So what is wrong with Universal and why/how they screw up bluray releases of movies - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 184 Old 05-13-2010, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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have you not noticed the string of losers slewing forth???

Removing grain where there is no grain to remove and replacing with artifical grain?

overdone enhacments....and so on on and on...

Patton, Elizabeth, Out of Africa, Sparticus, and feel free to add to the list as there are many I have overlooked


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where before, we had heavy noise as captured by the hd transfer, we now have something akin to the surface of a quiet pond in which not even the smallest ripple distorts the surface. Make no mistake, the video noise inherent in the hd master was a problem. the film element upon which the master was based had the normal grain attributes of large format separation masters, which are nominal. No grain reduction was necessary.

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the video noise, inherent in the hd master is gone. That’s a good thing, but keep in mind that it should never have been there to begin with. In removing the noise, all grain is also gone, replaced by what appears to be a pleasant sheen of artificial film grain.

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all of the detail captured by academy award winning cinematographer russell metty’s meticulous large format technirama camera, for which he won an academy award for best color cinematography, is unfortunately also gone.

http://www.hometheaterforum.com/foru...cus-in-blu-ray

that should fix

best move for Universal-Stop transferring, mastering.If not for the sake of the films, do it for our planet.-Harris;
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post #2 of 184 Old 05-13-2010, 12:41 PM
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Who knows? Sony's had it right almost from the beginning. Fox had some missteps but is now pretty reliable. Even Paramount has been kicking it up a notch--it seems less than coincidental that Gladiator was a co-production with Universal, especially when Braveheart ended up so good--and lots of smaller studios are turning out good product.

What's even more puzzling is that it's not consistent. For every Spartacus and Apollo 13, they're also releasing good, seemingly-untouched discs like Dune and Carlito's Way.

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post #3 of 184 Old 05-13-2010, 12:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JBlacklow View Post

What's even more puzzling is that it's not consistent. For every Spartacus and Apollo 13, they're also releasing good, seemingly-untouched discs like Dune and Carlito's Way.

maybe they think the latter are not worth all the intense effort and expense they seem to be putting into all the "special treatments" of the other movies

I have never been a lover of film grain, because it is an artifact of film, and when the film is made and done right, the film grain is usually as Harris puts it "nominal" or unnoticeable...but here there are making a special effort towards over doing it with too much doctor work

if it ain't broke, and Spartacus was clearly NOT, then don't fix it..

Great article/post and everone should read.
Finally someone with whom I agree with ..........100%

best move for Universal-Stop transferring, mastering.If not for the sake of the films, do it for our planet.-Harris;
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post #4 of 184 Old 05-13-2010, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by HVisone View Post

Patton, Elizabeth, Out of Africa, Sparticus, and feel free to add to the list as there are many I have overlooked

Elizabeth needs to be removed from the list though.

(and the link doesn't work anymore it seems)

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post #5 of 184 Old 05-13-2010, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
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http://www.hometheaterforum.com/foru...eth-in-blu-ray

link about elizabeth.....i agree with harris, wasted plastic


spartacus

http://www.hometheaterforum.com/foru...cus-in-blu-ray

so

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post #6 of 184 Old 05-13-2010, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by HVisone View Post

if it ain't broke, and Spartacus was clearly NOT, then don't fix it..

Actually, Spartacus was definitely broken, at least when Universal had their hands on it. Their DVD was lackluster, the HD DVD was hardly an improvement, and the Blu-ray is at least a half-step back from that.

If you want to see the work that RAH put into it, the Criterion DVD is pretty much the only place to do so. I have no doubt that the same Blu-ray in a Criterion package would have looked fantastic.

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post #7 of 184 Old 05-13-2010, 01:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JBlacklow View Post

Actually, Spartacus was definitely broken, at least when Universal had their hands on it. Their DVD was lackluster, the HD DVD was hardly an improvement, and the Blu-ray is at least a half-step back from that.

If you want to see the work that RAH put into it, the Criterion DVD is pretty much the only place to do so. I have no doubt that the same Blu-ray in a Criterion package would have looked fantastic.

read the article---harris helped restore the film, and would disagree (as to possibilities but NOT that the BD sucks)--film is there for the use....

http://www.hometheaterforum.com/foru...cus-in-blu-ray


so the real question is why do they continue and exactly what is the process they are using to screw up///

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post #8 of 184 Old 05-13-2010, 01:43 PM
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Apparently they're given no budget for remastering/new scans. I can only hope the criticism gets back to the management over there and gets them to loosen the purse strings a bit.
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post #9 of 184 Old 05-13-2010, 01:55 PM
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Universal and Catalog titles are light years apart.

