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Bad quality rip off Optimum Blu-ray releases

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Showing 1-25 of 25 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 15 Mar 2012 20:38:24 GMT
As a 80's action fan, I am really fed up with the poor quality Optimum releases. Lets face it, they are ripping people off with really poor transfers and next to none new content. I have stopped buying them as they can't improve on the dvd I already own. Blu-ray was not designed for this lazy crap they are selling as a so called upgrade. Two examples are a couple of my favourite films, Escape from New York and Total Recall. Neither are any better than my upscaled dvd's. Is there anybody out there who agrees with me? or let me know if you think I am wrong.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Mar 2012 21:44:27 GMT
J.Yasimoto says:
To be honest, most '80s action films were never shot that well anyway. "You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear" as they say.

Posted on 16 Mar 2012 04:45:49 GMT
DeeJay says:
No I cant agree with you (Mr Field) im afraid. A bluray will look as good as it did when it was made back in the day. Total recall for example was shot on a type of film that looks very grainy, ditto for Robocop amongst others. As a result this is exactly how the movie should look. Ill also add that these transfers are still far better than any DVD release whether you have it upscaled or not. Upscaling can only smooth out the picture, it cannot add detail that doesn't exist on the DVD. You also have to remember that Bluray will show everything in the transfer, warts an all, DVD doesn't.

I don't think Optimum itself is the problem, its mainly your expectations of how you expect older movies to look. To be honest if you check out the majority of older studio releases from a variety of compaines, from Die Hard to Rocky to Lethal Weapon, none of them look that great; although still better than the DVD versions.

Posted on 17 Mar 2012 03:23:13 GMT
T says:
"To be honest, most '80s action films were never shot that well anyway. "You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear" as they say. "

Indeed. Or, as we say in the remote-sensing hydrographic industry, "You put excreta in, you get excreta out" (with a slight word replacement there to get past the mods).

Someone on another thread explained that a lot of BDs are being produced from re-mastered original footage but I guess that will only be for major and timeless hitters like Brief Encounter and Breakfast At Tiffany's. The likes of Arnie's80's back catalogue are likely to be produced from transferring the original VHS/DVD master to BD format.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Mar 2012 04:13:41 GMT
A. Moncrieff says:
I think he understands that. His point is that, for example, Escape From New York looks like crap on Blu Ray and yet Assault on Precinct 13, Halloween and The Thing (John Carpenter films from the same period) look fantastic on Blu Ray. Total Recall was not a cheap film and could look a hell of a lot better - a comparison with Terminator 2, released the following year, reveals a very disappointing transfer on the Blu Ray. Speaking of Terminator, another Blu Ray that looks like a DVD.

Posted on 18 Mar 2012 12:49:44 GMT
Last edited by the author on 18 Mar 2012 12:51:08 GMT
T says:
All the Terminator DVDs I've seen have a very '80s NTSC-like picture quality (a la The Running Man) and very poor sound quality so would avoid BD versions on that basis alone. I suppose modern movies, shot for HD, will come out best on BD - Avatar, for example - but it's nice that older "classics" are being remastered to take advantage of the pounds in peoples wallets, er, I mean the format, though - except for Escape From New York by all accounts. :-D

However, I'm learning to be selective on what I buy on BD and what I stick to DVD for - else I leave the BD in "Saved for later" until the price falls through the floor!

On the flip side of this you'll get a whole tranch of movies that no matter how beautifully they are shot and how high a bit rate their state-of-the-art digital HD/3D/partridge in a pear tree cameras were set to will still be a load of rhubarb and waste of money - anything featuring Tamer Hassan and Danny Dyer, for example (with perhaps the exception of The Football Factory).

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Mar 2012 19:10:04 GMT
Cerberus says:
Terminator 2 skynet ed is quite good for audio and visual.

