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44rh1n's "The Fellowship of the Ring" Extended Edition Color Restoration (Released) — Page 9

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Is it an actual 4K scan of the negatives? I’ve seen some people claim that it was a rumour and that its an upscale of the old 2K DI

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Well, having compared it directly in motion to the Blu-Ray version, it does look to me like the same source with a new color grade and tons of DNR and sharpening applied.

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My copy finally showed up today and I plan to watch all 3 films Thursday/Friday/Saturday. I’m not encouraged by many of the screenshots as far as resolution and detail go. Seems like a mixed bag.

I became concerned before I saw any of the screenshots when I watched the promo with Jackson and he said (paraphrasing) that this gave them the opportunity to make all 6 films look consistent; I took this to mean he wanted the LOTR trilogy to look like the Hobbit trilogy, and I’m afraid that’s what we got…lovely film scrubbed in an attempt to make it look digital.

Also, I don’t understand why I’m still seeing these small mastering displays in editing bays that mask the effects of DNR. At the very least, I hope they’re doing QA on larger calibrated consumer displays and projectors. Sony and LG OLEDs are close to reference quality after calibration, and sitting 6’ from a 65" screen makes overzealous DNR obvious.

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From the tldr’s i’ve read in the dumbsterfire that blu-ray.com forum is currently and the comparisons between the matrix that is an actual 4k remaster, these seem to be an upscale from the 2K DI with some decently applied DNR and sharpening. I like the colour timing but im kinda disappointed they dont seem to be true 4K scans.

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Jason0839 said:

From the tldr’s i’ve read in the dumbsterfire that blu-ray.com forum is currently and the comparisons between the matrix that is an actual 4k remaster, these seem to be an upscale from the 2K DI with some decently applied DNR and sharpening. I like the colour timing but im kinda disappointed they dont seem to be true 4K scans.

EDIT: Wasn’t it officially stated that the non-CGI shots were scanned in 4K for the remaster?

EDIT 2: Looks like they maybe didn’t state anything about new scans. It seems that’s just what the press has been saying without it coming directly from an official source, as far as I can see. This set is looking more disappointing every minute.

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Jason0839 said:

Is it an actual 4K scan of the negatives? I’ve seen some people claim that it was a rumour and that its an upscale of the old 2K DI

And it seems to me like everyone who’s claiming this is using screenshots of shots that are VFX composites as evidence, even if they don’t appear to be VFX shots at first glance (remember, many shots are composites because of the height differences of the characters). Every screencap I’ve seen of a shot that is 100% for sure not a VFX/composite shot definitely looks like a true 4K scan to me.

I think people are really underestimating how many composites and VFX shots are in these movies, and it’s already been stated that such shots are either 4K scans of 2K film-out negatives, or upscales of the 2K DI.

So yeah - so far as I can tell, everything that is not a VFX or composite shot is true 4K, and everything else is some form of upscale.

There’s also the fact that these movies were shot Super 35 and cropped, meaning they’re inherently softer/less detailed than anamorphic 35mm would be.

Of course I could be wrong and I’ll absolutely eat my words if it’s shown definitively that this is entirely an upscale.

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I’ll put this last one from my looking around, one that puzzles me most. I don’t know if these are real mountains or purely effects, but regardless it’s strange how the 4k frame is without as much detail…

https://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?d1=5240&d2=15006&s1=48928&s2=156526&x=665&y=172&i=16&a=2&go=1&l=1

I don’t suppose anyone knows if those are real mountains — is real footage that would’ve been scanned at 4k as claimed — or just pure effects/CG?

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My library is full of 4K discs consisting of 2K upscales that still look very good. While not as good as a proper 4K scan, upscaling is fine when done well (just look at any good 1080p disc on a 4K display with excellent upscaling, they look fantastic).

I think maybe the 2K effect shots just got hit a bit hard with DNR and didn’t get any fake grain added back in to keep them consistent with the 4K portions. This is unacceptable, though:

WXM said:

https://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/8656

It’s like something I’d expect from a 1080p Blu-ray 10 years ago before studios got a handle on good mastering techniques. How a shot like that ends up in a major 4K title in 2020 is beyond me, especially since the older Blu-ray looks vastly superior in comparison.

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WXM said:

I’ll put this last one from my looking around, one that puzzles me most. I don’t know if these are real mountains or purely effects, but regardless it’s strange how the 4k frame is without as much detail…

https://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?d1=5240&d2=15006&s1=48928&s2=156526&x=665&y=172&i=16&a=2&go=1&l=1

I don’t suppose anyone knows if those are real mountains — is real footage that would’ve been scanned at 4k as claimed — or just pure effects/CG?

