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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:55 pm 
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The Arrow (which I've seen) should be noticeably grainier than the heavily DNRed Raro (which I haven't, but there seems to be unanimity about the look).

Incidentally, the notion that the Arrow is an upscale of the Paramount DVD is almost too ludicrous to be worth responding to, but I'd better make it absolutely clear that this is not the case! (I didn't work on the release myself, but I'm in close contact with two people who did). Quite aside from anything else, the credits are in different languages - English on the Paramount, Italian on the Arrow.


Last edited by MichaelB on Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:12 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:12 am
fdm wrote:
Calvin wrote:
Not content with the DVDBeaver preview, someone over at AVSForum has zipped together a few Conformist screencaps to compare with these.

Referring to conformist_new.rar, are the a's from Raro and the b's from Arrow ? [Guess I need to find a copy of Screencap Comparisons For Dummies. Can these websites be any more cryptic?]

Edit: Just to elaborate, the b's look similar to beaver's captures, but there seems to be a lot more grain in the a's. And the b's look way DNR'ed compared to the grainy a's.

a - screenshots from the Cineteca Bologna website
b - the Arrow

I think the only Raro screencaps are here.


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:24 pm 
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OK, I've just had a chat with someone who worked directly on the technical side of the Arrow release, and he has confirmed that the Arrow release was not sourced from Paramount's HD master at all, let alone upscaled from the DVD - as will become obvious almost immediately if you compare the two, even aside from the glaring credits discrepancy. I ran both side by side a few weeks ago, and it never occurred to me for a millisecond that the two could have come from a common source - so I was genuinely surprised when Blu-ray.com made that allegation.

Also for the record, Arrow's master was supplied from Bologna, and the reasonable working assumption is that it's the same one used to fuel the Raro DVD - although obviously without the excessive DNR scrubbing. Since these amateur sleuths are mainly working from framegrabs and haven't seen either disc in motion, I'd take most of their "conclusions" about picture definition with a truckload of salt.

On a more general note, I strongly suspect that there's a serious case of overly inflated expectations here. The visual reputation of The Conformist is so towering that people may well be expecting a perfect image, but I have to say that the grain and definition on the Arrow BD looks pretty much as I remember it from numerous 35mm outings (I'm very familiar with how this film looks on the big screen, having been involved with promoting a mid-1990s revival as well as seeing it several times over the years). And if Storaro himself signed off on the master, one presumes he's broadly happy with how it turned out, although I'm aware that that name opens up a whole 'nother can of worms (although not aspect-ratio-related ones for once!)


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:32 pm 

Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:12 am
I don't like this new screencapture science that seems to have developed around DVD/Blu-Ray releases. While DVDBeaver's caps are a guide, the people over at AVSForum seem to have totally discounted the glowing review at the top of the page. It's baffling that some posters were questioning the superiority of the Arrow Blu over the Paramount DVD without even seeing it in motion.


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:40 pm 
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MichaelB wrote:
Since these amateur sleuths are mainly working from framegrabs and haven't seen either disc in motion, I'd take most of their "conclusions" about picture definition with a truckload of salt.

I hate to keep referencing my years in audio in these recurring discussions, but there are definite similarities in the group discussing this BD at AVS Forums and a certain subset of audiophiles, namely those belonging to the "my system is so revealing it makes every recording sound like the s**t we all know it is." Nothing brought that group greater pleasure that ripping apart any recording and exposing its perceived flaws. It was so pervasive that one could wonder if they actually enjoyed listening to music in any context.

The discussion group at AVS applies these same traits to films. It's not that there aren't bad or inferior transfers out there. It's that the game seems to be to rip each and every effort to bring a film to DVD/BD, seeming without ever actually watching the film itself. One must wonder if these people enjoy cinema or have just developed enough technical expertise to delight in dismembering any effort at home reproduction and that such efforts are proof in the public square of their superior equipment selection ability.


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:47 pm 
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Calvin wrote:
It's baffling that some posters were questioning the superiority of the Arrow Blu over the Paramount DVD without even seeing it in motion.

