White Zombie - VCI 5/6/2014

Discussion in 'High Definition' started by X-human, Apr 3, 2014.

  1. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    I could have sworn we had a thread on this, but I could only find the Kino one...

    [​IMG]

    Anyways, after a long delay VCI has put back up the Blu-ray listing on their site:
    http://www.vcientertainment.com/WHITE-ZOMBIE?filter_name=white zombie&path=59

    Will be interesting to see how it measures up to the Kino. I'll have to wait and see what reviews are like.
     
  2. Erick H.

    Erick H. Well-Known Member

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    One of Bela's best.
     
  3. Steel76

    Steel76 Well-Known Member

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    Didn't the old Kino disc have problems with heavy DNR?
     
  4. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    Kino included two transfers: one with restoration working including heavy DNR. A second one which was just the original scan; no processing done to it at all (beyond compression for the disc).

    If the VCI turns out to be too similar to Kino's "restored" transfer I'll just buy the Kino for the unrestored transfer. I'd rather have something true to the source material.
     
  5. Nailwraps

    Nailwraps Well-Known Member

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  6. zbinks

    zbinks Beset by Creatures of the Deep

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  7. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    Good lord. It's clear from those comparison screencaps that the new release is another DNR-heavy mess. I can't understand how transfers that look this terrible get approved for release. The untouched Kino scan is the only one that looks remotely like a film. Both of the "restored" transfers scrub away all of the texture of the frames.

    It's discouraging to see this happening so frequently this far into the digital age. Compression algorithms have improved a million times over the past 10 years. And all the necessary restoration tools are perfected this at point. Why are so many studios still applying them with such a heavy hand?
     
  8. X-human

    X-human I ate my keys

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    Not only could it fit on a DVD9, it's transfer is MPEG-2 (which is DVD format) and the compression averages around 10 Mbps which is only the top of what DVD can do for fuck's sake.

    There are no pedantics with this, it's literally no better than a DVD. It's like they took the DVD master, burned it on a Blu-ray disc and called it a day.

    Jesus, I can't believe Kino beat them out by simply including the RAW transfer! Especially after a year of delay and all the Kino reviews.
     
  9. zbinks

    zbinks Beset by Creatures of the Deep

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  10. Jeremy

    Jeremy Closet SCREAM fan

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    The truth is that issues of this nature have been a persistent feature of home video since its inception some three and a half decades ago now. Each new leap in the technology has been marked by home video companies that have been slow to adapt and releases that have lagged behind the full potential of each new format. The first struggle was over original aspect ratios, and it took many years before that became the standard for laserdiscs, and even after DVD debuted it took the big studios a number of years to stop releasing P&S versions alongside the widescreen versions of new movies. And even while that fight was still being decided companies began to realize that widescreen alone wasn't enough, they needed 16x9 enhancement for their widescreen transfers. Then the next fight was over interlaced versus progressive transfers. Now with Blu-Ray the battles currently raging are over access to lossless soundtracks and the use of DNR. What will be the next fight after this? I don't know, but there will be one.

    In my mind, there are three primary reasons why this issue keeps coming up over and over again. They are:

    1) The people who do the technical work (colorists, telecine operators, authoring and compression specialists), and who provide advice and guidance to the technically illiterate people working in the home video business, are themselves only human. Every new leap in home video technology brings with it new procedures, new techniques, new equipment and software. It is simply impossible for them to master the use of all of this new stuff overnight and, being only human, some of them are uncomfortable in stepping outside of what they are familiar with and have to be pushed and prodded to learn new things. In addition to that, the facilities that they work at cannot always rush out and upgrade to the newest technologies as soon as they hit the market. You see that a lot with Italian HD transfers. You can get a good HD scan done in Italy if you go to the right place (ala ALIEN 2) but, as Kentai has repeatedly and obnoxiously explained, a lot of the more problematic Eurohorror transfers have been done at Italian facilities using outdated displays and such.

