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Movies with wrong color grading *** UPDATED *** — Page 6

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captainsolo, I saw your post in the Last Movie Seen thread before this one and responded there first. But, I, like timdiggerm, would be interested in seeing some tweaked screen caps to simulate the look you're talking about.

Prints often add contrast and have an inkier look than is replicated on most BDs due to lack of care or interest. I picture Batman Returns though being a movie really affected by the quality of its visuals.

A custom BD disc might be interesting with tweaked video and lossless laserdisc audio. Perhaps the color of the LD could be used (as you say it is slightly more accurate). Then, the picture could be darkened appropriately.

I wonder how Batman originally looked, though Batman Returns seemed to be the darker (both visually and thematically).

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Even if the BD has much of grain removed, if there is no alternative (like HDTV) it will be interesting to use LD as color reference... count me in! (^^,)

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Very basic VLC adjustments on a screenshot of the 1st DVD which utilized the LD/VHS master. Small increase in saturation, contrast, dial the brightness down a bit and slightly increase the gamma. Not perfect but you get the idea.

VADER!? WHERE THE HELL IS MY MOCHA LATTE? -Palpy on a very bad day.
“George didn’t think there was any future in dead Han toys.”-Harrison Ford
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The original film was supposed to have been so dark that people complained. Judging by just how dark Returns was printed, I can completely see that happening. On the untouched still form above you can see all the video nasties from LD era magnified and just how much everything was overbrightened to compensate. This was a common practice then and even is still upheld today. I always have my CRT dialed back a bit to mimic film a bit more, and I do this especially when watching the first film because it feels more appropriate.

I found the bit about the video telecine being brightened in the old Widescreen Review articles on the LDs for both films.

VADER!? WHERE THE HELL IS MY MOCHA LATTE? -Palpy on a very bad day.
“George didn’t think there was any future in dead Han toys.”-Harrison Ford
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Just got this response from the head projectionist:

I can answer a few of the film questions for you.  It is a 1992 Eastman LPP print, good eye.   It is also  a Dolby Stereo print.  We played it in SR which would have done some 2:4 sound matrixing using the equivalent of Pro-Logic.   This print came straight from the Warner Brothers archives.

That would explain the cleanliness.

VADER!? WHERE THE HELL IS MY MOCHA LATTE? -Palpy on a very bad day.
“George didn’t think there was any future in dead Han toys.”-Harrison Ford
YT channel:
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If you look at these:

http://sd.caps-a-holic.com/vergleich.php?vergleichID=469

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDReviews7/batmanreturns.htm

You can see the slight fluctuations between all three. The SE master added more color depth and in places more correct tones due to the scan being far more advanced. It also preserves the frame, as the old master was cropped on all sides. I'll need to check my LD just to make sure there are no differences.

The SR stereo mix is a beast, with huge low end that frequently creeps in, and the LD preserves this without the analog distortion and noise ceiling found on the print version. Especially the sibilance.

The other thing is that the film is surprisingly soft looking. The print had this almost to the point of appearing slightly fuzzy in some scenes. It isn't a sharp picture, in fact looking more like there was continual use of slight diffusion throughout. I think the photography is far more intricate than that of the first film. Burton even imposed some Kane like trick shots with extreme close focus on a subject while maintaining deep focus on a subject in the background. Because of their lack of experience in this it left some telltale errors. (Shot of Schreck coming into Penguin's upstairs lair with Pengy in the extreme foreground writing. Both are in focus, yet if you look closely at about the center of the frame, there is a thick gauze of haziness in that area due to the optical attempting to cover the join of the two separate pieces of film.)

VADER!? WHERE THE HELL IS MY MOCHA LATTE? -Palpy on a very bad day.
“George didn’t think there was any future in dead Han toys.”-Harrison Ford
YT channel:
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 (Edited)

Very interesting stuff. And I'm glad to hear that the print was in very good condition. I've seen a couple repertory prints that have been quite beat up, especially at reel changes (presumably due to the reels having been plattered and de-plattered multiple times?)

