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#422 The Last Emperor Criterion Collection comparison *PIX* - Page 3

post #61 of 187
Looks passable but it has old transfer shown on HDNet written all over it.
post #62 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by tai4de2 View Post

Any word on a release from some other company (who might do it better)?

Amazon France currently lists another version to be released by BAC on February 17. No word yet on region coding or specs, but it's something to watch for...

jd
post #63 of 187
Here's what i find interesting after looking at the films Storaro has worked on.

Only a few directors are letting him crop their films and in the case of Bertolucci he didnt let it happen with Little Buddha but did with The Last Emperor
( strange )

For example Ladyhawke has always been presented on DVD in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and The Bird With The Crystal Plumage is coming out soon on Blu Ray with the original aspect ratio which is 2.35:1 and indeed i am sure i saw Little Buddha in it's original aspect ratio and that is also Bertolucci.

This means he does not have full control over the aspect ratio when transferred to Blu Ray and Criterion could easily have used the original aspect ratio.
post #64 of 187
^That is very "strange" indeed.
Would you agree TLE and AN beg to be shown in the wider OAR?
With the huge outdoor scenes, etc.?
I can't see where there could be any argument over this...
post #65 of 187
Little Buddha is actually cropped to around 2.1:1, despite what it claims on the packaging. I don't know if that was Storaro's doing or not.

And I don't think anyone's ever claimed Criterion couldn't have released this in 2.35:1. AFAIK neither Bertloucci nor Storaro have any ownership of TLE (unlike Coppola, who is at least part-owner of most of his films). Criterion almost certainly could've released it in the original AR if they were willing to forgo the filmmakers' participation. That doesn't fit their MO, so the best hope is to release it'll be released elsewhere by someone who doesn't give a sh*t what they think (fingers crossed for the French BD). Apocalypse Now is probably a hopeless case.
post #66 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Average View Post

Little Buddha is actually cropped to around 2.1:1, despite what it claims on the packaging. I don't know if that was Storaro's doing or not...

LITTLE BUDDHA was actually filmed partially in actual 65mm (native 2.2:1 aspect ratio), so in the case of that film 2.1:1 would be very close to "correct".

Incidentally, I just got the Criterion Blu-ray version of THE LAST EMPEROR today, and aspect ratio controversies aside, I think the image quality is quite good. Very film-like and natural looking to me.

Vincent
post #67 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent Pereira View Post

LITTLE BUDDHA was actually filmed partially in actual 65mm (native 2.2:1 aspect ratio), so in the case of that film 2.1:1 would be very close to "correct".

Indeed, and 2.2:1 could be considered "correct" for TLE and Apocalypse as well, since both were theatrically exhibited at that AR (via 70mm blowups) and were possibly even composed for it (Bertolucci and Storaro wanted all prints of TLE to be 70mm, but economic reality put the kibosh on that). But IMO both films suffer at 2:1 and I suspect Little Buddha might too. (My personal suspicion is that the Little Buddha cropping was done by Buena Vista and that Storaro was uninvolved.)
post #68 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Tomlin View Post

What the hell is going on here?!

Simple. Criterion didn't create the HD telecine. I don't think they ever have, though I could be wrong.

Whenever Criterion releases a film, they generally license the rights to release it from whoever actually owns the picture. They're at the mercy of the content owner to provide them a D5 or similar HD master, and if it isn't up to snuff about all they can do is one of two options:

1) Request to the content owner that they make a new transfer.

2) Ask the content owner if we (ie: Criterion) can make a new transfer themselves.

The former seems reasonable, but generally the content owner has already spent money on what they consider a perfectly acceptable transfer, and have no interest in spending a small fortune because Criterion turned their noses up at it. Why bother? Discs that make most AVS members want to vomit get rave reviews from "professional" critics, and I think we can all agree that the film on the disc will indicate sales more than the A/V quality. There's little incentive for the content owner to make a new transfer unless they think it'll directly impact sales negatively, and honestly, I'm not convinced a substandard transfer has as much impact as we'd like to think.

