141 Children of Paradise

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.
Post Reply
Message
Author
Adam
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 8:29 pm
Location: Los Angeles CA
Contact:

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#51 Post by Adam » Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:12 pm

triodelover wrote:Can anyone comment on the film stock(s) available during the Occupation? Could the 4K restro be bringing out deficiencies in the various stocks he had to make do with?
I can't really, but I do have vague recollections of a discussion regarding film stock and processing issues during the Occupation. I'd have to hunt for where I read about it.

User avatar
Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#52 Post by Matt » Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:43 pm

Colin Crisp's The Classic French Cinema, 1930-1960 has a lot on the paltry resources filmmakers had to make do with during wartime (and before and after). I don't remember anything specific about film stocks, but I am a lot more forgiving of the shallow focus of many French films of this era after learning about the antiquated lenses filmmakers had to use. You can see evidence of that in several of DVD Beaver's caps, for example, Laçenaire's shirt ruffles are in sharp focus, but his curls are slightly blurry.

The previous posters are right that there's nothing wrong with the black levels in this. Where blacks are supposed to be black, they are black. This is not a high-contrast film.

User avatar
triodelover
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 2:11 pm
Location: The hills of East Tennessee

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#53 Post by triodelover » Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:55 pm

Matt wrote:Colin Crisp's The Classic French Cinema, 1930-1960 has a lot on the paltry resources filmmakers had to make do with during wartime (and before and after). I don't remember anything specific about film stocks, but I am a lot more forgiving of the shallow focus of many French films of this era after learning about the antiquated lenses filmmakers had to use. You can see evidence of that in several of DVD Beaver's caps, for example, Laçenaire's shirt ruffles are in sharp focus, but his curls are slightly blurry.

The previous posters are right that there's nothing wrong with the black levels in this. Where blacks are supposed to be black, they are black. This is not a high-contrast film.
Thanks, Matt. I think that may explain quite a bit. In several of those caps there's inconsistency in sharpness and detail between what is in the near field and what is in longer focus. I doubt that noise reduction could be applied that selectively.

User avatar
Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#54 Post by Matt » Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:05 pm

Of course, grain should be consistent across the image, and I'm a little concerned that the grain in these images is not very sharp at all. At the same time, it looks much better than I would ever expect given the generally miserable conditions under which it was made and subsequently kept through the decades. Though the restorers worked mainly from original film elements (the negative and a couple of nitrate dupe positives), this was a strictly digital restoration, and there may have been some grain smoothing and noise reduction performed at that stage that Criterion had no control over.

User avatar
movielocke
Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:44 am

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#55 Post by movielocke » Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:44 pm

MichaelB wrote: There seems to be a widespread assumption that "black and white" means "strong blacks and brilliant whites", but that may not have been the original cinematographer's intention at all - and I agree that the BD captures look fine. (In any case, I suspect their greyness is exaggerated by being displayed alongside grabs from more contrasty editions).
There also seems to be a widespread assumption that one-light low contrast is how a release print (or home video) is supposed to look. A transfer that pushes contrast down to reveal extremes of shadow detail may be no more accurate than a transfer that pushes contrast up to extremes. Just because there's more detail doesn't mean it's right and just because it's contrasty doesn't mean its wrong. It varies from film to film despite the assumption that everything is supposed to be low contrast to reveal every iota of shadow detail.

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#56 Post by MichaelB » Sat Sep 01, 2012 2:48 am

movielocke wrote:
MichaelB wrote: There seems to be a widespread assumption that "black and white" means "strong blacks and brilliant whites", but that may not have been the original cinematographer's intention at all - and I agree that the BD captures look fine. (In any case, I suspect their greyness is exaggerated by being displayed alongside grabs from more contrasty editions).
There also seems to be a widespread assumption that one-light low contrast is how a release print (or home video) is supposed to look. A transfer that pushes contrast down to reveal extremes of shadow detail may be no more accurate than a transfer that pushes contrast up to extremes. Just because there's more detail doesn't mean it's right and just because it's contrasty doesn't mean its wrong. It varies from film to film despite the assumption that everything is supposed to be low contrast to reveal every iota of shadow detail.
Oh, of course. And for an illustration of just how hard it is to gauge this by eye, the original operator-proposed settings for the Institute Benjamenta transfer were way out - though fortunately the directors and cinematographer were on hand to advise.

