Criterion and UHD

The scuttlebutt on Criterion, Eclipse, and Janus Films. Lists and polls are STRONGLY discouraged.
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mfunk9786
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Re: Criterion and UHD

#126 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:41 pm

tenia wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:26 pm
2K DIs aside, the utmost majority of VFXs are generated at 2K anyway so even 4K DIs are partial upscales anyway.
My phrasing was weird - I just meant that if Criterion doesn't have a 4K master, I don't think they'd bother with a UHD disc. Whereas major studios want to put out a UHD disc of any film that they think will sell well regardless of the source needing to be upscaled or not.

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#127 Post by tenia » Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:38 pm

I agree with you and understood (I think) your point, but wanted to emphasise that for studio UHD releases, even having a 4K DI doesn't mean it's not upscaled anyway.
However, you're right in the way that this will be more "direct" for catalog movies since these restorations aren't really mixing different rez : either it's scanned and restored at 4K or it's not. The question could arise though for movies scanned at 4K but restored at 2K.

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#128 Post by solaris72 » Wed Jul 25, 2018 12:06 pm

tenia wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 4:26 pm
2K DIs aside, the utmost majority of VFXs are generated at 2K anyway so even 4K DIs are partial upscales anyway.
It's interesting, movies where everything or almost everything is in-camera are the majority of "true 4k" masters now. 70mm films were often the same way, not many attempted to incorporate optical effects as far as I know. But unlike in the days of David Lean, I can't think of any A-budget movies that are entirely/almost entirely in-camera. (These days when a director of a science fiction film talks about going practical and doing as much as possible in-camera, he or she is talking in very relative terms.

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#129 Post by McCrutchy » Wed Jul 25, 2018 5:02 pm

Aren't Nolan's films the definition of this?

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#130 Post by solaris72 » Sat Jul 28, 2018 9:28 am

McCrutchy wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 5:02 pm
Aren't Nolan's films the definition of this?
Nolan's films are photochemically finished, but still use plenty of CGI. Though now that you mention it, Dunkirk may be an exception to this.

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#131 Post by Roger Ryan » Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:16 am

solaris72 wrote:
Sat Jul 28, 2018 9:28 am
McCrutchy wrote:
Wed Jul 25, 2018 5:02 pm
Aren't Nolan's films the definition of this?
Nolan's films are photochemically finished, but still use plenty of CGI. Though now that you mention it, Dunkirk may be an exception to this.
Dunkirk definitely used digital tools to erase wires and to eliminate anachronistic buildings, etc. in wide shots.

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#132 Post by moreorless » Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:28 am

I spose one thing to question is are the kind of people who buy criterions also the kind of people who own very large screens? I'm not sure it holds that the cinephile market is automatically made up of people with massive home cinemas.

In terms of quality its obviously very hard to judge even 35mm only films as a set standard, the film stock, the quality of the lenses and the condition of the print are all going to play a big role. I would say that personally as a photographer who's worked with scanning 35mm film whilst it clearly does have potential resolution well beyond HD you are probably starting to get more into the realm of diminishing returns by 4K, DVD to Blu-ray on the other hand was a shift that was so far within the resolution of the medium that you got almost the full benefit of it provided the scan was good.

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#133 Post by tenia » Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:44 am

moreorless wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:28 am
the film stock, the quality of the lenses and the condition of the print are all going to play a big role.
Diminishing returns discussions aside for UHD, my experience as a BD user buying mostly catalog movies is that these actually don't impact so much the result. Mostly no matter the film stock, the lenses, the DoP, recent (competently done) 4K restorations made from OCN all have the same kind of typical texture, while 4K restorations made for later gen elements all have the same different kind of textures, etc, to the point an experienced eye can guess what it's looking at without taking into account these variables.

But you're probably right in wondering if there is a more pronounced attraction to very high end formats within Criterion's baseline or if it's actually as low as for the market as a whole.