The latter poses its own problems. Not only would Criterion have to spend a lot of their own money to make a new transfer (which, by all rights, should have been fine before they got to it), but they might not even be granted access to the film materials in the first place. The studio that owns the film may not grant them access to the negative because it's in bad shape and they don't want to risk harming it further. Should the content owners allow them to make a transfer from a positive print they'll create, making the print alone could cost several thousands of dollars, and that's BEFORE they telecine a new HD master from it!

Criterion certainly has a good - perhaps overly so - reputation, but I'm not convinced that many of Criterion's projects sell more than tens of thousands of copies to begin with. If the master really is awful, they can simply pass on the HD release (as they seem to have done with Salo). If the master is mediocre but still "good enough", they'll release it, as they have here. Odds are nobody else is going to release a substantially better looking transfer, and if they do, most consumers will be so confident in the Criterion name that they won't care to find out anyway.

When you're handed a crap video transfer there's only so much you can actually do with it. You can crop off information, but not restore what's already gone. You can add edge enhancement and noise reduction, but not remove it. You can color correct it, but if the levels are already shot (say, boosted contrast blooming) there's nothing you can do to bring them back. You can fix film damage like splices and scratches, but if those are a substantial problem you might be better off just making a new transfer anyway. But again, who pays for it becomes the million dollar question.
post #69 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kentai View Post

Simple. Criterion didn't create the HD telecine. I don't think they ever have, though I could be wrong.

Criterion's Lee Kline and Maria Palazzola are credited as "telecine supervisors" on many Criterion releases, including some that were done in HD (Criterion's DVDs have been largely HD-sourced for the past several years). If the master originated elsewhere, they seem to use a "technical supervisor" credit. I don't have the TLE BD so I can't check personally, but I suspect you're right that they didn't handle the telecine for this particular title.

But again, I don't think it would've made a difference as far as the AR is concerned -- I wouldn't expect Criterion to blow off the director and DP, even when (as in this case) they don't necessarily have the film's best interests at heart. As you noted, Criterion have a reputation, and the whole "Director Approved" shtick is definitely part of that.
post #70 of 187
I think you guys have nailed this with the last few posts.
Thanx.
post #71 of 187
The booklet that comes with the Criterion blu-ray for TLE states the following:

"Telecine supervisor: Vittorio Storaro
Telecine colorist: Mike Bellamy/Technicolor, Rome
DVD mastering: Criterion Post, New York; Gentuza Inc., Rochester, NY"

"Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro supervised and approved this new high-definition digital transfer, which was created on a Spirit Datacine from the original 35 mm negative."
post #72 of 187
Hmm, Technicolor Rome are the same guys who screwed up Salo. TLE is nowhere near as bad as that cesspool, but it might explain why it's getting lower marks than Criterion's other BDs.
post #73 of 187
Thanks for the info Dan. Many of the Criterion discs I've scrutinized (Salo, Tin Drum, Fear and Loathing, Naked Lunch, etc.) look to be very similar to pre-existing transfers, so I assumed that Criterion not doing the restoration/telecine work themselves was business as usual.

Ugh, Technicolor Rome is just an awful place. I won't even get into their 'Definitive' Suspiria DVD...
post #74 of 187
At the back of this BD lebeled DTS-HD MA but not in details,might be just 2.0 channels so the criterion did'nt show it.
post #75 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Average View Post

Hmm, Technicolor Rome are the same guys who screwed up Salo. TLE is nowhere near as bad as that cesspool, but it might explain why it's getting lower marks than Criterion's other BDs.

Weren't they also responsible for the Spartacus restoration which i think Robert A Harris originally worked on but it would seem more extensive restoration work needs to be done now for a Blu release. Is Spartacus out on Blu yet ? I can't remember.
post #76 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by FoxyMulder View Post

Weren't they also responsible for the Spartacus restoration which i think Robert A Harris originally worked on but it would seem more extensive restoration work needs to be done now for a Blu release. Is Spartacus out on Blu yet ? I can't remember.

