Alien Anthology Blu-ray vs DTheater/HDTV Comparisons - Page 6 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #151 of 190 Old 10-28-2010, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Deviation View Post

Saying it that way is more than a bit disingenuous - or at the very least, incredibly dismissive. There's a vast difference between having a director go back and fix something that the studio forced on them and a director going back to make vast changes based on an opinion that changed over time and trying to force his new vision of an old work on people while making the original work difficult to obtain.

I would love to agree with you, but how can we even make that distinction?

Francis Ford Coppola wanted Apocalypse Now! to be much closer to the "Redux" version, yet many fans of the film (myself included) still prefer the abridged original cut. The "Redux" version is still missing a large number of scenes that were shot and present on rough cuts of the film, so how can we be sure that FFC didn't selectively jettison them in retrospect?

George Lucas clearly wanted to include Jabba the Hutt in the original Star Wars; he filmed it, but "the studio" wouldn't give him the time or money to add the creature in post, so it didn't happen for over 20 years. Lucas wanted a LOT of things he couldn't get, but most fans of the Star Wars Trilogy still prefer the original editions, and not without perfectly good reason.

Heck, the original ending for George Romero's Dawn of the Dead script included the entire cast committing suicide, but changed his mind on set - had Romero decided to shoot the original scripted ending 30 years after the fact and called it a "Director's Cut", would anyone accept it, because that's what the director said he wanted when the film was in production?

Color timing now is so far advanced from how it was in the 1970s that it's really a part of the restoration. Back when a director signed off on a single Answer Print, and that was mainly for things like Night-For-Day shots and dissolves. That Answer Print wasn't even used to make those prints, it was simply archived for future reference while the labs re-created that Answer Print as an Internegative to make screening prints from. Let's not forget that film color fades over time, so it might not even be physically possible to make a transfer in 2010 look the way it did back in, say, 2002, if time wasn't forgiving to the stock used on the negative.

The "look" of the finished film was once in the hands of the labs making the prints, at the mercy of the replication equipment, properties of the individual film stock, and even the projectionists handling the actual exhibition. There was no way for Ridley Scott in 1979 to say "This is exactly how the film should look." It just wasn't possible. Allowing a director to color time a vintage film is allowing them to produce a visual language for the feature in a way that was never really made available to them before. Besides, if the Director's input isn't worthy of color timing, who's is? Joe Techie, who's never seen or even heard of the film before? A fan who claims to have photographic memory of how the 4th or 5th generation print he saw 30 years ago looked? A studio executive who just wants the picture to "really pop"?

(The correct answer is, of course, "The Director of Photography". Usually. )

Assuming these caps are trustworthy, the D-Theater (Alien) and HD Broadcast (Aliens) both have blown-out contrast, washed out skin tones, exaggerated grain and murky blacks. The new transfers look different, but they aren't wildly out of line with prior releases, and in many ways, they are a direct improvement. Neither film is anywhere close to The French Connection or Bram Stoker's Dracula, where the look of the film has been willingly manipulated (I hesitate to say "destroyed") by its' creator - it's merely the directors giving their input as to makes the films look their best, which is exactly why they're invited to do it in the first place.
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post #152 of 190 Old 10-28-2010, 05:07 PM
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It would be nice to know what display the members have that have a issue or like this box set have. Sorry about the amount of haves

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post #153 of 190 Old 10-29-2010, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevestevenson View Post

No, if you can't see the shifts happening all you have to do is attempt to do a color balance on the image. If you do it on the dtheater, the colors remain proper because the tonal balance is fully intact. Gradients remain, flesh tones are natural and complex, and grey is still grey. You can also push and pull with it still looking good. On the bluray, if you attempt to perform a balance on it the shift becomes extremely visible. All of the flesh tones shift to orange and all of the neutral grey shifts to teal. There are only a few images above that don't follow this rule, and they are the ones with extreme dynamics or were previously shifted too far to teal (like the landing) which they corrected. If you aren't convinced, and you can't see the shift in the image as it is, try it yourself.

Again its tasteful compared to Aliens, but its still there. Grey was neutral, now its teal. Flesh tones were natural, now they look like they visited the jersey shore. The biggest fault with this release is the reduction in detail in dark areas, they went a little far with that (far more so than they did with color).

Steve, I may have given you some grief on Alien. And I still disagree with you on that. I don't find "All of the flesh tones shift to orange and all of the neutral grey shifts to teal" as you insist. Nor do I find the brightness levels problematic. It's a dark film, but shadow detail is still well represented.

