The Big Parade (Warner Bros. Blu-ray)

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Jonathan S
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Re: The Big Parade (Warner Bros. Blu-ray)

#26 Post by Jonathan S » Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:11 am

I don't have this release yet - does Kevin Brownlow's booklet make any reference to frame-rates? In view of his involvement, I wouldn't be surprised if variations in the speed were his aesthetic choices, as he has made such decisions with other silents.

In this Nitrateville thread (one of several addressing "jittery" motion on blu-rays of non-24fps silents) David Shepard even suggests that "small internal speed variations" are "one of his [KB's] hobbies". As other posters mention, there is historical precedent for this; projectionists in the silent era sometimes did vary the frame-rate in certain sequences (and not just to get home earlier!)

The discussion there mainly centres on the Cohen transfer of The Thief of Bagdad (which also needed to conform to a pre-existing Carl Davis score) though The Big Parade has also been criticised for jerky motion. Some members blame it all on progressive transfers but (as on this forum) not everyone irritated by the problem is in that camp. In another thread moderator Christopher Jacobs, reviewing Kino's blu-ray of Nosferatu, reports, "a slight jerky effect whenever there is motion on the screen."

If anyone has the parallel DVD release of The Big Parade, does this also exhibit the same flaw? I'm not qualified to comment on the technical aspects of all this but I do know I'm extremely sensitive to jerky motion, whatever the cause. I'd be willing to sacrifice some photographic quality for a smoother appearance. But perhaps it would be mastered in the same way and have extra complications arising from NTSC encoding?

peerpee
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Re: The Big Parade (Warner Bros. Blu-ray)

#27 Post by peerpee » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:44 am

I read a lot of worrying flim flam at Nitrateville about rendering non-24fps silents progressively on Blu. They seem to all love interlacing (which I'm completely against).

There are a number of badly authored progressive non-24fps silents on Blu (Kino's BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN Blu uses a 25p HD master with 20fps > 25fps cadences, but slowed down to 24fps for a 1080/24p encode, when it could have had a pure 24fps cadence (20fps > 24fps, which the BFI POTEMKIN Blu thankfully fixed). A pure 20fps > 24fps cadence is less noticeable than a 20 > 25fps cadence, and Kino's Blu runs longer than it should because of this bad fix.

Interlacing is obsolete detritus from the CRT television era. Pause the film and you can't get a decent still. The "optical illusion" interlacing creates in motion always results in a loss of resolution and looks softer than it would if rendered progressively.

A progressive encode, is a more 'filmic' solution, akin to step-printing. It maintains optimum resolution. It's not ideal, because motion suffers slightly, but it's better than interlacing in my book. You just have to make sure you get the cadences as stripped down and pure as possible.

peerpee
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Re: The Big Parade (Warner Bros. Blu-ray)

#28 Post by peerpee » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:46 am

david hare wrote: I don't have anything like Nick's technical apparatus to analyze the image ...
I only have a Sony BD player, a Sony TV, and a remote control. I use the pause and step-frame buttons with a pen and a piece of paper! :)

peerpee
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Re: The Big Parade (Warner Bros. Blu-ray)

#29 Post by peerpee » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:49 am

Jonathan S wrote:If anyone has the parallel DVD release of The Big Parade, does this also exhibit the same flaw? I'm not qualified to comment on the technical aspects of all this but I do know I'm extremely sensitive to jerky motion, whatever the cause. I'd be willing to sacrifice some photographic quality for a smoother appearance. But perhaps it would be mastered in the same way and have extra complications arising from NTSC encoding?
The DVD is almost certainly going to be the same. A 24p HD master would have been prepared for DCP, Blu-ray, and NTSC DVD authoring. The NTSC DVD will be 24fps and contain the same frames, and the same messy cadences.

peerpee
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Re: The Big Parade (Warner Bros. Blu-ray)

#30 Post by peerpee » Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:23 am

Jonathan S wrote:does Kevin Brownlow's booklet make any reference to frame-rates? In view of his involvement, I wouldn't be surprised if variations in the speed were his aesthetic choices, as he has made such decisions with other silents.
There's no mention of any details regarding the Blu-ray encoding or issues with the framerate for Blu-ray in the enclosed booklet, but Brownlow does mention on p39:

"...M-G-M had shot their silent pictures at an average 22 frames per second..."