Blu-ray : 340
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post #10 of 184 Old 05-13-2010, 02:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by HVisone View Post


I have never been a lover of film grain, because it is an artifact of film,

The grain makes up the image and is inherent to the capturing of that image on film therefore how can it be an "artifact" of film. Sure you can get different film stocks with finer levels of grain but it doesn't change the fact that grain and film go hand in hand.

I love film grain and feel it can add a real artistic quality to some films, obviously Spielberg agrees since he used it to such great effect in many movies including Saving Private Ryan and it was a deliberate choice to do so as he could have used much finer grain film stock if he so wished.
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post #11 of 184 Old 05-13-2010, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by HVisone View Post

have you not noticed the string of losers slewing forth???

Removing grain where there is no grain to remove and replacing with artifical grain?

overdone enhacments....and so on on and on...

Patton
, Elizabeth, Out of Africa, Sparticus, and feel free to add to the list as there are many I have overlooked

Patton is FOX.

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...

if it ain't broke, and Spartacus was clearly NOT, then don't fix it..

...

It was already broke. They just still didn't fix it.
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post #12 of 184 Old 05-13-2010, 03:28 PM - Thread Starter
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The grain makes up the image and is inherent to the capturing of that image on film therefore how can it be an "artifact" of film. Sure you can get different film stocks with finer levels of grain but it doesn't change the fact that grain and film go hand in hand.

I love film grain and feel it can add a real artistic quality to some films, obviously Spielberg agrees since he used it to such great effect in many movies including Saving Private Ryan and it was a deliberate choice to do so as he could have used much finer grain film stock if he so wished.

SPR was deliberate because he wanted the very old poor quality of movie film shot on 8 and 16 mm film as used by combat photographers, and that was not realistic in the sense of being there on D-day.

Absolutely nothing realistic about that unless you want to imagine you are watching old home made movies or old film similarly shot...

The first time became aware of the absence of grain was the little speech given beforehand when seeing the restored version of Lawenrence of arabia in its original 70mm glory. She said something about you will notice how clear and detailed the picture will be due to the size of the film stock negatives and the abundance of light when shot, permitted the use of very slow, fine grained film--unlike most modern films. So it will be like someone washed a dirty window compared to what you have been watching before. But you will also notice a grainy appearance with the dark interior shots due to the lighting.

She was right.

If they do an excellent job of transferring the film to BD, you will need stop action and a telescope to see the grain in most scenes except the dark interior shots.

And the same was true of the restored film of Spartacus.

But alas, once they get to doing all the EE, dnr, and color saturation, it will get ruined like all the others-except I think they just used the old HD master, which appearantly when producing the HD DVD, made a better reproduction than the blue ray

best move for Universal-Stop transferring, mastering.If not for the sake of the films, do it for our planet.-Harris;
TOO LATE; Out of Africa is out-the worst ever
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post #13 of 184 Old 05-13-2010, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
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It was already broke. They just still didn't fix it.

Not the restored film, just the old HD master appearently used to make the BD.
read what the man says.

(and the guy who made it for Fox, must have moved over to screw up the Universal films)

best move for Universal-Stop transferring, mastering.If not for the sake of the films, do it for our planet.-Harris;
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post #14 of 184 Old 05-13-2010, 04:52 PM
 
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SPR was deliberate because he wanted the very old poor quality of movie film shot on 8 and 16 mm film as used by combat photographers, and that was not realistic in the sense of being there on D-day.

Absolutely nothing realistic about that unless you want to imagine you are watching old home made movies or old film similarly shot...

The first time became aware of the absence of grain was the little speech given beforehand when seeing the restored version of Lawenrence of arabia in its original 70mm glory. She said something about you will notice how clear and detailed the picture will be due to the size of the film stock negatives and the abundance of light when shot, permitted the use of very slow, fine grained film--unlike most modern films. So it will be like someone washed a dirty window compared to what you have been watching before. But you will also notice a grainy appearance with the dark interior shots due to the lighting.

She was right.

If they do an excellent job of transferring the film to BD, you will need stop action and a telescope to see the grain in most scenes except the dark interior shots.

