Bram Stoker's Dracula comparison *PIX* - Page 24 - AVS Forum
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post #691 of 763 Old 04-22-2012, 02:01 PM
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Originally Posted by 42041 View Post

I don't know what films you're talking about, but that makes your "photographic memory" very suspect to me, because catalog blu-rays on the whole don't tend to look much like film prints.

Where did I say a Blu ray looks like a film print? I was talking about the colour alteration. The film print was meant in reference to the quality found in a high end cinema, because smaller localised theatres may have a cheaper looking print. And Dracula at the high end London cinema did not look desaturated or as dark.

Dracula did not have a de-saturated look in the cinema. Bear in mind the VHS came out not too long afterwards to jog the memory and though inferior in picture quality, still did not look too far removed colour wise. The 1997 DVD too. The Superbit was brighter I admit.

I remember Back To The Future super vividly. Saw it more than 10 times in the cinema back in 1985. More than enough views to etch itself onto the memory. Same argument for Dracula. Had I seen either film once, then I would agree with your argument. One or twice is not enough to truly memorise the experience.

Anyway, what's your take on the transfer? Do you think it is fine?
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post #692 of 763 Old 04-22-2012, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by DavidHir View Post

I always get a kick from people who claim to know exactly what a film print looked like 20, 30 or 40 years ago and how it compares to the Blu-ray now. This happened with Godfather too. "That's not what I saw that one time in 1972!" Yeah...sure.

What I don't understand is that you don't know me, yet assume I have to be automatically wrong. Some people have excellent memories. Some forget things quickly. Just the way it is.

Some cinema experiences leave an indelible impression. Dracula was one of them! The film shocked me and the boldness of the colours stood out. That much I know.

Now in the VHS home video age, we would get to see a film again at home not too long after release. So the film would be relatively fresh in the memory.

But my memory was helped by the quicker home video releases in the late 1980's.

But no way would I claim that I remember how a film looked 30 years ago. Vast difference between 15 years and 40 years. The Dracula Blu ray was 15 years after original release. I was a person who would sometimes see one film more than 20 times during it's theatrical run. Especially with the advent of the economic cinema passes which meant I could go almost every day for one monthly price if I wanted to.

I saw Lethal Weapon about 12 times in the cinema back in 1987 and the home video version did not look dissimilar to the theatrical for example. Just worse picture resolution.
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post #693 of 763 Old 04-22-2012, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarrenD View Post

Where did I say a Blu ray looks like a film print? I was talking about the colour alteration. The film print was meant in reference to the quality found in a high end cinema, because smaller localised theatres may have a cheaper looking print. And Dracula at the high end London cinema did not look desaturated or as dark.

Dracula did not have a de-saturated look in the cinema. Bear in mind the VHS came out not too long afterwards to jog the memory and though inferior in picture quality, still did not look too far removed colour wise. The 1997 DVD too. The Superbit was brighter I admit.

I remember Back To The Future super vividly. Saw it more than 10 times in the cinema back in 1985. More than enough views to etch itself onto the memory. Same argument for Dracula. Had I seen either film once, then I would agree with your argument. One or twice is not enough to truly memorise the experience.

Anyway, what's your take on the transfer? Do you think it is fine?

I think it's mediocre, though I've seen worse; but I never saw the film in theaters (and frankly don't care much for it). I have no way of knowing if the colors are correct or not. I just reject the idea that someone could have an accurate, undistorted memory of them after 15 years, no matter how many times they saw the film.
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post #694 of 763 Old 04-22-2012, 05:22 PM
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Well, in this case we have a film where the color is one of the best things going for it. This is an extremely rich, colorful film which I too vividly remember from my several theatrical screenings of it. The earlier video versions were fine aside from resolution. The BD is a disaster.
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post #695 of 763 Old 04-22-2012, 05:54 PM
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I watched a 35mm print of this film four or five years ago, not long after having viewed the film on a 100 inch screen via DVHS tape. They looked strikingly similar (the print was a bit darker).

The Blu Ray is an abomination. It looks nothing like the 35mm prints.

