"World at War" box set arrived

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike Mallory, Nov 19, 2001.

  1. Mike Mallory

    Mike Mallory Agent

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2000
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I've only had a chance to watch the first few minutes of "A New Germany". The opening visuals of the bombed out French village are stunning, exceeding my expectations. The box says "new digital masters created from new prints struck from the original negatives". It looks like they've done a good job.

    The set contains 5 dual-layered, double sided discs. Each individual DVD case has a nice flip out cover with a synopsis of each episode on that disc.

    Now for the bad part: The menus don't display correctly. When the menu appears, it doesn't clear the previous image, then displays the menu items only one at a time. It could be that my old Toshiba 2006 won't handle this disc, but in over 4 years, this would be the first one. Maybe Santa will bring me a progressive scan unit.

    Happy Holidays,

    - Mike
     
  2. Mike Mallory

    Mike Mallory Agent

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2000
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The menus work fine on the computer's software DVD player, so it probably is time for a new machine in living room.

    It seems that what I've watched so far is darker than it has to be (had to turn up the brightness). And the audio on the narration is just as muddled as my taped version. Oh well.

    - Mike
     
  3. Kenneth

    Kenneth Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 1997
    Messages:
    757
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I got my set also and am very impressed so far. My menus worked okay and I haven't noticed an audio problem. What is the muddled effect you indicated. Also, on my TV the brightness appears okay (although the image quality of the archival footage is often dark, that appears due to that particular footage). The set has the complete 26 episope series plus 6 extra items (not sure if they are episodes or not but they are on "Secretary to Hitler", "Who Won WWII", "The Third Reich", "Warrior", "The Two Deaths of Adolf Hitler", and "The Final Solution") and a 45 minute making of featurette. Each episode has a summary and an introduction recorded by the producer. There are short biographies of key participants in the war (Hitler, Churchill, etc) and a timeline that places each episode in its chronilogical location. I am up to "Alone" (the story of the Battle of Britain). If you are a WWII history buff this is definitely the boxset to own. Highly recommended.

    Kenneth
     
  4. Jeff_HR

    Jeff_HR Producer

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2001
    Messages:
    3,594
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I can hardly wait to receive mine. Had it on preorder at Deep Discount DVD. Was notified that it would be delayed. I called them on Wednesday to find out the problem & was told it would not ship until Nov 28th because of a delay in them getting it. I said it was available elsewhere online. I immediately went to DVD Empire & ordered it for next day delivery. It cost about $17 more, but the 3 week delay I would have incurred at DDD was NOT ACCEPTABLE! I'll have it first thing Friday morning.
     
  5. Mike Mallory

    Mike Mallory Agent

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2000
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Kenneth,

    To me, the narration audio on the series never sounded very clear, like they used 1936 equipment when they recorded it. Apparently, they did little processing, if any, on the audio for the DVD version.

    As for the brightness, maybe tomorrow I'll have time to watch more of the DVD's and do a comparison with the taped TV version. My first impression, though, was that it seemed dark.

    - Mike
     
  6. Mike Mallory

    Mike Mallory Agent

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2000
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ok, I've compared the "World at War" DVD's to my 15 year old tapes, and the DVD's are definitely darker. A lot of the shadow detail visible on the tapes can't be seen on the discs on my TV. I did a fresh AVIA adjustment with the exact same settings on both inputs before the compare.

    As an example, at the beginning of chapter 16 of "A New Germany", there are some shots of fireworks, then a shot of a motorcade coming towards the camera. On the disc, all I can see are headlights and some shadowy figures. On the tape, I can clearly make out Hitler standing in his staff car giving the Nazi acknowledgement salute to the crowd. Turning up the black level beyond AVIA's recommended setting doesn't help much on my TV, a Panasonic, which isn't well known for pulling out deep shadow detail.

    Using the DVD player on the computer, I was able to fiddle with the video overlay contrast and brightness settings and pull out some more detail, but the resulting picture left much to be desired, not to mention that any other DVD I played with those settings looked horrible.