The more arguments I see like this, the more I'm convinced that Blu-ray screen capturing does more harm than otherwise - not so much in terms of the framegrabs themselves but in the often wildly erroneous interpretations that people place on them.

Obviously, it's useful to know that the Raro BD has been DNRed to hell, as that clearly is important information - but one of the problems with presenting framegrabs of higher-resolution material is that because the grain structure is much more visible than it ever was on DVD (where the much lower resolution effectively smooths it out), a single framegrab of a grainy image may well appear to have less visible detail than is in fact the case. The detail becomes visible once you watch all the frames in motion at the rate in which they were intended to be seen.

And, as you say, most of the time people simply don't read the accompanying text, which often provides essential verbal clarification from someone who has seen the transfer in motion. Which the critics of the framegrabs usually haven't.

triodelover wrote:
The discussion group at AVS applies these same traits to films. It's not that there aren't bad or inferior transfers out there. It's that the game seems to be to rip each and every effort to bring a film to DVD/BD, seeming without ever actually watching the film itself. One must wonder if these people enjoy cinema or have just developed enough technical expertise to delight in dismembering any effort at home reproduction and that such efforts are proof in the public square of their superior equipment selection ability.

I completely agree. In fact, you've just reminded me of an anecdote in Charles Shaar Murray's biography of John Lee Hooker in which he (Murray) and an allegedly music-loving neighbour would play each other samples of their record collection - until it dawned on Murray that the neighbour really wasn't interested in music at all, only technique. The crunch point, unsurprisingly given the subject of the book, was when Murray exposed him to some John Lee Hooker, and the neighbour asked "Why are you playing me this? This man can barely play the guitar."


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:17 pm 
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I have this thing about grain being removed, and the subsequent washing away of the detail that is often the result (e.g., Welt am Dreht a la Criterion vs Welt am Dreht a la Carlotta; or just about any Universal catalog title), but other than that... There's a lot to be said for those screenshots from the Cineteca Bologna website, would probably have preferred to see a disc that looked something more along those lines, but the Arrow still seems to be a contender. In the end I usually just end up watching the movie, and hope I don't get pulled out of the film by a crappy transfer, blu-ray or otherwise; when things get "blurry" when you know they shouldn't be, that's sometimes kind of hard to do.


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:44 pm 
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I watched it twice (second time with the commentary), and it was absolutely fine.

As I almost certainly said above, my only two significant issues were the tiny patches of solarisation on the very deep blue window-panes of the ballet school and the venue hosting the big dance scene, and the tiny "jumps" that occasionally happen before cuts, revealing that the transfer was sourced from the cut camera negative instead of an interpos or interneg. Other than that, I was delighted, and it's easy enough to tune those out given the transfer's other manifest advantages.


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:35 pm 
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Calvin wrote:
fdm wrote:
Calvin wrote:
Not content with the DVDBeaver preview, someone over at AVSForum has zipped together a few Conformist screencaps to compare with these.

Referring to conformist_new.rar, are the a's from Raro and the b's from Arrow ? [Guess I need to find a copy of Screencap Comparisons For Dummies. Can these websites be any more cryptic?]

Edit: Just to elaborate, the b's look similar to beaver's captures, but there seems to be a lot more grain in the a's. And the b's look way DNR'ed compared to the grainy a's.

a - screenshots from the Cineteca Bologna website
b - the Arrow

I think the only Raro screencaps are here.

Strangely, I think the Cineteca screenshots look better.


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:23 am 
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I think the problem these days is that people are spoiled in the quality department, you have older films that look really good in HD, and some look OK. Comparisons are made where they should not, wich leads to discussions like this one about The Conformist.
I have made several DVDs the last years from new short films that are shot in HD, but when converted to SD resolution you loose a lot of detail, the people who made the shorts, after editing and such in HD, can't accept the quality loss, wich leads to similar discussions I see here.

I agree that DNR is a big NO, but some people on some review sites really need to get a grip on their reviews, you can not create whats not there.

I am very happy that these days we get so many nice releases, but some of these negative reviews create ripple effects that are not good at all for future releases.


