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Warner Classics Quality Going Downhill?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Wayne Earl, Feb 19, 2004.

  1. Wayne Earl

    Wayne Earl Extra

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    Let me preface this by saying that Warner is my favorite company for dvd's.I drool over every announcement of a two disc special edition and have bought the majority of them.They get a lot of my dvd cash, hell I even like the cool cardboard snapper cases( just picked up Blow-Up with the eye candy red,black and white cover sans plastic glare).Lately they seem to be heading down the quantity over quality road.Maybe I have been spoiled by such wonderful transfers of such films as -The Bad and the Beautiful, Now,Voyager,The Women,Robin Hood-but my recent purchase of The Postman Always Rings Twice was very disappointing .The vertical tear that seemed to go on forever was really bogus for a twenty dollar purchase.I read lots of reviews for the other films in this wave and the overall opinion seemed to be there was not much restoration done.I know that it`s expensive but the films were paid for a long time ago .I would have bought Grand Hotel ,Goodbye Mr.Chips,Mutiny on the Bounty in a heartbeat if they had of put some money into them but not now . Release them slower with full restoration and I will continue to support Warners classic catalogue .What do you guys think?
     
  2. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    It's always hard to know if the DVD transfer is as good as it could reasonably be given the existing elements and the cost that would be incurred to improve them. As more and more catalog films that are more obscure/less popular are released it is less likely the same attention will be lavished on each one.

    Still, I agree with you -- I'd rather see Warners take more time to clean up transfers with such obvious failings, or if they aren't going to invest in that then at least they should arrive at a lower price point. There really seems to be little correlation between the transfer quality and the MSRP.
     
  3. Andrew Budgell

    Andrew Budgell Screenwriter

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    While I do agree that quality comes first, I am glad they are getting quite a few out. Let's face it - there are so many they have to choose from and so many great films I'd love to own aren't even availivle. And so many films won't ever see the light of day on DVD. As long as it's any kind of improvement over previous versions I'm happy. I also believe that the quality and time spent on a release in general has to do with the importance of the film. There are very few second rate films receiveing the 2-disc treatment. Although, maybe I'm alone here, but I'd rather have these films released at a faster pace I'd be happy. Sure, in a perfect world every release would be like WB's "Singin' in the Rain" but it's not gonna happen. Even some 2-Disc DVD's aren't of the best quality. I heard many bad things about "Giant" one of my favourite movies of all time, but that didn't stop me from buying it because it's the film that matters to me and it was an improvement over the 40th Anniversary VHS version I own.

    Even the lack of bonus features on many discs don't bother - I just want to own the film. It's one thing if they don't include features from a previous laserdisc or even DVD version - then yes I'd be annoyed. But as long as long as all the studios do the best they can in the feature department - thats all right with me!

    Andy
     
  4. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    A lot of times, their DVD's reflect the look of the film correctly.... but that intended look isn't what people want to see. Also, some of their films don't have surving negatives. You can do all the digital restoration you want to a film like Citizen Kane, but it's still going to have problems since it's generations away from the neg.

    Warner's transfers have gotten increasingly better, technically. For example, the 1931 version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has no noticable digital artifacts (even edge enhancement), despite the source having scars. The three Warner Legends titles look wonderful and film-like.
     
  5. StevenFC

    StevenFC Second Unit

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    No, I don't think they're going downhill. I have to believe that mastering an analogue video source into a digital format has got to be very difficult. Right from the start it's no longer seen the way it was in the theatre, and DVD only magnifies that. And then because of the desire to get the best picture you need to decide things like how much, how little, how bright, how dark, is this a flaw or something that was meant to be there? And if it was meant to be there, how will it look in a digital format and how will it affect the rest of the picture? Then of course because of money and time constraints, you need to decide is this film more important than another film that might or might not be worthy of full blown restoration?

    And let's not forget, that when a film is being restored it is essentially being doctored. It could be that some films just don't respond to this process as well as others. I would guess that there's a point at which they just have to accept the transfer for what it is. Great in some places and not so great in others.

    All in all I've been more than happy with Warner's classics. The Postman Always Rings Twice isn't a special edition release, so I don't think it's fair to expect it to look like Robin Hood or Singin' in the Rain.

    Unfortunately film is an imperfect medium that begins to show it's flaws fairly quickly. And many consider DVD to be a near perfect medium that should always look outstanding. But sometimes the two just don't add up to perfection. So long as the DVD itself is not flawed as opposed to the actual film source, I'm happy. I wish these old movies would have been preserved in pristine condition, but as long as they're watchable, and look the best they've ever looked on home video, I'm a happy man.
     
  6. John Hodson

    John Hodson Producer

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    Hear, hear...

    I love what Warners are doing, and I appreciate that not everything is going to look as pristine as Mildred Pierce or Citizen Kane. The fact is that getting movies like The Great Ziegfeld or Alice Adams at all on this great medium is a minor miracle.

    Could be a lot worse; could be Columbia...well, actually, having bought several PD titles recently, it could be a whole lot worse!

    ---
    So many films, so little time...
     
  7. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]: laugh:[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]: laugh:[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]: laugh:[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    I really fell sorry for Warner Bros, apparently they can never do anything right. How many threads are in Software that are essentially whining, screaming, yelling, hollering pleading, begging, demanding, asking, wanting, insisting that X studio release X title immediately and that X studio is really horrible because X title hasn't yet been released.

    And as soon as X title is released by X studio, X studio is blasted for some reason or another in the product's release. X studio is now slipping/villianous/no-longer-cares-about-their-product because of some minor issue in the release.

    One thing you can expect at HTF (with the exception of a few threads) is that gratitude will always be absent. [​IMG]

    Adam
     
  8. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Warner is fast becoming the gold standard in DVD transfers from what I've seen.
     