    I've been in the process of revamping my modest HTPC for what seems like ages, so I finally got that done. It has an ATI video card (the general consensus is that ATI has the best DVD playback) and hooked it up to one of the HD component inputs on the TV. The ATI driver software also lets me have control of the screen RGB (as well as the overlay black level) which the NVidia on the other machine didn't. After a little fiddling with this setup, I was able to achieve a picture that rivaled the stand alone DVD player for color, clarity and resolution, and also bring out the shadow detail equivalent to the old tapes. Having complete control of the input source really helps. Whew!

    The only reason I can think of for the transfer to be this dark is to make that old, grainy, flickery, black and white footage look "better". Pure speculation, of course. My conclusion is that a dark transfer and my particular TV don't mix, at least on it's analog inputs. Here's hoping everyone else has a better out of the box experience than I did.

    - Mike
     
  7. Mike Mallory

    Mike Mallory Agent

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2000
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Has anyone else had a chance to try out the chapter 16 test?
     
  8. Kenneth

    Kenneth Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 1997
    Messages:
    757
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Mike,

    I tried your test and that image is definitely dark. I didn't try fiddling with the brightness to see the effect of that since you indicated that it would improve. There are clearly scenes that are extremely bright in other episodes so I am not sure if this is an episode by episode problem. I am still happy with the overall quality of the discs though.

    Kenneth
     
  9. Kyle Milligan

    Kyle Milligan Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2001
    Messages:
    86
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I don't have the tapes to compare it to for image quality, but I thought it looked and sounded pretty good. I still am blown away by this stellar documentary set.
    For the uniniated, I have detailed specs and running times along with a general overall impression here.
    I realize with the current global climate, war may not be what most people are looking for in their DVD player, but this is a great set.
     
  10. Mike Mallory

    Mike Mallory Agent

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2000
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Santa was nice to me and I've hooked up a Panasonic RP56 Progressive Scan DVD player. The "World at War" set is still very dark, however, even in progressive mode. I had to turn up the brightness (black level) 20 clicks (30% of the range on the Panasonic 32HX40) to bring out all of the detail. At least there was detail to bring out. In analog mode, the picture just washed out. Still, technically, this is a very dark recording and I just can't give it a thumbs up, even though it's a great documentary.

    - Mike
     
  11. MarkPayton

    MarkPayton Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 1999
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Mike, just read this thread after watching the "Making of:" documentary and episode I: A New Germany(Santa was nice to me too!). I totally agree with your statements about the scenes being dark, particularly the scene in chap 16 of a New Germany. (Are you sure there were people in that shot? All I saw were lights with halos around them and a few shadows![​IMG]).
    What I also found interesting is that in the Making of documentary, they show the same opening sequence about the village in France that remains a memorial. The interesting thing is that I could swear the footage in the documentary section is much brighter than the same segment in the actual opening chapter of A New Germany. Perhaps this is just selective memory, but as I watched, I specifically thought "this looks different than what I just saw in the documentary" even though it was the same shots of the same things.
    Anyway, considering the age of this made-for-TV series, I am still quite impressed by the quality of the video and even the audio (although I have had a few strange rumblings coming out of my sub during the interview scenes). Should be eye-opening going throuh all 26 episodes!
    I did not know about the WaW series until very recently, and therefore had seen little to nothing of (perhaps a few snippets on PBS) - so I admit to being a little out of it (or rather late in adopting my WWII curiosity). This is why I almost fell off my chair when I realized the Christabel Bielenberg that is interviewed in New Germany is the REAL Christabel that the 1995 movie starring Elizabeth Hurley is based on:b. Obviously, the documentary series was done first, but I had watched the movie (and loved it) several times before getting and beginning to view the documentary and the epiphany was incredibly powerful when I watched the real Christabel remember her encounter with SS guard on the train, which was very accurately recreated in the movie. Just made me want to watch the film (VHS - ugh!) all over again.
    Anyway, this is about Waw - great series, but literally quite dark.
    (I'm viewing on a Tosh 40H80 with a Panny A120U DVD)
     

Share This Page