User avatar
Finch
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:09 pm
Location: Edinburgh, UK

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#57 Post by Finch » Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:19 am

Svet gives the BD a 2.5/5 for the video
Traces of moderate to very heavy filtering corrections are easily noticeable throughout the entire film. Unsurprisingly, detail and clarity are seriously compromised. During many sequences colors and contrast also collapse, especially when light is restricted, and large blocks of gray become prominent. Because of the excessive filtering there is virtually no depth, while at times definition is so poor that it is absolutely impossible to see the fine details a 4K restoration should expose (see how in screencapture #20 the face of the man in the lower left corner is essentially filtered out). Additionally, Pathe's text description mentions the soft-focus effects of the original cinematography, but more often than not what is present here is an entirely different type of softness, one that is undoubtedly accomplished with the help of powerful digital tools (see screencaptures #10 and 11). Occasionally, there are even some halo effects/anomalies that pop up here and there (see screencapture #23). This being said, there are some portions of the film where one could get a basic idea of what could have been, mostly during the daylight sequences where there is an abundance of light and contrast levels are relatively stable (see screencapture #25), but even then often there is heavy smearing that tends to overwhelm the image. All in all, as far as I am concerned Children of Paradise's transition to Blu-ray is every bit as frustrating as Pathe's presentation of Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Samouraï.

User avatar
triodelover
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 2:11 pm
Location: The hills of East Tennessee

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#58 Post by triodelover » Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:22 am

Well, shit! This is just sad. Now confirmed by two sources, and I've always considered Svet one of the most reliable out there on the technical evaluation. I've anticipated this release since the restro was announced. It was going to be my birthday gift to myself in a week and a half. Oh, well...

Edit: Finch beat me to the punch. No podium places for insomniacs today.

eerik
Joined: Sun Mar 22, 2009 4:53 pm
Location: Estonia

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#59 Post by eerik » Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:18 am

I'm a bit confused. Wasn't the Blu-ray initially announced as 1-disc? Now it's a 2-disc set at the price of 1-disc release.

User avatar
tenia
Ask Me About My Bassoon
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#60 Post by tenia » Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:41 am

I heard that the Criterion MPEG-4 files are directly used from the upcoming Pathé release, which would explain the rare non-Criterion contrast. I would also expect that if Pathé have created a fucked-up encoding, that would explain why the Criterion release looks like this. Because I don't believe you can do a huge 4K restoration and create a master looking like this. I think the issue comes more after, when the encoding have been done, like for Le samourai.

Otherwise, it means that all the new prints created from this new restoration will look like shit.

User avatar
manicsounds
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:58 pm
Location: Tokyo, Japan

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#61 Post by manicsounds » Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:12 am


David M.
Joined: Sat May 10, 2008 1:10 pm

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#62 Post by David M. » Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:42 am

The problem is not the encoding. The master looks like that.

User avatar
The Narrator Returns
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:35 pm

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#63 Post by The Narrator Returns » Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:13 am

Never mind this. Nothing to see here.

User avatar
subliminac
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 1:21 am
Location: Columbus, OH

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#64 Post by subliminac » Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:20 am

Are the original elements simply in this poor of condition? Based on the screencaps I can see why one would conclude its another instance of overzealous DNR.

User avatar
tenia
Ask Me About My Bassoon
Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#65 Post by tenia » Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:35 am

David M. wrote:The problem is not the encoding. The master looks like that.
Then, we'll see the feedbacks of the new prints screenings. I'm quite sure they look much better than this, just like Le samourai, whose prints were not showing any of the issues seen on the french BD.

User avatar
Finch
Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2008 5:09 pm
Location: Edinburgh, UK

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#66 Post by Finch » Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:09 pm

This fills me with real dread regarding the Crit BD of Le Samourai! If the BD is representative of the new master, then I wonder why Criterion didn't do their own.

User avatar
triodelover
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2007 2:11 pm
Location: The hills of East Tennessee

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#67 Post by triodelover » Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:39 pm

Finch wrote:This fills me with real dread regarding the Crit BD of Le Samourai! If the BD is representative of the new master, then I wonder why Criterion didn't do their own.
Exactly. May I ask a question of the industry professionals here? What exactly is Criterion's recourse under a typical licensing agreement? Can they take the position that they have a reputation to protect and void the deal unless a new master that's acceptable is presented? Or are all fees paid upfront and is their only chance to recoup their investment to take it to market and hope for the best financially? Do they have any leverage and if they do, why would they produce something like this?

User avatar
hearthesilence
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2005 4:22 am
Location: NYC

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#68 Post by hearthesilence » Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:59 pm

Man, this really sucks. Take a look at that third screenshot on Blu-Ray.com, it's almost mush.

It still looks significantly better than the old Criterion DVD thanks to the restoration, but it really feels like they tripped and fell on the finish line.

David M.
Joined: Sat May 10, 2008 1:10 pm

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#69 Post by David M. » Sat Sep 08, 2012 1:21 pm

Are the original elements simply in this poor of condition? Based on the screencaps I can see why one would conclude its another instance of overzealous DNR.
The original elements were in poor condition, hence the specialist restoration done by Eclair. They did a remarkable job cleaning it up.