  9. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Agreed, Jack!

    Studios can't put the golden touch on every
    release. Restorations are costly. Only a few are
    handpicked for that special treatment. Others get
    the best treatment they can on a shoestring budget.
     
  10. Wayne Earl

    Wayne Earl Extra

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    Am enjoying everyone`s input.As I mentioned I have lots of Warner dvd's and generally love their work.Like many of you dvd has rapidly become a favorite obsession. I still get a thrill when I put an older movie in the machine and the quality is superb.I have managed to accumulate over 500 titles in the last four years.If money wasn't an issue I would have thousands.I religiously read reviews and surf forums like ours to make sure my dollars go towards something special. Every week there had scads of titles of which I have to make educated choices.I ,like I`m sure most of you,am at the point were I am more selective about my purchases.I can`t own all of the thousand's of movie,s worth owning so I will spend my dollars were the movie company`s have spent some of theirs to give me the best possible presentation .And that doesn't include a twelve minute vertical scratch for a twenty dollar movie.I almost cried when I saw the quality of Paramount's two disc presentation of Once Upon a Time in the West,as good as any Criterion special edition,which streeted in Canada for $14.00 Canadian dollars.At this stage of the game oscar winning titles without full blown restoration are a waste of our time. There are just too many quality choices out there to buy half assed dvd's.
     
  11. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I think some of our expectations are beyond reason when it comes to these classic films on dvd.


    If that implication about "half assed dvds" is aimed at Warner then I have nothing else to say to you because it would be a waste of my time.






    Crawdaddy
     
  12. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    It took me a long time to feel this way, but now Warner is my favorite studio. I think they're doing excellent work and are at last realizing that there are many types of fans out there and they all want a wide variety of titles. I hope they keep up the great work - and get moving with the Val Lewton Horror Classics of the 1940s [​IMG]
     
  13. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

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    I have to agree with this stand. Release those titles without any investment in cleaning it up at a lower price point.
     
  14. Wayne Earl

    Wayne Earl Extra

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    Robert I think I prefaced my initial post by saying that Warner was my favorite company for dvd`s.I love the overall quality of their work on older movies.If you read your own reviewers comments on the latest wave you will see some pretty strong concerns on video quality ( Mutiny on the Bounty, Goodbye Mr. Chips).These concerns are echoed throughout the net. My money was in my hand but I decided that the reviews were not glowing enough to spend it on these releases .Personally I don,t need waves of these releases, just trickle them out when they are ready.All companies release half-assed dvd's and Warner is certainly not exempt.Obviously film restoration is pricey but consumers will buy quality.Or at least as others have ventured lower price points .The twelve minute vertical scratching on The Postman Always Ring Twice should have been cleaned up before it was put out if they are charging $20 for it.Thanks to one and all for any imput on this matter. Can`t wait for the Grapes of Wrath.
     
  15. StevenFC

    StevenFC Second Unit

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    Can you post a screen capture ofThe Postman Always Rings Twice? I'd like to see the scratch in question.
     
  16. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    funny you should mention Postman.
    This was one of the titles i asked about in last years chat and was one of my all time high must buys.
    when i got it, i sat there transfixed for the whole running time.
    was it perfect?
    of course not.
    was i disappointed?
    Hell NO!
    A classic film, with a bonus documentary on the flip side- for $15 street- that's a helluv a bargin in my book.
    i'ce collected movies on VHS, Laserdisc, and even Super 8- i know not to expect 40, 50, 60 yr old films to look like they were made last week.
    when they do thats great, but its more important to me to see that artifical 'sweeteners' aren't added (EE).
    as long as the disc is a more or less pure representation of the best elements they could find, thats all i ask.
    they've stumbled a couple times (Giant looks pretty bad, and i've heard bad things about Best Friends and a couple other titles that i haven't picked up yet because of the concerns) but they have a huge catalog, and they need to cover a lot of ground.

    for the most part i love what Warner is doing.
    They are definitely on te RIGHT track as far as catalog product go-
    i hope they don't change a thing.
     
  17. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Warner's DVD's are already cheap. Except for the occasional special release (like the Lon Chaney Collection or the Looney Tunes 4-disc), their classic releases are almost always around or under $20.

    Vertical scratching is extremely hard to get rid of, if it's printed into the element used for transferring. Even the expensive digital restoration of Metropolis didn't make the scratches go away. Even Citizen Kane has a few moments of this, despite Lowry Digital's excellent work.
     
  18. Conrad_SSS

    Conrad_SSS Second Unit

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    Warner's DVDs are (IMHO) the best the industry have to offer
    (snap cases notwithstanding). I heartily agree with the comments made here by Mr. Crawford, Mr. McCart, & Mr. Scott.. (not to mention enthusiastic comments from Robert Harris in recent postings concerning WB's newest classic DVDs).
     
  19. Roger Rollins

    Roger Rollins Supporting Actor

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    I couldn't have said it better myself. Warner's releases in the last year or so have been amazing. [​IMG]
     
  20. Wayne Earl

    Wayne Earl Extra

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    Well I guess we all agree on two things we all love Warner and we all love classic movies.Owning over 70 Warner titles myself I understand the passionate defence of their product.I myself do not have the resources to own every movie I desire. Consequently when I see reviews that are anything less than glowing on video quality I will take a pass as there is so much product out their to consider.This in my opinion puts the onus on all companies to give us the best possible treatment. Sorry Steve I don't have screen shot capability.Thanks Patrick for the information on the difficulty of removing vertical scratches.Remember guys it is our desire for top quality product that has pushed the restoration process along to the degree we have today.I applaud your passion for film we, are surely living in a golden age of home entertainment;time to watch another movie.
     

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