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Customer Review

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Riches reclaimed, 25 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Underground (DVD + Blu-ray) (Blu-ray)
This was the movie that got me buying a Blu-ray player, and I would say that despite the age of the source material, the quality of the print presented justifies hi-def. It is amazing the work that has been done providing a picture as good as would have been seen at the time in the cinema, a restoration perhaps triggered by the discovery overseas of a print of the movie enabling the damaged parts of the previous viewing print (from 1948) to be replaced. From parts of the original camera negative and two prints a wet gate print is made (by printing under a liquid with a similar refractive index to film base, the liquid fills scratches in the base, minimising their effect on the print) before applying modern digital restoration techniques to further enhance the image quality.
Something that surprised me (although with DVD and BluRay discs included it's academic) is that the BluRay had fewer extras than the DVD! Both have a featurette on the restoration of "UndergrounD" and the short "Under Night Streets", the DVD has another four shorts including the celebrated footage shot on the Metropolitan Railway in 1910, travelling out from Baker Street (I bet that gets a good few YouTube hits!) although it is the feature, with the emphasis on ordinary folk, that is of course the main attraction.

The language of the silent film is different to that of the "talkie" and sometimes requires much closer scrutiny of the image on the screen (seems obvious, I know - sorry about that) - but features such as UndergrounD provide a window into a world that is gone forever although we are privileged to glimpse shadows and hear echoes via contemporary films and recordings.

Coupled with which, of course, it's a cracking good story. and British....
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 18 Sep 2013 07:12:50 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 Sep 2013 07:15:49 BDT
chipmonk says:
R.A. CATON: Re: "the BluRay had fewer extras than the DVD!" There are many instances where a set of Blu-ray with DVD come with less or no extras on the Blu-ray disc. Firstly, they may have used Highest possible bit-rates on the Blu-ray, and had no space available for all.. OR, that the Extras that were ONLY AVAILABLE in STANDARD DEFINITION were deemed to be BETTER LEFT to the DVD disc included with the set- because as rule, STD.DEF/Low Bit-rate material looks awful when placed upon a Blu-ray Disc! This would "look" softer, less sharp etc..but on the DVD (played on your Upscaling Blu-ray player, they WOULD LOOK much crisper,sharper and film-like- often razor-sharp as IF High Definition! Out of 1700+ Blu-rays in my collection, I can verfiy the majority of extras shot in Std. Def but included as is (ported over from a DVD release) look pretty poor at BEST! But view the DVD same extras on the same player..they will look crisper and more 'hi-def' like... Obviously, Std.Def (unremastered) will always LOOK BETTER on a DVD - the act of placing the material directly onto a Blu-ray doesn't make it BETTER!! Only if/when they remaster that material and use Higher Bit rates...will std. def extras look as good or better when placed on a Blu-ray disc..
Of course, any EXTRAS that were shot in HD (eg. made in the 2000s onwards) which are placed on a Blu-ray will look just fine/great! But many extras were made decades earlier..and if left as is (ported over) from an earlier DVD release, it will NOT look "good" on a Blu-ray at the typical bitrates used!
Hope this gives you some CLARITY as to WHY some of the EXTRAS are left off the Blu-ray BUT deliberately placed on the DVD that's included in the set.. I appreciate it IS less convenient having to switch discs- but the Qulaity will appear BETTER visually..and you're sprared the ATTROCIOUS RESULTS that can often be the case on a Blu-ray where the bit-rate count is at so low a reading it can give you headache trying to watch them!

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Sep 2013 10:01:16 BDT
R. A. Caton says:
Thanks! I'm new to high-def....
It doesn't seem so long since it was all on 8mm film!

