Bram Stoker's Dracula comparison *PIX* - Page 19 - AVS Forum
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post #541 of 763 Old 07-09-2009, 02:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FoxyMulder View Post

I have to agree with you. Some scenes are less than ideal but 97% of the film looks very good to my eyes and there is lots of detail in the Blu Ray.

At least i was pleased with it and this is one of my favorite films of the nineties. Great musical score.

It's my favorite Dracula/Vampire movie. "Let The Right One In" is probably my second favorite.
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post #542 of 763 Old 07-09-2009, 02:44 AM
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Originally Posted by John Ballentine View Post

I see Dracula is being released at the end of the year in a 3 pack w/ Frankenstein and Wolf. Wonder if they are using a different (or correcting this) transfer?

Nothing needs to be corrected with regards to the master. IMHO, the new master looks 100X better than the old one. If you like the old transfer better than God help you.
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post #543 of 763 Old 07-09-2009, 03:01 AM
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If you want proof that this new master is correct, just check any scene where they are using candles, or lanterns as their light source.

Scenes that should be compared from master to master.

1. When Jonathon is exploring the castle with a candle.

2. When Lucy is slowly walking down the staircase holding a child and the candles suddenly light up.

These scenes lose their creepy impact on the old master.
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post #544 of 763 Old 07-09-2009, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emgesp View Post

If you want proof that this new master is correct, just check any scene where they are using candles, or lanterns as their light source.

Scenes that should be compared from master to master.

1. When Jonathon is exploring the castle with a candle.

2. When Lucy is slowly walking down the staircase holding a child and the candles suddenly light up.

These scenes lose their creepy impact on the old master.

Bram Stoker's Dracula makes constant and repeated references to old horror movies, especially Universal horror movies of the 30s. Have you ever watched any of those films? Watch one, and pay attention to the lighting in scenes exactly like you describe here.

The movie is heavily stylized and was not, in any scene, meant to be "realistic" in its photography or lighting.

In the scene where Harker is exploring the castle, Coppola, his VFX crew, and his editor superimposed the image of text from Harker's journal over the frame. The Blu-ray's black levels are so crushed that the effect is almost totally lost. Why would the Coppola et al. go to the trouble of creating the effect if they didn't want anyone to see it?

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post #545 of 763 Old 07-09-2009, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

Why would the Copolla et al. go to the trouble of creating the effect if they didn't want anyone to see it?

Because he knew that 17 years later a particular user on an internet forum would just know that it meant nothing so he did it anyway so that he could test our faith in idiocracy.
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post #546 of 763 Old 07-09-2009, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

Bram Stoker's Dracula makes constant and repeated references to old horror movies, especially Universal horror movies of the 30s. Have you ever watched any of those films? Watch one, and pay attention to the lighting in scenes exactly like you describe here.

The movie is heavily stylized and was not, in any scene, meant to be "realistic" in its photography or lighting.

In the scene where Harker is exploring the castle, Copolla, his VFX crew, and his editor superimposed the image of text from Harker's journal over the frame. The Blu-ray's black levels are so crushed that the effect is almost totally lost. Why would the Copolla et al. go to the trouble of creating the effect if they didn't want anyone to see it?

Those scenes do not make sense when they are using lanterns, or candles when there is so much light in room. That is why the darker master makes these scenes have more of a creepy impact, because you can't see everything and you have to rely on the single light source to guide you through those scenes.

Plus, another thing the new master improves is getting rid of that ugly overly red cast that plagued the old master.

Most of you guys obviously have very little knowledge in the art of cinema. Lighting is key and it greatly effects the mood of the movie. The new darker master gives a more romantic gothic feel to the movie.
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post #547 of 763 Old 07-09-2009, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emgesp View Post

Those scenes do not make sense when they are using lanterns, or candles when there is so much light in room. That is why the darker master makes these scenes have more of a creepy impact, because you can't see everything and you have to rely on the single light source to guide you through those scenes.

Plus, another thing the new master improves is getting rid of that ugly overly red cast that plagued the old master.

Most of you guys obviously have very little knowledge in the art of cinema. Lighting is key and it greatly effects the mood of the movie. The new darker master gives a more romantic gothic feel to the movie.

And you base this statement on what exactly? Forum members disagreeing with your opinion? If you remove the bolded sentence your argument is credible, but with it your argument is somewhat condescending.