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#134 Post by movielocke » Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:45 am

tenia wrote:
moreorless wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:28 am
the film stock, the quality of the lenses and the condition of the print are all going to play a big role.
Diminishing returns discussions aside for UHD, my experience as a BD user buying mostly catalog movies is that these actually don't impact so much the result. Mostly no matter the film stock, the lenses, the DoP, recent (competently done) 4K restorations made from OCN all have the same kind of typical texture, while 4K restorations made for later gen elements all have the same different kind of textures, etc, to the point an experienced eye can guess what it's looking at without taking into account these variables.

But you're probably right in wondering if there is a more pronounced attraction to very high end formats within Criterion's baseline or if it's actually as low as for the market as a whole.
That’s actually the issue, a 35mm film negative has a native resolution of about 5500 lines slightly more than 4K. But each generation loses resolution. Release prints are about 2k. An interpositive could be about 4K.

There’s an argument to be made that scanning from a negative doesn’t represent the grain and look of release prints well—that they’re too good.

As for stocks, that’s impossible to replicate that experience with today’s available film stocks, we get merely a simulacrum not a replica. As John Bailey points out on the women in love extras at that point they were using 50 or “fast” 100 (ASA) stock, but today’s stocks are ASA 500. And of course as anyone who has seen nitrate projected, the perfectly clearance transparent nitrate release prints are significantly superior to the translucent acetate. (Nitrate is one of the three most amazing things I’ve seen projected, up there with dye imibition prints and a brand new o neg contact print of Manhattan).

In terms of projection the biggest difference is projection bulb technology. Huge color timing difference between carbon arc projection and contemporary xenon projection. It would have canceled out back in the day, but in today’s environment we get a natural mismatch that has to be accounted for.


Did foreign countries import projection bulbs or did they have a domestic supply chain with their own unique color characteristics. Was there a mismatch back in the day between countries color timing projection color temperature standards and no one really cared? Do we correct that mismatch today to try to replicate the non mismatch look of the country’s native domestic projection? or do we honor the “other” foreignness quality of the mismatch look that non domestic audiences of these films have internalized as the correct look? (Because preserving a look that is “other”/non domestic is more important to these audiences than achieving a correct representation of the original look).

And since nothing is in a vacuum, how did the commercialized / fetishized otherness affect filmmaker decisions over the years selling their product to best exploit the market for those fetishes? So in other words how narrow is the mismatch window before filmmakers started making films that looked “x country” because only that look would sell the film internationally?

But there’s also nicotine to consider. If smoking was prevalent in theatres the screens were yellow, modern screens in non smoking theatres stay white for their lifetime. On the other hand if smoking was allowed in color timing (which it was) their screens were also yellow, so it ultimately canceled out back in the day. It’s only today that we get the nicotine Mismatch.

In terms of dye imibition, just how does the grain structure translate to the gelatin intermediate for each of the three colors, how much of that grain then transfers to a composited nitrate release print. How does that compare to latter era photographic release prints that definitely composited 3x grain from the three colors plus generation loss grain. What’s the best way to handle it digitally

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#135 Post by Luke M » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:10 pm

I have nothing to add except that’s a fantastic post and a super fascinating thought project.

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tenia
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Re: Criterion and UHD

#136 Post by tenia » Fri Sep 07, 2018 2:25 pm

It is indeed ! I know I sound like a broken record about some restoration works, but a a whole, I believe that sharing these thoughts and discussing these experience and viewers feedbacks like here with movielocke can also be fascinating, way outside any raging discussions about how this or that is not correct color-wise (for instance).

But we're now at a stage where hundreds of competent restorations are available and we can now look at that in hindsight and start questioning what we were told and what is the actual reality of things. I always think it's a wonderful reflection to do.

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#137 Post by Zepfanman » Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:44 am

dwk wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:31 pm
from this interview with Soderbergh
So for instance, even though we might’ve ingested the movie at 4K 10 or 12 years ago for the Sony Blu-ray, the scanners that exist today are a lot better – and now we have HDR. So even though, in this case, it was just coming out on Blu-ray, I requested, and Criterion agreed, to create a 4K HDR version of the master in preparation for a time when either Criterion starts making those kinds of streams available or there’s a decision down the road to put out a physical 4K HDR Blu-ray. I wanted to be ready for all of that.
Other than that Soderbergh interview from last July, does anyone have other links to articles specifically mentioning Criterion and UltraHD 4K releases for home media?

