Best Catalog Film Transfers? - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 106 Old 04-13-2012, 12:16 PM
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Without a doubt, the Twilight Zone - Season 1

Lex Luthor, Ruler of Australia, activate the machine!
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post #32 of 106 Old 04-13-2012, 12:25 PM
 
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without a doubt, the twilight zone - season 1

+1
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post #33 of 106 Old 04-13-2012, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by spectator View Post

The Guns of Navarone brings up a question for me: Are we going to be describing 'good' transfers per an abstract conception (ie. comparing the movie to its "peers") or vis-a-vis what we otherwise know to be the condition of known elements of the individual film?

There is only so much that can be done with The Guns of Navarone because of processing/over-printing damage to the original elements. Another significant example would be the recent To Kill A Mockingbird disc- probably not considered great by many viewers' abstract standards, but perhaps much more commendable in light of what we could ever reasonably hope to expect of the existing elements for that particular film.

I have no idea what condition the original elements for these films are. In the case of Guns, all I know is that what I see on BD looks like film and is sharp as a tack, only better than any actual print I have ever seen projected.

Mockingbird, sometimes yes, sometimes no. That's a flawed release IMO.
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post #34 of 106 Old 04-13-2012, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Strevlac View Post

Mockingbird, sometimes yes, sometimes no. That's a flawed release IMO.

That's the question, though. A lot of the reason it's flawed is because the existing elements are primarily second-generation and not in the best shape. It's unlikely a BD of that film can be made to look a whole lot better. So... is that a factor we should consider? Or are we using some "absolute" quality scale and comparing transfers to some kind of theoretical ideal of imagery?

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post #35 of 106 Old 04-13-2012, 12:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by spectator View Post

That's the question, though. A lot of the reason it's flawed is because the existing elements are primarily second-generation and not in the best shape. It's unlikely a BD of that film can be made to look a whole lot better. So... is that a factor we should consider? Or are we using some "absolute" quality scale and comparing transfers to some kind of theoretical ideal of imagery?

The best from the best elements, no digital manipulation bar repair work.
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post #36 of 106 Old 04-13-2012, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by spectator View Post

That's the question, though. A lot of the reason it's flawed is because the existing elements are primarily second-generation and not in the best shape. It's unlikely a BD of that film can be made to look a whole lot better. So... is that a factor we should consider? Or are we using some "absolute" quality scale and comparing transfers to some kind of theoretical ideal of imagery?

They diddled with it after the fact (noise reduction in the digital domain).
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post #37 of 106 Old 04-13-2012, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by dvdmike007 View Post

The best from the best elements, no digital manipulation bar repair work.

Right, but what does that mean when the best elements for a given film have problems? Can the resultant disc 'qualify' for good placement on this list if it's well done with respect to those problematic elements?

I don't feel special...
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post #38 of 106 Old 04-13-2012, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Strevlac View Post

They diddled with it after the fact (noise reduction in the digital domain).

Yes- that's why I said "a lot of the reason it's flawed." So, maybe it's not the perfect example for my question, but how do we feel about movies for which the best surviving elements could never produce an excellent-looking disc by the standard of other films of their era?

I don't feel special...
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post #39 of 106 Old 04-13-2012, 01:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by spectator View Post


Right, but what does that mean when the best elements for a given film have problems? Can the resultant disc 'qualify' for good placement on this list if it's well done with respect to those problematic elements?

Yes, film is photochemical, organic, analogue and imperfectly unpredictable.
It's about looking like film, not like a TV show.
The death of analogue prints was a big step backwards.
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post #40 of 106 Old 04-13-2012, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by dvdmike007 View Post

Yes, film is photochemical, organic, analogue and imperfectly unpredictable.

So... you're saying, "yes" is your answer to my question?

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post #41 of 106 Old 04-13-2012, 01:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by spectator View Post


So... you're saying, "yes" is your answer to my question?