As far as I'm aware, Harris did the restoration of SPARTACUS in the United States, not Rome. Problems with the HD-DVD of SPARTACUS (it's not on Blu-ray yet) are not an issue of "restoration", it's just that Universal used an older, outdated telecine of the film. A new scan from Harris' restored 65mm InterPositive should yield much better results.

Honestly, aside from the questionable cropping of the image, I think PQ wise THE LAST EMPEROR looks very good. I'm not seeing any real issues with it aside from the cropping, and parts of it look pretty stunning IMO.

Vincent
post #77 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent Pereira View Post

As far as I'm aware, Harris did the restoration of SPARTACUS in the United States, not Rome. Problems with the HD-DVD of SPARTACUS (it's not on Blu-ray yet) are not an issue of "restoration", it's just that Universal used an older, outdated telecine of the film. A new scan from Harris' restored 65mm InterPositive should yield much better results.

Honestly, aside from the questionable cropping of the image, I think PQ wise THE LAST EMPEROR looks very good. I'm not seeing any real issues with it aside from the cropping, and parts of it look pretty stunning IMO.

Vincent

Thats good news then as i am eager to purchase Spartacus if they do a better job than they did on the HD DVD edition.
post #78 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent Pereira View Post

Honestly, aside from the questionable cropping of the image, I think PQ wise THE LAST EMPEROR looks very good. I'm not seeing any real issues with it aside from the cropping, and parts of it look pretty stunning IMO.

And parts of it look bad too, IMO.
Check out the scene, in the early part of the film, where the 4 year old Emperor is shown sitting on the Dragon Throne for the first time.
The gold latice work on the throne is smudgy and blurry, as though it is out of focus (thanx goes out to Mr. Storaro...again).
And I believe the cropping process used is a factor in this, as well.

There is many such instances of this kind of thing in this release.
post #79 of 187
Well, if there are occasional focus problems with the original photography, that isn't an issue with the "transfer". You simply can't fault the transfer if a shot has focus issues in the original photography. And, whatever one thinks of Mr. Storaro's use of cropping when transferring his anamorphic movies (and I have not defended this practice), there's no doubt the man is a master cinematographer. Anamorphic cinematography is notoriously hard to keep perfect focus, and the depth of field is very shallow in most instances. Lots of anamorphic movies show these sorts of focus issues from time to time.

Vincent
post #80 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent Pereira View Post

Well, if there are occasional focus problems with the original photography, that isn't an issue with the "transfer". You simply can't fault the transfer if a shot has focus issues in the original photography.

I'm not.
I am questioning VS's eyeglass prescription.


Quote:


the man is a master cinematographer.

Agreed.
And one of the reasons for the frustration.
post #81 of 187
The Bird With The Crystal Plumage uses every inch of the 35mm anamorphic frame. Should it be cropped down to 2:1, it would be a butchering. There was no protection for 70mm blow-ups, as was the case with APOCALYPSE NOW and TLE. The same is the case with LADYHAWK.
post #82 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by FoxyMulder View Post

Thats good news then as i am eager to purchase Spartacus if they do a better job than they did on the HD DVD edition.

+1 ....it was my most disappointing HD-DVD.
post #83 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt_Stevens View Post

The Bird With The Crystal Plumage uses every inch of the 35mm anamorphic frame. Should it be cropped down to 2:1, it would be a butchering. There was no protection for 70mm blow-ups, as was the case with APOCALYPSE NOW and TLE. The same is the case with LADYHAWK.

Supposedly Storaro supervised the Blue Underground transfer of BIRD, and that DVD is indeed 2.35:1. I wonder if he opted not to blow it up to 2:1 since BIRD was filmed in 2-perf Techniscope, and blowing it up/cropping it would accentuate the inherent graininess of that process even more.

Vincent
post #84 of 187
I was excited to see The Last Emperor released on BD, but this thread has tempered that excitement considerably.