That’s a composite effects shot, like most of the shots in these movies.

Looking through all of the screencaps, every effects shot has a degraining and sharpening filter. There are only a few shots here which aren’t effects shots, and for every one of these there is a definite improvement to the image in color and detail. It’s just a shame that the composites, which predominate the films, are degraded in quality with flattened highlights and edge enhancement which makes each element look like a paper cutout.

I’ll definitely be giving these official 4K versions a miss.

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Just watched this review:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3Z58uiwcME

I don’t see how anybody can defend this release when even older films with a comparable number of effects shots look great on 4K disc, like The Matrix.

I was annoyed that the post office delayed my package for a week, but I’m glad they did, because I would’ve torn into these immediately and been disappointed. Instead, I’m putting them on ebay unopened and making a few dollars (the Best Buy steelbooks are selling above retail).

I’m sticking with the old Blu-ray EE.

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ChainsawAsh said:

…Every screencap I’ve seen of a shot that is 100% for sure not a VFX/composite shot definitely looks like a true 4K scan to me.

I think people are really underestimating how many composites and VFX shots are in these movies, and it’s already been stated that such shots are either 4K scans of 2K film-out negatives, or upscales of the 2K DI.

This. 100% this. There are so many VFX shots in these films, even shots that you wouldn’t ever think are VFX shots. But for shots that aren’t VFX, they definitely look like true 4K to me.

Also, I don’t know how anybody can complain about the Fellowship 4K release. It’s literally the best the film has ever looked on an official home video release. No other previous release even comes close! Sure, it’s not as close to the original color grading as my color restoration is, but the colors are a thousand times more natural than the previous extended Blu-ray release.

I haven’t had a chance to watch The Two Towers or Return of the King yet, though. And those revisionist screencaps concern me (although, I’ll wait to give my opinion on them until after I’ve seen how widespread those color changes really are). But honestly, I don’t see a reason to be complaining about these two films either, even if they did change the look. Why? Because these two films on regular HD Blu-ray already looked exactly like the original release! They look amazing on just regular HD Blu-ray. The only film that looked horrendous was Fellowship of the Ring, and now it’s (mostly) fixed.

We have all three films accessible to us, officially, in a way that looks pretty great. That’s what matters for both the consumer and for film preservation.

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Ugh, but the more and more that I look at these films and pixel-peep, the more I’m realizing that they really do have far too much DNR… Makes me sad. Colors on Fellowship EE are still far better than the regular Blu-ray though.

Jay said:

Just watched this review:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3Z58uiwcME

I don’t see how anybody can defend this release…

Wow, that shot of Gandalf’s staff is REALLY bad… UGH!

Most of those other shots aren’t as bad as people are making them out to be though. Most of that “detail” he’s referring to is just grain, whereas the actual detail is still there in the 4K.

But I agree that the grain looks really nice and it should have been left in!! Peter, WHY did you remove the grain?!

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44rh1n said:

Ugh, but the more and more that I look at these films and pixel-peep, the more I’m realizing that they really do have far too much DNR… Makes me sad. Colors on Fellowship EE are still far better than the regular Blu-ray though.

Jay said:

Just watched this review:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3Z58uiwcME

I don’t see how anybody can defend this release…

Wow, that shot of Gandalf’s staff is REALLY bad… UGH!

Most of those other shots aren’t as bad as people are making them out to be though. Most of that “detail” he’s referring to is just grain, whereas the actual detail is still there in the 4K.

But I agree that the grain looks really nice and it should have been left in!! Peter, WHY did you remove the grain?!

Mild DNR is forgivable, and even preferable in some cases, but too many of these effects shots take on a painterly look, and to throw sharpening on top of it is just mind-boggling.

That shot of Helm’s Deep is a great (terrible) example. There’s obvious ringing around the main characters and the wall behind them (in front of the army) looks like watercolors.

This is the type of release that many will justify now as being better than the previous release, but will age poorly and be regarded as substandard in a few years (see the original Gladiator Blu-ray, which many defended at the time because it was a step up from the DVD, and the truly reference remastered Blu-ray released a few years later that showed what a proper 1080p transfer could look like).

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Yeah, the more I look at these, the more disappointed I am. I think I actually will be sticking to Blu-Ray for my viewing, at least for TTT and ROTK and for FOTR, I might actually stick to 44rh1n’s version, because I looked at it again yesterday and even though the detail level is noticeably worse when comparing it to the UHD or even the EE BD, on its own it just looks beautifully film-like with lovely colors. This sort of really shows the rule of diminishing returns with 4K - sure, in direct comparison, there may be a difference in detail but when I’m watching a good 1080p transfer, not comparing it to UHD, never do I think “I wish I was watching 4K” - what I think is “this looks gorgeous” but if I was watching a DVD, I certainly would think “I wish this was HD”.