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:08 am 
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MichaelB wrote:
OK, I've just had a chat with someone who worked directly on the technical side of the Arrow release, and he has confirmed that the Arrow release was not sourced from Paramount's HD master at all, let alone upscaled from the DVD - as will become obvious almost immediately if you compare the two, even aside from the glaring credits discrepancy. I ran both side by side a few weeks ago, and it never occurred to me for a millisecond that the two could have come from a common source - so I was genuinely surprised when Blu-ray.com made that allegation.

Also for the record, Arrow's master was supplied from Bologna, and the reasonable working assumption is that it's the same one used to fuel the Raro DVD - although obviously without the excessive DNR scrubbing. Since these amateur sleuths are mainly working from framegrabs and haven't seen either disc in motion, I'd take most of their "conclusions" about picture definition with a truckload of salt.

On a more general note, I strongly suspect that there's a serious case of overly inflated expectations here. The visual reputation of The Conformist is so towering that people may well be expecting a perfect image, but I have to say that the grain and definition on the Arrow BD looks pretty much as I remember it from numerous 35mm outings (I'm very familiar with how this film looks on the big screen, having been involved with promoting a mid-1990s revival as well as seeing it several times over the years). And if Storaro himself signed off on the master, one presumes he's broadly happy with how it turned out, although I'm aware that that name opens up a whole 'nother can of worms (although not aspect-ratio-related ones for once!)


Could I ask which Blu-ray.com allegation you are referring to? I ask because from what you have written above it appears that there is some sort of an official statement in the Blu-ray.com review which links an old Paramount master to Arrow's release. The Blu-ray.com review certainly has not linked the two. The review also does not speculate that this is an upscale. Or are you addressing some random forum post?

As far as expectations are concerned, clearly anyone who has seen this release and understands what type of results modern restorations can produce should be underwhelmed. If you are unsure, take a look at Sony's Blu-ray release of Easy Rider, a film which was made a year before The Conformist and under vastly different conditions. Sony restored the film and struck a new high-definition transfer in 4K resolution from the original negative. You could see how well resolved grain looks there.

Let's have a different example with another 1970 film: the BFI's Blu-ray release of Jerzy Skolimowski's Deep End, which was scanned in 2K (not 4K) and a new high-definition transfer was struck. Even though some degraining has been performed and light noise is present, there is still plenty of grain. Compare these two releases with the high-definition transfer used for The Conformist Blu-ray release. There are fundamental differences - and no, the source has little do with them, because if a new scan was performed, and then a new high-definition transfer was struck from the new master, The Conformist would have looked very, very different on Blu-ray.

As I wrote elsewhere, I understand perfectly well why Arrow did what they did - it was the lesser evil they chose, because had they gone with the DNR-ed Italian high-definition transfer quite a few forums would have exploded again. I don't blame them, they did the right thing. And we can all agree on this.

But there are facts here that one has to recognize: there is very little, if any, grain on this release. What you see the majority of the time is pulsating noise and artifacts that create the illusion that there is grain, which is why definition is poor. This is in addition to the filtering that has been applied. Yes, the Arrow disc looks better than the R1 Paramount DVD, but primarily because the R1 DVD is extremely weak, practically unwatchable these days. A proper high-definition transfer struck from the recent restoration - and free of the denoising the Raro high-definition transfer suffers from - would produce a vastly different result.

Finally, as far as Mr. Storaro signing off the master is concerned, well, the one question that needs to be answered is this: When did he do it? In 2011, in 2012? The master that has been used to produce the high-definition transfer for this release is dated.


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:32 am 
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pro-bassoonist wrote:
Could I ask which Blu-ray.com allegation you are referring to?

Certainly - you initially speculated and then stated outright that it's an old transfer (a charge you repeat at the end of this very comment that I'm responding to!), which is not the impression that Arrow has been giving me.

Quote:
I ask because from what you have written above it appears that there is some sort of an official statement in the Blu-ray.com review which links an old Paramount master to Arrow's release. The Blu-ray.com review certainly has not linked the two.

Not explicitly, certainly, but if you read what you wrote with the knowledge that there are only two HD masters out there (as far as I'm aware), it would be an entirely reasonable inference that Arrow used the same HD master that fuelled Paramount's DVD. In fact, this was something I was wondering about myself, although a side-by-side comparison quickly banished that impression.

