King Soloman's Mines - Poor I.Q.

Discussion in 'DVD' started by TedD, Jan 11, 2005.

  1. TedD

    TedD Supporting Actor

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    I tried to watch the KSM DVD last night and was terribly disappointed in the transfer.

    It is soft, and lacking in detail. I thought the lack of detail was due mostly to constant slight misregistration of the original 3 strip elements, however more research indicates that the detail is gone because of heavy DNR applied to the transfer.

    Check post 11 below for a comparison screenshot of the trailer and the feature on the same disc.

    As a matter of fact, I gave up on it because it was giving me a headache. I skipped around a little bit, and found that the problems are present throughout the entire film.

    WB sure dropped the ball on this one.

    You have been warned.

    On the other hand, Ivanhoe looked much better, although it has some light scratches in places.

    Sony Qualia fed by an HTPC. 5' x 7' image viewed from 12'.

    Ted
     
  2. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    Too bad - I was hoping for something much better than my LD, which is quite poor also. Warner should have spent a little more on the picture and charged $5 more; I doubt there would have been fewer buyers.
     
  3. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    The DVD Talk review says:

    "It's clear that King Solomon's Mines has been given a restoration treatment for DVD; while it's not perfect, it looks extremely good considering that it's more than fifty years old. Colors are handled very well, looking consistently natural and lively. Some fluctuations in tone appear here and there, but they're slight and generally short-lived, leaving us with an image that looks quite attractive. There's a slight overall softness to the picture, but this appears to come from the original print, not the transfer, and certainly close-ups are nicely detailed. The main reminder of the film's age comes in its noticeably worn print; there are scratches and flecks appearing throughout the film. All in all, though, King Solomon's Mines is quite watchable."

    ...although, I suppose, it depends on what you're watching it on. [​IMG]
     
  4. TedD

    TedD Supporting Actor

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  5. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    Mmmm... it isn't so bad. I enjoyed it. There are plenty of these older Technicolor movies that do give me a headache, but this wasn't one of them. Maybe your disk is bad?
     
  6. TedD

    TedD Supporting Actor

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    Dee, tell me, do you see ANY detail in that capture? Or just a bunch of fuzzy brownish things? The markings on whatever those animals are on the hill? Can you make out any detail in the hillside itself? Rocks, grass, anything?

    Maybe on a 25" TV from 20 feet away, this might be acceptable, but this lack of detail persists throughout the entire movie.

    Reminds me of watching a VHS [​IMG]

    Ted
     
  7. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    Yeah, I got the message from you, Ted.

    I see detail. I certainly don't see "fringing" that would be indicative of bad registration of the 3 strips.

    My television is a Fujitsu 50" plasma. It's very high quality, to say the least.

    I agree, it isn't the best transfer out there, but it isn't the worst, by far. Want a headache? Watch "Angels and Insects."
     
  8. Jimmy M

    Jimmy M Second Unit

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    Yes I can. I can see some grass and some rocks. I also see a very cloudy sky. But what I don't see is a picture showing me what it is supposed to look like. Never having seen the film in a theater, I don't know if that is supposed to be much brighter, more detailed, or exactly how it was made.

    Jimmy!
     
  9. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Could you post a few more screenshots?

    Maybe a combination of different types of shots could give us a better idea of picture quality. Do we know that the shot featured in that image was taken from stock footage, for example.
     
  10. Jayson Wall

    Jayson Wall Extra

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    All the African exteriors for KSM were shot in Monopack stock---which was sort of a low con Kodachrome type of positive stock. The Monopack was reprinted in an optical printer separating into a three strip record, which was edited into the standard three strip O-neg.....then printing matrix were made, and dye transfer prints....Anyhow, these Monopack shots in KSM have always been grainy, so WB Video Operations didn't drop the ball. It was too difficult (and costly) for MGM to lug a 3-stip camera into the jungles of Africa just for these shots.

    JW
     
  11. TedD

    TedD Supporting Actor

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    Here's the most damning evidence of all, a comparison of the same scene from the trailer and the feature on the same disc.

    http://webpages.charter.net/tvdias/KSM_Compare.png

    This is an example of what happens when DNR (or the hand on the knobs) goes seriously wrong.

