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Thief (Criterion edition) comments regarding transfer

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Thief (Criterion edition) comments regarding transfer

Old 07-10-14, 10:56 AM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays, Part II

Originally Posted by Randy Miller III View Post
Modern color, take 2: now with T&O, black crush, and a hint of Abrams!
That's exactly what the movie always looked like! Anyone who tells you different is just an internet whiner!!!!
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Old 07-10-14, 11:16 AM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays, Part II

A bunch of screenshots from Theif CC Blu :

http://www.bluscreens.net/thief.html
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Old 07-10-14, 11:38 AM
  #28  
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays, Part II

Originally Posted by DaveyJoe View Post
This is the broadcast version of Thief:


This is the Criterion:

Let's look at this example again.

The broadcast version has a red push that has turned the judge's face pink. That's clearly incorrect. However, it also has a range of other colors in the shot: the brown in the wood paneling, the gray in the Lincoln portrait, the silver in the microphone, the red, white and blue in the flag, etc. If the entire shot originally had a heavy teal tint, where did those other colors come from? Applying a red push in the old video transfer would not invent those other colors from scratch.

The Blu-ray version has no color variety. Everything is smothered in teal. The judge's face is tinted teal. The wall is tinted teal. The Lincoln portrait is tinted teal. The microphone and flag are tinted teal. Any other colors are drowned out by teal.

If we're to believe that this scene was always tinted teal, those other colors in the broadcast transfer could not have been created out of thin air. They had to come from somewhere. That's not something the video transfer operator could have done by accident. Those other colors are not present at all in the teal version of the shot. Mistakenly adding too much red or dialing out the teal would not bring back the brown and the gray and the silver and the blue.

Which is more plausible?

1) When creating the broadcast master (presumably in the late 1990s), the operator digitally repainted the scene section-by-section and frame-by-frame to add brown and red and silver and gray and blue for reasons only that person may understand. Yet, in doing all this work, he didn't notice that the judge's face was pink.

Or

2) When creating the Blu-ray transfer, Michael Mann cranked up the Teal dial on his console and said, "There, I like that better now."

Really, reason this through logically.
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Old 07-10-14, 02:29 PM
  #29  
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays, Part II

As stated before. No way was Thief made to look like the BD.

The teal is deliberate in the now. Look at those shots when he's on the beach. Very clean and natural. Then you go interior and night shots. Teal.

If Mann wanted it look like that he could have applied a physical filter or some lighting. But it's evident it is digital. It's too perfect. Too clean for that era. That's a digital application on this film. Now the image itself is amazing in the technical but it's not right.
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Old 07-10-14, 03:03 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays, Part II

Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
Let's look at this example again.
I took the Criterion still and tinkered with it in Final Cut and got this result in just 30 seconds with just one filter:

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Old 07-10-14, 03:14 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays, Part II

Vintage film stocks could hardly be manipulated towards teal like the modern digital gradings of today. The closest older films ever got to the pervasive teal we have today were by using gels and creative lighting on the set. It's a trend that largely did not exist in the analog celluloid era.
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Old 07-10-14, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by PhantomStranger View Post
Vintage film stocks could hardly be manipulated towards teal like the modern digital gradings of today. The closest older films ever got to the pervasive teal we have today were by using gels and creative lighting on the set. It's a trend that largely did not exist in the analog celluloid era.
That was what I was wondering: was that color grading even physically possible in the photochemical good old days?
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Old 07-10-14, 04:16 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays, Part II

No. Not like the way it looks now. It'd LITERALLY be a washed in color to the whole palette of the frames image within the intended section.

With digital you've got the exact process of selection.

There may be a teal in the majority of shots but it is A controlled action.