And the same was true of the restored film of Spartacus.

But alas, once they get to doing all the EE, dnr, and color saturation, it will get ruined like all the others-except I think they just used the old HD master, which appearantly when producing the HD DVD, made a better reproduction than the blue ray

Who said anything about realism, i said it looks great, it adds something to some movies, you might not like it but then i don't like the super smooth look that for example Zodiac has, yes its very detailed but it didn't appeal to me.

Actually Spartacus was shot Super Technirama 70 which is a slightly grainer process than the usual 70mm shot films, Zulu was also shot in that format so it will not look exactly like Lawrence Of Arabia if restored correctly.

Spielberg also shot Minority Report with a grainy look and indeed i could rattle off other films, Michael Bay loves to add grain to his films for specific scenes, as do other directors, it's not about realism, it's about art.
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post #15 of 184 Old 05-13-2010, 05:44 PM
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from watching the "shooting war' doc on the spr bd, most combat photographers were shooting on 35mm surprisingly.
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post #16 of 184 Old 05-13-2010, 05:58 PM
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I'm probably just lucky with my limited taste in movies (I don't go overboard purchasing I suppose), but other than The 40 Year Old Virgin, which looks horrible, and the just OK Fletch, I'm pretty happy with my Universal titles, I've personally got more good than poor anyway - Seabiscuit, Kong, Dawn of the Dead, Bourne, supposedly the coming Carlito's Way (a MUST BUY for me), etc.
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post #17 of 184 Old 05-13-2010, 07:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBlacklow View Post

Sony's had it right almost from the beginning.

yeah other than rushing old transfers out the door at the beginning resulting in some blurays full of EE and then there was fifth element which was so dreadful they took the time to replace it

it wasn't until the spring/summer of last year that i felt sony was putting out consistently good catalog releases
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post #18 of 184 Old 05-13-2010, 09:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Who said anything about realism, i said it looks great, it adds something to some movies, you might not like it but then i don't like the super smooth look that for example Zodiac has, yes its very detailed but it didn't appeal to me.

Actually Spartacus was shot Super Technirama 70 which is a slightly grainer process than the usual 70mm shot films, Zulu was also shot in that format so it will not look exactly like Lawrence Of Arabia if restored correctly.

Spielberg also shot Minority Report with a grainy look and indeed i could rattle off other films, Michael Bay loves to add grain to his films for specific scenes, as do other directors, it's not about realism, it's about art.

it is the size of the negative and the print that reduces the grain to nominal. Large format film has no more or less grain per area than does ISO50 of 35mm film. It is just when blown up, there is less grain per square inch in large format.

Same with the Spartacus and LOA.

problem is people been watching the 35 grainy stuff shot with anamorphic (squeeze) lens that is reproduced on to similar film stock for the theater, and then at the theater, the print is unsqueezed onto the screen. Then grainy look of a dirty window, is very hard to avoid. And then there is film flicker from the bars separating each negative that is not nearly so noticeable with the 70mm--mainly because they are not there.... (yeah I am one of those who sees the flicker and has to try to ignore it at the movie house or at home)
And the effect of the lenses between the two formats is different also.


People been watching grainy dirty movies for so long, they are "ingrained" in the brain to think grain is normal and sign of great art.....

this how many people used to feel about black and white film--movie and still shots....gee the best photos have always been black and white. That is great art as some would say. (and adding grain to a film per Mike bey, well that is an even bigger joke)

Unfortunately given the choice of the grain and some digital noise or the very screwed up methods of removal and EE, DNR, et all, such that the movie looks like plastic wax figurines, better the grain than THAT CRUD

best move for Universal-Stop transferring, mastering.If not for the sake of the films, do it for our planet.-Harris;
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post #19 of 184 Old 05-13-2010, 09:55 PM
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And then there is film flicker from the bars separating each negative that is not nearly so noticeable with the 70mm--mainly because they are not there.... (yeah I am one of those who sees the flicker and has to try to ignore it at the movie house or at home)
And the effect of the lenses between the two formats is different also.

er, i'm pretty sure that's because the projector has a shutter that strobes the image at 48hz, not because of the space between frames
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post #20 of 184 Old 05-13-2010, 10:05 PM - Thread Starter
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er, i'm pretty sure that's because the projector has a shutter that strobes the image at 48hz, not because of the space between frames

the bars with the 24 fps (which limits the film frame speed and increases the delay between shots) is very noticeable to me. the 48fps is not.

that slow frame speed is also what blurs movement from the camera movement or the subject movement

best move for Universal-Stop transferring, mastering.If not for the sake of the films, do it for our planet.-Harris;
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post #21 of 184 Old 05-14-2010, 03:37 AM
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Originally Posted by HVisone View Post

the bars with the 24 fps (which limits the film frame speed and increases the delay between shots) is very noticeable to me. the 48fps is not.