Posted on 19 Mar 2012 11:04:06 GMT
Last edited by the author on 20 Mar 2012 12:50:14 GMT
T says:

Yeah - I just bought that a couple of weeks ago on offer. The alternate ending showing an elderly Sarah watching a grown-up John playing with his kids kinda messes up the premise for T3, since it implies that JD clearly never happened and a military computer didn't use the internet to destroy humanity with its own WMDs.

Posted on 19 Mar 2012 15:15:34 GMT
Last edited by the author on 19 Mar 2012 15:17:36 GMT
if you have the possibelity to buy and watch US Blu rays, then you can buy Escape from New York from the states.
Because this one has a really nice and good transfer on blu.
I bought the action flic of Noldie ,Red Heat uk version, and for my oppinion it wasnt a bad transfer,just 2 or 3 times in darker scenes
they had some flaws(grainy).
From dusk till Dawn US version had really bad comments about the picture and sound quality,then i was on amazon canada, and they sell the movie in a steelbook and whats important. a very nice and very good transfer in picture and sound.
you have to be a little Phillip Marlowe and check different sites about whos pressing and distributed the blus( FDTD us version is a different
then the canadian

Posted on 19 Mar 2012 20:25:40 GMT
[Deleted by the author on 31 Mar 2012 00:07:28 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Mar 2012 21:56:26 GMT
Last edited by the author on 19 Mar 2012 22:04:08 GMT
DeeJay says:
@A Moncrieff. Just because one 80's movie looks good doesn't mean all the others should as well. The era in which movies were filmed can have something to do with it; movies weren't stored digitially, negatives were destroyed, reels weren't kept in the best conditions and so on, but as well as all that, its more to do with what they were shot on and how they were shot. Like I said, Total Recall was shot on grainy film stock, that is how it is supposed to look and it cannot look a hell of a lot better unless 1), the studio applies DNR to smooth out the picture which would in turn erase all the detail (see the 2 Predator and Gladiator releases), or 2) find a better film negative which I doubt they can when you take into account what I said above.

Just like today, not every movie is shot the same. Take Tinker Tailor soilder spy for example, a modern film shot on modern film stock yet shot in a specific style to reflect the gritty period it is set. That the picture is not super shiny is not the fault of Bluray, it's how the movie was shot.

@DM Bunny. Its actually you who has shown you dont know what you are talking about, or how things work. Studio canal and Optimum are not the same company. Optimum like many companies in the UK are often just distributors. They will license a release from another company and distribute it in the UK. They are not trying to "disguise who they really are" as you wrongly think, Optimum just buy the UK rights to a lot of Studio Canal releases, in the same way Manga license from Funimation. Yes, there may very well be better releases of a movie available elsewhere, and that is down to a company getting a better negative to use, rather than Optimum trying to save money. I mean, if you release a crap product them people wont buy it will they?

Posted on 31 Mar 2012 00:02:06 BDT
Thanks guys. I understand what you are saying but going back to Escape From New York. If the original negative is trashed and they can't improve on the dvd release the distributors should not release a product which is supposed to be an upgrade. This is simply repackaging and lets be frank, dishonest. Optimum cannot really be defended. Look at the extras on the Arnie box set releases. Really, why bother. Big retailers like Amazon should be on the backs of these companies and have a little quality control. I am realistic, I'm not expecting some of these 80's films to look like Avatar, but if I am buying the same product again, I expect to see some improvement on my original purchase.

Posted on 31 Mar 2012 00:11:10 BDT
DM Bunny says:
DeeJay Mr Know it all
, to quote you on your own childish insults -Its actually you who has shown you dont know what you are talking about, or how things work
Let me show you a press release from Optimum which you can also find on Wikipedia :-
" StudioCanal UK (formerly Optimum Releasing/Home Entertainment/Classics is a film distributor company working in the UK and Ireland. The company releases many films, including foreign language films, anime releases such as Studio Ghibli's films and independent British, Irish and American films in the UK and sometimes Ireland.

