Searchers on Blu-ray - Page 2 - AVS Forum
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post #31 of 37 Old 08-03-2009, 12:01 AM
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I watched The Searchers yesterday, I would say it is a must have for anyones BD collection. The transfer was incredible, sharp, detailed and the color, a must buy.

I did notice one thing while viewing, the winter scene where the cavalry was crossing the river. If you pay close attention, you can see a car driving way off in the distance near a tree line towards the middle right hand edge of the screen. I thought that was odd how that was missed. But it just goes to show how well this film was transferred to BD, every detail is there, plus.

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post #32 of 37 Old 08-03-2009, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by localnet View Post

I watched The Searchers yesterday, I would say it is a must have for anyones BD collection. The transfer was incredible, sharp, detailed and the color, a must buy.

I did notice one thing while viewing, the winter scene where the cavalry was crossing the river. If you pay close attention, you can see a car driving way off in the distance near a tree line towards the middle right hand edge of the screen. I thought that was odd how that was missed. But it just goes to show how well this film was transferred to BD, every detail is there, plus.

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post #33 of 37 Old 04-25-2013, 05:14 PM
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It sounds like my opinions on this transfer are going to diverge quite a bit from the majority here... which is certainly no reflection on the quality of the film itself, which is fantastic.

 

 

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Originally Posted by FoxyMulder View Post


Here is some information on the restoration of The Searchers.

http://www.thedigitalbits.com/articl...ris082106.html


From the above article.

There are currently discussions swirling around the web about the look of the new DVDs of The Searchers, and I know only a few absolute facts. We know that the original VistaVision negative is fully faded and unusable; that the original dye transfer (matricy) prints were further modified via that process from what was contained in the Oneg, and that the process itself changed between the time that film originally ran theatrically and the period in which further dye transfer prints were produced. Lastly, without a viable negative, everything must now be derived from black & white separation masters, which were never tested, and probably never examined until the early 1990s.

I thought it best to go direct to the source for answers. Ned Price, Vice President of Mastering, Warner Bros. Technical Operations, was kind enough to take the time to discuss the film's problems.


RAH: Have you been reading any of the comments on line, and if so, do you take them seriously.

NP: We absolutely take them seriously. From what I've been able to deduce, people have been using the 1991 transfer as a reference, and it is in no way a reference. Believe me, I was there. We had very limited color correction capabilities.


That entire article makes for fascinating reading so i recommend it to all fans of this fine western.

 

 

^ This makes alot of sense.

 

I don't have any new or inside info on how this HD transfer was done, but in my considered opinion, it's highly unlikely it came from anything close to the original VistaVision elements. IMO, the color, contrast and detail in the image are too badly degraded for that to be possible.

 

Just to refresh folks memories, VistaVision was an early large film format comparable in framesize and resolution to other 65mm & 70mm film formats, but photographed on regular 35mm film. The additional size/resolution in Vista was acheived by turning the film frame sideways to take up 8-perforations like a 35mm still camera, instead of the usual 4 (or sometimes 3) perforations of most 35m motion picture cameras.

 

 

The resolution of widescreen images was more than doubled with this approach. And most of the optical FX for the orginal Star Wars were photographed with this process to diminish the loss of picture quality from multiple generations of film printing.

 

The coarseness of the grain and level of detail in this Blu-ray transfer are not consistent with that higher resolution process though. And the appearance of the film suggests that it was probably sourced from a later generation print of a 35mm optical down-conversion.

 

It's possible all the original Vista elements are either gone or unusable though (as suggested in the digital bits article above), and this was derived from the best surviving print available. If so, that's quite a shame, because the PQ on this current transfer just doesn't do the extraordinary cinematography in this film justice. 

 

To get a feel for how this might have looked transfered from high resolution Vista elements, I suggest checking out the recent BD releases of Ben Hur and Lawrence of Arabia, which were both recorded and transfered from similar high resolution film elements.


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post #34 of 37 Old 04-25-2013, 05:42 PM
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I believe this transfer was created from separation masters, not the o-neg. Unfortunately I agree that this blu-ray looks pretty shoddy.
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post #35 of 37 Old 04-25-2013, 10:25 PM
 
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This was one of the best-reviewed Blu-rays ever - talked about in exalted tones on every discussion board. I was the first person to take the transfer on, and boy did I get lambasted for it (I took it on when the DVD came out that used the same transfer) - I was excoriated, castigated, called names by everyone - except Robert Harris because he knew I was right. He said so at first, then it became political and things got muddy. But over the years, people have come to understand that I was right - the color is HORRIBLE - all yellow and completely incorrect. I have owned both 16mm and 35mm dye transfer prints of The Searchers - I know it like the back of my hand, and it is not YELLOW. What people were really raving about was the image clarity and it had some of that, so that was understandable. But the color was unforgivable. I made such stink and was so relentless about it, that that's why the Ned Price interview took place. At one point, I was told they were considering redoing it but didn't want to admit it was wrong. And I was told unequivocally that the transfer people had not even bothered to reference Warners' own dye transfer reference print - they didn't even look at it. When the laserdisc was done, that color, while not perfect, was in the ballpark, although players and TVs had no way to handle true color in those days - it didn't have the latitude and depth that current technology has. But why was the color in the ballpark? Because the folks responsible for the laserdisc used the dye transfer reference print to time their transfer. What a novel idea - they didn't "wing" it and use more current color grading, they tried to be accurate. Many of those who were the loudest hecklers of me have now completely reversed themselves on the transfer - no apologies, of course smile.gif

This is a high point of American cinema and one of the most beautifully photographed color films ever. I'm sure a pristine and perfectly colored transfer is totally possible in this day and age. Will they do it? Who knows? Given the market, it's doubtful they'd spend the money.
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post #36 of 37 Old 04-28-2013, 03:48 PM
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That anniversary remastered laserdisc was absolutely gorgeous, to my eyes. A shame that the same care isn't applied to many BDs these days. Although some, Criterion most notably, still give a damn.

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post #37 of 37 Old 04-30-2013, 04:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by cinema13 View Post

That anniversary remastered laserdisc was absolutely gorgeous, to my eyes. A shame that the same care isn't applied to many BDs these days. Although some, Criterion most notably, still give a damn.

I was so bowled over by the laserdisc, that I did an interview for the DGA Magazine with the two fellows who supervised it. Pity they weren't around for the subsequent transfer. The original DVD was off the laser master, but very poorly done, I must say. I still have the laserdisc and if I want to watch The Searchers, that's what I watch.
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