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44rh1n said:

ChainsawAsh said:

…Every screencap I’ve seen of a shot that is 100% for sure not a VFX/composite shot definitely looks like a true 4K scan to me.

I think people are really underestimating how many composites and VFX shots are in these movies, and it’s already been stated that such shots are either 4K scans of 2K film-out negatives, or upscales of the 2K DI.

This. 100% this. There are so many VFX shots in these films, even shots that you wouldn’t ever think are VFX shots. But for shots that aren’t VFX, they definitely look like true 4K to me.

Also, I don’t know how anybody can complain about the Fellowship 4K release. It’s literally the best the film has ever looked on an official home video release. No other previous release even comes close! Sure, it’s not as close to the original color grading as my color restoration is, but the colors are a thousand times more natural than the previous extended Blu-ray release.

I haven’t had a chance to watch The Two Towers or Return of the King yet, though. And those revisionist screencaps concern me (although, I’ll wait to give my opinion on them until after I’ve seen how widespread those color changes really are). But honestly, I don’t see a reason to be complaining about these two films either, even if they did change the look. Why? Because these two films on regular HD Blu-ray already looked exactly like the original release! They look amazing on just regular HD Blu-ray. The only film that looked horrendous was Fellowship of the Ring, and now it’s (mostly) fixed.

We have all three films accessible to us, officially, in a way that looks pretty great. That’s what matters for both the consumer and for film preservation.

I think the giveaway for this being an upscale of the old DI is that the frame is exactly the same either on vfx shots or non vfx shots.
Im gonna link a few analysis posts from the forum.
https://forum.blu-ray.com/showpost.php?p=18375128&postcount=7513
https://forum.blu-ray.com/showpost.php?p=18381735&postcount=8013

Even in the unlikely scenario that this is infact a 4K scan, the DNR/Sharpening is so intense that takes away any detail that came with it.
https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/729x455q90/922/cdxt67.png
https://imagizer.imageshack.com/v2/705x471q90/923/DfCJOM.png Gandalf’s staff disappearing from the DNR/Sharpening + general detail loss.
Im still interested in these sets just for the grading alone and considering im on a 1080p display, i wont lose much, but as far as 4K remasters go, this isnt one thats well done.

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Harmy said:

Yeah, the more I look at these, the more disappointed I am. I think I actually will be sticking to Blu-Ray for my viewing, at least for TTT and ROTK and for FOTR, I might actually stick to 44rh1n’s version, because I looked at it again yesterday and even though the detail level is noticeably worse when comparing it to the UHD or even the EE BD, on its own it just looks beautifully film-like with lovely colors. This sort of really shows the rule of diminishing returns with 4K - sure, in direct comparison, there may be a difference in detail but when I’m watching a good 1080p transfer, not comparing it to UHD, never do I think “I wish I was watching 4K” - what I think is “this looks gorgeous” but if I was watching a DVD, I certainly would think “I wish this was HD”.

I’ve quite enjoyed going back through my 1080p Blu-ray collection over the last year-plus after finally upgrading to a 4K TV. 1080p to 2160p is a clean upscale (easy math) and a great 1080p disc actually looks even better on my 4K TV (Sony OLED) than it did on my 1080p TV (Pioneer Kuro) and would probably fool most people into thinking they’re watching genuine 4K. In fact, I prefer the SDR presentation for most film-based material because the torched highlights in many HDR releases just don’t look natural at all.

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I was going to wait for the blu-ray of the new transfer… Do you think it may be better?

Or better to get the old Blu-ray then?

I have all the DVD releases and bonus stuff about 26 discs.

I was mainly waiting for new special features so I will probably then get both anyway…But then the Bluray look not good for fellowship of the ring.

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It will be the same, just downsampled from the new 4K master.

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To get back on this thread’s topic…

44rh1n, your Extended Edition Color Restoration here, are you thinking about maybe using bits of the new 4k — ala maybe "average"ing or "median"ing — to help the shots you couldn’t get to your satisfaction, or just use them as inspiration, or are you just going to leave it as is (or some other option)?

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Given the mixed reaction (among enthusiasts, the mainstream reviews are effusive with praise), I’d think we’ll see a number of new fan projects based on this release once the 1080p BD’s are released next year.

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Nick66 said:

Given the mixed reaction (among enthusiasts, the mainstream reviews are effusive with praise), I’d think we’ll see a number of new fan projects based on this release once the 1080p BD’s are released next year.