Optimum was acquired by StudioCanal, a subsidiary of Vivendi SA, in 2006. Since StudioCanal bought Optimum, the French company distribute their large back catalogue of classic British films (many from the Cannon and EMI catalogues) through Optimum releasing under the strand 'Optimum Classic'.

Now don't you feel really stupid and ashamed and embarrassed for shouting your mouth off about something you knew nothing about ?

Posted on 31 Mar 2012 04:57:43 BDT
Last edited by the author on 31 Mar 2012 05:06:10 BDT
Stacey says:
Mr. Field i feel for you mate the so called blu ray releases that i bought from Optimum Home Release were complete garbage i was that disgusted by the barley dvd quality releases they released under the Blu-Ray disc that i threw them in the bin after watching them, it is outright extorsion what they are doing they are not doing any work to the films at all they are simply lifting from the vhs or dvd release of the film and displaying it uncompressed at best. F.E.A.S.T & Escape From New York is just a couple of the trash films those guys sucked me into buying on blu ray, with the cheap price comes the cheap quality in Optimum Home Release cases.

Ignore the cretins trying to defend their actions or saying that the quality is not so bad obviously these people are either blind or high on something when they sit down and watch these films. I have a Kogan 46" 120hz Full HD 3D LED LCD TV & Samsung 3D 7.1 Home Theatre Package and let me tell you every release from Optimum Home Release was terrible video and audio quality. Blu-Ray is ment to be the best of the best anything less is an insult.

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Mar 2012 07:43:30 BDT
truthsetter says:
Well neither LCD panels (projectors are different) nor 7.1 is the best of anything other than marketing and how effectively you have been brainwashed.

Posted on 1 Apr 2012 16:56:24 BDT
just to show oldies can look amazing, try getting the omega man for £3 on bluray and give it a spin, it looks fantastic!

Posted on 1 Apr 2012 18:53:04 BDT
Mrs. FILM says:
much has been said that old movies look poor in "blu-ray" because they were made that way , or its the companys like "Optimum" fault. On both counts that not completely correct. Its really down to "where" they source the print (film negative , reel , etc) to scan into "HD"..
In most cases there isn't one as they are either too old , or the company that had one lost it after it was put onto "video" or later into "DVD".
So there lay the real problem, if you have a well kept , great negative stored in a strong tin and kept safe , when it comes to the transfer into "High Def" , little cleaning is needed and the resolution will be second to none..
Films like Star Wars and Godfather will have the respect to kept pristine as they have a neo "Classic" status , but sadly films like Robo Cop and Police Academy are all too soon forgotten , and subsequently the original film ends up...well...missing.
So in most cases a new print has to be made to scan into HD , and they can only make a print from an old copy..
Its why you will never see any "Carry On's" or so many old video gems that await today's wonderful resolution to re-birth anything you might remember or be waiting for..They can only do wonders with what they can find. There are some that will NEVER look good in Blu-Ray because nobody ever thought when they made these films so many years ago , that it would ever matter.

Posted on 1 Apr 2012 22:28:33 BDT
Like some have already said, i all depends how the film was shot..
Compare Alien to Aliens, Alien looks amazing, new details jump out, it oozes quality, whereas Aliens just looks flat, yeah, it's a decent enough picture, but there isn't the leap in quality you get with Alien.
Again, many of the Criterion DVD's of old 50's 60's Samurai films are astounding, because they have been remastered, the Blu-rays will be even better

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Apr 2012 12:34:46 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Apr 2012 12:35:10 BDT
truthsetter says:
Because it is pure film from the real Panavision era. Best quality is pure film or pure digital inbetween there was years of film-shot DI post then back to film then onto home formats.

Posted on 2 Apr 2012 14:56:01 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Apr 2012 14:57:10 BDT
C. Gould says:
As someone who talks to people at Studiocanal on a fairly regular basis, I felt like weighing in. Firstly, Studiocanal is Optimum. SC have been the parent company for some time and recently they unified under one banner. That's why the Optimum discs utilised SC sourced transfers and why said transfers differ from territories like the US.