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Sep 2013 12:12:29 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 Sep 2013 12:23:50 BDT
chipmonk says:
I used to have a Super 8 camera/projector in the late 60s, which I won as a BET when my mother took us ten pin bowling at Piccadilly Circus (Shaftesbury Avenue) and I was left with 2 pins on the very left, and either one or two pins on the very right...and she said if I knocked them down, she'd pay for me to go visit relatives in USA, or I could have a cine camera/projector/screen and splicing kit offered in an ad in one the Sunday newspapers! I promptly managesd to do so, and held her to her word!
I myself was an "early adopter" of High Definition..in 2006 on the very day the World Cup started (on a Saturday) my local store on Edgware Road who I used to sell to during 1986-1992 and acted a 'consultant' for ever since- they called me and said the Pace Free to Air HD Satelite Box I had wanted was finally in.. and the results of the then NEW BBC Test HD channel were MESMERIZING! Even on a 720p screen that the Pioneer was (42")..my girlfriend sat open-mouthed at the huge improvment- she doesn't even like football! Later that same year, I imported an HD-DVD player form the US, that being the Toshiba system that ruled the HD World until Sony was foced to come out much earlier than they would have liked to intorduce Blu-ray, when they launched the PS3, although Samsung had issued theior own Blu-ray player many months before Sony did- sadly, those players were version 1.0, and incapable of further software or hardware modifications..and so became unusable as the discs began to hold more content, dual-layers and other features..that required a larger memory chip...version 1.1 improved on it..the current standard is 2.0 with full internet capablility/BonusView and so on..
Toshiba lost the HD war, their simpler and commercially easier and cheaper system allowed for existing DVD "replicator plants" to switch to HD-DVD production within minutes, at the flick of a switch virtually- Blu-ray on the other hadn required BRAND NEW machinery costing millions worldwide..which Sony footed the bill for.. as Sony had a LOT riding on the success of their Blu-ray/PS3 technology..and when the last studios in Hollywood had to decide which way to go, as the 2 systems were not in everyone's best interest- Warners, who had been issuing BOTH formats told the 2 camps that they'd GO with whichever studio FOX went with..Fox had agreed to go with HD-DVD, but days before the CES Las Vegas Trade Show..Sony had given Fox a massive multi-million pound "sweetener" to switch the decion before making it public- and so ended the HD Wars! Thoise early Blu-ray discs were NOT as clear, sharp or solid visually as the HD-DVDs which had at least 2+ years more experience commercially...but they have improved and caught up by 2008/2009... the capability of Blu-ray can be stunning- visually and with uncompressed PCM sound and DTS Master sound.. but like everything else, it is ONLTY as GOOD as the work, mastering, resoration and production of the film content and how it is put onto disc.. A Great number of releases continue to displease due to lack of RE-mastering or if required, a full Restoration..yes, you still get the definition..but the picture can still appear poor due to print damage, artefacts, and flecks in the sky.. which is the grain of the film conflicting with HD software trying to remove it..because it is so fine it confuses digital noise for some of the fine grain making for a greying flickering..where heavy DNR (Digital Noise Reduction) and so on are used by the studio creating the Blu-ray..there WILL BE times when you say...My DVD looks visually more stable, solid and razoer sharp compared to a Blu-ray release.. so DON'T go throwing all your DVDs away just yet!! On a technical note, NOTHING can still beat 35mm film print (analogue) in terms of colour purity and so on.. like all Digital ANYTHING...it is very much a "numbers game".. in relative infancy compared to all analogue forms of picture/sound formats.. what we do get is convenience and of course OUR PLASMA/LCD TV panels are MADE FOR Digital 1080p content pixel for pixel..EVEN SMALL 22" INCH SCREENS today are now 1080p..as opposed to the HD Ready (720p) screens of just a couple/few years ago.. New kid on the block is 4k screens..hitting stores now...BUT don't go buying just yet...NO Blu-ray content or ability to put so much data onto a disc is yet commercially available! They ARE working on this..have found solutions (on 100GB Blu-ray discs for which a NEW player will be required!)..and a new HDMI that can handle it properly at 24 frames, 30p and 60p..this is HDMI version 2.0 ONLY just ratified a couple of weeks ago..which this will require on both player and screen/AV amp..to pass thru those higher frame rates which the current 1.3/1.4 versions cannot handle. I expect it will be AT LEAST A YEAR maybe 2 before they FINALISE AND SET IN MOTION production of the first 4k players..so best to wait until they iron out all the USUAL GLITCHES when it does come..remember all of us with Early Blu-ray had SOFTWARE FIX AFTER FIX until the machines could accept them no more!! It pays to NOT BE the Early Adopter.. hence that's where YOU come in..New to Blu-ray at a time when most of the nasty problems have been solved and made more reliable!! A General Rule in the Audio/Video Industry has always been...It TAKES 5 YEARS for a New Format to settle down and bugs ironed OUT!! Only those with a burning need to have the latest, and those with 'deep pockets' can afford the luxury of being the guinnea pigs..until more knowedge/reliability becomes assured..
Hoped the insight/history is of interest! and Keep SUPPORTING HD/Blu-ray...before such disc-based formats begin to dwindle in number on a downward spiral.. many out there seem to prefer CONTENT VIA DOWNLOADS..and you won't GET any extras/documentaries, booklets/artwork there!! Just a long wait hoping a download goes OK without being any glitches! Many of us here prefer a tangible item over one that we cannot hold/see/feel/look at!
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