598 World on a Wire

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Matt
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

Re: World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973)

#26 Post by Matt » Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:52 am

DVD Beaver on the French Blu-ray. Colors look great, but the image is disappointingly soft, possibly due to excessive grain reduction. The full-res caps (especially the facial close-ups) are just ugly.

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FerdinandGriffon
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Re: World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973)

#27 Post by FerdinandGriffon » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:19 pm

Matt wrote:DVD Beaver on the French Blu-ray. Colors look great, but the image is disappointingly soft, possibly due to excessive grain reduction. The full-res caps (especially the facial close-ups) are just ugly.
Oh my God. That's awful.
The color on that Blu-ray has been seriously tampered with to make the film match the teal and orange color scheme of the packaging and modern studio pictures. I saw the recent restoration projected at MoMA and it looked nothing like that. This is really going too far.
Check out this comparison:

Image

Image

The first picture is a film still.The second is a capture from the Blu.

Looks like teal and orange is going to be home video's new "Full Screen".

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Matt
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Re: World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973)

#28 Post by Matt » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:21 pm

I thought the blues looked a little pumped, but having never seen the film I assumed that was an aesthetic choice by Fassbinder/Ballhaus (as unlikely as it seemed).

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zedz
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Re: World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973)

#29 Post by zedz » Thu Sep 23, 2010 3:28 pm

My god, that looks shockingly bad. I watched and enjoyed the UK DVD recently, and it was a massive grainfest, as 16mm should be, but this image has been so drastically treated that everything looks synthetic. Far worse than the DVD, in fact. A few howlers to consider: the rubber tree plant in the first cap, especially where it hits the face; the scrambled, swimming-horses-filtered fur duvet in the sixth cap; Kurt's chin against his collar in the ninth cap; poor Mascha's defaced face in the eleventh (what have they done to her mouth?)

Honestly, if that's anything like representative, it's the worst travesty of a BluRay transfer I've seen yet, and a cautionary tale about technicians who might know about the latest technology but know nothing about the originating one. Go SD on this one - it's a fine restoration and you won't regret it.

EDIT: The blue in that scene was present in the SD restoration (supervised by Ballhaus). The production still wouldn't necessarily have been shot with the same lighting and filtering as the film.

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Matt
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Re: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

#30 Post by Matt » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:30 pm

der_Artur posted some screenshots from the Arthaus DVD a while back. None are an exact frame match, but they don't look too far afield in color from the Blu-ray caps. Like zedz, I wouldn't trust a still to represent anything to do with the film itself, but I have no idea what's "right" here.

There was a short article on the restoration in the July 2010 issue of American Cinematographer. This is all it has to say about the color:

"Arri lead colorist TraudI Nicholson assisted Ballhaus with the finishing touches, using a Discreet Lustre. "Michael wanted to restore the Ektachrome look," she explains. 'Color-wise, we were trying to get back to the deep blacks and reds, with orange skin tones.' Adds Ballhaus, 'We've gone through the whole movie, and occasionally we enhanced the exposure of certain scenes, depending on the mood.'

That particular tone of blue in the screen caps is actually pretty characteristic of Ektachrome reversal film, particularly if it's been cross-processed, and maybe it would look better if it weren't also so heavily digitally processed.

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tenia
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Re: World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973)

#31 Post by tenia » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:55 pm

I don't know about the color scheme, but the softness of the picture really bothers me.

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FerdinandGriffon
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Re: Rainer Werner Fassbinder

#32 Post by FerdinandGriffon » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:58 pm

Matt wrote:der_Artur posted some screenshots from the Arthaus DVD a while back. None are an exact frame match, but they don't look too far afield in color from the Blu-ray caps. Like zedz, I wouldn't trust a still to represent anything to do with the film itself, but I have no idea what's "right" here.

There was a short article on the restoration in the July 2010 issue of American Cinematographer. This is all it has to say about the color:

"Arri lead colorist TraudI Nicholson assisted Ballhaus with the finishing touches, using a Discreet Lustre. "Michael wanted to restore the Ektachrome look," she explains. 'Color-wise, we were trying to get back to the deep blacks and reds, with orange skin tones.' Adds Ballhaus, 'We've gone through the whole movie, and occasionally we enhanced the exposure of certain scenes, depending on the mood.'

That particular tone of blue in the screen caps is actually pretty characteristic of Ektachrome reversal film, particularly if it's been cross-processed, and maybe it would look better if it weren't also so heavily digitally processed.
Compare the color of the poolside screenshots from the Arthaus DVD to those from the Blu. While both are certainly bluish, the BR is significantly more so. Voskerau's tux is positively robin's egg in the latter.
Last edited by FerdinandGriffon on Thu Sep 23, 2010 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Matt
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Re: World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973)

#33 Post by Matt » Thu Sep 23, 2010 5:16 pm

Yes, I should say that I find the DVD caps to be more credible all around. Still no reason either should be that soft unless Ballhaus' focus puller was Mr. Magoo.

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zedz
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Re: World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973)

#34 Post by zedz » Thu Sep 23, 2010 5:20 pm

The picture should be somewhat soft, because it's 16mm (and the linked SD captures above and the images with Doug Cummings' review give a good account of that inherent softness and graininess. The problem with the BluRay seems to be that they've tried to digitally scrub away the softness, which only garbles the information or adds comical MacPaint sharp edges to objects and people.

Looking again at the Beaver caps (which Gary inexplicably labels "amazing"), they just get worse and worse, and it does look as if the colour has been tweaked up as well. Compare the unnatural colour of that blue shirt in the eleventh cap with the same one (reflected and upside down, to be sure) in this SD cap. And while you're looking at the BluRay shirt (go on, zoom in, you know you want to), notice how the colour of the shirt stops short of the edge of the mirror in the foreground, and how the computer couldn't figure out where that black shape next to the mirror ended, so it just split the difference. Really, this is a horribly amateurish botch.