Personally, IMO the new transfer is a mixed bag. Josh correctly criticizes the illegible journal text that results from the increased darkness, which was a great effect. Changing the tones in the crypt scene from blue to white is an interesting change, although not really necessary and you lose the beautiful color in Sadie Frost's eyes as a result.
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post #548 of 763 Old 07-09-2009, 02:08 PM
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Up is down, right is left, and Dracula's crushed shadow detail is correct. Got it.
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post #549 of 763 Old 07-09-2009, 02:23 PM
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I sold off the Blu-ray and held on to the Superbit DVD, but I almost wish I'd kept the BD just for the extras. If the BD eventually becomes dirt cheap, maybe I'll pick it up again for the commentary and the documentary.
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post #550 of 763 Old 07-09-2009, 04:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emgesp View Post

Those scenes do not make sense when they are using lanterns, or candles when there is so much light in room.

I want you to read what I wrote again, and then I want you to go and watch some of those old horror movies that this one references. They are filled with scenes of characters carrying lamps into overlit sets.

Further, here is the shot in question (resized from Xylon's screencap):



You will note the torch on the wall that's meant to be casting light about the room.

And here's the new master:



The scene is now crushed into oblivion. Are we meant to believe that the torch casts no light?

The effect of the journal text is now almost completely gone. Again, why would Coppola create the effect if he didn't want anyone to see it?

Quote:


Most of you guys obviously have very little knowledge in the art of cinema.

Wait just a minute here, bucko. You better retract that comment. Some of us here have extensive backgrounds in film study, film criticism, and filmmaking. I would venture that some of us are much more knowledgable on the subject than yourself.

Quote:


Lighting is key and it greatly effects the mood of the movie. The new darker master gives a more romantic gothic feel to the movie.

Yes, lighting is very important. The original version of this scene was very beautifully lit. Notice the pool of light around the door that gradually fades off into darkness, retaining just enough to define the set and see the journal effect.

The new version.... All of that is gone. It's completely devoid of any sense of lighting.

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post #551 of 763 Old 07-09-2009, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xylon View Post


Don't forget this... The previously blue moonlight streaming in behind Dracula is suddenly "green" in a few shots in the BD....


Quote:
Originally Posted by Xylon View Post


The flame is also now green for some reason.
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post #552 of 763 Old 07-09-2009, 05:28 PM
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The superimposed words here in the following shot to the above set of pix is TOTALLY invisible in the BD.

They changed the color timing on the HALLOWEEN BD pretty dramatically too, (actually on the Divimax dvd as well) and some may think that with the much more subdued blues it looks more "realistic" but I don't think with Halloween or BSD they were going for a "realistic" look...
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post #553 of 763 Old 07-09-2009, 07:13 PM
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Yeah, I agree some of these changes don't add up (even though I'm fine with most of the disc). You just wonder how it got the approvals. However, it's happened on a number of releases even big ones...A New Hope DVD had Luke with a green lightsaber and the surrounds flipped.

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post #554 of 763 Old 07-09-2009, 07:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emgesp View Post

Nothing needs to be corrected with regards to the master. IMHO, the new master looks 100X better than the old one. If you like the old transfer better than God help you.

April 1st was a few months ago. You're a little late. On the other hand, you have me feeling a bit nostalgic as this is one of my favorite threads. For that, I thank you.

Brandon
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post #555 of 763 Old 07-09-2009, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

I want you to read what I wrote again, and then I want you to go and watch some of those old horror movies that this one references. They are filled with scenes of characters carrying lamps into overlit sets.

Further, here is the shot in question (resized from Xylon's screencap):



You will note the torch on the wall that's meant to be casting light about the room.

And here's the new master:



The scene is now crushed into oblivion. Are we meant to believe that the torch casts no light?

The effect of the journal text is now almost completely gone. Again, why would Copolla create the effect if he didn't want anyone to see it?



Wait just a minute here, bucko. You better retract that comment. Some of us here have extensive backgrounds in film study, film criticism, and filmmaking. I would venture that some of us are much more knowledgable on the subject than yourself.



Yes, lighting is very important. The original version of this scene was very beautifully lit. Notice the pool of light around the door that gradually fades off into darkness, retaining just enough to define the set and see the journal effect.

The new version.... All of that is gone. It's completely devoid of any sense of lighting.

So, Francis Ford Coppola did not approve of the new master?

Also, Robert Harris has no idea what he is talking about right???

If the overly lit sets were intentional then why the need to darken it up with the new master? Unless, it was supposed to be darker from the get go.

You say the proof is the superimposed words disappearing in the new master. Well, I can't say that is a mistake, or intentional, but until we hear from one of the guys who worked on the new master we will never know.
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post #556 of 763 Old 07-09-2009, 10:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

I want you to read what I wrote again, and then I want you to go and watch some of those old horror movies that this one references. They are filled with scenes of characters carrying lamps into overlit sets.