    2) In the case of the big studios, institutional inertia and office politics can also play a role. I don't if you've ever worked for a big corporation, but if you have you may have had the experience of trying to convince your boss and co-workers to change long-established procedures. If you've had this experience you may also know that it's often like hitting your head against a brick wall repeatedly. Sometimes change can require lots of patience, lots of careful persuasion and lots and lots of memos and meetings. And sometimes you may have a supervisor who is too stubborn and too set in his ways to ever change and you just have to wait until they are promoted, transferred or downsized. Well the home video divisions of the big studios are not immune to this dynamic. Take Universal, a huge number of their Blu-Ray releases of older catalog films have one flaw, which is the needless application of DNR. BUCK PRIVATES, THE DEER HUNTER, ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, SPARTACUS and many more, they would all be great restorations except for the DNR use. The use of DNR on Universal's catalog titles is so consistent no matter what staff member produces the release that it's clearly the result of a policy decision made by somebody higher up in the company. And what are you going to do about that if you don't outrank them? You can try to change their mind or you can wait them out, but at the end of the day they have the final say.

    3) What the fans want out of a release changes as the technology changes. Despite all of the griping, home video companies do pay attention to what their customers want. Many times they don't act on that information, but they do pay attention. And what customers want has changed as the level of film literacy within the fan community has increased over the years, film fans are much more sophisticated now and much more knowledgeable about film technology and the history of things like aspect ratios. I'll give you an example, film grain. During the days of analog technology VHS tapes had such a low resolution that film grain was not very apparent. In fact, I only remember a handful of VHS releases that looked particularly grainy. Then DVD comes along with its higher resolution and it brought out a lot of the grain. You can read the reviews if you don't remember, you can read many of the reviews that I myself wrote for this site. Every reviewer was complaining about grain at one point, people didn't want the grain, everyone wanted it filtered out. Of course DVD was still low-res enough that you could get rid of a lot of grain while still hiding the waxiness that resulted, and the vagaries of MPEG-2 even made that a desirable option. Then Blu-Ray, with its superiors codecs and higher resolution, forced a re-evaluation of that belief. Now fans want the grain, and they realize that grain is an essential part of a natural film image.

    The problem is that all three of these processes are moving at different speeds, with the result being that somebody is always behind the curve. This latest WHITE ZOMBIE disc is simply an extreme example of that. VCI has never been a technically oriented company, in fact they still seem to release interlaced standard def DVDs with regularity and all of their Blu-Ray releases seem to be of a pretty substandard quality. My guess? The people running the company are probably technically illiterate, and the people beneath them making the technical decisions either haven't kept up with the technology or are stubbornly stuck in their ways.
     
  11. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    "Extreme" is the problem for me. I don't disagree with anything you posted. But this transfer is so outrageously incompetent that it boggles the mind. It clearly demonstrates an utter lack of acceptable quality control procedures.
     
  12. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

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    Maybe I need to see it in motion but to be honest those Kino DNR stills looks great to me.
     
  13. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    It's not just the DNR. The contrast boosting may be even more egregious. Check out the wide shot of the zombies in the mill. The untouched image is so much moodier looking. The VCI transfer looks totally washed out with blown-out whites.

    But the DNR is still a big problem for me. Check out the lack of crows feet lines around Lugosi's eyes in the closeup image immediately below the mill scene. Just awful.
     
  14. Ash28M

    Ash28M Active Member

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    I agree with you on the VCI transfer being washed out but I can't say the same about the Kino Digitally Enhanced version
     
  15. shape22

    shape22 Well-Known Member

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    Yep. Both of the "restored" transfers are atrocious. Thank God the Universal box didn't turn out like that. Black and white films need deep blacks. Dracula looks like a totally different flick on Blu-ray. I find it so much more effective now that it's not so dull looking. It's sad to think about how striking White Zombie could look if it was afforded similar treatment. The scan doesn't look bad at all. Too bad they had no idea what to do with it.
     
  16. zbinks

    zbinks Beset by Creatures of the Deep

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    RE: DVDBeaver's review and the low bitrates

    https://www.facebook.com/VCIClassic...=10152384975967192&offset=0&total_comments=13
     
  17. zbinks

    zbinks Beset by Creatures of the Deep

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  18. zbinks

    zbinks Beset by Creatures of the Deep

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    Replacement Discs

    https://www.facebook.com/VCIClassic...=10152387509872192&offset=0&total_comments=17
     
  19. dave13

    dave13 Well-Known Member

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    They should take a page from Twilight Time's marketing playbook:

    "No replacements will be forthcoming, as those who already own the recalled disc are now the proud owners of a valuable collectors item, which will no doubt sextuple in value over the next 30 seconds! You're all welcome."
     
  20. zbinks

    zbinks Beset by Creatures of the Deep

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    :lol:
     

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