Yes it can have problems, as long as those problems are representative of the original film.
Not added in after and 100% not digitally.
Respect for the work of in camera cinematographers, who could do the work of a DI in camera or via photochemical processes.
Since this is sounding like a manifesto:

Death to teal and orange!
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post #42 of 106 Old 04-13-2012, 01:25 PM
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The Taking of Pelham 123 is a little gem of an encode. As shot by Owen Roizman it will never look 'pretty' in a conventional sense, and I don't think that the transfer came off the negative, but the Blu is a pretty solid rendition of this gritty, grainy crime caper.
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post #43 of 106 Old 04-13-2012, 01:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff D View Post

The Taking of Pelham 123 is a little gem of an encode. As shot by Owen Roizman it will never look 'pretty' in a conventional sense, and I don't think that the transfer came off the negative, but the Blu is a pretty solid rendition of this gritty, grainy crime caper.

I would go along with that, its an old scan but is perfectly film like
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post #44 of 106 Old 04-13-2012, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Geoff D View Post

it will never look 'pretty' in a conventional sense

Convention can take a hike.

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post #45 of 106 Old 04-13-2012, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spectator View Post

That's the question, though. A lot of the reason it's flawed is because the existing elements are primarily second-generation and not in the best shape.

No it isn't. The inherent flaws are mostly just the zoomed opticals here and there, but those are a tiny part of the movie. The vast majority of it could have looked absolutely amazing as it's clear there's a very good, modern and detailed transfer underneath, but they decided to apply a DNR pass over the entire thing.

And for the record I don't believe any digital manipulation could ever make the zoomed shots look any better than if they had just left them alone. Maaaybe if they completely degrained them and then regrained with grain matching the rest of the movie a la Lowry they could make them look OK, but I doubt it.
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post #46 of 106 Old 04-13-2012, 05:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by paku View Post

No it isn't. The inherent flaws are mostly just the zoomed opticals here and there, but those are a tiny part of the movie. The vast majority of it could have looked absolutely amazing as it's clear there's a very good, modern and detailed transfer underneath, but they decided to apply a DNR pass over the entire thing.

And for the record I don't believe any digital manipulation could ever make the zoomed shots look any better than if they had just left them alone. Maaaybe if they completely degrained them and then regrained with grain matching the rest of the movie a la Lowry they could make them look OK, but I doubt it.

Grain matching is for the cheap seats
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post #47 of 106 Old 04-13-2012, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by dvdmike007 View Post

Grain matching is for the cheap seats

In the context of BD, what the hell does that mean?!

I don't feel special...
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post #48 of 106 Old 04-13-2012, 05:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by spectator View Post

In the context of BD, what the hell does that mean?!

People who know about film know that all shots especially opticals will not match.
Billy bob will wonder why that part dont look so good, and why it all dont look like avatar
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post #49 of 106 Old 04-14-2012, 07:04 AM
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I pulled out my copy of The Warriors the other night and was pretty impressed.
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post #50 of 106 Old 04-14-2012, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by erick granato View Post

I pulled out my copy of The Warriors the other night and was pretty impressed.

Aha... that brings up an interesting question for this thread. The blu-ray version of THE WARRIORS is quite different from the original theatrical release, and that original theatrical version is not available as a choice. Since this thread is, in a way, applauding the integrity of catalog releases which re-create the original film-print experience, should a title only be eligible if it offers the original version of the film?

Thus CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and BLADE RUNNER are great candidates, but THE WARRIORS and STAR WARS would not count, no matter how good they look.

Or am I confusing this with the "film reference and analysis" thread?
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post #51 of 106 Old 04-14-2012, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by steel_breeze View Post

Or am I confusing this with the "film reference and analysis" thread?

Possibly. I have some thoughts on what makes a catalog transfer good (some of which are alluded to here and here). But the definition of "best transfer" has been deliberately left up for grabs here because I'm interested in hearing other takes on that.

I'd disagree with you on CE3K btw (no surprise there) for the reasons stated on these two pages....

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...880579&page=15
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...880579&page=16

I can see why some folks think that transfer looks film-like (mainly because it's rather bright and grainy), and wouldn't necessarily take issue with that viewpoint. But the xfer falls apart for me in other areas, such as contrast, contouring/banding, clipping, color depth and definition, etc.