Further, here is the shot in question (resized from Xylon's screencap):



You will note the torch on the wall that's meant to be casting light about the room.

And here's the new master:



The scene is now crushed into oblivion. Are we meant to believe that the torch casts no light?

The effect of the journal text is now almost completely gone. Again, why would Copolla create the effect if he didn't want anyone to see it?



Wait just a minute here, bucko. You better retract that comment. Some of us here have extensive backgrounds in film study, film criticism, and filmmaking. I would venture that some of us are much more knowledgable on the subject than yourself.



Yes, lighting is very important. The original version of this scene was very beautifully lit. Notice the pool of light around the door that gradually fades off into darkness, retaining just enough to define the set and see the journal effect.

The new version.... All of that is gone. It's completely devoid of any sense of lighting.

Well, let's wait and see if someone screwed up and a new master is made.

DNR is one thing, but why would someone just randomly darken up the picture and change the color timing if it wasn't asked for? Francis Ford Coppola obviously asked for this new look to be made and if he says this is the way it should look then I'll take his word for it and Robert Harris's.
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post #557 of 763 Old 07-09-2009, 10:57 PM
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I know all have already read this. So, I guess Robert Harris put his foot in his mouth with this review?

"Now that I've received a BD copy of Bram Stoker's Dracula, and have spent quality time with it, my immediate reaction is that finally I have a high definition (BD) version of a film that I've always enjoyed.

This is somewhat tempered, however, by the public reaction which has been coming from any number of directions. And these reactions, commentaries and reviews have virtually all been wrong.

Nothing that we're discussing here is opinion. Something either correctly brings a film to video, or it does not. This is the first time that I've been totally happy with Dracula on video.

My happiness is however, not the point.

Sony's mastering staff is happy. Zoetrope's people are happy. And they should be. They have jointly worked to see that this release is as perfect as possible in recreating the look of the film as it was seen in it's original release, and that effort has been successful.

They have not accomplished this by some seat-of-the-pants, I've got a curtain in the attic, "Let's put on a show" ethic.

Nor have they guessed.

They've screened the original approved answer print and have meticulously matched the HD master to that print.

This is done in the same way that one would restore a film.

Earlier versions of FFC's Dracula were properly tuned for earlier video systems, that among other problems turned black into video noise. For that reason they were never what they should have been, as electronic goals needed to be met. To put it simply, the ability of the reproducing medium was not yet in tune with the art to be reproduced. They always came as closely as they could. And understanding the limitations of the medium, were approved. There was no way around this.

That is the reason why earlier video releases don't matter.

One of the extraordinary points of the high definition medium is that finally we can reproduce films to look as they did on film.

The new transfer of Dracula is a magnificent work, which along with the audio with it's heavy lows, delicate highs and aural details -- the sound of mice walking quickly across a beam -- is miraculous to behold on home video.

Dracula is a dark film. It has always been a dark film.

It is also a film created not by digital pyrotechnics, but rather by analogue effects and cinematic slight of hand. This is an old fashioned horror film. Print it too bright and the magic is revealed; the horror disappears; the story vanishes, and one sees through the magic.

The color in this release finally matches that of the original prints -- controlled, colorful when necessary -- but dark. The blacks on this release work well, and shadow detail, when needed is at hand.

Resolution is beautiful. Flesh tones, for both the living as well as the dead, replicate the original tones of the first 35mm prints. Dupe generations are less finely resolved, but work as they did originally.

So here's the bottom line.

Not only is there nothing wrong with this release, it is one of the most perfect to come from the Sony vaults.
Those of you who know of me, are aware that Sony and I don't always agree. But when they do something correctly, they are to be honored for their efforts. And this time, they are to be honored.

Everything here is correct, handled with precision, professionalism and a obvious love for the art that is our cinema.

Bram Stoker's Dracula, from FFC and Sony is Extremely Highly Recommended.

RAH"
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post #558 of 763 Old 07-09-2009, 11:20 PM
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All previous SD-DVD transfers were not based off the answer print guys. The answer print is what is important. Whatever master comes closest to the answer print is the correct version and I'll bet the whole $3 in my pocket the new master is correct.

Forget about the old master, the look of the previous DVD's is not what the Director wanted.
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post #559 of 763 Old 07-09-2009, 11:51 PM
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LOL what a load of horse sh!t- the guy should lose any job he has in this field. Its an abomination, he knows it, hes kissing someones ass big time or was bought out. That review actively takes away from the progress of humanity.
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post #560 of 763 Old 07-10-2009, 12:17 AM
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"Editor's Note:
Kim Aubrey, who works for ZAP Zoetrope Aubry Productions LLC and worked on the Blu-ray transfer of this title, took some issues with some of the statements in our Empire Review.

