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"Superbit Disappoints"

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ed Vandeweerd, Mar 20, 2003.

  1. Ed Vandeweerd

    Ed Vandeweerd Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi All,
    I picked up my copy of "From Here To Eternity" Superbit today. Until today I had never seen this Classic Film. I had waited with great anticipation for what in my mind should have been THE definitive version of the Film. 2003 marks the 50th Anniversary of this most treasured Classic. Superbit titles of the Past have had a much deserved reputation in both Superior Picture, Transfer & Sound. This was the Benchmarch on which Superbit and Columbia TriStar Prided itself. "From Here to Eternity" falls Far short of that Benchmark. I noticed a lot of Speckling on the Transfer throughout the film. This was definately not in keeping with the Standards of excellence for which Superbit has become known. I wonder if it might have been better to have had Mr Robert Harris do a complete restoration of the film before releasing it under the Superbit Banner? The DTS on this film is not vastly different from the Mono Track offered here either.
    "Panic Room" also had it's Problems Firstly with Shoddy and Terrible Packaging and the fact that when loading the Audio that it defaults to is the dd 5.1 track Rather than the DTS track which had always been the case Previously. In my View Superbits should always be released in Keepcases with the customary Grey Superbit Packaging in keeping with the rest of it's titles. I've said my peice. Thoughts anyone?

    Ed Vandeweerd
     
  2. Sam Hatch

    Sam Hatch Stunt Coordinator

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    I haven't seen the Superbit edition of 'From Here To Eternity' as of yet, but I plan on picking it up soon. As far as I can tell, the Superbit monicker mainly implies the extra space given to sound and image bits. Most of the early releases have been newer films, but I'm very glad they're finally branching out with older titles. But I don't expect every title to be the be-all, end-all in terms of print quality, especially if it's an older film. I just expect them to make the most out of the space available on the disk. If every older film required a multi-million dollar restoration just to merit a Superbit logo, then I assume they wouldn't be releasing many more classics. I just want them to do the best they can with the best available elements. The fact that the DTS track sounds similar to the mono is actually heartening -- it means they didn't try to make it sound like Attack of the Clones or something for the sake of bombast. You do have me curious to check this disc out now as I've yet to be disappointed by the video on a SB release.

    As for Panic Room, that disc I do have and consider it a knockout. The packaging is admittedly tiny, but I'm not too worried about the aesthetic uniformity of the series. Heck, even Criterion changed the design of their spine numbers after a while. So if they can get away with it then I've got no problem with Sony messing around with the look every now and again. Plus, the cardboard Panic Room case fits in better with my other Fincher discs [​IMG] The Dolby default situation is a non-issue for me.

    So all in all, I find that the Superbit name is meant to be a general indication of quality, but perhaps not to your specific expectations. The hypothetical question is whether or not the 'Eternity' disc is better presented in its Superbit incarnation than it would have been as a regular release.
     
  3. Gregory Pauswinski

    Gregory Pauswinski Supporting Actor

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    I thought the picture quality of Bram Stoker's Dracula superbit to be horrible. It seems like they took a poor transfer they already had and just jacked up the bit rate. They really should have done a whole new transfer. Why bother with doing a Superbit release on something with a bad looking transfer?
     
  4. Doug Schiller

    Doug Schiller Supporting Actor

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    Gregory,

    My thoughts exactly.

    From what I have read, Desperado is the only Superbit that Sony decided to create a new transfer for.
    If you want me to double dip, at least make an effort.

    I'm betting if Criterion ever gets to do their SE of Dracula, it will blow the doors off the Superbit version.

    Doug
     
  5. Jeff Bamberger

    Jeff Bamberger Second Unit

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    We have to remember, there is a big difference between making as many bits available to the A/V as possible and a full-fledged print restoration.

    If a print has flaws, then it is entirely possible that those flaws could be more noticable in a Superbit version of the same title.

    The only SB I considered out of the first wave was Air Force 1. Reviews were such that I decided to hold onto my original for now.

    The only one that I will be getting any time soon is Das Boot. While reviews have been mixed as to how improved the A/V is on that, since I don't own it at all and since I am all about the movie, I will take that SB version anyday. I can always rent the original to see the doc and commentary.

    Plus, I am asking my wife for it for my birthday, paired with the new SE of Hunt for Red October.
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I have spoken directly with Mr. Harris, who informs me that if he were to restore From Here to Eternity, it would look much like Columbia's restoration, which is very well done.