Actually theater shows movies in 72hz to avoid this problem.
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post #22 of 184 Old 05-14-2010, 03:37 AM
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Originally Posted by HVisone View Post

http://www.hometheaterforum.com/foru...eth-in-blu-ray

link about elizabeth.....i agree with harris, wasted plastic

Have you seen it yourself? I know I'm supposed to trust that review given who wrote it, but otoh, bluray.com and HDD, among others, say both films look great...

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post #23 of 184 Old 05-14-2010, 05:14 AM
 
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I have quoted the parts of the reply i agree with.
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post #24 of 184 Old 05-14-2010, 05:36 AM
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Have you seen it yourself? I know I'm supposed to trust that review given who wrote it, but otoh, bluray.com and HDD, among others, say both films look great...


Reviews are only as accurate as the eye of the the reviewer.

The sad truth is if catalog gets trashed on release this may well be the last time for these particular films during my lifetime. It seems odd that there aren't folks reading this and doing at least the smallest effort to correct what's being done.

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post #25 of 184 Old 05-14-2010, 06:43 AM
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The sad truth is if catalog gets trashed on release this may well be the last time for these particular films during my lifetime. It seems odd that there aren't folks reading this and doing at least the smallest effort to correct what's being done.

...and there lays the conundrum.

Do we buy a lousy looking rare title in hopes of generating a market for future rare titles to be released, or do we refuse to buy in to protest the quality and risk the entire market for these niche titles might go away?

In an environment where so many great titles will never see the light of day on a present or future home video format, the ones that do are often a gift. When they look really great, it's a huge bonus. When they look bad, it becomes a choice of having the title in any form or losing it to the vaults - or worse: public domain, like the animated "Gulliver's Travels".
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post #26 of 184 Old 05-14-2010, 06:46 AM
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What's crazy is how great their new releases are. In my experience, new releases from Universal are almost all excellent when it comes to both video and audio. It's only the catalog titles that are getting screwed over so royally.

They know well enough not to add useless garbage like DNR, EE and contrast boosting to their newer releases, why can't they figure that out for the catalogs as well?

The releases of Spartacus, Out of Africa and Apollo 13 are just another in a long line of epic failures from the catalog department at Universal.
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post #27 of 184 Old 05-14-2010, 09:27 AM
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Almost all new releases are just downconversions of 2K digital intermediates - there are no film to video transfers involved.

It would take a special talent to screw that up.

Don't tug on that, you never know what it might be attached to...
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post #28 of 184 Old 05-14-2010, 09:41 AM
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At this point I have very few Blu-ray discs from Universal. Frankly, Universal makes relatively few movies that are better than mediocre, or worse, in comparison to the other main studios.

Howver, in their defense, I must say that the picture quality of Out of Africa is outstandingly good, in fact it is one of the best Blu-ray transfers I have ever seen from any studio; definitely demo quality. Evidently they did not try to smooth out the grain (and picture detail) as do some of the other studios. Of course, the sound leaves a lot to be desired, but that is undoubtedly due to the limitations in the original soundtrack of this 1985 film.

I cannot speak of the quality of Sparticus or Apollo 13, since I have not seen them.
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post #29 of 184 Old 05-14-2010, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
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Howver, in their defense, I must say that the picture quality of Out of Africa is outstandingly good, in fact it is one of the best Blu-ray transfers I have ever seen from any studio; definitely demo quality. Evidently they did not try to smooth out the grain (and picture detail) as do some of the other studios.

Wrong film. OOA is a poor transfer.
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post #30 of 184 Old 05-14-2010, 10:32 AM
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I'm not going to buy poor quality BDs in the hope that it will encourage studios to keep releasing them. I've gotten picky enough with my BD purchases. I'll wait until I've read enough reviews where I know I can trust the reviewer before I decide to purchase a Universal catalog title.

I'm not even holding my breath about Psycho. I'll wait to see how it turns out before I purchase it.

Doug
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