track states emphatically that Lang's film has no connection whatever with German Expressionism), in many ways much more straightforward, and his films never get me excited in the way, say, Murnau excites me. But that's entirely a matter of individual taste, of course, and I'm happy to own what I do from Lang. But future Lang product isn't at the top of my list.

    Also, Region 1ers beware -- while I haven't checked Testament of Dr. Mabuse, I've confirmed that All Day Entertainment's 1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse ghosts and blurs like a son of a gun. Unless there's some other exotic explanation I've yet to find, I'd label this a clear PAL conversion (Doros' "tape to tape" explanation, which I frankly still don't quite understand -- there are so very many speed adjusted silents that are rock solid and beautiful; why in the world would Photoplay use an inferior method of correction that causes ghosting/blurring? If that's the sole cause, it's a major flub by Photoplay, and one I hope and trust they haven't perpetrated on their other, forthcoming product through Milestone* -- couldn't apply, so far as I can see, as All Day's 1,000 Eyes is a sound film, requiring no speed correction).

    Once again, just for emphasis, the existing Photoplay/Milestones are The Chess Player and The Phantom of the Opera (2-disc "Ultimate Edition"), and the forthcoming titles are It (November 25th), La Terre, The Blot (December 9th), and Nosferatu (expected in 2004).

    * I should repeat that I still haven't seen Milestone's Phantom, and I'm taking the word of others that it ghosts and/or blurs, as I've also yet to see any screen captures (this title might make yet another fine comparison for DVDBeaver, along with the aforementioned Foolish Wives).

    P.S. Have I mentioned that Sunrise is my favorite silent on disc, both apropos the film itself and its presentation? You're in for quite a treat if Eureka's version mirrors Fox's, Derek.
     
  5. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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  6. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    Ah, another title I neglected to mention (speaking of the great Murnau) is Kino's upcoming Tartuffe (1925). This one's short, at a listed time of 63 minutes, but offers a documentary on Murnau as well, and is set to arrive November 11th. [​IMG] I've yet to see the picture, but the cover art looks lovely, and hey, it's Murnau.
     
  7. Derek_McL

    Derek_McL Second Unit

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    Yes Bill the Chaplins I'm getting are the native PAL versions. I already have the Image versions of CITY LIGHTS and MODERN TIMES but the whole set is better value than buying the titles individually and here in Region 2 land you get Richard Schickel's new 2 hour documentary on Chaplin as a bonus. You also have to buy a boxset to get A WOMAN OF PARIS / A KING IN NEW YORK and I'm a bit of Chaplin completist.
     
  8. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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  9. TomDaniel

    TomDaniel Auditioning

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    Hey Bill-

    I've been following your comments with some interest for some time now, and finally got up the courage to post. Both The Chess Player and The Man Who Laughs are the victim of poor PAL to NTSC transfers. There's no question about it. I haven't seen the Phantom DVD, but I was just watching it on TCM, and it has the same thing wrong with it. Here they spend all this money to restore these films, and can't spend a few more dollars to prepare a proper NTSC transfer. The worst example of this that I've seen is the absolutely atrocious The Holy Mountain. It's atrocious for both the quality of the movie as well as the quality of the mastering job. By the way, The White Hell Of Piz Palu is a much better film of that genre.

    What they've been doing, as near as I can tell, is taking the good 25fps PAL versions, and then adding blended fields and/or frames to get them to 30fps. So you get all these double images. It has nothing to do with the usual motion blur.

    I'd like very much to talk with you privately about this, but you aren't allowing either PMs or e-mails. If you'd like to discuss it further, please contact me. Thanks.

    Now I think I'll go watch The Iron Mask, since you recommend it so highly, and I haven't had a chance to watch it yet. [​IMG]
     
  10. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    Tom wrote:
     
  11. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    Hi Bill,

    Just a few notes. The PAL MK2 Gold Rushes, both sound and silent, I am happy to confirm, are quite beautiful and do not have any of the blurring etc. that afflicts the Region 1 version; this seems to be definitively just a cheapass PAL-NTSC conversion issue (confirmed by my chat this last weekend with David Shepard). This is definitely the route to go (I bought the UK R2 version). The one exception is some motion blur in the early closeups of the men on the Chilkoot Pass, but since that's an isolated instance I expect that's something that's on the original film.

