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Old 04-07-2011, 13:14   #21
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Originally Posted by John Hodson View Post
I can actually replicate the look of those screencaps when I (a) stand *real* close to the screen and (b) freeze frame, which indicates that there has indeed been something going on in the digital jiggery-pokery department. But I have a solution.

I won't do either (a) or (b).

After wrestling with this for a few hours since watching the film through last night, I don't think there's any doubt that DNR has been implemented. Now, am I about to return the disc and announce to the world that I'm sticking with the DVD? Not that it would amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world, but am. I. Buggery.

Although this is no Walkabout in terms of transfer, and on reflection it could probably could be better (though 'better' is subjective I hastily point out; I had to (a) and (b) above to set off any alarms other than a bizarre niggle that it appeared simply too perfect), I'm not going to drown myself in a sea of angst about this. I'll leave that to others more technically proficient.

I've been through this once with The Searchers and never again; I took the position then that I know it's 'wrong', but I'm not going to deny myself the experience. A few more viewings down the road, I'll probably take the same pragmatic position with Don't Look Now and just wallow in one of cinema's finest offerings instead of flagellating myself waiting for a 'better' digital representation.

In fact, I know I will. To quote Laura Baxter: "This one who's blind. She's the one that can see..."

Great critique Mike; I'd expect nothing less.
Nice to see you back on these forums John!
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Old 04-07-2011, 13:41   #22
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I just hope Criterion get to take a stab at this sometime as it would be a perfect addition to their collection. Paramount should let them if they're not going to bother themselves.
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Old 05-07-2011, 19:46   #23
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All I can say in response to this is that I gave an honest account of how the film looked to me on a 42 inch plasma screen. It gave me a great deal of pleasure and it will no doubt do so again very soon. Several people whose views I respect have broadly agreed with my view of the transfer and so my views are certainly not out of step. If anyone is disappointed with the blu ray after buying it on my recommendation then I'm sorry but I stand by my comments.
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Old 05-07-2011, 20:10   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by Phil Q
Fair points about the the transfer, John, and in effect I'll do much the same as you, put up with it; my copy is on the way, and I won't be returning it.
I'm certainly not 'putting up with it'; it's far better than that. Though I sense some back-pedalling in hyperbolic comments made elsewhere, the great tragedy is we have a situation now - thanks to what I see as screencaps unrepresentative of the film in motion - where we'll have a tranche of folks who have yet to see the disc, yet who are already bizarrely expressing a desire to return it, or who will be predisposed to trash it out of hand once they do see it.

They'll be microscopically watching for faults, picking at the transfer, not watching this bloody masterpiece. My first comment when I got the disc and had a quick run through was that I was 'overjoyed' to have one of THE great films in 52" hi-definition looking and sounding as good.

I still am.
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Old 05-07-2011, 21:40   #25
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I'll reserve judgement until I receive my copy. I'm not given to "microscopically watching for faults, picking at the transfer", but I can't help noticing if something looks wrong. Having seen it in the cinema just a few days ago it will be interesting to see how it looks in comparison.
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Old 06-07-2011, 18:31   #26
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Originally posted by Phil Q I'll reserve judgement until I receive my copy. I'm not given to "microscopically watching for faults, picking at the transfer", but I can't help noticing if something looks wrong. Having seen it in the cinema just a few days ago it will be interesting to see how it looks in comparison.
Do you really think my comments come across as 'aggressive'? I have to say that I considered my thoughts may be a little, shall we say, passionate - but 'aggressive'? Seriously?
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Old 07-07-2011, 00:31   #27
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OK, you're picking up my comments on another website..... where I said that it was being "quite aggressively" defended on The Digital Fix.

Apologies if that caused offence. You prefer "passionate"? Fine. I'm not trying to have a fight with you. I'm sorry I misinterpreted your previous comment about "putting up with it", too.

Now that I have the Blu-ray, I think you do have a point that the transfer looks better in motion than in still captures. The DNR (or whatever the hell it is, I'm no technical expert) affects different parts of different frames, so in motion it sort of "averages out" to show more detail than individual stills suggest. But.... pause it at any point and it looks absolutely bloody awful - and this is often noticeable even in motion. You might say "it's a film, why do you need to pause it?" (I hesitate to put words in your mouth, so apologies for that too), but - just for the hell of it - you can pause many, even most, other Blu-rays and they will not look like this.

Look, it's a great film, I'm pleased it's out on Blu-ray with some excellent special features, but am I just going to shrug my shoulders and not wish for a better video transfer? I'm afraid I can't.
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Old 07-07-2011, 08:19   #28
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Having watched Don't Look Now on Blu myself yesterday, I stand by Mike's comments too. The picture is perfectly good - by far the best it's looked so far on any home format. Yes DNR isn't a good thing, but in this instance unless you pause the film as John says, it's all but unnoticeable when being watched as intended.