And as to how dark the first Batman was, I have a theory. It had to have been dark enough that the Joker reveal actually worked. In every video transfer of the film, when he's standing in the shadows talking to Grissom, you can make out his face (to differing degrees depending on which transfer). But I just can't believe that Burton would have intended this; the original prints had to have had blacks sufficiently deep so as to almost completely hide him in darkness until he steps out into the light and says "You can call me...JOKER!"

(I have the same belief about Beauty and the Beast - there is no way in hell we were meant to be able to make out anything but a vague shape of the Beast recoiling into the shadows in the prologue. The West Wing scenes had to have had deeper shadows than any of the modern transfers - even in the brightened VHS/LD master, you couldn't make out his features very well, and I want to believe that was the intent.)

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captainsolo said:

If you look at these:

http://sd.caps-a-holic.com/vergleich.php?vergleichID=469

http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film/DVDReviews7/batmanreturns.htm

You can see the slight fluctuations between all three. The SE master added more color depth and in places more correct tones due to the scan being far more advanced. It also preserves the frame, as the old master was cropped on all sides. I'll need to check my LD just to make sure there are no differences.

The SR stereo mix is a beast, with huge low end that frequently creeps in, and the LD preserves this without the analog distortion and noise ceiling found on the print version. Especially the sibilance.

The other thing is that the film is surprisingly soft looking. The print had this almost to the point of appearing slightly fuzzy in some scenes. It isn't a sharp picture, in fact looking more like there was continual use of slight diffusion throughout. I think the photography is far more intricate than that of the first film. Burton even imposed some Kane like trick shots with extreme close focus on a subject while maintaining deep focus on a subject in the background. Because of their lack of experience in this it left some telltale errors. (Shot of Schreck coming into Penguin's upstairs lair with Pengy in the extreme foreground writing. Both are in focus, yet if you look closely at about the center of the frame, there is a thick gauze of haziness in that area due to the optical attempting to cover the join of the two separate pieces of film.)

 Are you sure those shots were not achieved in camera via a split focus diopter?

http://vashivisuals.com/splitting-focus-de-palmas-blow/

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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I don't think this has been mentioned around here yet. (From the Kubrick Reddit.)

I saw The Shining digitally projected this past Halloween, but I wasn't looking closely at the tennis ball shot to notice if it was like this. Nothing else in the movie jumped out at me as looking off colorwise, so this is an odd screwup.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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That diopter example is it--exactly. There are at least two or three shots with it not very hidden as in that example posted from Resevoir Dogs.

Tservo, the print was spotless except for some wear at the reel changes which got a tiny bit obtrusive but not bad. in the last reel there was a small line in the final confrontation a bit but it was very minor.

(Should be all of them IIRC) Reel changes:

Selina shocks clown

Bruce watching Penguin appear on TV in the Manor

Mayor's press conference

Penguin kicking the clown's body into the water

The Batskiboat crashing onto duck

I agree about the Joker reveal. I always thought it should be darker based on the descriptions by people who worked on the production and the general look of the film. Now I'm fully 100% convinced that it is indeed darker.

As for WB Kubrick masters, the color can be all over the place. These were done primarily in 2007 for the SE DVD and eventual early BD releases, and in many ways are outdated. 2001 we have already proven is incorrect, and it differs from SK's preferred dictated timing on the Criterion CAV LD (and 35mm to boot). Barry Lyndon seems okay but is at an odd ratio that caused furor. Lolita looks perfect, Clockwork takes some odd choices and remixed audio, FMJ seems fine, The Shining is an odd one but I can live with the 1.78 masked HD master.

Eyes Wide Shut doesn't feel the way it should and many have claimed the disc looks nothing like the 35mm print version and it also doesn't live up to the primary deep color Kubrick shot it for.

VADER!? WHERE THE HELL IS MY MOCHA LATTE? -Palpy on a very bad day.
“George didn’t think there was any future in dead Han toys.”-Harrison Ford
YT channel:
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Funny thing is, I've seen the same shot in the Room 237 documentary and the colors are spot on. Either the filmmakers fixed the colors themselves, or there is another HD master floating around.

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

Where were you in '77?