    Shepard also opined that the problem with the Milestone Phantom is the use of Avid equipment, which can produce such movement trails. I don't understand exactly what this means, but perhaps some of the more techie souls here at HTF like Vince Maskeeper can pipe up and explain. For a possibly related issue, see:

    http://www.avid.com/community/forums...ml/010679.html

    The sense I got was that Phantom's just an old transfer of the restoration (again primarily to save a buck) using less than optimal equipment (or possibly unknowledgeable operators, if the Avid forum is a clue). Why that was the case on high profile titles like Phantom and Chaplin, is beyond me. I can understand keeping costs on something like The Chess Player to an absolute minimum and making some unhappy production tradeoffs (if they sell 1500 copies, they should count themselves very fortunate, so the dollars for going all out just ain't there), but surely something as hyped as the Chaplin releases could have spared the money to make a proper NTSC transfer. I mean, what they spent on the many-paged tabloid-sized glossy Variety insert with promo DVD alone probably could have paid for proper NTSC conversions. Little tiny studios like Synapse can manage artifact-free conversions on twisted little Eurocult films that probably don't sell 5000 copies, so why can't Warner on something that will sell many times that?

    That reminds me...the promo DVD for the Chaplins. I'll have to go back and see whether the clips on that evidence this motion blur. I never did look at it very closely since it was just a hype package and maybe there were some clues there that we didn't recognize.

    The studios continue to be difficult in releasing review copies of their silents to us at Digitally Obsessed (perhaps since we point out crap like the above). We'll see if that changes with La Terre or The Blot or Mad Love (all due 12/9), but I'm not holding my breath.
     
  12. Claes Ljunghorn

    Claes Ljunghorn Stunt Coordinator

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  13. Roderick Gauci

    Roderick Gauci Stunt Coordinator

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    Quote (originally posted by Bill Burns):

    ”Ah, finally -- definite reaction to the transfers! Many thanks, Tom; I've yet to see The Chess Player, The Man Who Laughs, or The Holy Mountain in any form, so I can't comment on whether or not I like the films themselves (I'm sure I'd love The Man Who Laughs), but if there's PAL conversion ghosting, I'll be skipping them. PAL conversion ghosting on both The Chess Player and The Phantom of the Opera calls into question the entire Photoplay line (ghosting on Photoplay's Kino The Iron Mask and WB '25 The Gold Rush further buoys that hesitation, though their blur is, to my tastes, nevertheless transcended by their quality in other areas), so I believe I'll have to (reluctantly) cross the remaining Milestone Photoplays off my list and focus on other upcoming titles (happily, there's no dearth of good stuff on the way). I should emphasize that I've been very pleased with Milestone product in the past (which is why I was so surprised they'd accept a faulty video source for Phantom -- I just never thought it would happen), and look forward to their future, non-Photoplay product, which I'll continue to anticipate with great (though for those originating in overseas restorations/archives, perhaps now slightly wary) hope. The company has done and continues to do great work, and I trust the PAL/tape-to-tape troubles in the Photoplay line will prove isolated disappointments. I have no reason to expect otherwise -- many of Kino's overseas archive product is lovely and free of PAL conversion trouble (The Last Days of Pompeii, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, etc.), and the conversion-plagued titles must therefore be thought of as anomalies, rather than a trend. If, however, anyone notes one particular archive or restoration house from which all product (multiple titles) seem to arrive on disc as PAL conversions (from any company), that sort of trend would be worthy of note to enthusiasts (myself included) as they make their pre-order decisions.”