However... and this is a really big "however"... I watched Aliens last night, and I agree with you 100% on that. In fact, I would go further. The teal and orange is out of control in that transfer. From the point the marines land at the colony, every single shot in the movie is teal. I think it looks absolutely hideous.

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Originally Posted by Kentai View Post

The new transfers look different, but they aren't wildly out of line with prior releases, and in many ways, they are a direct improvement. Neither film is anywhere close to The French Connection or Bram Stoker's Dracula, where the look of the film has been willingly manipulated (I hesitate to say "destroyed") by its' creator - it's merely the directors giving their input as to makes the films look their best, which is exactly why they're invited to do it in the first place.

Unfortunately, in my opinion James Cameron has almost destroyed Aliens. The amount of teal in the movie is absurd now. The "steely" blues that have always been a part of Cameron's signature style are completely gone, replaced entirely with teal and orange. It's a consistent distraction.

While I probably still wouldn't put it in the same category as The French Connection, it's honestly not far removed.

In technical terms, the transfer has many wonderful attributes. The sharpness, detail, and clarity are amazing. But, aesthetically, it's a complete disaster. It's one of the ugliest discs I've watched in ages.

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post #154 of 190 Old 10-29-2010, 09:52 AM
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post #155 of 190 Old 10-29-2010, 11:05 AM
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Josh Z, while I don't disagree with you totally, I don't know that the ruddy flesh tones of the old transfer was much of an improvement. If we were to tone the red down on HDTV shot #21 until the highlights were white, it'd look something like THIS - which is, I must say, fairly similar to the Blu-ray. (Keep in mind this was 5 seconds in Photoshop. I'm sure someone less busy could correct circles around me. )

Is that correct? Heck, I honestly don't know. But if I were in charge of color correction I'd generally assume that the blown-out highlights should be white, short of the director or DP telling me otherwise.
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post #156 of 190 Old 10-29-2010, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kentai View Post

Josh Z, while I don't disagree with you totally, I don't know that the ruddy flesh tones of the old transfer was much of an improvement. If we were to tone the red down on HDTV shot #21 until the highlights were white, it'd look something like THIS - which is, I must say, fairly similar to the Blu-ray. (Keep in mind this was 5 seconds in Photoshop. I'm sure someone less busy could correct circles around me. )

Is that correct? Heck, I honestly don't know. But if I were in charge of color correction I'd generally assume that the blown-out highlights should be white, short of the director or DP telling me otherwise.

If an explosion were going off behind me, I'd expect the area to be bathed in fiery reds, not teal.

I don't think the colors in the HDTV caps look spectacular either, but I still prefer them to the gaudy teal & orange look. YMMV.

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post #157 of 190 Old 10-29-2010, 12:22 PM
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Josh, setting aside the issue of revisionism, in purely aestetic terms how would you compare the transfer to that of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen or other movies with an intentional teal/orange look?

Having only the Aliens screenshots to go by I think I'd gladly take that transfer's positive attributes over those of DI-sourced mush like RotF or Clash of the Titans any day of the week.
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post #158 of 190 Old 10-29-2010, 12:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

Steve, I may have given you some grief on Alien. And I still disagree with you on that. I don't find "All of the flesh tones shift to orange and all of the neutral grey shifts to teal" as you insist. Nor do I find the brightness levels problematic. It's a dark film, but shadow detail is still well represented.

We'll have to agree to disagree on these points, I would say the shift exists (slightly) and that if its so slight that most people don't even notice it then they didn't really have to do it at all. The shadow stuff is another one where its a redundant step that they just put on for optimization of the image on bad screens and they probably didn't need to do it. The lowpass ensures that there is a good bit of 0,0,0 black, which improves the contrast ratio on screens that have difficulty with the non 0,0,0 dark colors. Thats their choice, and they are probably doing it in what they believe is the best interest of the greatest number of watchers. All I was saying is that they could have done without it, especially considering that they corrected the gamma and thus the dark detail would have become even darker (but not to the point that the lowpass forced). Minor technicalities surely, especially when we consider what was done to Aliens, but they are still there.

Quote:
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However... and this is a really big "however"... I watched Aliens last night, and I agree with you 100% on that. In fact, I would go further. The teal and orange is out of control in that transfer. From the point the marines land at the colony, every single shot in the movie is teal. I think it looks absolutely hideous.

Yeah, most of the improvements in the detail department have been negated by the overkill orange/teal treatment. It still looks great in that sense sense, but the orange/teal is sadly extreme and revisionist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post

Unfortunately, in my opinion James Cameron has almost destroyed Aliens. The amount of teal in the movie is absurd now. The "steely" blues that have always been a part of Cameron's signature style are completely gone, replaced entirely with teal and orange. It's a consistent distraction.