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Most of Kubrick's BDs are flawed, as captainsolo stated. They were good for when they came out, but they just don't hold up compared to today's standards. Quick run-down.

Rating reflects accuracy to film source material, not necessarily quality.

Italicized the ones that could show significant improvement with a new version.

Fear and Desire (1953)- 9/10- The earliest of Kubrick's efforts is acceptable, restored by the Library of Congress, and faithful to the film's elements. The BD reflects the fact, though, that the elements are not in as high condition as those of the other film.

Killer's Kiss (1955)- 9/10- A nice transfer from Criterion, very film-like. Only needs lossless audio.

The Killing (1956)- 8/10- Has some chroma noise but is otherwise all right.

Paths of Glory (1958)- 10/10- Criterion did a good job on this one. It's sourced from a UCLA restoration, I believe. Probably the best looking Kubrick Blu-Ray.

Spartacus (1960)- 2/10- An unmitigated failure in almost all respects. It is DVNR'ed to the point that the figures start looking like wax, and one gets the uncanny valley effect. It was taken from an old transfer ridden with scanner noise. To add icing on the cake, the color restoration work, based off of an IB print, done by Robert Harris, has been completely ignored. The audio prevents this from having a 0/10.

Lolita (1963)- 8/10- There aren't really any problems with this one. I think the transfer could be slightly improved if done more recently, though it is perfectly acceptable to be honest.

Dr. Strangelove (1964)- 8/10- It looks all right to me, about the same as Lolita. I'm not sure if the 4K restoration running in cinemas was used for the BD. If it wasn't, then that would likely make an improved BD.

2001 (1968)- 8/10- The detail is all right, though it could be greatly improved due to the large format elements of the film. For a reference to how nice 70mm elements can look, watch the Lawrence of Arabia BD. As more knowledgeable minds than mine have covered, color timing is off; proper color can be found on the Criterion LD.

Clockwork Orange (1971)- 3/10- It looks pretty bad to be honest. The color timing looks off. It does not look film-like at all, very soft and digital with some slight pixelation. Contrast is weak. Clearly, it is a master made for the DVD era that would compress easy and is bright. There's a 4K restoration already made and transferred; clips are on special features of the newest BD, which is a pity when one sees them in comparison to the main feature.

Barry Lyndon (1975)- 7.5/10- It is slightly horizontally stretched compared to the DVD and LD, but it might actually be more accurate, I'm not sure. The aspect ratio is 1:78, despite the intended aspect ratio being between 1:66-1:75. To be perfectly honest, though, 1:75 and 1:78 is hardly a world of difference, as long as your overscan is off. It is likely many projectionists, lacking the proper plates, ignored the instructions and screened it as wide as 1:85. The BD is very colorful and film-like, with a healthy amount of film grain, probably the best looking of Kubrick's color features. May be the only BD-era transfer of a color Kubrick film.

The Shining (1980)- 6/10- It could use improvement. The picture doesn't look that film-like and assumes a more video-like appearance. The grain isn't there, so it would compress better... for DVD, that is. Detail survives though, relatively speaking. Contrast is lacking, and the brightness is too high, detrimental for a horror movie. The color timing is flawed for some reason, and correct timing can be seen in the HD documentary "Terror in the Aisles." A BD-era transfer would do wonders. It's also bothersome that the BD doesn't offer multiple cuts by seamless branching for the European Cut, which was edited by Kubrick himself. Aspect ratio should be 1:85, ideally.

Full Metal Jacket (1987)- 7/10- It's basically like the Shining but without the color issues. The brightness is too high like that one, and the contrast is too low, as well. Aspect ratio should be 1:85, ideally.

Eyes Wide Shut (1999)- 6/10- Technically, this looks like an all right BD, with contrast and color natural-looking to the normal viewer's eye. But, it ruins the aesthetic of the film. The film was supposed to be grainy with deep saturated colors. However, this was made for the DVD era where such grain would have been a complete mess with MPEG-2 Compression. That being said, in the age of AVC BD, this could be presented properly.