Vimeo is the home of the Super8 Shooter...
http://vimeo.com/super8shooter
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post #696 of 763 Old 04-22-2012, 06:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarrenD View Post

What I don't understand is that you don't know me, yet assume I have to be automatically wrong. Some people have excellent memories. Some forget things quickly. Just the way it is.

No offense, but I do not believe anyone can precisely remember what a movie looked like 15 years ago when trying to compare it to the DVD and BD (within the context of shadow detail, brightness, grain structure, color timing, etc). If you had seen the movie more recently and perhaps was looking for color or brightness differences, sure, that would be plausible to me.

I remember a few years back Colin Jacobson stated on the forum how he saw Predator at the theater and came home and immediately watched the original Blu-ray version and stated how they were so similar. That makes sense to me and completely believable.

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post #697 of 763 Old 04-22-2012, 06:58 PM
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For those who may not have heard Eiko Ishioka passed away in January.

(I didn't hear until I had heard she was left out of the academy awards "in memoriam" tribute; I stopped watching the awards this year for the first time in my life and I doubt I'll watch again.)

I was hoping Criterion was release a blu-ray of Mishima: a Life in Four Chapters, which is a great film (and was produced by Coppola) and contains some of her amazing work.
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post #698 of 763 Old 04-22-2012, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt_Stevens View Post

I watched a 35mm print of this film four or five years ago, not long after having viewed the film on a 100 inch screen via DVHS tape. They looked strikingly similar (the print was a bit darker).

The Blu Ray is an abomination. It looks nothing like the 35mm prints.

Exactly. It's all revisionist BS
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post #699 of 763 Old 04-23-2012, 03:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidHir View Post

No offense, but I do not believe anyone can precisely remember what a movie looked like 15 years ago when trying to compare it to the DVD and BD (within the context of shadow detail, brightness, grain structure, color timing, etc). If you had seen the movie more recently and perhaps was looking for color or brightness differences, sure, that would be plausible to me.

I remember a few years back Colin Jacobson stated on the forum how he saw Predator at the theater and came home and immediately watched the original Blu-ray version and stated how they were so similar. That makes sense to me and completely believable.

I understand and no offence taken. Memory can play tricks. Very true. But I saw it several times in theatre and the colours were shocking to me. Vivid. The film freaked me out because it was such a different perspective on the story than what had come before. Like Dave Mack, I too had the official book and there was a consistency there. This was a visually bold looking film.

And I saw it on VHS not too long after the theatrical run. So my memory of it was fresh relatively speaking.

I was a huge fan of this film and went so many times to re-watch during it's hugely succesful UK run.

I also point out that I saw it in a top notch London cinema, as I have heard the counter argument that some prints were incorrect in small town theatres and those inferior prints were way brighter. But I will add that I saw it a few times in both the highest quality London cinema and my local. No difference. I would have noticed it no question.

But a West End cinema in Central London (Leicester Square) that holds film premieres would definitely have had the best quality print and that is what I saw and remember.

Even if I had seen it cinematically recently, then the argument would be that how good was the print quality and how would I remember that print to the one I saw in 1993. The UK release was January 1993.

Those West End cinemas are way more expensive and pride themselves as giving the highest quality theatrical experience.

All I was saying is that the pre-blu ray versions did not look much different. I am not the only one saying it either.
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post #700 of 763 Old 04-23-2012, 03:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Strevlac View Post

Well, in this case we have a film where the color is one of the best things going for it. This is an extremely rich, colorful film which I too vividly remember from my several theatrical screenings of it. The earlier video versions were fine aside from resolution. The BD is a disaster.

Indeed yes! I admit for a while I went along with the new Blu Ray thinking it was the fault of my TV being inadequate as it was a 2009 LCD panel and not too expensive comparatively speaking. I thought it was my contrast ratio that was causing the issue of lack of detail.