In the interest of "fair play" and making sure our customers had all the facts, we thought it fair to include his comments here:
.

American Zoetrope, Francis Coppola’s company does not own (and has never owned) the facilities to do feature film telecine mastering...aka the film transfer. The studio that OWNS the title (in this case Columbia-Sony) owns Dracula and they commissioned and paid for the new transfer in 2006 because they believed that the old one was wanting. I agreed with them. I was post production executive on the film in 1991-1992 and I always was horrified at what the home video and TV editions of Dracula looked like because they were so far from what Coppola and Ballhaus had done for the original release prints. So orange-y. So bright. Zoetrope’s role in the new transfer was to make sure that the transfer colorist had access to a pristine original “final answer print” to screen and refer to. A final answer print is a vaulted 35mm film print in Sony’s possession that bears a signature from the original production indicating that the director or director of photography was satisfied with the color timing and that this print was to be the gold standard...the reference for all 35mm release prints to be compared with and accepted/rejected. It was a controversial answer print at the time. It was dark. The soundtrack was considered very avant-garde. Coppola was breaking rules. Some critics appreciated it, others did not."
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post #561 of 763 Old 07-10-2009, 01:33 AM
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Well then what Zoetrope should do is offer refunds to all those that spent over $100 for the deluxe Criterion Laserdisc of BSD that was APPROVED BY FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA, (something the BD is NOT) even said so right on the packaging. Since the LD and the DVDs look almost identical as far as the colors and brightness goes. Interesting that Criterion who STROVE for the BEST possible quality with those expensive discs should have gotten such a crappy print to use that was so wildly inaccurate. That they had the wrong colors. That they actually showed those superimposed diary entries over the live action shots when if the BD is correct, we weren't supposed to see them. And that Coppola signed off on that wildly incorrect looking version. Even had a nice replica of his signature on a sticker on the front of that over $100 mistake of a transfer.
Now you could argue that back then the transfer technology wasn't as sophisticated, granted. But a blue Dracula head lit by moonlight instead of green? That was a mistake? And on the BD in 2/3 of that scene, the moonlight is lighting him up blue. Suddenly he's green? Huh?!?!?

And look here...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Xylon View Post


Anyone who has ever used digital tools like Photoshop know what a horrible digital looking unnatural desaturation this was. That is NOT what film looks like at all. Dracula was filmed before DI's and never looked as synthetic and artificial and digital as the bottom BD grab. Look at the pixillation. It looks like a low res. jpeg...
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post #562 of 763 Old 07-10-2009, 01:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Some of the nominations won at the time when we can see the texts and among other things

Academy Awards
Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
1993 Won Oscar Best Costume Design
Eiko Ishioka

Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing
Tom C. McCarthy
David E. Stone

Best Makeup
Greg Cannom
Michèle Burke
Matthew W. Mungle

Nominated Oscar Best Art Direction-Set Decoration
Thomas E. Sanders
Garrett Lewis


Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films

Best Costumes
Eiko Ishioka

Best Make-Up
Greg Cannom
Matthew W. Mungle
Michèle Burke

Best Special Effects
Roman Coppola


BAFTA Awards
Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
1994 Nominated BAFTA Film Award Best Costume Design
Eiko Ishioka

Best Make Up Artist
Greg Cannom
Michèle Burke
Matthew W. Mungle

Best Production Design
Thomas E. Sanders

Best Special Effects
Roman Coppola
Gary Gutierrez
Michael Lantieri
Gene Warren Jr.

Funny, no one is mentioning this as one of the lists of excuses



This people has seen the "original release prints" and it was great. The production design, the costume and the cinematography. The brightness, the contrast and the color timings of the blu-ray transfer has effectively changed the look and the mood of the original movie.


Superbit DVD ---->BD------->Special Features footage




You don't "hide" your work from your viewers and voters


I will quote again what I replied many hundreds of years ago:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xylon View Post

The point is the some of the footage in the special features have dont match the BD version and actually better looking and much more detailed.


Here there is more:

Superbit DVD:



Look very closely at the color timings and detail. Then look at this next one taken from the special features.


Special Features footage:



An improvement in PQ right? Matching the color and gamma timings from the DVD. And sharper and more detailed. Is there any doubt?

Here is the one that we got from BD:



Like I said before it doesn't take a genius to figure this out.

It doesn't take a genius to figure this out.





Ohhhh deja vu moment
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post #563 of 763 Old 07-10-2009, 01:49 AM
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Here is a simply cropped version of Xylon's grab. Do you really think that this looks like a natural film image...?!?!?!?