    Mr. Harris specifically pointed out to me that he has no problem with occasional minus density "sparkle" within the image of a 50 year old film element. It is specifically what makes it film, and that this "sparkle" will appear with higher resolution via a SuperBit release.
     
  7. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    [​IMG]
     
  8. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    The DVD Savant did a comparison between the original DVD and the Superbit DVD not too long ago. The results were very similar to most Superbits: slight but noticable improvements.

    At this point, I don't expect Superbit DVDs to be remasters or restorations, just additional information.

    Jason
     
  9. Matt DeVillier

    Matt DeVillier Supporting Actor

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    the Gattaca superbit was given a new transfer also (and boy does it show)
     
  10. Mike_S

    Mike_S Stunt Coordinator

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    I had the first release of THE FIFTH ELEMENT. Out of curiousity I purchased the SUPERBIT version and found the PQ to be noticeably better.
     
  11. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Keep in mind folks that many improvements with super-bits are most obvious on a large-screen HDTV or front-projection system. An average @27" TV may or may not make those improvements as obvious or as meaningful.

    If a bad transfer (Dracula) is a bad transfer agreed that Sony should do right with the superbit and get a new transfer. All in all, I like the super-bits and *especially* the DTS that comes with them. Only thing is I wish most would be released this way the FIRST time...as a 2-disc SE with the second disc for extras. I hate being asked to re-buy titles when I'd have paid a little more to get it all with my first purchase.

    IMO, EVERY DVD (by all studios) should be a "super bit"...all the bits should be used to maximize picture and sound and extras should be moved to a 2nd disc if they would compromise that goal. We should never had a situation like with the Beauty and the Beast DVD (where limited bandwidth from the extras create obvious compression artifacting) nor should we have images which are overly filtered to make compression easy.

    -dave
     
  12. Tom Blizzard

    Tom Blizzard Stunt Coordinator

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    You have gotta see:
    1. Vertical Limit SB

    2. Hollow Man SB

    3. The Mask of Zorro SB

    IF your display is smaller than 57" you might not be able to see the improvement(s).[​IMG]
     
  13. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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  14. Mark Palermo

    Mark Palermo Second Unit

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    The Dracula superbit is the most amazing looking DVD of a live action feature I've seen. There's some specs on the Columbia logo, but the detail and color throughout the film are incredible.

    Mark
     
  15. Dave H

    Dave H Producer

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  16. Dan M

    Dan M Second Unit

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    I always thought BS Dracula to be a great looking transfer. The superbit Dracula is a notch above the original release.
     
  17. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    wow better not get the heavy metal SB. that looks awful.
    but i bet it's because that is the way the film always looked. now with the extra bit space all the less see-able flaws are much easier to see.

    lot's of "dirt" specks.

    the sound is fabulous tho'.
     
  18. dpippel

    dpippel HTF Premium Member
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    Bram Stoker's Dracula is without a doubt the worst looking Superbit title I own. It definitely needs some cleaning up. A new transfer would be a major improvement. Not worth the "upgrade" in my opinion.
     
  19. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    I think Dracula looks awesome, (55" Mits. Diamond Prog. scan yada, yada...) If there's some grain etc... I think it's the print. And considering Coppola wanted the flick to look "low tech", "old school"... it suits the film quite well. If it looked as synthetic, (albeit in a cool way) as say, "...Clones", I don't think it would have worked... From DVD File's review....
    "...Of all the Superbit releases I've seen to date, this one clearly sports the best looking transfer. Sony's characteristic halos are still present, but this dark film rarely has any scenes in which they become visible. What remains is a wonderfully detailed presentation. Images are exceptionally sharp, easily reproducing fabric textures and the subtleties of a head of hair. Color reproduction is excellent. Skin tones are very natural and primary colors like the red in the Count's flowing robe are vivid and noise free. Blacks are deep and unencumbered. Contrast and brightness are beyond criticism, with outstanding shadow detail so critical to reproducing the many night scenes. I did not notice any compression artifacts. Viewers will note that, like other Superbit DVDs, some film grain is visible; but this is simply an indication of the apparent resolution of the disc. This is one fine looking DVD..."

    Granted a new print might have made it look better, but the transfer itself is first rate. Even the original non SB version was considered quite good.

    [​IMG] D
     
  20. JeremySt

    JeremySt Screenwriter

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    I think Dracula SB looks great.
     

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