But I cannot ignore some extremely well thought out arguments I came across on this forum. DNR is one thing, but colour alteration is another as well as the black crush to boot. And those forum members had far superior equipment to view on than me.
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post #701 of 763 Old 04-23-2012, 03:55 AM
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Originally Posted by 42041 View Post

I think it's mediocre, though I've seen worse; but I never saw the film in theaters (and frankly don't care much for it). I have no way of knowing if the colors are correct or not. I just reject the idea that someone could have an accurate, undistorted memory of them after 15 years, no matter how many times they saw the film.

But I saw it on home video not too long after the theatrical run which helped the memory so to speak. It looked similar colour wise. My friend owned the Laserdisc too which I saw. And then the DVD. Those earlier home versions were consistent to what I saw.

Now I would agree with you totally if I had not seen the film for 15 years after 1992. Then in that case you would be 100% right. Because absolutely my memory would play tricks after that amount of time of not seeing it.

There a lot of fans of this film who are not happy with the Blu Ray. The lack of admission from the studio that it was the early days of Blu Ray transfers and something went wrong in the process is laughable. It only creates distrust and unwanted controversy.
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post #702 of 763 Old 04-23-2012, 04:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt_Stevens View Post

I watched a 35mm print of this film four or five years ago, not long after having viewed the film on a 100 inch screen via DVHS tape. They looked strikingly similar (the print was a bit darker).

The Blu Ray is an abomination. It looks nothing like the 35mm prints.

It amazes me that nothing has been done about it by Sony who clearly are no fools and must know the situation. This film sorely needs a new transfer and without the horrible digital artifacting found on the Blu Ray. In the Crypt scene where the dead Lucy tries to seduce her husband, at the moment where he looks on at her with amazement jsut before she is about to go for him, his left eye is blotted out by digital noise. Just one example.

Even the 1997 and 2001 DVD versions do not have this.

The amount of obvious digital alteration by the telltale digital artifacting is the proof that a once beautifully shot analog film is no longer 100% so.
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post #703 of 763 Old 04-23-2012, 05:16 AM
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Don't forget the FFC director approved criterion LD. And the fact that the HD clips in the doc on the Blu ray are from an older HD master with burned in subs and look much better
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post #704 of 763 Old 04-23-2012, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mack View Post

Don't forget the FFC director approved criterion LD. And the fact that the HD clips in the doc on the Blu ray are from an older HD master with burned in subs and look much better

Totally agree Dave! One thing that is non-arguable about Criterion is their attention to detail and serious work in preserving a film's original cinematic look. I mean they recently did Polanski's Repulsion and it looks like it did in the 1960's so the experts say. The 1990's were not the dark ages of technology. Laserdisc was a very mature system at the time and more aimed at the serious cinephile who was prepared to pay a lot of money for one film. $125 back then for BSD on LD was a lot of money.

Plus CRT televisions were the home standard and those had very good contrast. So that would have been taken into account for the LD transfer. In fact my 1986 high end Sony TV had better colour and black levels than my Sony Bravia LCD. I was actually shocked by the flaws of the 2009 technology comparitavely.

I did in fact check out the documentary with the older HD clips yesterday again and no question does it look objectively better. In fact it only upsets me more when I look at the actual film on Blu Ray.

The now computer generated subs for dialogue take me out of the film. They look so out of place. Those original subs were essential to the overall look of the film and them missing is such a shame.

By the way, I admire the effort you put in by using the pictures to illustrate your point. You come across very reasonable and it is so obvious to anyone at Zoetrope or Sony that you meant well for this film. I would be at a loss to understand why anyone there would take offence when that was not your intention. And unlike me, you know the industry and way more about the technical side of films.

The only concern I have at this moment is whether Zoetrope/Sony will eventually officially release a better version or is this the one we are stuck with for years to come?
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post #705 of 763 Old 04-23-2012, 07:15 AM
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I think the official line is that this now looks like an old answer print and it's finally what they wanted all along. And that would be ok if it wasn't so poorly done IMHO.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...&postcount=157


Looks like someone new to magic bullet looks did a rush job and horribly compressed the finished render.
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post #706 of 763 Old 04-23-2012, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mack View Post

I think the official line is that this now looks like an old answer print and it's finally what they wanted all along. And that would be ok if it wasn't so poorly done IMHO.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showp...&postcount=157


Looks like someone new to magic bullet looks did a rush job and horribly compressed the finished render.