Quote:
The review also does not speculate that this is an upscale.

I thought I was clear about this at the time, but I'll very happily stress that that accusation was made on the AVS Forums, and that you do indeed make it clear that there's significantly more visible detail on the Blu-ray!

Quote:
Compare these two releases with the high-definition transfer used for The Conformist Blu-ray release. There are fundamental differences - and no, the source has little do with them, because if a new scan was performed, and then a new high-definition transfer was struck from the new master, The Conformist would have looked very, very different on Blu-ray.

You'll have to argue this point with Arrow, but I understand from them that the HD master came from Bologna and was definitely not the mid-2000s Paramount HD master. I can be absolutely certain on the latter point, as the technical supervisor of Arrow's release also worked on the digital cinema reissue a few years back, which was sourced from Paramount's HD master, so he's handled both masters directly and is therefore familiar with the differences.

Quote:
As I wrote elsewhere, I understand perfectly well why Arrow did what they did - it was the lesser evil they chose, because had they gone with the DNR-ed Italian high-definition transfer quite a few forums would have exploded again. I don't blame them, they did the right thing. And we can all agree on this.

But they don't seem to have done what you're suggesting they did!

Quote:
But there are facts here that one has to recognize: there is very little, if any, grain on this release. What you see the majority of the time is pulsating noise and artifacts that create the illusion that there is grain, which is why definition is seriously compromised. Yes, the Arrow disc looks better than the R1 Paramount DVD, but primarily because the R1 DVD is extremely weak, practically unwatchable these days. A proper high-definition transfer struck from the recent restoration - and free of the denoising the Raro high-definition transfer suffers from - would produce a vastly different result.

But as far as I'm aware, this release was sourced from the same master that fuelled the Raro disc - I admit that I could be wrong on this point, because of course there's no way of being certain about this without contacting the suppliers in Bologna. But if this is the case, surely your entire premise needs a rethink? (I'm not disputing what you saw, since I believe you watch things through a projector and I don't, though I was perfectly happy with the amount of grain that I saw on a 42" plasma).

Quote:
Finally, as far as Mr. Storaro signing off the master is concerned, well, the one question that needs to be answered is: When did he do it? In 2011, in 2012? The master that has been used to produce the high-definition transfer for this release is dated.

This apparently bald statement of fact directly contradicts what I've been told.

Incidentally, do you ever take the trouble to contact DVD/BD producers before writing your reviews? These people are usually not hard to track down, and in my experience they're usually only too happy to answer detailed technical questions, if only to prevent unhelpful speculation and blatant guesswork. Certainly, my own rule with regard to my professional reviews (and indeed quite a few comments in these forums) is that if I'm not personally very sure indeed why a release has ended up the way it has done, I try to ask someone better-informed.


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:09 am 
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MichaelB wrote:
Certainly - you initially speculated and then stated outright that it's an old transfer (a charge you repeat at the end of this very comment that I'm responding to!), which is not the impression that Arrow has been giving me.

This isn't correct. What the review states is this, and I quote: "The relatively good news is that there are no traces of severe denoising - but the dated master the high-definition transfer was struck from was already filtered (more than likely because it was prepared with DVD in mind)." Using a dated master and using a dated transfer are two very different things. And as I noted before, the review does not link an old Paramount master to Arrow's reelase.

MichaelB wrote:
Not explicitly, certainly, but if you read what you wrote with the knowledge that there are only two HD masters out there (as far as I'm aware), it would be an entirely reasonable inference that Arrow used the same HD master that fuelled Paramount's DVD. In fact, this was something I was wondering about myself, although a side-by-side comparison quickly banished that impression.

Well, it is good then that we clarified that the review does not link an old Paramount master to the Blu-ray release.

MichaelB wrote:
I thought I was clear about this at the time, but I'll very happily stress that that accusation was made on the AVS Forums, and that you do indeed make it clear that there's significantly more visible detail on the Blu-ray!

Fair enough. I don't post on AVS and wasn't aware, so we agree.