While I probably still wouldn't put it in the same category as The French Connection, it's honestly not far removed.

In technical terms, the transfer has many wonderful attributes. The sharpness, detail, and clarity are amazing. But, aesthetically, it's a complete disaster. It's one of the ugliest discs I've watched in ages.

Can't argue there, the color is hideous. This is the ultimate action sci-fi movie, and they felt they had to do what every ultimate crap 2010 movie feels compelled to do to make it "competitive". Pretty sad.
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post #159 of 190 Old 10-29-2010, 01:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IanRW View Post

Josh, setting aside the issue of revisionism, in purely aestetic terms how would you compare the transfer to that of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen or other movies with an intentional teal/orange look?

That's really hard to say. The fact that I know that Aliens was originally shot with different colors in mind makes this one a bigger disappointment than Transformers. I've already come to accept that Michael Bay's movies are gaudy and obnoxious. Aliens shouldn't be.

Also, and it pains me to say this, but at least Transformers has some other colors in the mix with all the teal and orange. On Aliens, after the marines get to the colony, it's literally all teal and orange. There isn't a single shot that isn't bathed in teal.

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post #160 of 190 Old 10-29-2010, 01:25 PM
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Walked in the door today and to my surprise, a package from Amazon UK! Estimated delivery was for November 15th, so you can imagine my shock. Plays perfectly in my LG BH-200.

My GOD, it looks wonderful. I've never seen and heard Alien and Aliens look and sound this good. I'm a fan. The chapter "Sulaco" almost looks 3-D when the ship pans across the screen. Most impressive.

$58 and 4 days shipped. I'll have to buy from Amazon UK more often!
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post #161 of 190 Old 10-29-2010, 02:31 PM
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Not seeing the problem with the new color timing in Aliens.

Movies that abuse Teal/Orange can definitely look a**-ugly, like Transformers 2 or Iron Man 2, but not here imo.

The skin tones look proper, the blues respect the original atmosphere, etc. Nothing is fundamentally changed, if anything, the film looks more consistent now.

I will admit, I prefer the Steely Blue tones that is seen in parts of the original film, however the majority of Aliens had a purple-ish tone rather than a blue one, and in that case I find the new color job, which seems to emphazise the cold atmosphere, to be a vast improvement.





This scene is a perfect example. The new colors work much better and feel much more suited the films atmosphere, rather than the original, which seems neither here nor there.
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post #162 of 190 Old 10-29-2010, 03:25 PM
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Always hated the original pinky-purple hue that the whole of Aliens used to have on previous formats. I was not expecting a colour re-timing, but its very welcome. It looks a lot better now.
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post #163 of 190 Old 10-29-2010, 03:51 PM
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If the pictures in post 161 are representative of the BD v an HD broadcast, well all I can say is I'm now down to looking forward to the individual
BD release of Alien.

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post #164 of 190 Old 10-29-2010, 05:12 PM
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I love the little disclaimer on the back of the UK box:
"These discs contain a sequence involving strobe lights effects and could trigger a fit in susceptible viewers."
Remove a few key words and this is a pretty good description of the posts on this (and the other) thread (not that I disapprove of those posts/complaints).
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post #165 of 190 Old 10-29-2010, 05:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumbo View Post

Not seeing the problem with the new color timing in Aliens.

Movies that abuse Teal/Orange can definitely look a**-ugly, like Transformers 2 or Iron Man 2, but not here imo.

The skin tones look proper, the blues respect the original atmosphere, etc. Nothing is fundamentally changed, if anything, the film looks more consistent now.

They reduced it to a nearly duotone color scheme, there are no skin tones now. To say that the this respects the "original atmosphere", wtf is the original atmosphere? If they turned Holloween orange would that be because the atmosphere deemed it so? Turn scarface red because theres blood in it? Should movies that take place in the past be converted to nearly black and white because that, to you, represents the "atmosphere" of the old days? The atmosphere comes from what happens in the film, not what happens TO the film by these pseudo-colorists.

I agree about it looking more consistent, but thats because its only a few colors now and that isn't a good thing!

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Originally Posted by Rumbo View Post

I will admit, I prefer the Steely Blue tones that is seen in parts of the original film, however the majority of Aliens had a purple-ish tone rather than a blue one, and in that case I find the new color job, which seems to emphazise the cold atmosphere, to be a vast improvement.

Its a vast improvement to you because it removed all of the tones. There is no color to balance, its almost all a single color or the other (complementary colors).


Quote:
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This scene is a perfect example. The new colors work much better and feel much more suited the films atmosphere, rather than the original, which seems neither here nor there.

