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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:43 pm 
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Weren't the Kino and MoC (German) transfers taken from exactly the same Transit Films HD master?


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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 6:58 pm 
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The Kino absolutely has better tonality and shadow detail.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 3:43 am 
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"Absolutely" implies that you've watched both in motion all the way through.

But I bet you haven't.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:24 am 
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Zaki wrote:
Isn't the MoC picture slightly darker than one would wish? Looking at the Beaver grab in which Dietrich sits on the barrel, for example, it is impossible to distinguish between her black dress and the barrel. This is not the case with the comparable Kino grab. Although I will personally buy the MoC for all the great extras (and the English version) it has, the Kino--based on the Beaver screen grabs, at least--does show slightly more detail.
It's the standard "One version is slightly lighter, one is slightly darker" - just M all over again. They are essentially the same, a very minor difference.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:55 am 
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And surely one click of the brightness and/or contrast settings on your player would result in you getting the image you want anyway?


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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 11:42 am 
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TMDaines wrote:
And surely one click of the brightness and/or contrast settings on your player would result in you getting the image you want anyway?


On the contrary, if it's the encoding which is like this, shadow details are gone in the blacks. By changing brightness and/or contrast, you will furthermore disturb the settings of your set, and make the blacks greyer but that's it.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:02 pm 
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True. I just hammered the brightness up on my laptop and all the detail is well and truly lost.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:11 am 
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Blu-ray.com


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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:34 pm 
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MoC’s new Blue Angel follows their exemplary practice of not messing with the ingredients. Thus the image quality for the German language (unarguably the superior of the two versions) retains great black levels and to my eyes the enhanced high contrast picture does not suffer from any loss of shadow detail or any other potential problems like banding or compression. Transferred under the additional guiding hand of James White I think it’s an ideal presentation of the existing TransitFilm elements which, it has to be said are far from ideal. This extends to the soundtrack which retains all its crackle and hiss from the original Klangfilm audio. Again I believe MoC took the wise move in not subjecting the audio to extensive EQ and filtering to clean it up.
It should be noted the English language version comes from a far superior element, much closer to a fine grain 35 or an O-neg. Surface damage is less frequent and grain structure is much finer the German version. But the positive has gone through 35mm printing (perhaps push printing?) which renders it much lighter and paler than it should be. There is virtually no true black and contrast is flattened. While some aspects of this are pleasing to the eye I don’t believe they represent an ideal color/tonal balance. In any case I am certain this is how the telecine presented and again MoC didn’t meddle with the black level or gamma. If you want to vary it yourself you can fiddle to your heart’s content with the dials.
The extras are terrific with one major reservation on my part.
Marlene’s screen test is a doozy and looks like real quality here after the existing Youtube clips.
Tag’s essay is another doozy - a 28 minute journey, once again into Sternberg’s quest for indentity - “Who am I” which also takes us en route for a whirlwind tour of the short miracle that was Weimar Berlin, with some of its greatest stage and film personalities: Kurt Gerron, Rosa Valetti (the club’s hostess and a central figure in 20s Berlin), the sublime Hans Albers, Charles Puffy, Roland Varno, and the fabulous Weintraubs Syncopaters, with a couple of cutaway shots to Hollander himself bashing the ivories, and Waxman (the musical arranger) honking a sax. What Tag shows us here is how completely JVS charmed his way into this profoundly inventive and unique miracle of Weimar Berlin and became himself part of this epicentre of talent, making a great masterpiece which is both a superlative Weimar work and completely his own.