    Bill,

    I’m glad that somebody finally answered your queries about whether ghosting afflicts or not the discs of THE CHESS PLAYER (1927) and THE MAN WHO LAUGHS (1928). Also, I wasn’t even surprised its presence was actually confirmed - not only because I’ve seen the DVDs in question myself, but also because it’s becoming pretty evident to me that the expectations of some collectors have ballooned to such an extent that it’s virtually impossible for any production company to satisfy them. If it isn’t ghosting on Silent film DVDs, it’s the fact that the Looney Tunes cartoons were not as thoroughly restored as the Walt Disney Treasures…and so on and so forth to include non-anamorphic widescreen or badly framed transfers, stacking too many extras on one disc…and what have you!

    Don’t get me wrong, Bill – I’m not criticizing you for feeling the way you do about the ghosting issue; nor is my little rant above directed towards Tom for pointing it out to you in the case of both THE CHESS PLAYER and THE MAN WHO LAUGHS; nor is it meant to excuse in any way the shoddy work of some DVD production companies. However, since there was ABSOLUTELY no other way for me to watch THE MAN WHO LAUGHS (which has been my No. 1 cinematic holy grail for as long as I can remember!) except by buying the Kino disc, I grabbed that chance instantly and, frankly, I don’t regret it one iota! Not only is the film every bit as good as its reputation suggests – in fact, I’d rank it as one of the finest Silent movies I’ve ever had the privilege to lay my eyes on – but Kino’s disc presents the film in the best shape it’s ever been in during all of its 75-year existence, incorporating alternate (i.e. more risqué) footage from European prints as well as taking advantage of the extensive restoration work performed on the film by the Cineteca del Comune di Bologna at the laboratories of L'Immagine Ritrovata a couple of years ago - so much so that one intertitle was inadvertently left in Italian (although, living so close to Italy as I do and, consequently, being fluent in the language, it posed no problem whatsoever for me[​IMG])! This does not mean that the film looks pristine now or that the print doesn’t show its age, but it would be churlish (not to say silly) of us to expect otherwise. As if all this in itself wasn’t a godsend already, Kino has elected to include a number of excellent supplements which bring the film into its proper perspective vis-à-vis Victor Hugo’s original source novel, the careers of Paul Leni and Conrad Veidt, the Universal horror cycle which followed soon after, etc.

    Bill, your extensive, exhaustive and exhausting[​IMG] posts on this Forum are nothing if not a testament to your sincere and unconditional love for Silent film, one which I totally share and, for lack of a better word, “preach”. Having said that, I now venture to ask you one simple question, out of curiosity if nothing else: never having watched THE MAN WHO LAUGHS, fully aware of its reputation and knowing that it is easily available in a perfectly watchable print on a respectfully assembled DVD, can you consciously deprive yourself of the pleasure of experiencing this masterpiece for the first time (and, subsequently, for as many times as you can imagine)? You don’t have to answer it if you don’t want to but I’d say it’s a question to ponder upon for some time before taking a final decision…

    After all, ghosting didn’t prevent Photoplay’s restoration of THE IRON MASK (1929) which Kino released on DVD from becoming your favorite disc for a Silent film. So, why all the hesitation in respect of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (1925/29), THE CHESS PLAYER and THE MAN WHO LAUGHS (which isn’t a Photoplay restoration, as you know) – you KNOW you want them in your collection[​IMG]! Besides, you’ve talked of your love for Clarence Badger’s IT (1927) long enough already - as well as the Kino disc’s shortcomings – that one would not be wrong in assuming that you’d leap at a chance for an improved edition…

    Anyway, at the risk of sounding like a lone wolf wailing in the wilderness (now that the great Mark Zimmer has joined this discussion and is on Bill’s side too[​IMG]!), I reiterate that I do not regret purchasing either THE CHESS PLAYER and definitely not THE MAN WHO LAUGHS. For the record, I’ve yet to go through some 27 Silent film DVDs, including such controversial fare as THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA and the R1 Warners/MK2 Chaplin Box Set…not to mention Kino’s three Erich von Stroheim discs and Image’s MERRY-GO ROUND (1923), of which I haven’t encountered a single online review[​IMG] - so I can joyfully look forward to hours upon hours of silent bliss[​IMG]!