I have the original DVD release and the transfer is pretty bad being viewed on my 40" RPTV (crt based). I've since upgraded to a 60" plasma and BD player and am wondering if it is worth replacing the original DVD release with the BD version? Or does this new release look just as bad?

Thanks.
post #85 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by Saturn94 View Post

I was excited to see The Last Emperor released on BD, but this thread has tempered that excitement considerably.

I have the original DVD release and the transfer is pretty bad being viewed on my 40" RPTV (crt based). I've since upgraded to a 60" plasma and BD player and am wondering if it is worth replacing the original DVD release with the BD version? Or does this new release look just as bad?

Thanks.

The screenshots indicate the BD is more detailed.
While it is an improvement, the BD certainly isn't eye-candy...by any stretch.
Perhaps renting it first might be prudent.
post #86 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent Pereira View Post

ALL YOUR POSTS

Vincent, thanks for all your entries, try to stay around...

Let me ask you, did you ever see a 2.35:1 print of TLE, was it cropped on the botton and top compared to this one? Or this one is cropped on both sides (R/L)?
post #87 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by HighDeath View Post

Vincent, thanks for all your entries, try to stay around...

Let me ask you, did you ever see a 2.35:1 print of TLE, was it cropped on the botton and top compared to this one? Or this one is cropped on both sides (R/L)?

I honestly never saw THE LAST EMPEROR until now on Blu-ray, so I can't directly compare any possible top/bottom cropping. I have to say, initially I didn't feel the image looked "cropped". I mean, obviously it was since it was 2:1, but the image usually felt balanced. Then we get to that scene where Pu Yi is in the car with his two wives, and half his face is cropped off the side of the frame as he's talking to his "second wife" who's on the opposite side of the frame who wants a divorce...

I still think it's a terrific film and think the Blu-ray looks very nice PQ wise, although I disagree with the decision to crop. I think 2.2:1 would have been acceptable since they knew during filming that it would be released in a 70mm blow-up, but 2:1 is clearly very off in at least a few places.

Vincent
post #88 of 187
Criterion is indeed massively cropped on both sides:

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/FILM/dvdcom...astemperor.htm

I actually had doubts about this. Some scenes do look better composed in 2:1, sometimes it seems there is unwanted info in the 2.35:1 frame. I also noticed that the Criterion TV version has a different crop in some scenes....

I'll just trust the DP.
post #89 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by HighDeath View Post

Criterion is indeed massively cropped on both sides:

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/FILM/dvdcom...astemperor.htm
I'll just trust the DP.

Don't.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Vincent Pereira View Post

I honestly never saw THE LAST EMPEROR until now on Blu-ray, so I can't directly compare any possible top/bottom cropping. I have to say, initially I didn't feel the image looked "cropped". I mean, obviously it was since it was 2:1, but the image usually felt balanced. Then we get to that scene where Pu Yi is in the car with his two wives, and half his face is cropped off the side of the frame as he's talking to his "second wife" who's on the opposite side of the frame who wants a divorce...

I still think it's a terrific film and think the Blu-ray looks very nice PQ wise, although I disagree with the decision to crop. I think 2.2:1 would have been acceptable since they knew during filming that it would be released in a 70mm blow-up, but 2:1 is clearly very off in at least a few places.

To see how the cropping has severely altered TLE, check out the DVDBeaver link above.
Screencaps show some of the same scenes at 2:1 versus the OAR 2:35 R2 DVD.
post #90 of 187
Quote:
Originally Posted by oink View Post

Don't.

I understand you guys want more info in the frame. I just rather give more credit to the DP's claimed original intent. It is not a matter of right or wrong, it is a matter of taste and official taste (DP's)... Just MHO anyway, no big deal.

But check the 2.35:1 grabs at DVDBeaver, there are two that may justify the cinematographer's choice (or at least help clarify a bit), one where a soldier's arm appear in the right side and the second where some obscure object degrade the composition in the left side (Peter O'Toole in the center).

It would be nice If someone could come with more grabs from the 2.35:1 DVD.
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