I raise this if only to then comment on the regrettable direction taken by Mr Rayns in his commentary track. I was hoping we wouldn’t once again be plunged into a scenario like the aesthetic and formal judgments he makes against Mizoguchi’s direction and acquiesence to producer mandated cuts in his Ugetsu commentary. The way I see it someone who’s paid to do a commentary owes the film a sales job, and if he’s going to raise negatives they have to be contextualized and consistently balanced with the positives. Unfortunately to me Mr Rayns seems to me to take some sort of pleasure in tearing down reputations or at least appearing to tender a superior reading of the material over and above the film itself. Thus it now also happens with Sternberg and in this case he seems to have honed in on a recent JVS Biography by the appalling John Baxter (if ever there was a Highamesque writer Baxter takes the prize.) It seems that Baxter, and by osmosis Mr Rayns have taken the line that Joe had decided in his own mind to follow the supposed lead of his role model, Stroheim, and as it is said here, make himself totally hated by all he met as some sort of personal strategy through his life. Thus his legendary pride and intransigence on some issues and his diffidence on others has been now transported into the realm of what seems to be a psychopathology bordering on terminal narcissism. I don’t buy it. For every actor or writer who dissed Joe – Hecht, Jaffe, William Powell, dozens more sang his praises – Louise Brooks over his resurrection of Georgia Hale into a star, and Georgia, Chaplin, Gene Tierney, Cary Grant, Gary Cooper and most recently Maria (then) Sieber, Dietrich’s daughter at 7 whom Joe guided through her tiny role in Scarlet Empress. The Joe they remember, and I remember from meeting him in the flesh in 1968 is another human being from the one Mr Rayns tries to eviscerate. Among other things it surprises me to find I seem to have done more research than Mr Rayns, at least beyond the realm of Mr Baxter’s doodling, and after making my way through numerous tiny but totally unnecessary errors in things like movie titles (calling Claudius “I Claudius”, which is the name of the Graves book, not the movie as partially shot, calling the working title for Devil is a Woman as Capriccio Espagnole, when it was Caprice Espagnole. And crediting, of all things Macao as a personally Sternbergian movie while the briefest of research elsewhere, including Bernard Eisenschitz would have confirmed that 90% of the footage of Hughes final cut is directed by Nick Ray. I am also surprised to hear of some of Eisenstein’s outbursts as reported. If Eisie had called Joe “gay” (not a word in use in 1930 of course) Joe I have no doubt would have been flattered to be so honored by one Major Queen as another. It might have been more helpful to acknowledge Joe’s own comments about Eisie and his endless sketchpads during and after the Mexican debacle and just prior to Joe rescuing the near aborted American Tragedy project.
So apart from one major negative and one which is easily ignored, the package is a marvel, and I hope it does as well as it deserves.


Last edited by david hare on Sat Feb 02, 2013 2:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 1:32 am 
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I have nothing to add bar seconding the terribleness of Baxter's book. One shouldn't spend so much time making out your subject as a short ugly gollum-esque creature if your book's cover contradicts you. Only by reading it simultaneously with Chinese Laundry, using the more straightforward biography as a reminder checklist, could somebody gain value from it.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2013 3:01 am 
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triodelover wrote:
Zaki wrote:
Isn't the MoC picture slightly darker than one would wish? Looking at the Beaver grab in which Dietrich sits on the barrel, for example, it is impossible to distinguish between her black dress and the barrel.

If you are referencing the German version, your eyes are far better than mine if you can distinguish the hem of her skirt from the barrel on either the Kino or MoC. The MoC is certainly darker, but the hem and barrel are indistinguishable on both.

It should be mentioned that the image can tend to be a bit flickery in motion, so if a grab from the Kino is even just a few frames off from the MoC (as is the case with the barrel shot), one of them being a little brighter isn't necessarily meaningful. On the whole, I thought the MoC transfer looked very filmlike and about as good as could be expected.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:10 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 8:24 pm
I watched the first five minutes of The Blue Angel last night, jesus this is a good movie.

The poster of Lola washed down and then the prof looks in the bird cage and the landlady storms in looks at the dead budgie and chucks it in the flaming stove.

It's like a poem with the vivid intensity of a few lines by the ex-Dean of St Paul's. Or maybe some German guy I don't know yet.

(I saw it years ago at the Scala in Kings Cross London on a triple bill with Pandora's Box and a third movie I don't remember the name of and the guy I saw it with is dead 10 years so I can't ask him. Does anywhere still put on that kind of scheduling ?)


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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:44 am 
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Location: Brandywine River
stwrt wrote:
It's like a poem with the vivid intensity of a few lines by the ex-Dean of St Paul's. Or maybe some German guy I don't know yet.

Do you mean Graeme Knowles and Rudolf Hess?


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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 6:55 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:01 pm
Location: WellyYeller
Bitch. I suspect it's Gordon back in another guise.

Anyway I hope it's Gordon.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 7:39 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 8:24 pm
John Donne, you philistines.

He wrote somewhere about a dead budgie

"For I am every dead thing"

My name's not Gordon, in real life it's Henry Plink.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:58 pm 
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And they call me Hortense.

"Say isn't that Hortense over there?"

"I dunno, she looks pretty relaxed to me!"