Alright, you asked for it

Here's an example of what I'm talking about. Everyone should see these if they aren't convinced:

Here is the original you linked to:




Here is what happens when you change the gamma of the image. In normal images, when the gamma changes, the image looks like a total mess because all of the color relationships fall apart. In the bluray of Aliens, there are no relationships because there are no colors so when you adjust gamma the ENTIRE IMAGE CHANGES and matches.

Here is what happens when you adjust gamma on the broadcast, with the intact colors:




And heres what happens if you do the identical adjustment on the bluray:


See how almost nothing is out of wack on the bluray? It means there was nothing to throw out of wack.

How about adjusting gamma to give it Yellow "atmosphere":



Interesting, but obviously that doesn't really fit with the feeling. That light should be "cool", so instead of using the warm or hot colors lets just use the cool variety:


Well hot damn! A non-warm color for dark cool atmospheric lighting works!

Why is that working at all? Because its basically a single color. Here is the bluray shot colorized, meaning converted down to one single color.



How different is that from the bluray? Not very. Its basically almost a black and white image, colorized, and then adjusted to a particular complementary color set.






Now the fun part.


Here are the original shots you provided, of the bluray and the broadcast:




And heres the broadcast with a little manipulation:


Uh oh...

The processing isn't even going as far as the bluray, and the list already included (in order, these need to be in-step):

-take the original image and do a hue adjustment, selecting the entire range of colors around teal and do a +29 shift and then desaturate it slightly. So totally ruin the flesh (and all other non-teal) tones and remove the color from them.
-blend a fully teal colorized duplicate of the original image on top of it in soft light mode, meaning parts were blown out and others clipped to black.
-hue adjust of -13
-curve adjustment, blowing the highlights a little bit
-+21 saturation
-apply a gausian noise of 2-3% over the output from the previous adjustments to make it look "film grainy".

Not bad for a few minutes. Totally destructive to the image, not more natural or anything of the sort. They went further, there is even less color information in the bluray shots than in the one above even with those absurdly extreme adjustments.
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post #166 of 190 Old 10-29-2010, 05:37 PM
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Its up to personal preference, that's all there is to it.

I understand your problem with it, but to me, it just looks much better in comparison to most of the old look, theres nothing else I can add to that. When I look at the blu-ray transfer, it just seems "right."
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post #167 of 190 Old 10-29-2010, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumbo View Post

Its up to personal preference, that's all there is to it.

I understand your problem with it, but to me, it just looks much better in comparison to most of the old look, theres nothing else I can add to that. When I look at the blu-ray transfer, it just seems "right."

Thats fine, but we all should be able to agree that there are fewer colors, it is highly stylized, and it isn't more natural. You can prefer this look, for whatever reason, but you can't change the facts surrounding it.
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post #168 of 190 Old 10-29-2010, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevestevenson View Post

If they turned Holloween orange would that be because the atmosphere deemed it so?

Careful with that kind of talk! DP Dean Cudney did tweak the colors on the THX DVD version of Halloween, with cool blues during the nighttime stalking scenes and warm yellows during the "Autumn" afternoons.
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post #169 of 190 Old 10-29-2010, 09:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kentai View Post

Careful with that kind of talk! DP Dean Cudney did tweak the colors on the THX DVD version of Halloween, with cool blues during the nighttime stalking scenes and warm yellows during the "Autumn" afternoons.

rofl
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post #170 of 190 Old 10-30-2010, 12:09 PM
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The colors in the hdtv cap looks more wrong. It has the usual color tweak for a video transfer, were they push the colors more neutral.
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post #171 of 190 Old 10-30-2010, 07:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevestevenson View Post

Thats fine, but we all should be able to agree that there are fewer colors, it is highly stylized, and it isn't more natural. You can prefer this look, for whatever reason, but you can't change the facts surrounding it.

I'm leaning more on the side of The King Of The World himself.
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post #172 of 190 Old 10-31-2010, 05:05 AM
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Unnecessary posts removed.

Walking the fine line between jaw-dropping and a plain ol' yawn.
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post #173 of 190 Old 10-31-2010, 05:47 AM
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I would like to formally apologize to stevestevenson and take back most of what I said about the first Alien movie. I rewatched parts of it last night, and damn you were right. It's teal and orange all over. I don't know how I didn't notice this the first time.

It's still not quite as bad as Aliens, because at least there are still some other colors than just teal and orange, but it's definitely part of this annoying fad.