Yes I remember the old answer print defence which is fine from their point of view . And for a while I was swayed in that direction. But it still left me with no logical answers as to why they stand by the obvious issues the Blu Ray has. It does not require a film expert to notice aspects of the picture look digitally altered in parts. I mean I can tell the difference between film artifact and the digital one without having attended any form of film school. The candle light's as you pointed out come to mind as an example.

I will be the first to admit that there are many more people on this forum who are better versed in the technical side of film. I am a learner and no doubt I have made factual mistakes on this forum previously.

As for the finished render, it was the early days of Blu Ray and that may explain the issues encountered. But that it was released with these issues is a wonder in this day and age.

I even noticed Dracula's hair in the prologue part where he is reading his wife's suicide note and his hair looks like it has digital paint over parts of it. I could go on and on. And why I do go on about it, is because this was the last major analog only old fashioned style effects film so I shouldn't be seeing any digital artifacts.

The sad part Dave is that most people who buy a Blu Ray assume that it has to be better than the previous DVD hence they question no further. My brother in law has Amadeus on Blu Ray and is unaware of the issues with DNR. To him it looks amazing just because it is a Blu Ray so it has to be.
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post #707 of 763 Old 04-23-2012, 08:30 AM
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And one more question Dave. Did they take a copy directly from the answer print or did they try to match an existing print to look similar to it?

The word "matched" evokes all kinds of possibilities.
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post #708 of 763 Old 04-23-2012, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarrenD View Post

I did in fact check out the documentary with the older HD clips yesterday again and no question does it look objectively better.

Are you sure it doesn't look subjectively 37.512?

I don't feel special...
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post #709 of 763 Old 04-23-2012, 09:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarrenD View Post

And one more question Dave. Did they take a copy directly from the answer print or did they try to match an existing print to look similar to it?

The word "matched" evokes all kinds of possibilities.

I'm not sure. I think earlier in the thread there was more info.

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post #710 of 763 Old 04-23-2012, 11:41 AM
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I firmly believe they pulled the wrong print and just decided this was the answer print by mistake. We know this lies at the foot of Zoetrope, whatever the case. Something got mislabeled and no one in the transfer process really scrutinized it closely. It's almost as bad as what Lucas has done to the original Star Wars trilogy, except in this case I don't believe it was intentional.
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post #711 of 763 Old 04-23-2012, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WarrenD View Post

I understand and no offence taken. Memory can play tricks. Very true. But I saw it several times in theatre and the colours were shocking to me. Vivid. The film freaked me out because it was such a different perspective on the story than what had come before. Like Dave Mack, I too had the official book and there was a consistency there. This was a visually bold looking film.

And I saw it on VHS not too long after the theatrical run. So my memory of it was fresh relatively speaking.

I was a huge fan of this film and went so many times to re-watch during it's hugely succesful UK run.

I also point out that I saw it in a top notch London cinema, as I have heard the counter argument that some prints were incorrect in small town theatres and those inferior prints were way brighter. But I will add that I saw it a few times in both the highest quality London cinema and my local. No difference. I would have noticed it no question.

But a West End cinema in Central London (Leicester Square) that holds film premieres would definitely have had the best quality print and that is what I saw and remember.

Even if I had seen it cinematically recently, then the argument would be that how good was the print quality and how would I remember that print to the one I saw in 1993. The UK release was January 1993.

Those West End cinemas are way more expensive and pride themselves as giving the highest quality theatrical experience.

All I was saying is that the pre-blu ray versions did not look much different. I am not the only one saying it either.

Either way, I would love to see this movie at the theater! I should see if there are any local viewings.

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post #712 of 763 Old 04-24-2012, 04:27 AM
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Originally Posted by DavidHir View Post

Either way, I would love to see this movie at the theater! I should see if there are any local viewings.

Me too! Though as long as it is not the new altered version. You live in the States which generally have better retro film showings. In the UK these are so rare.
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post #713 of 763 Old 04-24-2012, 04:44 AM
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Originally Posted by spectator View Post

Are you sure it doesn't look subjectively 37.512?