    P.S. Another review for THE MAN WHO LAUGHS has surfaced and, as expected, it confirms the above-mentioned video deficiencies. Read at your own peril:

    http://www.dvdtalk.com/dvdsavant/s1001laugh.html
     
  14. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

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    AFAIK on Photoplay Productions, PAL ghosting, et cetra:

    At the time, Bob Birchard pointed out that it seemed as if when the film was being ditigized from the master tapes, they were not properly digitized on the "A" frame for a film mode on a non-linear system. Yes, this does have that effect and yes it can run hell. It also is rather fixable and usually isn't a problem when the people who are working it know what they're doing. Mr. Brownlow does in this case, which is why I don't think this is the fault.

    What Brownlow DOES do is transfer everything at a steady rate, and then slow down the speed non-linearly (God knows why, it looks awful). However, I've seen this done on the PAL system before, and because of the framerates, it isn't so apparent.

    My theory: it's a combination of this wacky slow-down process as well as PAL ghosting. That's guesswork though and I cannot confirm that this is what happened.

    What they SHOULD have done, since they were digitizing this stuff in film mode anyway, was to make to archival masters; both PAL and NTSC. That way, for an open market, there wouldn't be this problem.

    Keep in mind that this was all done in 1996. Their newer stuff doesn't have this problem going on as far as I can tell
     
  15. TomDaniel

    TomDaniel Auditioning

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    Thanks for the encouragement, Bill.

    These problems aren't confined to silent films, of course. There are many European films, and even Japanese films coming to R1 via PAL to NTSC transfers, which display the same problems. The ghosting/double image problem can even be pretty much reversed in software.

    Also, I like to think there's some use to others in discussing these matters publicly, where opinions and reactions can be readily referenced by the curious, including those who just read and don't post

    Yes, I couldn't agree more. But the rules here (which I respect), are fairly explicit when they say:

    Note: Please, no discussions about copying video/audio sources, defeating copy-protection encoding, and obtaining illegal, bootlegged product. Thank you!

    You can learn only so much by pausing the DVD player. The only way to learn what's really going on with these things is to have a look at them on the hard drive. For example, The Man Who Laughs is actually on the DVD at 25fps, and was poorly "telecined" to 30fps. It's an American film originally created at sound speed. Where do they get off sending us back a sped up version of somewhat inferior quality? The Chess Player is on the DVD at 20fps with blended fields/frames added to make it 30fps. They are, for all intents and purposes, PAL films. I could go on and on. In my opinion, there's no excuse at all for such sloppiness. But enough of that.

    I am in agreement with Mr. Gauci though, in believing that even if they should have been transferred better, it shouldn't prevent us from enjoying the films. The Man Who Laughs is wonderful indeed. It's a fairly well known film. But I'd never heard of The Chess Player before its' release, and I was also much impressed with it.

    But I bow to no one in my love of silent films. And it hurts me that with a little bit more effort they could have been released to R1 in all their deserved glory. And please forgive me if I've trod too close to the rules line.
     
  16. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    Jack wrote:
     
  17. Jack Theakston

    Jack Theakston Supporting Actor

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    As it's been a while, off the top of my head, the two documentaries about THE GREAT DICTATOR and Chaney don't have any obvious PAL ghosting whatsoever. It's been a while, but I don't think BEN-HUR had any either. TCM usually runs everything here in America, so I assume they have a direct deal with Photoplay productions.

    On the other hand, Miletone's discs are worth buying, particularly for the extras and for spending much more time cleaning up the already cleaned up print.
     
  18. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    I wanted to type something up here, as promised, to explain my stance on video blurring/ghosting. If anyone has further input either in favor of or opposed to the holding of such errors against the value of a transfer, that's of course welcome.

    First, a little history. When I purchased Kino's The Iron Mask, it was having already "discovered" a number of wonderful Doug Fairbanks pictures in Kino's laserdisc set (the first of two sets, to my understanding, though I only found the first on store shelves back in the day), among them Robin Hood and The Gaucho (the latter of which remains one of my top two or three most beloved silent films, and among my favorite films of all time). This set was the same that I believe Roger Ebert and the then-still-with-us Gene Siskel reviewed in VHS form on their show, discussing the miraculous rediscovery of a lost classic (Robin Hood). Having found and savored the set (which also included The Three Musketeers and The Thief of Baghdad), not only was I eager to repurchase each on DVD (The Gaucho, with its included short and other supplements, proved the best upgrade), I was also eager to explore more of Doug's work, and so it was with great anticipation that I purchased the fully restored The Iron Mask, with original Doug Fairbanks Sr. talking sequences intact! I couldn't wait.