I understand if they felt that previous transfers might have a been a bit too bright or colorful, but the rushed, hack way they did some of these scenes is embarassing. I and many others could do a better job in photoshop in 5 minutes than this atrocity...
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post #564 of 763 Old 07-10-2009, 02:07 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Mack View Post

Here is a simply cropped version of Xylon's grab. Do you really think that this looks like a natural film image...?!?!?!?



I understand if they felt that previous transfers might have a been a bit too bright or colorful, but the rushed, hack way they did some of these scenes is embarassing. I and many others could do a better job in photoshop in 5 minutes than this atrocity...

I also agree with your statement. So here is me agreeing with both sides.

Most of the film does still look beautiful to my eyes but there is a small percentage of the film where they should have spent a little bit of time getting it better and that includes some of the caps shown here but not all the caps.

The scene with Van Helsing and Mina around the fire near the end actually works pretty well despite what the screencaps show.

So while not 100% perfect it is a huge improvement for 97% of the films running time ( in my opinion )
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post #565 of 763 Old 07-10-2009, 02:29 AM
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This thread is like Dracula himself, he just keeps up rising from the grave.
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post #566 of 763 Old 07-10-2009, 02:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FoxyMulder View Post


So while not 100% perfect it is a huge improvement for 97% of the films running time ( in my opinion )

3% is a lot. If 97% were enough, I'd ditch my CRT projector for a digital. A digital projector does 97% better than my current projector. A digital's: sharper, brighter, lighter weight, smaller, not as much of an eye sore, easier to set up by a factor of 100 or more, don't have to worry about burn in, colors can be more accurate, better ANSI by a by a factor of nearly 13, and support for XVcolor with Deep Color.

What my CRT does better than a digital: more natural looking, you can't see pixels no matter how close you get, black level is near zero, a minimum of four times better sequential contrast (FOFO) and nearly instantaneous refresh with no ghosting.

So if you were to put it on a scale, a digital does a lot more better about 97% and those that areas it doesn't would be about 3%. Yet I still lug around my 80 pound CRT projector and every time I set it up takes over eight hours to get near perfection.

Fade to black is what I love most about CRT, but that takes up less than 1% of any movie. I would miss my FTB a lot.
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post #567 of 763 Old 07-10-2009, 03:30 AM
 
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3% is a lot.

Out of a two hour movie 3% amounts to under 4 minutes of screen time.

Getting off the track here but i'd take a digital projector with 97% of things done perfectly.


If Patton or Gangs Of New York or Zulu had been released with 97% looking just fine i'm sure most here would be saying something positive instead of everything negative. Maybe Francis just approves anything the studio throws at him as he also approved the Laserdisc edition but i like to make my own mind up about things and i didn't object to most of what i saw in this release.

Thats what is bothering me about this thread. It's not all negative on this release and there are other releases which should be concentrated on and i say this as someone who is a huge fan of the movie and i have seen it countless times including three times at the cinema on it's original release. Owned countless versions including a VHS widescreen coffin shaped boxset which came with the original novel and various DVD incarnations including the superbit american release and the original UK release.

The Blu Ray is superior and vastly so. If i thought it wasn't i'd say so but for the overall running time it's vastly superior.

Now would i have taken the old color timing and contrast over this one ? Yes i think i would but thats because i am so used to the old look and you tend to remember something if you have watched it a lot and no one really likes change do they but i don't think the changes are all that bad and the majority of the changes do work. So while i would take the old look just because i'm familiar with it i actually think most scenes are improved.

I love the scene at the beginning when Harker is waiting for Drac's coach to take him to the castle. Much darker and atmospheric now as before it was too light. Plenty of detail can be seen and it's very much high definition.
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post #568 of 763 Old 07-10-2009, 08:57 AM
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DNR is one thing, but why would someone just randomly darken up the picture and change the color timing if it wasn't asked for? Francis Ford Coppola obviously asked for this new look to be made and if he says this is the way it should look then I'll take his word for it

Yeah, and William Friedkins says that he always wanted The French Connection to be tinted purple and have flesh tones that literally glow. His Director of Photography, the man who actually shot the movie for him, has already called shenanigans on those claims.

Sometimes filmmakers go a little bonkers over the years and start imposing revisionist ideas on their old movies. That's obviously what's happened here.

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post #569 of 763 Old 07-10-2009, 10:25 AM
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Watching people try to scurry from the logical corner they create is funny
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post #570 of 763 Old 07-10-2009, 12:21 PM
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I still don't believe Coppola had any involvement in signing off this transfer. Kim Aubrey doesn't claim he does either when she could have flat out said it.
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