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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:16 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 8:24 pm
Couldn't call Lola "tense".


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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:29 am 
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Nah, but La Rayns was in the fucking commentary!


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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 7:40 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 2:53 am
Location: Canada
david hare wrote:
MoC’s new Blue Angel follows their exemplary practice of not messing with the ingredients. Thus the image quality for the German language (unarguably the superior of the two versions) retains great black levels and to my eyes the enhanced high contrast picture does not suffer from any loss of shadow detail or any other potential problems like banding or compression. Transferred under the additional guiding hand of James White I think it’s an ideal presentation of the existing TransitFilm elements which, it has to be said are far from ideal. [b]This extends to the soundtrack which retains all its crackle and hiss from the original Klangfilm audio. Again I believe MoC took the wise move in not subjecting the audio to extensive EQ and filtering to clean it up.
Because it was explicitly brought up, I was compelled to put this together:



Sure, MoC didn't perform any filtering, but TransitFilm sure as hell did. Everything over 8 kHz has been removed and some of the lower frequencies are enormously exaggerated, much like what Shochiku did with Early Summer, Late Spring, and The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum.

What MoC did do is replace the opening Mozart aria with a version from another source, probably because the first 10 seconds of the restored track given to them (as heard on the Universum and Kino blu-rays) were cut off. So the first two and a half minutes of the MoC blu-ray sound fine, but everything after definitely does not.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:25 am 
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Why do companies keep doing this filtering?


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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:06 am 
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Like for DNR and EE : because they think it fits better the general audience's expectations.
I just saw yesterday a French label boasting how they restored the 95' anime version of Ghost in the Shell and that they achieved a "better but still faithful visual aspect by the combination of 3 tools : removing the telecinema damages, removing the grain, sharpening the picture".
I even had a surreal conversation with another French label who clearly couldn't understand why it's a problem to wrongly encode a movie in 1080i50 while 24fps is the native / original framerate.

So I guess some professionals still are a long way from always making the best decisions - even people for who it's actually the line of work (see Bologna's controversial color-timing - yes, singular : all the restorations they color-timed now have the same color-timing).


Regarding Moshrom audio findings : I should go back in my Gaumont Classiques BD and analyse the soundtracks spectrums : I always thought all these old French movies sound muffled because it was recorded that way. It actually most likely is a by-product of a way too strong audio NR. It certainly is the case on Le dernier des six.


Last edited by tenia on Thu Mar 16, 2017 3:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:21 am 
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Isn't the issue that some degree of digital tinkering is a must for all projects, but it's an art, and some people go too far with it? Like the best CGI in movies, if people are doing their jobs right, you won't notice they're doing anything.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:55 am 
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It could be it, but I believe that in many cases, it's due to digital tools not being used improperly but being used in a lazy way. Why bother adapting the filter on a shot-by-shot basis if you can just put an intensity and carry out the same filtering through the whole movie ?

It's the same for encodes : you can select the basic setup and obtain a varying but rather decent result or you can do like David does and adjust it on a shot-by-shot basis manually.

But you're right : when done right, you shouldn't notice anything at all.

On the other end, restoring with care should be the standard, and it seems that because audio is often less tangible (and less "obvious") than video, it has been rather left behind. DNR and EE are caracterised as detrimental for years, but audio NR still passes many people by, including many BD reviewers (see how many restorations with lossless tracks are given less than 4 out of 5 on blu-ray.com, for instance).

Following Moshrom's findings, I'm now checking the spectrum for every release I'm reviewing : most of them are noticeably filtered, even if the PQ is very very good. I wouldn't surprised if even some Sony restorations (which are currently some of the best on the market) have filtered sound too.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:21 am 
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Moshrom's posts have been great because it finally makes sense to me why the theatrical sound experience is so different than home video. I saw Wild Bunch in 35mm last year and remember the sound of gunshots being piercingly loud, something I've never found with a home video. I figured, if sound is so "lossless" why don't these films sound the way they do in the theater? Now I know why.


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 Post subject: Re: BD 49 The Blue Angel
PostPosted: Thu Mar 16, 2017 11:36 am 
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Something I've always wondered: who does QC for these issues on labels? Are there James White equivalents supervising or at least signing off on transfers and checkdiscs? What does enlisting the services of an expert cost? I would be terrified to start a boutique label and shovel a lot of money into it only to miss these problems and get hammered online by the very niche audience I was trying to attract


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