Yikes, where do you stop? Mascha's plastic arm! No film grain left, just digital noise.

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Matt
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Re: World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973)

#35 Post by Matt » Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:20 pm

zedz wrote:The picture should be somewhat soft, because it's 16mm
Not quite that soft. As has been pointed out elsewhere on the forum, 16mm is roughly equal in resolution to 1080 HD. Take a look at the BFI's Kenneth Anger Blu-ray to see how good 16mm can look in HD when done right.

In that same American Cinematographer article I cited above, Ballhaus does say: "Also, there's a tremendous amount of smoking in this film. All the stars whiffed like smokestacks, but I find smoke in film wonderful to look at. A bit of smoke in the room makes for a much nicer atmosphere; it makes the image a little bit softer and gives it a different depth." But that kind of softness is different from what we're seeing here. Almost nothing in the SD or HD caps is in sharp focus.

Eh, I'm still going to wait for a R1 release before I bite. I'm sure, if Criterion do it, it will look completely different and we'll have our beloved debate about original intent.

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knives
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Re: World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973)

#36 Post by knives » Thu Sep 23, 2010 6:58 pm

I believe Olive has already picked this up, so no dice on Criterion. As for the Blu, ouch, I've seen one or two VHSs that don't look as soft and artificial.

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zedz
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Re: World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973)

#37 Post by zedz » Thu Sep 23, 2010 8:33 pm

Matt wrote:
zedz wrote:The picture should be somewhat soft, because it's 16mm
Not quite that soft. As has been pointed out elsewhere on the forum, 16mm is roughly equal in resolution to 1080 HD. Take a look at the BFI's Kenneth Anger Blu-ray to see how good 16mm can look in HD when done right.
Yes, this is very soft and very grainy 16mm, which may be intrinsic in the filmstock used, or something to do with how it was shot / processed. I'd ordered the UK disc before the French BluRay was announced and was kicking myself, but when I saw the SD transfer I was surprised anybody would bother with HD. The SD was actually quite filmlike, if only because the grain was so much more prominent than normal. Given how visible the grain was, it didn't look like there was much more natural resolution available - and I suppose in a sense the BluRay debacle provides back-handed verification of this.

I wonder if this is a glimpse of the future, in which all sorts of material (such as old TV shows) will get the format upgrade, whether they need it or not, with any old digital botox applied to cover over the 'flaws' of the original film.

le_stephanois

Re: World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973)

#38 Post by le_stephanois » Thu May 19, 2011 10:12 am

From Bianca at the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation:
thank you very much for your request. Actually, The Criterion Collection is just working on the US release of Fassbinder's WORLD ON A WIRE. The DVD will be available on the American market supposedly by the end of this year.
We will also inform about the release on our homepage, so simply check it from time to time.

rwaits
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Re: World on a Wire (Fassbinder, 1973)

#39 Post by rwaits » Tue May 24, 2011 10:21 pm

Wow. Wasn't expecting that.

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Tom Hagen
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Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vo

#40 Post by Tom Hagen » Fri May 27, 2011 6:48 pm

Janus just posted the World on a Wire trailer.

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Jeff
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Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vo

#41 Post by Jeff » Fri May 27, 2011 7:27 pm

The Janus World on a Wire poster is amazing. Easily my favorite thing Sam Smith has done, and maybe one of my favorite posters period. I love how the wires in the lower sphere become the cityscape in the upper sphere. Really hoping they make it available for purchase.

Image

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kaujot
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Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vo

#42 Post by kaujot » Fri May 27, 2011 8:02 pm

I think with that design it'll definitely be put up in the store.

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knives
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Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vo

#43 Post by knives » Fri May 27, 2011 8:15 pm

That is pretty damn impressive. Now if he could try for those heights more often I think the forum would finally stop complaining on that front.

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Jeff
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Re: Forthcoming: World on a Wire

#44 Post by Jeff » Fri May 27, 2011 11:16 pm

The Janus website has a few playdates up.

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colinr0380
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Re: Forthcoming: World on a Wire

#45 Post by colinr0380 » Sat May 28, 2011 7:15 am

That is a wonderful poster for World On A Wire, even if it does slightly remind me of this:

Image

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manicsounds
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Re: Forthcoming: World on a Wire

#46 Post by manicsounds » Sat May 28, 2011 7:46 pm

Awesome. Taking the UK DVD out of my wishlist.

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zedz
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Re: 'Forthcoming' Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vo

#47 Post by zedz » Sun May 29, 2011 5:21 pm

Jeff wrote:The Janus World on a Wire poster is amazing. Easily my favorite thing Sam Smith has done, and maybe one of my favorite posters period. I love how the wires in the lower sphere become the cityscape in the upper sphere. Really hoping they make it available for purchase.

Image
Yeah, bravo for that poster, which also elegantly summarises the film's themes (man trapped between two worlds, constant surveillance, paranoia).

James
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Re: Forthcoming: World on a Wire

#48 Post by James » Mon May 30, 2011 1:43 pm

Good intro to Fassbinder?

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zedz
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Re: Forthcoming: World on a Wire

#49 Post by zedz » Mon May 30, 2011 3:48 pm

It's very unrepresentative (although RWF's DNA seeped into everything he did) - I'd recommend Fear Eats the Soul for a virgin.

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Buttery Jeb
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Re: Forthcoming: World on a Wire

#50 Post by Buttery Jeb » Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:36 am

Not sure if this has been mentioned or not, but will the eventual Criterion release have the same film speed issues as their release of "Berlin Alexanderplatz" (i.e., a shift from 25 FPS to 24 FPS for American home video)?

-BJ

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