MichaelB wrote:
You'll have to argue this point with Arrow, but I understand from them that the HD master came from Bologna and was definitely not the mid-2000s Paramount HD master. I can be absolutely certain on the latter point, as the technical supervisor of Arrow's release also worked on the digital cinema reissue a few years back, which was sourced from Paramount's HD master, so he's handled both masters directly and is therefore familiar with the differences.

I don't think I need to argue anything with Arrow because they have not created any confusion at all. You are the one who brought this Paramount master in the discussion, which I personally have never linked to Arrow's release. On the other hand, I do have an email from Arrow in which they make it clear that they worked with a pre-Raro master.

MichaelB wrote:
But they don't seem to have done what you're suggesting they did!

I am unsure what this means since Raro used a pre-Raro master.

MichaelB wrote:
But as far as I'm aware, this release was sourced from the same master that fuelled the Raro disc - I admit that I could be wrong on this point, because of course there's no way of being certain about this without contacting the suppliers in Bologna. But if this is the case, surely your entire premise needs a rethink? (I'm not disputing what you saw, since I believe you watch things through a projector and I don't, though I was perfectly happy with the amount of grain that I saw on a 42" plasma).

Well, Michael, I think that next time you should check with your sources first before you suggest that I need to rethink my premise. I am not here to argue. I am here to quickly share the information I have, as well as my impressions of this release, which obviously are very different from yours.


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:18 am 
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I suspect this boils down to what the term "a pre-Raro master" means!

My interpretation (based on being told that the master came from Bologna and not Paramount) is that it's the master that Raro used before they applied tons of DNR (hence the term "pre-Raro"). As far as I can make out from your post above, your interpretation seems to be that it's an older master that Raro didn't use at all. But I don't think either of us is in a position to definitively claim which is the correct answer without further information.

UPDATE: I've asked for further information, and basically got the same answer - the HD master came from Bologna, was sourced from the original camera negative, and was approved by Storaro. Now we can be reasonably sure that the bit about the negative is true, thanks to the occasional instability that you yourself observed - because the tiny 'jumps' always appear just before a cut in a way that wouldn't be the case if the transfer had come from an interpos or interneg. As for precisely when Storaro approved it, the lab didn't say, and there's no way of dating the master based on the materials supplied - and of course no way of telling except by educated guesswork how much digital processing was applied to the master before it was shipped to Arrow (you and I have both flagged up evidence of some, though it's clearly nowhere near what happened to the Raro release).

But my contact further adds: "I'm curious as to how Mr Basoonist can be so confident there's no grain on the master, though. I know what digital filtering looks like, and this isn't it. This is film grain, right and proper, and if such a level of filtering had been applied to remove the original grain and replace it with digital noise, well, there would have been nothing for me to do, as all the cleanup issues would have been removed in the processing."

Which is also borne out by my own observations - as I stressed, I suspect I'm watching it on a smaller screen than you are, so you may well see things that I can't (or which don't make any real difference to me on the scale that I'm watching them), but it looked like proper film grain to me too. And I'm normally pretty sensitive to these things when watching a digital transfer of film that I know extremely well from multiple 35mm screenings.


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:14 am 
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Michael,

This will be my last post in this thread because it seems like I constantly have to come back and address statements that I have not produced. First it was the statement where the review apparently linked this Paramount master to the Arrow release, now there is a statement that "there is no grain on the master".

The master could be filtered (or manipulated in various ways) and there can still be grain on it. What type of work has been done on the master is an entirely different topic. Since in the review it is clearly noted that healthy film grain is noticeable, it should be obvious that I have never argued that "there is no grain on the master". If there was no grain on the master, then how did the grain I addressed end up on the high-definition transfer? Clearly, however, a modern restoration from the ON with a new high-definition transfer, such as the one I mentioned to you which Sony did for Easy Rider, would have produced very different results.

At the end of the day, one thing is certain: If the high-definition transfer was struck from a 4K restoration/master, and is free of what has been applied to the Raro release, the detail, grain, etc, would have looked very different.

I hope this settles things here.

Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:46 am 
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pro-bassoonist wrote:
This will be my last post in this thread because it seems like I constantly have to come back and address statements that I have not produced. First it was the statement where the review apparently linked this Paramount master to the Arrow release, now there is a statement that "there is no grain on the master".

Your exact words, posted in this thread, were: "there is very little, if any, grain on this release. What you see the majority of the time is pulsating noise and artifacts that create the illusion that there is grain, which is why definition is poor."

Quote:
The master could be filtered (or manipulated in various way) and there can still be grain on it. What type of work has been done on the master is an entirely different topic. Since in the review it is clearly noted that healthy film grain is noticeable, it should be obvious that I have never argued that "there is no grain on the master". If there was no grain on the master, then how did the grain I addressed end up on the high-definition transfer?

OK, you now appear to be contradicting yourself - so is it safe to assume that the statement I quoted above was made in error? Because that's clearly what my contact was responding to - and his argument seems hard to refute, because why would Arrow have bothered to hire him (as a freelancer) if there was nothing to work on because all the grain had been replaced with "pulsing noise and artifacts"?

(There's not much point hair-splitting about distinctions between "the master" and "this release", since there shouldn't be any significant ones in terms of grain - in this respect, Arrow reproduced what they were sent).

Quote:
Clearly, however, a modern restoration from the ON with a new high-definition transfer, such as the one I mentioned to you which Sony did for Easy Rider, would have produced very different results.

Not necessarily, because you're assuming that the materials for Easy Rider, Deep End and The Conformist were stored under near-identical conditions, which may not have been the case - in fact, it probably wasn't the case, since all three films were shot by different companies in different countries with different preservation track records (Paramount had funding and distribution involvement with two of them, but it wasn't the original production company).

Deep End and many of the other Flipside titles benefit enormously from the fact that if the original 35mm materials survive, they've often barely been touched - which is why an obscure film like Bronco Bullfrog looks amazing while a well-known film like Night Mail doesn't, even though both transfers were supervised by the same people and very possibly using the same equipment.

Put it like this: I have no doubt that if The Conformist had the benefit of a full-scale photochemical restoration and 4K master along the lines of The Red Shoes and The Leopard, it would look amazing. But it would need that level of investment, and most films just aren't going to get that. (I completely agree that The Conformist fully deserves it on aesthetic grounds alone, but this is business that we're talking about). And until that happens, I'm very pleased with - indeed, relieved by - the Arrow disc.


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:41 pm 

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MichaelB wrote:
Put it like this: I have no doubt that if The Conformist had the benefit of a full-scale photochemical restoration and 4K master along the lines of The Red Shoes and The Leopard, it would look amazing. But it would need that level of investment, and most films just aren't going to get that.

Did Before The Revolution have this kind of restoration because I thought the BD looked fantastic, better than The Conformist?


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:44 pm 
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j99 wrote:
Did Before The Revolution have this kind of restoration because I thought the BD looked fantastic, better than The Conformist?

I doubt it - I suspect it was simply a case of better-preserved materials. I agree with you that it has the edge over The Conformist - in fact, I'd say it's the best-looking Bertolucci release to date in any video medium (given The Last Emperor's notorious aspect ratio issues).


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:15 pm 
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I have to break my own promise and leave one more post here (but this would be the last one because I don't have time to keep arguing a pointless debate).

MichaelB wrote:
Your exact words, posted in this thread, were: "there is very little, if any, grain on this release. What you see the majority of the time is pulsating noise and artifacts that create the illusion that there is grain, which is why definition is poor."

And since in these exact words I don't see the word "master", it should be perfectly clear that I have never argued that "there is no grain on the master".

MichaelB wrote:
OK, you now appear to be contradicting yourself -

It may appear to you, but I am clearly not - just like I never linked an old Paramount master to Arrow's release yet it appeared to you that I did, and just like I never spoke about a dated high-definition transfer (I spoke about a dated master), yet it appeared to you that I did.

This is what the review states, and I quote: "Healthy film grain is barely noticeable, and the little that has been retained is actually mixed with moderate doses of light noise and often covered by artifacts. All of this makes the image rather shaky, often times looking a lot softer than it should be."
Clearly, this statement does not contradict what I wrote on this forum. The "if any" bit refers to the fact that there are also scenes where I am not seeing any of this "right and proper" film grain.