Considering the framing is basically identical, using the Colour Matching tool should be easy

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Perhaps unsurprisingly, it looks like from Jackson’s comments (see video below) that his intention with these remasters from the start is to make the films “look as if they’d all been shot at the same time”, including creating a uniform colour grade throughout the six films. Which for the LOTR, basically means making them look like The Hobbit, given that the colours on that trilogy, while tweaked, more or less remain the same.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yn21u6j6Ywc

Frankly, I never really expected him to even consider sticking with the theatrical color grade, that was unrealistic and not Jackson’s priority. And all this is fine I suppose if you’re Peter Jackson and, in a Lucas type way, are concerned about how audiences will see these films for years and decades to come, and want to create a uniform look. But if you’re someone like me who loves the theatrical look of LOTR (and rarely revisits The Hobbit), it’s disappointing. It’s not a Star Wars level disaster, and this will probably be the way I watch them from here on out. The new colours after all aren’t displeasing, and mostly look fine in their own right (in fact the HDR is often stunning), but when coupled with the DNR/EE, the seemingly permanent loss of the theatrical grading for 4K HDR make this set a minor letdown.

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Those are pretty much my feelings about this set as well (though I still haven’t seen it with my own eyes so I’m not making any final judgments about it). I’ll probably either pick up this set on sale/used when the giant 4K box set comes out next year, or maybe I’ll get the giant box set, I dunno.

I’m not really in a huge rush to upgrade all my stuff to 4K, and 44rh1n’s excellent restoration of the FOTR EE Blu-Ray (and the Blu’s of the others) will continue to serve me well until then.

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After reading comments from one of the members in the blu-ray.com thread whose opinion I trust and usually agree with, I decided to give these discs a shot after all instead of selling them. So far, I’ve finished FOTR EE and the first half of TTT EE.

Firstly, these encodes are absolutely a 2K upscale. I’ve seen enough 4K discs from both 2K DIs and proper 4K scans to know what each typically looks like. While watching FOTR, it immediately gave me the same impression as the later Harry Potter films in 4K, which are upscales; there’s a slight uptick in detail when compared to the 1080p discs, but it lacks the finer details a 4K scan provides.

The other bit of evidence that these are the same 2K masters as the 1080p discs is that all the scenes in TTT that are problematic on the 1080p discs, with their smeary DNR artifacts, have the same problems here, just amplified. I tend to think the DNR for the EEs is baked into the master and they may have tried piling on additional noise reduction on the 4K discs to mask these issues.

I’m sure lots of people will like the new color grade for FOTR. My only gripe is that the Shire and Rivendell, both of which had a romantic golden hue on the 1080p discs, are much more neutral now and lack that warm quality. I suppose it’s okay since the infamous green tint is gone from the whole film, but regrading the Shire and Rivendell to get back some of that warmth would’ve been welcome. Detail is good overall, though many long shots have a somewhat digital appearance with occasional slight aliasing, no doubt from sharpening.

TTT is frustrating. Some won’t like the new grade. I think it’s good overall, but I think I prefer the grade on the 1080p version. It suits the tone of the film better. The bulk of the movie actually looks pretty good in terms of detail, but the most frustrating part is Rohan. You’ve probably seen the screenshots, and they’re not lying. Most of the Rohan exterior shots have been absolutely wiped clean of detail with excessive DNR, and these same shots were fine on the 1080p discs with excellent detail overall. Seems to be any shot with visible blue sky in it. It’s annoying because as they switch back and forth between interior and exterior, the interior shots look absolutely fine, suggesting that they didn’t simply turn up the DNR knob and walk away; they selectively applied it to the exteriors only and completely ruined them. Some other shots are similarly bad, like when Gollum is leading Frodo and Sam through the marsh.

That said—and I can’t believe I’m saying this—I think what I’ve seen so far is an overall improvement on the 1080p discs. FOTR is pretty good, but grain-managed for sure (which I don’t hate, but don’t necessarily like either), and while TTT has some really bad moments, the bulk of it is good. Somebody could make a nice fan project of TTT by reincorporating the 1080p Rohan exterior scenes regraded to match the new grade (or regrade the 4K version to match the 1080p grade). Swapping out the flashback revisionism would be welcome also. Haven’t watched ROTK yet, but from what I’ve read, it sits somewhere between FOTR and TTT in terms of quality.

I want to be clear though: any “professional” reviewer who watched these 4K discs on a good display at a reasonable distance (I sit about 7’ from a 65" Sony A9F OLED that I calibrated with CalMAN) and gave these a 5/5 or 10/10 or whatever scale they use simply wasn’t paying attention, or only did casual spot-checks and missed the worst parts.

And there’s no way these are real 4K back-to-the-negative scans. No way.

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