It isn't digitally colour corrected and has better detail exposition which was meant to be seen. Enough people here have exposed that the new version is worse in detail and barely surpasses the Superbit version in terms of resolution. Those people are serious cinephiles who have been enthusiasts far longer than me. This is one of the few films where it is actually difficult to tell the Blu Ray apart form the standard DVD from 6 foot away which is not a huge distance. Normally around 12 foot or more is where it becomes harder to discern.

I mean, even a casual observer will notice how a well mastered and transfered Blu Ray crushes the DVD in terms of quality and detail. Not so with this version. The soft shot argument only goes so far but has holes in it.

Those people here do their research and in terms of film industry support are the loyalest devotees of the art form. Their enthusiasm is any film makers dream. Because a lot of cinema goers are very casual in their discernment.

The whole controversy about this film in particular is the original version was pure analog cinema with all the effects done in camera. And it was a vividly colourful film in the cinema. And it still was frightening.

Those same people were shocked with what they were expecting on Blu Ray of BRD and what they got.

Like Dave says before, the sets were meant to be seen as well as other in camera effects that now look so subdued. If those sets were not to be so exposed then why waste a film's set construction budget on things that were not supposed to be seen and that film had a tight budget?

I know the argument is that the film was always supposed to look dark. That's fair enough, but desaturated no.

By the digital alterations it loses that authenticity it was aiming for in the first place. To look like a horror film of cinemas earlier period.
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post #714 of 763 Old 04-24-2012, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post

I firmly believe they pulled the wrong print and just decided this was the answer print by mistake. We know this lies at the foot of Zoetrope, whatever the case. Something got mislabeled and no one in the transfer process really scrutinized it closely. It's almost as bad as what Lucas has done to the original Star Wars trilogy, except in this case I don't believe it was intentional.

I see your point. I wonder why Zoetrope did not consult Michael Ballhaus the original director of photography for the work on this transfer. Sony were not short of cash at least in 2006. I assume they did not because his name was not mentioned in the new publicity. And as Dave pointed out before me, in the director's commentary, Mr Coppola admits to not having seen the film in years. So this transfer was done according to the relaying of his wishes. So no hands on like was the case with Laserdisc from Criterion which was far closer to his memory of the cinema version.

What I read here is that the answer print was screened and then they tried to match it to that. My question is, why would there be a need to match and why did they not just directly take a print from it? That print should have needed no alteration if it was the touted perfect source which no cinema seemed to have got or the projectionist decided to boost the brightness and do his thing. Amazing, because I remember how dark Batman 1989 looked theatrically. And that same cinema showed Dracula.

Because how could an analog print from 1992 have digital artifacting and correction?

I hope that makes sense, because this new version is becoming legendary for the conspiracies as opposed to the actual story on film. Something needs to be done and almost five years on the fans are not happy. They can have this version and the older one. Happy compromise.

Where is the harm in that, if most people have seen the so called incorrect version for so many years anyway. I don't see their logic and the more it is denied, the more valuable it becomes. Basic human psychology. You always want more what you cannot have.
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post #715 of 763 Old 04-24-2012, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Mack View Post

I'm not sure. I think earlier in the thread there was more info.



Gee Dave, I think I have read every post on this thread form 2007 more than 5 times. That's how much I like this film and care. It's a great read and possibly the most controversial hence interesting one I have come across.

The Back To The Future DNR fiasco is nothing. I can live with that because at least it looks how I remember it.
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post #716 of 763 Old 04-24-2012, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by WarrenD View Post

It isn't digitally colour corrected and has better detail exposition which was meant to be seen.

WarrenD, I was just trying to point out the absurdity of your claim that the clips looked "objectively better". "Better" is a subjective valuation and, by definition, cannot be objectively assessed.

I don't feel special...
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post #717 of 763 Old 04-24-2012, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by WarrenD View Post

What I read here is that the answer print was screened and then they tried to match it to that. My question is, why would there be a need to match and why did they not just directly take a print from it? That print should have needed no alteration if it was the touted perfect source which no cinema seemed to have got or the projectionist decided to boost the brightness and do his thing. Amazing, because I remember how dark Batman 1989 looked theatrically. And that same cinema showed Dracula.