That isn't why it looks degrained, though. The reason it looks degrained is because it was.

There are a good number of examples where parts of the frame are soft, presumably due to the optics used during the production. So, don't look at soft parts and assume that the grain reduction is the culprit.

With that said, fine film grain gives the perception of added sharpness, which would have concealed shortcomings in the optics more effectively.
Then, we'll see the feedbacks of the new prints screenings. I'm quite sure they look much better than this, just like Le samourai, whose prints were not showing any of the issues seen on the french BD.
I've not seen the new prints or DCP, but I would *hope* that those are made from a non-degrained version and that the heavy grain reduction was only done as an extra step for the home video master.
Exactly. May I ask a question of the industry professionals here? What exactly is Criterion's recourse under a typical licensing agreement? Can they take the position that they have a reputation to protect and void the deal unless a new master that's acceptable is presented? Or are all fees paid upfront and is their only chance to recoup their investment to take it to market and hope for the best financially? Do they have any leverage and if they do, why would they produce something like this?
I can't talk for Criterion, but when I'm asked to consult on video transfers, it really depends on the company. It can be a long and bureaucratic process to go through, with lots of secretaries to deal with, again depending on the licensor. Usually it's not worth a company's time unless the master is REALLY bad, which this certainly isn't. It's a shame though, that such an iconic and well loved film wasn't allowed to look fully like film.

User avatar
feihong
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:20 pm

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#70 Post by feihong » Sat Sep 08, 2012 4:16 pm

So your position is that the grain reduction done in the making of the BD transfer is the reason the Children of Paradise screencaps often look extremely mushy? It seems to me that even though the film utilizes copious soft-focus, we ought to still see the film grain in the picture--unless the transfer was DNR'd to an extreme degree. That also seems to me to explain how certain screencaps are a bit sharper--some of the crowd scenes, for instance, the cap with Jean-Baptiste in his mime costume on the Boulevard even has a little bit of depth--while others, the closeups especially, are very soft and murky.



It would really be kind of horrible to think of this film and Le Samourai out there with great, restored prints and no acceptable blu-ray of either film.

User avatar
Askew
Joined: Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:23 pm

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#71 Post by Askew » Sat Sep 08, 2012 4:21 pm

I know that when I saw the new restoration when it played here in Toronto there was a warning at the beginning of the film that stated that the softness in the image was the intent of the filmmakers. I don't know how accurate that is though, I'm no expert on this era of French films.

Edit: And now having seen the screenshots, I do think they are representative of what the restoration print looked like.

David M.
Joined: Sat May 10, 2008 1:10 pm

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#72 Post by David M. » Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:33 pm

So your position is that the grain reduction done in the making of the BD transfer is the reason the Children of Paradise screencaps often look extremely mushy?
Yes.

Assuming you're talking about the Blu-ray.com captures, which are full resolution. (DVD Beaver's are softened).
It seems to me that even though the film utilizes copious soft-focus, we ought to still see the film grain in the picture--unless the transfer was DNR'd to an extreme degree. That also seems to me to explain how certain screencaps are a bit sharper--some of the crowd scenes, for instance, the cap with Jean-Baptiste in his mime costume on the Boulevard even has a little bit of depth--while others, the closeups especially, are very soft and murky.
Yes, the film itself has a lot of softly focused shots, which is a separate issue.

The brighter scenes will look better, because there would be less grain to reduce there to start with, compared to the dark ones.

User avatar
CSM126
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 8:22 am
Location: The Room
Contact:

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#73 Post by CSM126 » Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:34 pm

I saw the resto projected (4k) and it looked like this blu ray does. I thought it looked quite lovely in motion.

User avatar
The Narrator Returns
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:35 pm

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#74 Post by The Narrator Returns » Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:35 pm

So, our fears are unfounded, right? RIGHT!?!?!??!?

User avatar
feihong
Joined: Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:20 pm

Re: 141 Children of Paradise

#75 Post by feihong » Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:19 am

Matt wrote:Of course, grain should be consistent across the image, and I'm a little concerned that the grain in these images is not very sharp at all.
This is the statement on the thread that still worries me. Looking at the blu-ray.com caps in 1080, though, I do see pretty consistent grain. But it's also consistently really soft. The third screencap is the really disturbing one, though maybe the camera is tracking with the actors, and the shot really isn't in terribly great focus? But others of the blu-ray.com caps look very soft as well--caps from the night scenes particularly so.

I took a look at the blu-ray.com reviews of the Criterion Diabolique and the MOC Ugetsu Monogatari--other black-and-white films I remember being shot in soft-focus--and compared the screencaps to Children of Paradise. The way the grain is represented on those discs looks rather similar to the way it's represented in the review of Children of Paradise. Perhaps this disc will be at the appropriate level of clarity in motion?

Post Reply