Last edited by Solid Snake; 07-10-14 at 04:22 PM.
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Old 07-10-14, 04:40 PM
  #34  
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays, Part II

Salmon (pale orange-ish) and teal were a very popular color combination in the 50's.
And apparently according to Bruce Kimmel (Haineshisway), colors skewed this way with the type of projector lamps that were prevalent at that time (can't remember if that was carbon arc or vice versa).
Colors will be slightly affected by the light source. But I have serious doubts that the heavy teal look of the Fox Bds, especially for films from that era like Desk Set, is entirely correct...but I have no choice but to defer to people like Mr Kimmel and Mr Harris who were there then.

My heaviest theater going and movie watching was between '78 up to about '83. I'm very familiar with the films from that era. Josh is correct that teal coloring was just not something you saw on films back then. That is extremely stylized and if something like that were in the marketplace it would stand out like a sore thumb because the overall fashion of the time was a life-like, if somewhat subdued, range of colors. Films these days get graded to look near mono (or rather) duo-chromatic. It's amazing to me that just because we are in the middle of it that more people can't see how artificial and manipulated it still looks. But over and over I keep seeing people comment on some new release on Bd were the image "looks natural" when it is anything but.
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Old 07-10-14, 05:03 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays, Part II

Is nobody impressed with my color correction?
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Old 07-10-14, 05:33 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays, Part II

I love you, man.
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Old 07-10-14, 05:33 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays, Part II

Originally Posted by DaveyJoe View Post
Is nobody impressed with my color correction?
It looks fine but in this case I prefer the teal.
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Old 07-10-14, 05:39 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays, Part II

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Old 07-10-14, 06:23 PM
  #39  
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays, Part II

All I know is that judge sure seems exasperated by this argument.
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Old 07-10-14, 06:37 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays, Part II

Originally Posted by Supermallet View Post
All I know is that judge sure seems exasperated by this argument.

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Old 07-10-14, 06:45 PM
  #41  
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Hey! What's everybody's problem with the judge? Maybe the man has a skin condition! First he's red, then he's teal? Man, that must've made for a difficult childhood! You guys are all quick to point fingers, it isn't his fault he was born that way !

Originally Posted by DaveyJoe View Post
Is nobody impressed with my color correction?
It's quite impressive, but can you fix the whole movie ?
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Old 07-11-14, 09:37 AM
  #42  
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays, Part II

Originally Posted by DaveyJoe View Post
Is nobody impressed with my color correction?
My office network blocks Photobucket, so I wasn't able to look at your photo until late last night.

OK, fine, you managed to conjure a reasonable approximation of the broadcast version's colors.

My point still stands, however, that if the scene was originally bathed in teal back in 1981, the person who did the broadcast transfer would have had to go out of their way and put in extra effort to remove the original coloring that the director had applied. Why would they do that?
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Old 07-11-14, 10:10 AM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays, Part II

Originally Posted by Josh Z View Post
My office network blocks Photobucket, so I wasn't able to look at your photo until late last night.

OK, fine, you managed to conjure a reasonable approximation of the broadcast version's colors.

My point still stands, however, that if the scene was originally bathed in teal back in 1981, the person who did the broadcast transfer would have had to go out of their way and put in extra effort to remove the original coloring that the director had applied. Why would they do that?
For the same reason stores like Best Buy and Circuit City never featured properly calibrated HDTVs in their showroom, they think that consumers are more impressed by vivid colors and eye-popping visuals than accuracy, and they're probably right. If Thief is supposed to look cool and muted, that would probably underwhelming for people watching at home. It's one thing to watch a movie like that in the theater where it's pitch black, but a viewer at home watching during the day might think "This is what the HD hubbub is all about? I can barely see anything!"