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david hare
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Re: The Big Parade (Warner Bros. Blu-ray)

#31 Post by david hare » Sun Jan 12, 2014 10:33 pm

I've just tried to revisit this disc after first watching back in October when we landed here in Wellington. I figured it needed some closer attention. I lasted under ten minutes and had to turn it off.

Here is the sole page thus far of comment from Nitrateville which is a site supposedly run for and by people with expertise in silent film. Two brave people have complained about the deleterious effect of the 24fps forced speed (and its lazy accommodation of the 1080p encode without even trying other means to manage 22 fps) and it's presumably concurrent step printing origin. But not a soul apart from them seems to be in the least bothered that this is why the damn thing runs 151 minutes, not 140 or so. And they are passing it off with the suggestion that we are being too "picky".

I guess if this is the reaction from what I used to consider a prime source of expertise, then there's no chance of a redo. As though Warner probably gives a damn.

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tenia
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Re: The Big Parade (Warner Bros. Blu-ray)

#32 Post by tenia » Mon Jan 13, 2014 2:49 am

And to say I haven't notcied any issue on this worries me about my capacity to evaluate jitter problems.

Jonathan S
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Re: The Big Parade (Warner Bros. Blu-ray)

#33 Post by Jonathan S » Mon Jan 13, 2014 6:14 am

david hare wrote: Here is the sole page thus far of comment from Nitrateville which is a site supposedly run for and by people with expertise in silent film. Two brave people have complained about the deleterious effect of the 24fps forced speed (and its lazy accommodation of the 1080p encode without even trying other means to manage 22 fps) and it's presumably concurrent step printing origin. But not a soul apart from them seems to be in the least bothered that this is why the damn thing runs 151 minutes, not 140 or so. And they are passing it off with the suggestion that we are being too "picky".

I guess if this is the reaction from what I used to consider a prime source of expertise, then there's no chance of a redo. As though Warner probably gives a damn.
There is a general thread about this technical issue on Nitrateville (the list in the first post has been updated to include The Big Parade). It's probably one of the most controversial topics on there at the moment.

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david hare
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Re: The Big Parade (Warner Bros. Blu-ray)

#34 Post by david hare » Mon Jan 13, 2014 3:32 pm

Thx J. The controversy such as it is seems to reside between the relatively few people who don't/can't see jitter and the rest. Generally the proposition that some authoring, like Criterion's is far better than others, like Kino's or now WBA, is undisputed.

It all comes down to the technical position Nick articulated earlier. When expert evidence tells you the FR is lower than 24 or typically pre-1926, look at other solutions, preferably excluding interlaced transfers. Anyway I'm glad to see their form on this problem is still high. Of course there was no sign of awareness from either Harris or Beaver so two of the principal review recommendation people are as usual in the camp of the labels. You really have to seriously question the reliability of both their reviewing standards after this (and Madame de..)

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hearthesilence
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Re: Warner Catalog Titles on Blu

#35 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Jan 05, 2020 4:20 pm

peerpee wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2013 2:17 pm
Aye, hence the choppiness to the motion, which I'm very attuned to having mucked around with lots of experiments in this area. It's not horrendous, and most people probably wouldn't notice it, but I was shocked when I worked out the various cadences, because it could probably look a tad better than it does (for the first 15 minutes anyhow). I'd love to find out why it's like it is.
Finally got around to seeing this after picking up the BD at a bargain price, and there are stretches where the choppy motion reminds me of an old Gumby short. As tenia mentioned, the worst is the celebrated sequence that begins with the march into the woods - the whole scene was choreographed with a very specific cadence (as discussed on the commentary track), and the choppiness of the motion does undermine the overall effect. A shame because the PQ does look stunning.

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