    Jayson, notice the lack of film grain along with the lack of detail. This is even more of an issue with IB Technicolor, because the grain structure is a major component in giving the illusion of increased detail. I'll take the grain with no DNR any day. At least then the DVD would be an accurate representation of the original, rather than looking like a VHS tape.

    If you had to find something positive about this transfer, at least they didn't turn around and apply edge sharpening with its attendant EE.

    Although the end result is the same. It's pretty much unwatchable on a large screen setup.

    Ted
     
  12. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    There may or may not be significant degraining (a trailer frame isn't normally a good basis for comparison), but I'm not sure that there is a significant difference in real detail. The higher contrast of the trailer frame increases its apparent detail in much the same way that IB tech prints are frequently pretty soft, but seem more detailed because of their high contrast.

    BTW, I'm not entirely satisfied with this transfer, either, but I don't think it's primarily due to noise reduction issues. The encoding seems to have been done at a pretty high bitrate, too. It just seems to come down to the source element used for the transfer.

    Regards,
     
  13. TedD

    TedD Supporting Actor

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    It's the only thing I have.

    This thread is taking the same path as the Kiss Me Kate thread did. Something obviously amiss with the DVD, but no one else seems to be able to accept it.

    If you don't remember it, take a look here.

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...t=Kiss+Me+Kate

    I spent hours and hours doing captures to prove KMK was missing large amounts of the original frame.

    In the end, WB stepped up to the plate and admitted making an error and re-mastered the DVD.

    I'm not going to waste my time on this one.

    There is no grain anywhere on this release. That is abnormal, particularly in light of JW's comment on the monopack shots in KSM always being grainy.

    There is no visible hair on Stewart Grangers arm and hand, while it is clearly visible on the trailer in the same shot.

    Someone at WB clearly made a decision that favored the obliteration of all fine detail in order to obliterate the grain as well.

    This one is definitely going into the trash can, rather than into my collection.

    My $.02. YMMV.

    Ted
     
  14. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    Conversely, The trailer shot has no detail in the band of Granger's hat because the contrast is blown out. If you take the bottom shot and increase the contrast, the hair will start to appear more detailed on his arm, too.

    You seem a little sensitive about my comments (although maybe I'm just reading too much into yours). You certainly don't need to do hours and hours of captures to convince me that the disc has a disappointing transfer, though, since I already agreed with you on that one. They more than likely did some filtering as well. I was just pointing out that less visible film grain than a trailer frame isn't really sufficient evidence of that.

    Regards,
     
  15. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    Ted, I'm sorry that you seem angry that we don't agree with you. I do agree with you that it isn't the best transfer around. But it isn't that great a movie, and I found it watchable, and acceptable. Admittedly, I don't have a big projected image.

    There are movies which I object to their pictures, including some recent ones like Gangs of New York. THAT one ought to be recalled and redone.

    But this one ... it just doesn't seem worth it.

    Again, just my perspective, which I offer in nicest way possible.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    This disc would be an important release if only because it was an Oscar winner for color cinematography. I still think it's the best version of this story ever filmed even if it loses a lot of steam at the end. The location photography is awe inspiring, although those sensitive to the treatment of real animals in films may be justifiably upset while watching. I have a hard time thinking of anything else comparable with the possible exception of Howard Hawks' Hatari! I suppose in a world where dinosaurs and orc armies are stampeding freely across theater screens, it may be more difficult to appreciate the achievments of this film, but it should not be.

    Regards,
     
  17. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    This was my take on the image on my dOc review:



    I'd agree with the assessment that excessive DNR was applied to the film. It doesn't look very filmlike. It's probably not a misregistration issue because I also didn't see any fringing, which is the most typical side effect.
     
  18. TedD

    TedD Supporting Actor

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    Check the MGM logo (left side) for fringing....

    There are no well defined edges anywhere in the film past the MGM logo due to excessive DNR, so I guess we'll never know if there were fringing problems present in the source elements.

    Ted
     

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