    Upon loading the disc and beginning the film (what a delightful main menu [​IMG]), I was quickly moved to tears by both the exceptional orchestral score (Carl Davis) and the unthinkably beautiful imagery -- nitrate film has never looked this good on disc; whites were pure, blacks deep, everything shone, and yet detail was perfect, contrasts never bloomed ... I felt as if I were watching a premiere (due to the orchestral accompaniment, which would be unlikely in smaller theatres). [​IMG] Outstanding, I thought.

    But then, as Doug was wooing his extraordinarily beautiful (and I don't just say that about every actress, mind you) lady love in her window, I ... noticed something odd. Whenever Doug's face would move quickly in close-up, the features would blur, as if someone were smudging the in-betweens of an animated film. How peculiar. I knew of the competing PAL and NTSC video systems, but had never heard of conversions from one to the other causing anything like this, and so I couldn't explain it. I paused the film and examined sequences of fast motion frame by frame, played those same sequences at full motion ... and it was very distracting by both methods, spoiling the frame-by-frame I often enjoy on a particularly well-composed and photographed shot, and also the watching of the film at full speed. In one nighttime sequence, as Doug jumps from a moving coach to join his compatriots at a pub, he looks entirely like a ghost, so blurred, so undefined is his image.

    And yet ... aside from such matters, the beauty of the source element and the score were overpowering. What a deep, perhaps even tragic shame that anything so beautiful should carry such a pronounced, yet preventable, flaw. But I didn't know what it was, assumed it had something to do with the encoding, and went on to other discs.

    Well, over the course of the following year or more, I encountered the same problem on a few subsequent releases (most of which "ghost" more noticeably in still frame, something I didn't fully note on the Kino; I'll have to revisit it again to say with any certainty), read up on-line about it, eventually singed on here at the HTF and brought it up in the context of a few releases ... and now I know exactly what it is. "I have given a name to my pain," as Jack Nicholson says in Batman. [​IMG] PAL-NTSC blur and/or tape-to-tape speed correction blur. Ghosting. Video errors. Blech.

    Other video errors have cropped up to my similar dismay (Roan's copy of Lonely Wives has a number of horizontal tape wrinkles, distinct from film damage, and they proved sufficiently distracting that, despite my enjoyment of the picture, I decided to remove it from my collection; ditto Image/Hal Roach's Topper Returns, though happily all of its tape wrinkles seem to have been fixed for the Artisan edition; alas, while it improved, Artisan's release is a double feature, and the master for the first film in the series, Topper, provided I assume by Hallmark, who is credited as the owner of the film, ghosts like a son of a gun, blurs for all it's worth ... and even shimmers, a new affrontery, as if it were transferred through a sheet of slightly bevelled glass, or a mildly wind swept sheet of water; contrast range is very good, however, with blacks that are lovely and a contrast range that bests that of Topper Returns, so one gets a sense of how good it might have looked, had more care been taken in its preparation; both films boast digitally cleaned and improved soundtracks). And at the end of the day ... they shouldn't be there. They needn't be there. And like a needless 4x3 letterboxed transfer, when 16x9 formatting offers such a gain in resolution, or other needless and poor video choices ... it's often a deal breaker for me.

    I should say that image blurring/ghosting is a bigger deal breaker than even a lack of 16x9 formatting on widescreen titles, though, because while the latter fails to use the format to its fullest, the former actually degrades the quality of the film element itself as presented, robbing my eye of the illusion of film. No film I've ever seen in a movie theatre blurs and ghosts. It looks like just what it is: a video error. And it pulls me out of the illusion of film ....

