962 Death in Venice

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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jsteffe
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Re: 962 Death in Venice

#101 Post by jsteffe » Fri Apr 19, 2019 5:33 pm

David, that's a very telling story about projecting DEATH IN VENICE. I do wonder whether the softness and overall graininess in the film may have do with the heavy reliance on a zoom lens as you suggest, perhaps combined with shooting in relatively low light conditions. For me, Visconti's most beautifully photographed color film is still by far THE LEOPARD, but that's something very special and it was shot in Technirama by Rotunno with robust and carefully designed lighting.

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tenia
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Re: 962 Death in Venice

#102 Post by tenia » Sat Apr 20, 2019 2:10 pm

From what I've seen so far (I've yet to sit in front of the full movie), while I believe it is far from being the worst offender regarding Ritrovata's hands-on, the fact that we can still easily guess which lab did the grading remains quite telling.

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david hare
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Re: 962 Death in Venice

#103 Post by david hare » Sat Apr 20, 2019 5:12 pm

That’s never in doubt Rémy

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jsteffe
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Re: 962 Death in Venice

#104 Post by jsteffe » Sun Apr 21, 2019 1:43 pm

I took a closer look at Criterion's Death in Venice, alongside the HD streaming version which is still available on Amazon.

The black crush problem in the new restoration is worse than I originally thought, and I agree completely with Chris's criticisms of the image in his review on this site. Sampling the image with video scopes, it is similar to Ritrovata's The Color of Pomegranates in that the gain in the green channel is pushed up for most of the film, contributing to a greenish cast to varying degrees depending on the specific content of the shot. The other point of similarity is that the floor of the blue channel is pushed down lower than the other two channels. If there are deep blacks in a particular shot, it results in black crush and information is getting lost. The problem was not as readily apparent with the Pomegranates master because it doesn't have as many deep blacks. On this Blu-ray it is more obvious.

Here are some sample scopes to illustrate what I mean:

Shot beginning 05:56 (Lots of blue in this shot because of the blue sky in the background.)
Image

Shot beginning 54:23
Image

Shot beginning 1:05:43
Image

Here are several frame grabs to compare with the older HD master on Amazon. As you can see, sometimes the older master handles flesh tones better, but it is also quite dated and has a red push in many places.

Criterion 1
Streaming 1

Criterion 2
Streaming 2

Criterion 3
Streaming 3

Criterion 4
Streaming 4

Criterion 5
Streaming 5

Criterion 6
Streaming 6

I think consumers have a right to expect video transfers without obvious technical defects. Between this and the dark and teal Mélo, its as if we are entering a new "dark ages" in digital film restoration.

M Sanderson
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Re: 962 Death in Venice

#105 Post by M Sanderson » Sat May 11, 2019 2:35 pm

Wow, I expected it to look great with a little green or yellow pushing, which seems to be the trend of late.

But this is unwatchable. The film looks dark, harsh, underexposed. Definitely, black crush. Not the delicate film I recall from a cinema screening or from Warner’s old DVD. Where’s the greys and browns gone?

Looks weird as some other Italian films restored by this house Ritrovata. Such as several scenes in Arrow’s What Have you Done to Solange & Property is no Longer a Theft. But far worse.

Best Visconti Blu rays for me are still Arrow’s Ludwig & Cult Films’ L’Innocente. (I recall Eureka’s Conversation Piece & Rocco having various issues also).

(Yes I actually have the Blu ray & am not looking at screen grabs online.)

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tenia
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Re: 962 Death in Venice

#106 Post by tenia » Sat May 11, 2019 4:14 pm

I don't think the older HD master is faithful either. It does look like a master graded following the habits of that time, especially regarding how pink-ish it can get (as James wrote).
It might be better overall compared to the intensity of the direction taken in the new restoration, but I'd be extremely wary in thinking this is more delicate.

I'm not sure about what issues the Eureka releases have. IIRC, Rocco has an incorrect gamma, but I don't think there was anything else, and I'd argue that's relatively negligible.

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Drucker
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Re: 962 Death in Venice

#107 Post by Drucker » Sat May 11, 2019 8:56 pm

I actually just picked up the MOC Conversation Piece since it didn't adopt the obviously incorrect Gaumont color timing. And since the MOC generally is better at keeping audio hiss in tact, it figured to be the one to get.

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jsteffe
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Re: 962 Death in Venice

#108 Post by jsteffe » Sat May 11, 2019 10:11 pm

M Sanderson wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 2:35 pm
Best Visconti Blu rays for me are still Arrow’s Ludwig & Cult Films’ L’Innocente. (I recall Eureka’s Conversation Piece & Rocco having various issues also).
Both the older Criterion and the now out-of-print Australian Madman edition of The Leopard are my favorite Blu-rays of Visconti color films, followed by Arrow's Ludwig. The Australian Blu-ray of The Leopard is based on the Film Foundation/Bologna restoration, which turned out extremely well even if some have debated the choice of standard 'scope aspect ratio. (I'm fine with it and prefer to watch that restoration, if given a choice.) That said, it seems almost unfair to compare The Leopard to other Visconti Blu-rays because the film is clearly better photographed than any of the other films and benefits from being shot in Super Technirama 70.

M Sanderson
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:43 am

Re: 962 Death in Venice

#109 Post by M Sanderson » Sun May 12, 2019 3:29 am

tenia wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 4:14 pm
I don't think the older HD master is faithful either. It does look like a master graded following the habits of that time, especially regarding how pink-ish it can get (as James wrote).
It might be better overall compared to the intensity of the direction taken in the new restoration, but I'd be extremely wary in thinking this is more delicate.

I'm not sure about what issues the Eureka releases have. IIRC, Rocco has an incorrect gamma, but I don't think there was anything else, and I'd argue that's relatively negligible.
I was watching the old dvd on a 4:3 32” TV. It seemed fairly balanced, at the very least. At the time. Any other issues I wouldn’t have seen due to the smallness of the widescreen within the 4:3 screen.

The Criterion Blu ray is just objectionably strange. I was lucky to see a cinema screening and it wasn’t weirdly murky and dark like the current Blu ray. Lots of shadow & colour details are lost.

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