MichaelB wrote:
(There's not much point hair-splitting about distinctions between "the master" and "this release"...).

Since I had never produced the statement "there is no grain on the master", I beg to differ. I don't like it when people claim that I have said something that I have not.

MichaelB wrote:
Quote:
Clearly, however, a modern restoration from the ON with a new high-definition transfer, such as the one I mentioned to you which Sony did for Easy Rider, would have produced very different results.

Not necessarily, because you're assuming that the materials for Easy Rider, Deep End and The Conformist were stored under near-identical conditions, which may not have been the case - in fact, it probably wasn't the case, since all three films were shot by different companies in different countries with different preservation track records (Paramount had funding and distribution involvement with two of them, but it wasn't the original production company).

I am not assuming anything. Regardless of the conditions of the ON of The Conformist, if there was a recent scan, a new master prepared and a new high-deifnition transfer struck, the current Blu-ray release would have looked vastly different. By the way, this is the reason why the BFI Blu-ray release of Before the Revolution looks so good - because it uses a recent scan from the original negative done on a Spirit Datacine, not because it was "simply a case of better preserved materials", as you speculate.


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 10:54 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 11, 2008 8:24 pm
The Arrow release is welcome but it is by no means a great looking disc and it won't - one hopes - be the last time The Conformist is released on Blu-Ray. I note however that Sight & Sound's Blu-Ray reviewer claims the picture quality is "fractionally short of perfect". That sort of hyperbole in a leading magazine does no one any favours and devalues the rest of the reviews.


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:24 am 
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Location: Dublin
I think you'll find that the finely judged Sight and Sound capsule review is written by our own MichaelB, the same who has argued the case for the Arrow CONFORMIST more comprehensively in this thread...


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:26 am 
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Location: Worthing
stwrt wrote:
The Arrow release is welcome but it is by no means a great looking disc and it won't - one hopes - be the last time The Conformist is released on Blu-Ray. I note however that Sight & Sound's Blu-Ray reviewer claims the picture quality is "fractionally short of perfect". That sort of hyperbole in a leading magazine does no one any favours and devalues the rest of the reviews.

I haven't seen the printed version yet, so it may have been unhelpfully shortened during the sub-editing process, but this is what I submitted:

Quote:
The Storaro-supervised telecine from the original camera negative falls fractionally short of perfection (a patch of oversaturated colour here, a momentary ‘jump’ before a cut there), but it mostly looks eye-poppingly good, the Blu-ray being a substantial advance on the already solid Paramount DVD.

Which I obviously stand by, as it's no different to what I've been saying in this thread.

It should also be borne in mind that we get very very little space to discuss technical matters - in fact, those are the sections most likely to be shortened if there's a space problem. The assumption is that the typical reader is primarily interested in the film, and wants a broad-brush idea of whether the disc is worth a purchase - and the answer here is a very clear "yes". (Frankly, I'd have recommended double-dipping on the DVD if it had been reissued with that commentary!).


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 7:51 am 
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Have the actual mag in front of me, and it prints exactly Michael's words on the transfer as above with no subediting cuts....


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:27 pm 
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Location: WellyYeller
ellipsis what's your opinion of the transfer?

I realize it's a big step up from the Paramount in terms of detail and resolution but frankly both the R1 DVD and the new Blu Rays (Italian and UK) look somehow "off" to me. My memory of the prem screenings in Sydney 1970 (in the French language version which is disappointingly also not an option on the Blu Rays) is razor sharp Tech IB with ultra clean whites (the whites on the blu are all cream) generally high amp Typically Tech primaries and pitch blacks with far greater contrast and depth (like the diagonal venetian shadows, etc). Even the 90s reissue print was closer to the originals. MY general comment is it's OK but not right.
As for Storaro I don't care much for his cred - not a reliable witness to me.


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 Post subject: Re: Arrow Films
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:46 pm 
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david hare wrote:
(in the French language version which is disappointingly also not an option on the Blu Rays)

I was disappointed too. It's actually my preferred version.


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