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post #174 of 190 Old 10-31-2010, 06:07 AM
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I'm just not a fan of films getting revised this way. IMO the Alien DTheater tape looked good. If you look at some of the Star Wars revisions the added CGI in places just looks like it is just what it is, an out of place distraction.

I can say the same about this rather severe color change. I see it in Blade Runner where the added green in the Final Cut just eliminates some of the rather subtle and quite gorgeous colors in the Directors Cut.

Anyway, it is too late for Alien etc now, it's lost for good most likely.

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post #175 of 190 Old 10-31-2010, 07:22 AM
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So the intense initial praise is now being drowned out by the claims that the BD color timing has "practically ruined" Alien and Aliens, and now Alien is "lost for good."

Things have changed around here, it seems. It used to be all the over-reaction was to say how almost every new BD has been ruined, even before it came out.

Now it looks like the trend will be how screenshots will leak out, it will be the most gorgeous output ever known to man.... and then DNR/EE/contrast boosting/color timing/other issue du jour will have ruined the director's intent and all audience enjoyment of what could have been and should have been the best presentation of a major movie classic.... ever.

Interesting evolution from "it's all bad" to "it's great, nah, never mind, it's bad, too." Still, I do believe a lot more thought (one could argue "over-thought") is put into the examination of the films on this site. It seems other sites tend do just the opposite, and praise every BD manufactured.

Let's just say, IMO, the "truth for me" has often been in the middle of these two extremes. The early reviews are still interesting, and the heads up of the playback-ability with certain hardware is still very valuable information.

*************************************************

Still looking for a movie theatre that shows movies the way they're SUPPOSED to be viewed...



...with a bitrate meter and screencaps.
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post #176 of 190 Old 10-31-2010, 07:28 AM
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I can't remember everyone's take on Ocean's 11 (although being this site, it must have been ruined, one way or another ) but I remember it being praised in quite a few other circles for its video quality. I still have that HD DVD, and still like that title. THAT, however, was an orange movie!

Going to try to see if any of my buddies picked up the Alien set, and ask them to borrow one of them (or watch it with them) and see what the uproar is about.

*************************************************

Still looking for a movie theatre that shows movies the way they're SUPPOSED to be viewed...



...with a bitrate meter and screencaps.
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post #177 of 190 Old 10-31-2010, 07:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ILJG View Post

I can't remember everyone's take on Ocean's 11 (although being this site, it must have been ruined, one way or another ) but I remember it being praised in quite a few other circles for its video quality. I still have that HD DVD, and still like that title. THAT, however, was an orange movie!

Going to try to see if any of my buddies picked up the Alien set, and ask them to borrow one of them (or watch it with them) and see what the uproar is about.

All 3 Oceans look exactly how they looked in the cinema, people with a problem forget that
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post #178 of 190 Old 10-31-2010, 07:58 AM
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These gripes do feel pretty insane to me. Yes, the color timing has been changed, but one's preference for the color of a movie is quite subjective. Overall, Alien and Aliens looks absolutely fantastic, with exceptional detail and even a nice sheen of grain. Previous home versions of Aliens were absolutely atrocious and I am glad to have this new BD. I, for one, welcome our new teal/orange overlords if they can guarantee that all new BDs will have the picture quality of Alien or Aliens.
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post #179 of 190 Old 10-31-2010, 08:07 AM
 
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I just wish that this was an archival edition like Blade Runner with all versions/cuts/looks off all the movies.
But if they did that, then what would they sell us next time around?
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post #180 of 190 Old 10-31-2010, 08:08 AM
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So the intense initial praise is now being drowned out by the claims that the BD color timing has "practically ruined" Alien and Aliens, and now Alien is "lost for good."

Things have changed around here, it seems. It used to be all the over-reaction was to say how almost every new BD has been ruined, even before it came out.

Now it looks like the trend will be how screenshots will leak out, it will be the most gorgeous output ever known to man.... and then DNR/EE/contrast boosting/color timing/other issue du jour will have ruined the director's intent and all audience enjoyment of what could have been and should have been the best presentation of a major movie classic.... ever.

Interesting evolution from "it's all bad" to "it's great, nah, never mind, it's bad, too." Still, I do believe a lot more thought (one could argue "over-thought") is put into the examination of the films on this site. It seems other sites tend do just the opposite, and praise every BD manufactured.

Let's just say, IMO, the "truth for me" has often been in the middle of these two extremes. The early reviews are still interesting, and the heads up of the playback-ability with certain hardware is still very valuable information.



Having previous interations, like the DTheater version, makes a difference. Reviews based on the image without knowing that at some point it may have actually looked better are at a disadvantage.

The screen cap comparisons can be real "objective " eye openers.



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