An answer print is made to be projected. That is, it's very high-contrast compared to negatives and inter-positives (which are the usual source for video transfers), with clearer whites and denser blacks. Scanning it would likely exceed the dynamic range the scanner is designed for and yield a problematic transfer. Maybe that's what they did
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post #718 of 763 Old 04-24-2012, 10:20 AM
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post #719 of 763 Old 04-24-2012, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by WarrenD View Post

It amazes me that nothing has been done about it by Sony who clearly are no fools and must know the situation. This film sorely needs a new transfer and without the horrible digital artifacting found on the Blu Ray. In the Crypt scene where the dead Lucy tries to seduce her husband, at the moment where he looks on at her with amazement jsut before she is about to go for him, his left eye is blotted out by digital noise. Just one example.

Even the 1997 and 2001 DVD versions do not have this.

The amount of obvious digital alteration by the telltale digital artifacting is the proof that a once beautifully shot analog film is no longer 100% so.

Sony is a company that loses money hand over foot!
So(ny) I don't know bout the "clearly are no fools" part!!
However, they have been doing some of the finest HD transfers for quite a while now!!!

I believe its the cinematographer's fault.

"I wonder if any of the releases had slipcovers though."
"Are these comfirmed to have slipcovers?"
"They look nice in those slips."
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post #720 of 763 Old 04-25-2012, 02:48 AM
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Originally Posted by spectator View Post

WarrenD, I was just trying to point out the absurdity of your claim that the clips looked "objectively better". "Better" is a subjective valuation and, by definition, cannot be objectively assessed.


Better as in more like the original compared to the Blu Ray. Nothing absurd there. I am not the only one who made this claim. Better qualified people not just on this forum but other professional reviewers said the same. It is some of the nonsensical alterations that caused this discussion in the first place. Greenish fire when Dracula is crawling down the castle walls for instance or a green light on his face for a second when he is talking with his brides.

Yes subjectivity does come into play as in what is pleasing to the eye, but my objectivity is based on what I saw enough times. And the amount of times I have seen this film at the cinema gives me some leverage. It never looked as desaturated as it does now. If it did, then what would I be complaining about?

I consider myself an avid cinema goer and back in the 90's onwards I would see the same film a lot of times. Sometimes going to see the same film at the cinema 5 times in a week.

Hence I know what I saw. This is one of the very few films I have seen that now looks radically changed to what it was. It is not hard to remember that something was very colourful and vivid. With Dracula if it looked desaturated cinematically then believe me I would have noticed that on day one. But Sleepy Hollow it was not and that film I cannot count how often I went to the pictures. Sleepy Hollow is a faithful rendition on Blu Ray objectively to what was shown at the picture house. The main criticism it got on Blu Ray is that it looked too grainy which it always was.

I will give you another example. The James Bond film The World Is Not Enough I saw almost every day for a month at the cinema because I bought a yearly pass so it was economical. The film like may others I saw did not look altered on DVD or Blu Ray. It was in the same ball park visually.

The more you see something the better your memory of it. Simple logic and nothing else. With Dracula I even bought the comic, book and the photos were not different in the book to the screen at the time. If I came out of the cinema and went home to look at the pictures in the book, then wouldn't that be a useful memory aid? And then seeing it a good few times more?

And with the HD clips, all people were saying is that it was more closer to what the film originally looked like and nothing else. No crushing of detail either. Just like it doesn't require a film expert to tell anyone that the Star Wars films have changed to what they were on release.

And last but not least. Remember the colourful Dracula 1979? They altered the colourful look to a more subdued colour palette similarly saying it was never meant to be like it once was.

So in regards to the above paragraph, it has little to do with subjectivity but the original facts of how a film was first presented to the public. A change is a change and human beings are designed to be perceptive of these things. Technology is a blessing and a curse in the wrong hands. Opinions change as does taste. The that was then this is now approach of some filmmakers.
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