It's a solid transfer with good colour definition and a nice level of grain - it's not a washed out mess AND doesn't suffer from any smearing or artificial watercolour look that many excessively DNR'ed films do suffer from. To compare this with the travesty that was the Gladiator Blu-ray is ridiculous and so far off the mark it's unreal.

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Old 07-07-2011, 09:31   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by Phil Q
OK, you're picking up my comments on another website..... where I said that it was being "quite aggressively" defended on The Digital Fix.

Apologies if that caused offence.
No offense taken; I was more...disappointed. Personally, whatever the results on doing so, all I'm urging is that - rent, buy, borrow - people make their own judgements by actually watching the darned thing. Too much to ask that folks do so without the memory of those 'caps tainting their impressions - the fox is in the henhouse on that front. But at least you've seen it Phil; excellent.

And if I haven't already made the point clear to anyone else, I'll try to underline it - I haven't seen any film look as bad, still frame, up close, look this good in motion at a normal viewing distance. Nope, not perfect, but more than worth having and streets ahead, as Colin says, of any other home video incarnation in every way. YMMV.

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Old 07-07-2011, 09:37   #30
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What I've never understood is how opaque the home video industry appears to be. Where are the people who sit in studios and do this work, and why do we never hear from them? Where are the industry Deep Throats who will come out and explain why certain decisions were made, the processes involved and the discussions that were had? Are they not proud of the work they do or something?
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Old 07-07-2011, 14:09   #31
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Quote:
Originally posted by John Hodson
I can actually replicate the look of those screencaps when I (a) stand *real* close to the screen and (b) freeze frame, ..
John;

I view using a projection system at 104inches, you tend to spot issues on larger screens without the need to "freeze frame" or go right up to the screen, i'm sure those viewing on 42 or 52inch sets do not see the same issues on some transfers that i do, not being a snob, its just a fact because when i did have a smaller screen i noticed less.

The thing is, on great transfers the big screen really is like being at the cinema thus its a doiuble edged sword, bad transfers or average transfers come across sometimes as poor where good to great transfers make you feel like you are watching a cinema presentation in your home.

I know for a fact that Whiggles aka Michael Mackenzie has a calibrated JVC LCOS projector and views on a 12oinch screen, therefore just like me does not need to "go up to the screen" or "freeze frame" to see issues.

I think the point is that whoever did this tranfer could have done a better job of it, for those who are happy with it, thats great, just don't put down those who see issues due to having larger screens, and after all blu ray should and indeed can be very film like if the people working on these transfers lay off the processing tools when making the blu ray.
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Old 07-07-2011, 17:53   #32
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With the deepest respect, no-one is putting anyone down surely? This is not a contest, an 'us against them'? You see what you see - I respect anyone who has the actually taken the trouble to have a look themselves, and I can, 100%, understand where you are coming from and agree with some of what you say. We all want the very best; it's a fact that the pinnacle of what can be achieved isn't what we're seeing here.

At the risk of flogging that dead horse, all I'm asking for is a little rationale, a smidge of perspective. From what I've read, folks with all sizes of screens, including projector owners are coming away with varying opinions; hell, some - even those with PJs - can't see anything wrong whatever. While others are declaring it a disaster zone.

Not enough grain, too much grain, too bright, detailed, no detail, no depth, too colourful, too drab, bad sound, good sound; from the darkest obsidian, to the most blinding white with a little patch of grey here and there, whilst most reviews, on and offline, are positive. But it's all good. Because they have seen it.

I've no doubt to Michael's technical credentials, the level of his equipment (both of which far outstrip my own) - I only question his judgement is triggering an internet stampede with what I considered (and still think so Michael) an intemperate, even if heartfelt, comment: "Sod it, I'm returning it. The old DVD looks considerably better."

No greys here, no caveats; the bleakest prospect possible. I have to admit, it got my goat a little. Surely it's not that cut and dried? If those problems only leap from the screen when I freeze frame and stand up close, surely others will be in the same boat? I *know* they were...

Similarly, over at another forum, those screenshots sparked another panic amongst those who had still to see it themselves, accompanied with what I considered more hyperbole from a site reviewer; it was said to be unacceptable other than to those with 'very small screens'. That view was tempered with more considered comment later; I've no doubt his first reaction was some kind of righteous anger. His second far calmer.

I don't really care whether other people like the transfer or not - again, I say; you see, what you see - but that's for them to decide...which is the nub of what I'm trying to get at. Claiming it's an utter disaster, that Optimum must have bribed Roeg to approve it (yup, someone has claimed that), stamping their feet and claiming that the DVD is better (I said way back 'better' was subjective didn't I?) when those claims are being made by people yet to see the transfer in motion on their own equipment?