As to the quality of their releases, well they have come in for a lot of stick over the years, some justified and some not. They have released a couple of howlers (Escape from New York is one of the worst, but The Fog isn't much better), but they've also released some decent catalogue stuff. Their Total Recall and Terminator 2 (original) are the best versions on BD. If you take into account the cost of producing and HD master it's hardly surprising that some of their titles don't compare favourably to new, remastered discs from bigger US labels. SC has used older HD masters used in Europe for many of its titles, and while they are occasionally inferior many of the titles were available years ahead of the US versions (Cliffhanger, Evil Dead 2/3). The fact that something like Hardware exists on BD is a marvel in itself. Sure I'd rather they spent a fortune on new scans, but it's not economically viable to do so given the returns they'd see on some of the niche titles.

Many of the newer titles they put out are fantastic. The del Toro set is great, as are The Host, the Park Chan-wook films, Spinal Tap, I Saw the Devil, Submarine, Tinker Tailor and many more. I'm not saying they are perfect - few distributors are - but they aren't half as bad as some would have you believe. Their quality control has been steadily improving for years and without them I wouldn't have some of my favourite films in high-definition.

Having said that, just be glad they never put They Live into mass production in its current state. I have a preview copy and all I can say is *shudder*.

Posted on 2 Apr 2012 15:05:42 BDT
DM Bunny says:
It's quite funny how the DeeJay troll hasn't been back in - too ahsamed and humiliated. he waded in here with both boots ranting and raving and telling me I don't know what i'm talking about and all he proved was just how ignorant he was himself regarding the optimum - studio canal question.
People who instantly tell you that you are wrong and stupid and don't know what you are talking about simply because they haven't heard the actual fact themselves and are too lazy and stupid to look it up on an internet search engine are sadly in great abundance on our planet , especially on internet. At least this one has had his mouth shut firmly for him but no doubt the DeeJay fool will be off to another thread telling someone else they are wrong and talking rubbish simply because they dare to mention a fact which he knows nothing about himself. Sad ignorant little troll !

Posted on 4 Apr 2012 04:29:52 BDT
Last edited by the author on 4 Apr 2012 04:31:06 BDT
Alfie says:
@DeeJay - How do you explain the US release of Escape From New York looking so much better than the Optimum release if as you say "I don't think Optimum itself is the problem, its mainly your expectations of how you expect older movies to look"

@C.Gould - nice post above about StudioCanal. I just about forgive them for the atrocious EFNY as I recently imported the Italian (and I believe only) blu ray of They Live! and it looks (if not sounds) fabulous. It also comes with a fantastic booklet. Shame I don't speak Italian!! (this is also a totally different transfer from the reviled UK release)

Posted on 4 Apr 2012 13:01:31 BDT
T says:
Presumably the US release of EFNY came from a better quality/preserved NTSC format master whereas the Euro release has come from a tatty old PAL master?

Posted on 4 Apr 2012 14:02:41 BDT
C. Gould says:
The US release comes from a proper HD master, whereas the UK release is a contrast boosted, edge enhanced standard definition upconversion. It looks terrible!

Posted on 14 Oct 2014 17:15:59 BDT
Mr. G. McKee says:
I'm personally fed up with hearing about 'great transfers' eg. for Non Stop starring Liam Neeson. On my Sony VPL-55 beamed onto a 106" screen, it was shite. The film was also garbage btw. Optimum's 'Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' was tat PQ. I bought the Canadian set and the transfer on 106" screen is superlative. Reviewers need to be verifying Transfers with projected images. They should always include their screen size/projector on the review. Generally I agree that Optimum/Studio Canal releases on Blu Ray are of poor quality for Blu Ray.
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Participants:  16
Total posts:  25
Initial post:  15 Mar 2012
Latest post:  14 Oct 2014

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