    ... And the illusion of film is why I buy, rather than rent, DVDs. I rented VHS for years precisely because it couldn't generate film quality to my eye, or anything approaching it. When I discovered laserdiscs in 1991, I began buying more often than renting on that format, but still wasn't entirely thrilled with the analogue noise and occasional "disc rot" troubles, all of which drew me out of any apparent film experience. The format was much better in its definition and color reproduction, but my purchases were few and far between, though over the years I accumulated more than I might have anticipated; had I known DVD was on the way, my laser collection would have remained very small. I consider it a privilege to live in an era when such home product is possible, and so I do both appreciate and value what laserdiscs I have yet to replace on DVD, but ... the format never properly wowed me, with only a few exceptions, most particularly in B&W (Pioneer's edition of They Got Me Covered, with my player's D-VNR applied, looks astonishngly good; it's a double feature SE with The Princess and the Pirate, which looked great itself, but unfortunately has an error I believe to be a tape wrinkle at one point during the feature; this is absent from HBO's visually inferior, but still very pleasing, DVD, now OOP).

    Then came DVD. [​IMG] DVD doesn't just wow me, it mesmerizes me with its ability to truly suggest a film experience, to capture the glorious range of contrast and the depth of color and apparent detail in so many films as seen theatrically. It isn't IMAX by a long shot, of course, nor does it in fact reproduce the full detail of 35mm film (HD-DVD may or may not, but should at least get us quite a bit closer), but it often appears to do so to the eye -- the poures on actors' faces, the edges of make-up, and scant fly buzzing around a sleeve ... I see things on DVD I miss entirely in the theatre. It's an extraordinary format, and every quality release a true joy.

    I was in awe of the differences I saw between laser and DVD back in 1997, when I was watching both via an S-VHS connection on a 4x3 set. Now that I have a 16x9 capable set with its attendant jump in detail for widescreen films so encoded, and a component connection, where color gradations are noticeably improved ... well, the urgency of catching some films at the theatre has diminished, and my old habit of seeing films I particularly enjoy multiple times at the cineplex has all but disappeared -- that money goes to a mint DVD the day of its release instead.

    And so when video errors crop up here, on a format that is so very capable of properly suggesting true film, a format I can honestly say continues to amaze me nearly seven years after its inception and my first exposure to it ... well, the DVD that features such errors invites my ire. They are not like film damage -- fading, missing frame, tears, stains, scratches and chips in the emulsion -- which, of course, is something that befalls film, something that may mark a frame, but never makes it look like anything other than a damaged film frame. Many films fortunate to survive at all survive in such shape, and I cherish the ability to own and enjoy them.

    But video errors do not befall film frames, only video masters. They are inherently alien to the aging process of film. While I'm bothered by even a tape wrinkle or two, consistent blurring in fast motion is just too much -- I cannot justify the purchase price on a DVD I'm only going to watch with reluctance, because the very thing that draws me to a film in the first place -- the opportunity to enjoy the art of cinema -- has been intruded upon, needlessly, preventably, and, in my estimation, egregiously. I love the art of film, I love the sense of emotional and aesthetic nourishment I find in a beautiful motion picture (and in other great forms and works of art), and with so many releases out there that get it right, far too many for me to buy, it makes little sense to set any one of them aside in favor of one of the few that gets it wrong.

    Am I sorry I bought The Iron Mask? Well ... no. That and the WB/MK2 The Gold Rush provide films unavailable on DVD elsewhere (in the case of the latter, I'm referring to the silent version; Image's sound version is now OOP, but remains thankfully free of ghosting/blurring), and while the ghosting distracts and annoys, the other video paramters are generally excellent. But I'm not sure I'd buy them again, knowing what I know. I believe I'd still buy The Iron Mask, but that's the only title of which I'm sure. The other blur offenders on my shelves (1,000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse, which I've confirmed, Testment of Dr. Mabuse, which I understand to blur but haven't watched yet, and Topper) I'd have skipped had I known their failings ahead of time. The money that bought them could have purchased more satisfying fare.