Bravo to those who taken the trouble to look past both the hyperbole and the screenshots. Love the transfer, hate it - we all agree it's a fabulous film. With my tiny screen ( ), I'll be happy until the next iteration comes along - hell, I'll be first in the queue...

Meanwhile, speaking of flogging dead horses, that's enough from me on the subject, I think.
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Old 07-07-2011, 18:39   #33
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Originally Posted by douglasb View Post
What I've never understood is how opaque the home video industry appears to be. Where are the people who sit in studios and do this work, and why do we never hear from them? Where are the industry Deep Throats who will come out and explain why certain decisions were made, the processes involved and the discussions that were had? Are they not proud of the work they do or something?
I agree. Actually, Criterion are quite good in this regard, outlining in their titles' liner notes the various steps taken in the creation of the master.
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Old 10-07-2011, 21:32   #34
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Originally posted by tizza
Was the sex edited out for the first cinema showing? I rememebr reading that it was. utube
This might be a completely false memory—1973 was an awful long time ago—but my recollection is that there was actually more sex in the original cinema release, and that the sex wasn't intercut with the dressing up; they were separate consecutive scenes. When I saw it on TV some years later, my thinking was that they'd recut it that way to make the sex less explicit. As I say, I could be quite wrong here, don't quote me!
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Old 11-07-2011, 18:21   #35
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I remember reading how Donald Sutherland sat in on the editing of the sex scenes and made sure some footage was destroyed, rumours to this day persist that both stars really had sex, probably an urban myth but other films from that era did have real sex, films such as Boxcar Bertha or Tattoo have confirmed real sex between the stars, indeed by the actors themselves, that doesn't mean its explicit enough to see the act onscreen but it can still take place, the seventies was really a different era and films were in some ways more honest with their sex scenes than todays flashier but ultimately safe films.
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Old 12-07-2011, 21:09   #36
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Donald Sutherland, Julie Christie and Nicolas Roeg have all denied on more than one occasion that it was actual sex. Aside from other crew members who were actually there, no-one else is in a position to know for certain.

And while I didn't see the film in 1973, on the not unreasonable grounds that they didn't let six-year-olds into X-certificate films back then, quite a few reviews at the time commented on the effectiveness of the cross-cutting between the love-making and the dressing.

Here's Pauline Kael, for instance:
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A key sex scene, with the two nude in bed, intercut with flash-forwards to their post-coital mood as they dress to go out together, is almost the reverse of a strip-tease.
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Old 13-07-2011, 23:30   #37
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I was legally old enough to see Don’t Look Now in 1973, though only just. I was underage when I saw A Clockwork Orange the year before, but that’s another story.

Regarding the sex/dressing scenes edit, Wikipedia sheds some light on my premise that the two were originally separate.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don't_Look_Now

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The American censor advised Nicolas Roeg explicitly that "We cannot see humping. We cannot see the rise and fall between thighs". The scene's much celebrated fragmented style, in which scenes of the couple having sexual intercourse are intercut with scenes of the couple post-coitally getting dressed to go out to dinner, partly came about through Roeg's attempt to accommodate the concerns of the censors: "They scrutinised it and found absolutely nothing they could object to. If someone goes up, you cut and the next time you see them they're in a different position, you obviously fill in the gaps for yourself. But, technically speaking, there was no 'humping' in that scene." In the end, Roeg only cut nine frames from the sequence, and the film was awarded an 'R rating' in the United States. In Britain, the British Board of Film Classification judged the uncut version to be "tasteful and integral to the plot", and a scene in which Donald Sutherland's character can be clearly seen performing oral sex on Christie's character was permitted, but it was still given an 'X rating'—an adults only certificate
So one could postulate that the version first shown in the UK was different to the US version, which was seen by critics such as Kael, and later that more TV-friendly US version came to predominate and the other was lost.

As for the BBC’s initial total cutting of the sex scene, I never saw that version, but if the sex and dressing scenes were intercut then—unless they cut the dressing scene to boot—it would have required a substantial editing job to excise the sex but preserve the dressing, whereas it would have been an easy “hack” if the sex scene was all of a piece.
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Old 14-07-2011, 13:14   #38
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They cut the whole lot in the first BBC showing and went straight to John and Laura out in the alleyways.
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Old 14-10-2011, 01:20   #39
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Having finally watched the blu-ray for myself, it's quite obvious that this presentation is a complete digital travesty. It's like the whole film has had the photoshop "pastel effect" tool applied to it and it's horribly distracting to watch! There isn't a defined line in the entire thing and all detail has been lost in an artificial haze that smudges away any and all image depth.

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