^I'm definitely planning on picking up Scanners next week, I'm a big Cronenberg fan and the DVD I have is pretty weak.
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Old 07-11-14, 12:34 PM
  #44  
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays, Part II

Originally Posted by DaveyJoe View Post
For the same reason stores like Best Buy and Circuit City never featured properly calibrated HDTVs in their showroom, they think that consumers are more impressed by vivid colors and eye-popping visuals than accuracy, and they're probably right. If Thief is supposed to look cool and muted, that would probably underwhelming for people watching at home. It's one thing to watch a movie like that in the theater where it's pitch black, but a viewer at home watching during the day might think "This is what the HD hubbub is all about? I can barely see anything!"
We don't know when the high-def broadcast master was struck, but it presumably must have been sometime after the 1998 DVD release (which was non-anamorphic letterbox, indicating that the video master at that time was only standard-def). I would guess that it comes from the very end of that decade or the early 2000s.

The sort of wholesale disregard for what a movie is supposed to look like was common in prior decades, but by the DVD era, most studios had gotten on board with at least attempting to represent the director's intentions. Sure, often they did stupid things like adding Edge Enhancement and DNR to "clean up" a picture because they didn't know any better, but deliberately going out of the way to undo a specific stylistic effect that the the director had clearly intended? That just seems very unlikely to me.

"You know, this John Woo guy uses too much slo-mo. I'm just gonna go ahead and speed all that up so that it looks normal. People'll thank me for it. Cuz I know better than the stupid director."

You tell me that something like that happened in 1982, I'll totally believe you. 2002, though... Eh, doubtful.

Again, I'm not saying that the broadcast master is "correct," but I'm fairly confident that (aside from the red push) it's a lot closer to what the movie looked like in 1981 than the Blu-ray is.

What seems most likely to me is that the person doing the broadcast transfer just took the film elements he was given, did a quick scan, and called it a day without paying much attention to the fact that his red gain was a little too high. The colors otherwise are basically what was on the print.

Whereas when Michael Mann supervised the Blu-ray transfer, he went in with his fancy digital toolkit and consciously "updated" the movie to his current preferences.

Last edited by Josh Z; 07-11-14 at 12:49 PM.
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Old 07-11-14, 01:25 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays, Part II

Best part of the Criterion Thief are the teal walled tires!
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Old 07-11-14, 05:23 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays, Part II

I must be in the minority but I don't care if the Blu-ray looks like the film I saw in the 70s or 80s or 90s; I want it to be how the director intended. If the original version is not as intended for whatever reason-monetary or technology limitations etc, I'm ok with some tweaking. It is his or her project and I want to see the film the director wanted. However, I can't imagine any director wants "teal walled tires".
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Old 07-11-14, 06:25 PM
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Re: Criterion releases on Blu-Rays, Part II

There's a big difference between "I always wanted my film to look like X when I made it but couldn't because of technical limitations" and "Wait, I can make the whole film teal now? Suh-weet!" IMHO anyway.

Also there's something to be said for letting films stand as they are. That's why I love the Blade Runner set so much. It allows each cut of the film to speak for itself.
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Old 07-13-14, 02:28 PM
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Re: Thief (Criterion edition) comments regarding transfer

i came for the artistic merit, but stayed for the teal.
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Old 07-13-14, 03:24 PM
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Re: Thief (Criterion edition) comments regarding transfer

it could be in black and white, i just thought it was a fantastic movie...
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Old 07-13-14, 03:52 PM
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Re: Thief (Criterion edition) comments regarding transfer

Damn, between THIEF and now, SCANNERS, it seems Criterion has sold out. They've become yes-men to the whims of so-called "Director-approved" tinkering. THIEF looks awful. SCANNERS looks awful. Criterion didn't want to inferfere, but instead sold out to spite itself.

THIEF does not look as the director *intended* in 1981. It looks like a monochromatic mess of teal, stylized to the whims of the audiences of 2014. Josh is indeed correct that films *did not* look like this in 1981.

We know we're in deep when perhaps the mostly highly respected videophile company of them all, Criterion, does not do a double-take, and refuse to cater to the 'modernization' tealization trend. They should insist on releasing what was seen in theatres as a truly accurate preservation of the art form.

Indeed, it shows they don't want to disturb too many egos...
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