    That's my primary reasoning. There's also a bit of the consumer activist in me, and he doesn't like to reward DVD companies for lackluster/flawed product (and please note above that I refer strictly to video flaws, which are preventable, and by no means to film flaws, which often are not) -- the purchasing dollar is that reward, and I'm much happier investing it with those companies that earn it by virtue of a product that delivers what it advertises, a company that works to remain competitive on the format. I'd much sooner forego supplements and pay a higher sticker price to obtain a quality NTSC native, blur-free transfer on disc than pay a lower price for a disc stuffed to the gills with fascinating supplements, but suffering a lackluster film transfer at its core ... the film is the heart of things for me -- however fascinating the head and feet and other "outward flourishes" (to quote Shakespeare, who, I'm afraid, wasn't talking about DVDs [​IMG]), if the heart doesn't pump good, clean blood to them, those extremities wither and become uninteresting, unworthy of my financial interest. I'd take 'em if they were free, but not for good money. When the heart is strong and the blood pure, the extremities make the package all the more appealing -- but without that strong heart, they can never make up for its lack. And such is the extent of my morbid metaphor, I promise. [​IMG]

    So ... there ya' have it. I warned ya' this would probably wind up a long-winded exercise in self-examination, but I hope it's of use to those who are on the fence about this particular issue. I look forward to reading the thoughts/reactions of others on the matter, and of course some can be found in earlier posts and on earlier threads already. [​IMG]
     
  19. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    An update: I may have to begin addressing ghosting and blurring as two separate issues -- I thought them directly connected, but I'm beginning to suspect the intervals at which ghosting occures (regular or irregular) may influence the appearance of blur at full motion ... well, I wrote up a big update on Shepard's edition of Phantom on another thread, and for those following this epic (I still just don't have solid answers here, and I'm prepared at this point to ignore ghosting altogether and just address blur, so convoluted has the issue become), here's a link:

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...27#post1854927

    That's a direct link to the relevant post; be sure to note the update I've just added to the bottom, as it counters some of what I said earlier in the post.

    [​IMG] I just don't know, guys. I can't find any consistency with this issue. Titles that shouldn't have any ghosting have it, titles that have ghosting sometimes blur, sometimes don't ... there must be a standard rule to govern this matter, but I've yet to discover it. As it is, I'm left on a title-by-title "do fine features blur at normal motion" question, something only a few reviewers are consistently addressing -- and that makes purchasing decisions very difficult. Ack.

    At any rate, my thanks again to Mark, Tom, Roderick, and the others who continue exploring this matter. [​IMG] I'll mirror this update in a couple of threads where ghosting has been discussed, for the benefit of those following those threads -- though with all of this confusion, I'm not sure how much use it'll be. I hope others aren't as frustrated as I am -- I know there's a standard set of parameters we can apply to this issue, a standard "this this and this was done in preping the title, and so it will inevitably blur" formula, but the specifics of that standard remain illusive.
     
  20. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    Blur is tougher to nail down definitively than ghosting, because depending on the source that may be part of the film. Remember, often (especially for comedies) the camera would be undercranked, so rapidly moving objects would have an opportunity to smear and blur on the frame. When run at a faster rate, due to persistence of vision this becomes not so noticeable; the producers surely never envisioned a situation where you'd be able to step through frame by frame and see the blurring that's present on particular frames.

    I suspect this kind of blur is what shows up in the Chilkoot Pass segment of the R2 Gold Rush, as opposed to the blurs throughout on the R1 version. To make a determination, you almost have to have a print of the film at hand to make a comparison. Even that's not always definitive, since different prints of silents may use different takes (Intolerance in its many versions is a splendid example of this phenomenon, as are the '25 and '29 Phantoms as are some of the Chaplin shorts), and there may be blurring on one take that's not present on another.

    So what I'm saying is that some blur is just there and there's nothing to be done about it. The goal needs to be not introducing additional blur in the video transfer and compression processes. Video trailing, however, is different from blur of this nature and seems to always be due to a transfer problem. PAL-NTSC ghosting is an issue that can be corrected with software and it's just laziness and cheapness that it isn't done.
     

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