Feel free to quote from the links above btw (since I brought them into the conversation), and I'll try to respond to 'em here as well.

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post #52 of 106 Old 04-14-2012, 01:46 PM
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Last time I watched The Warriors it looked fairly Paramounted, i.e. it had a fair bit of DNR. Thank **** for the anamorphic DVD of the original version, which still looks very respectable indeed.
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post #53 of 106 Old 04-14-2012, 03:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geoff D View Post

Last time I watched The Warriors it looked fairly Paramounted, i.e. it had a fair bit of DNR. Thank **** for the anamorphic DVD of the original version, which still looks very respectable indeed.

Didn't notice much of the dnr, but then again I was half a sleep.
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post #54 of 106 Old 04-21-2012, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by dvdmike007 View Post

There is DNR on both

If so, then it's pretty subtle. I associate heavy DNR with poor detail, like on the T2 disc, where fine detail is completely obliterated in many scenes.

By contrast, most of the wide angle shots on Carlito appear to have excellent level of detail. Look at the establishing shots of the courtroom in the beginning, for example. Or the wide angle shots at Kleinfeld's estate during the party sequence in the middle of the film. Both look pretty damn detailed to me.

Many of the tighter shots have a fairly shallow depth of field though, which can make detail in the background (or foreground) look softer/out-of-focus. Is it possible you're confusing this intentional cinematic device with DNR? Or am I looking at this characteristic wrongly?

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post #55 of 106 Old 04-21-2012, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steel_breeze View Post

Since this thread is, in a way, applauding the integrity of catalog releases which re-create the original film-print experience, should a title only be eligible if it offers the original version of the film?

I would vote 'yes', and, regardless of image quality, I'd even go so far as to disqualify movies with music replaced from the theatrical version due to rights issues.


... but that's just what I'd like to see from this thread.

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post #56 of 106 Old 04-22-2012, 06:37 PM
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"The Sound of Music" --I don't consider myself a nostalgic fan of musicals, but the restoration and transfer of this film on blu ray is just stunning. I'm not old enough to have seen its original release in theaters, but I've never seen it looking this good.
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post #57 of 106 Old 04-24-2012, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Theologian View Post

"The Sound of Music" --I don't consider myself a nostalgic fan of musicals, but the restoration and transfer of this film on blu ray is just stunning. I'm not old enough to have seen its original release in theaters, but I've never seen it looking this good.

TSOM is indeed a marvelous transfer, but Cleopatra is a stunning experience.
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post #58 of 106 Old 04-24-2012, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by hconwell View Post

Ben-Hur

We show it here at about 2.66 to 1 and, while only 86" wide, much of it looks like it was shot yesterday. And it's over a half century old.

+1

On my 92" StudioTek 130/JVC RS35 Ben Hur is king of the hill. The word got around my neighborhood and I've lost count of the number of times I've shown the chariot race since. While I expected Ben Hur to look tremendous, All Quiet on the Western Front was the one that surprised me the most. While I hate Universal for the way they butcher their catalog titles generally, hats off to the team that did that one.
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post #59 of 106 Old 04-24-2012, 01:55 PM
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On a less positive note, I finally got around to viewing The Robe BD the other day and thought it looked dreadful The worst part is the horribly faded colors, where I'm guessing Kodak's chemistry is more to blame than Fox. Rich Technicolor is nowhere to be found, replaced by pale pastels and ugly yellow skin tones. What could certainly have been avoided is the patented Lowry DNR slow-mo grain smearing everywhere.
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post #60 of 106 Old 04-24-2012, 02:28 PM
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I don't know if it's old enough to qualify but the *second* release of Gangs of New York is fantastic. Yeah, BVHE had to be shamed into going back to it after the disastrous first release, but at least they did it right when they went back to it.

I'll also echo other's impressions of Taxi Driver and The Bridge on the River Kwai. Sony's doing great work with their classic films.
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