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TServo2049 said:

And as to how dark the first Batman was, I have a theory. It had to have been dark enough that the Joker reveal actually worked. In every video transfer of the film, when he's standing in the shadows talking to Grissom, you can make out his face (to differing degrees depending on which transfer). But I just can't believe that Burton would have intended this; the original prints had to have had blacks sufficiently deep so as to almost completely hide him in darkness until he steps out into the light and says "You can call me...JOKER!"

That's interesting. I always enjoyed the fact that you could almost see his face but not quite make it out entirely. The way Grissom winces and strains his eyes trying to get a better look at Jack while he's talking as if he can see that something isn't quite right but it's too dark to see what is exactly how I felt watching it. I feel the scene would lose some of it's creepiness if Jack were entirely in silhouette up until the reveal so I'd prefer to think that was intended. It would be interesting to see how the final script describes that scene as the reveal is such a key moment. All I can find online are earlier drafts in which Jack is hiding his face with a muffler.

I agree that the movie should definitely be darker though. I saw the movie in the cinema in 1990 when I was 11 and right from when I got hold of the first-release VHS tape the following year, I thought that it was too light and grey compared to the deep blacks that scared the hell out me the first time I saw it. No home video release has ever reminded me of how I first saw that movie.

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I didn't say I thought his face would have been completely hidden in darkness, I said ALMOST. Like, you can vaguely see his face, but only vaguely.

I wish I could see an original 35mm to confirm my suspicion...

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As one of the first movies I can remember seeing in theaters as a child, as well as being one of my favorite comic book movies ever, I can say that I watched this movie enough on vhs to know that you can juuuuuuuuust slightly make out Jack's face if you focus hard enough. Or at least you could on my old tube tv with whichever vhs release I had (It was the old one with the diet coke ad and the WB catalog ad with Bugs and Daffy before the start of the movie).

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All Warner catalogue discs were changed if they had new masters, Criterion also just look at Thief 

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Curse of Frankenstein looks terrible on BD. It's taken from an old composite of sep. elements. Unfortunately, no Technicolor IB prints exist as reference to show the original color.

Still, it could use some fixing. It's really soft, as-is, too; I'm not sure how that part can be fixed. Could someone who knows more about physical film enlighten me if sep. elements form a low-contrast element? It looks like the contrast could be deepened for a more "correct" image. Deeper contrast might make the color look better too.

Hammer's Dracula has flaws, but it really isn't as bad as some people say it is. It's certainly more accurate than the DVD, which is ridiculously under-contrasted and dull. It, in fact, looks quite similar to The Curse of Frankenstein, so that makes me think Curse could be corrected... I doubt the theatrical version looked like any of the releases.

Many films really need color-timing correction.

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The Aluminum Falcon said:Spartacus (1960)- 2/10- An unmitigated failure in almost all respects. It is DVNR'ed to the point that the figures start looking like wax, and one gets the uncanny valley effect. It was taken from an old transfer ridden with scanner noise. To add icing on the cake, the color restoration work, based off of an IB print, done by Robert Harris, has been completely ignored. The audio prevents this from having a 0/10.

The HD DVD looks like the BD but lacks the heavy DNR.  I tried to color-correct the HD DVD to match the Criterion DVD, but ColourLike()/ColourLikeFBF() can be used to render only short clips because of a livelock issue.

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The two worst offenders ever of dvnr were apparently Spartacus and Patton.

If Spartacus was not corrected for blu ray how does Patton look?

The last HD version had no real detail and looked like it was shot on someones camcorder or something.

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I didn't know about the corrected Patton. Thank you!!!

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Movies that deserve a restoration:

  • A.I. Artificial Intelligence
  • Big Trouble In Little China
  • The Fog
  • Minority Report - just doing a [spoRv] project right now
  • Mission: Impossible

Movies with few differences between the DVD and BD editions (sometimes are barely noticeable, other times limited only to some scenes):

  • The Day After Tomorrow
  • Daylight
  • E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial
  • The Fifth Element
  • Gladiator
  • Godzilla
  • Hellboy
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
  • Stargate
  • Titanic
  • Waterworld

Sadly my projects are lost due to an HDD crash… 😦 | [Fundamental Collection] thread | blog.spoRv.com | fan preservation forum: fanres.com |