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#138 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jan 31, 2019 11:58 am

If they'd even slightly hinted at it, the rumours would be all over forums like this already.

I suspect that, like British boutique labels, they're biding their time until manufacturing costs come down, as it's pretty much impossible to break even on UHD discs without the kind of economies of scale that the majors enjoy. At least not without charging prices that would be eye-watering even by Criterion standards.

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#139 Post by tenia » Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:13 pm

I know independant are used to work in niche markets with much smaller sales and lot sizes (and also that the whole market figures might not be representative of specific niche products ones), but could they break even with, say, a quarter of these even with lower costs ? At best, even the BDA projects UHD to reach 40% in market share... of the BD market (not the total market)... and with a BD market much smaller than today.

Say today an independant would sell 3000 copies of a given BD release. UHD sales would be on average at best 900 copies, and that'd be by 2022. Knowing that most of the industry projections regarding UHD discs sales are overestimated despite being having been revised downwards overtime, so the BD market is likely to have dropped by more than what they project and UHD to have a lower MS, the average is likely to be closer to 750 copies.

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#140 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:21 pm

Since boutique labels are keeping a very keen eye on developments in this area, it's a racing certainty that they've crunched numbers along precisely those lines and have decided that it's not yet worth it.

The problem is that the price differential between a BD and UHD BD release would currently be enormous - if the pricing of Cult Films' crowdfunded 4K Suspiria is any guide, we're talking a 100% markup. And that's simply not commercially feasible.

In any case, Criterion probably isn't going to be a pioneer here, as they've traditionally been pretty slow to adopt new technologies - their first BDs came out in 2008, and I don't believe they even anamorphically enhanced their DVDs until 2000. My money would be on Arrow as the first indie to take the plunge in a serious way (not least because they operate on both sides of the Atlantic so have a bigger market than most single-territory boutiques), but the fact that they haven't yet done it speaks volumes.

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#141 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:28 pm

Criterion does endeavor to put out the best home viewing experience of any given film possible, and so I'm guessing they start with UHD the next time they put some sort of visual feast of a film out. My money's still on Isle of Dogs being among the first Criterion UHD titles, and that won't be for another couple of years.

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#142 Post by swo17 » Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:31 pm

I buy MichaelB's argument more, though don't forget that part of Criterion's delay in getting into Blu-ray was surely waiting to see who would win the format war between BD and HD-DVD

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#143 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:36 pm

I also think it's just as likely that within a couple of years Criterion comes out and says that the enthusiasm and accessibility of Criterion Channel means they're going to phase out new disc releases and are just going to stream. It's really a strange time for physical media, but the solution doesn't seem to me to be "let's keep releasing physical media in an increasingly outdated format"

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#144 Post by tenia » Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:41 pm

Blu-rays were launched mid 2006, HD DVD "officially" lost the format war in Feb 2008, Criterion first BD releases were in Dec 2008.
Note however that the UHD adoption seems slower as a whole, since in the case of BD releases, we're talking of about 2.5 years (and that was WITH a format war), while for UHD, 2.5 years is roughly right now, which is also part of why I'm wondering IF (and not WHEN) any indie will find figures telling them "now we can go ahead with UHD".
mfunk9786 wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:36 pm
I also think it's just as likely that within a couple of years Criterion comes out and says that the enthusiasm and accessibility of Criterion Channel means they're going to phase out new disc releases and are just going to stream. It's really a strange time for physical media, but the solution doesn't seem to me to be "let's keep releasing physical media in an increasingly outdated format"
The market technically never really moved away from DVD, which is an even more increasingly outdated format. While your point is very fair, I don't think the consumers, as a whole and including niche ones, are thinking this way. However, having structurally 3 physical formats living in parallel seems totally crazy.

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#145 Post by dwk » Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:49 pm

Dont forget that Kino has said that they are reasing two UHD discs this year and, depending on how well those two sell, they plan on releasing Leone's Man with No Name trilogy on UHD.

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#146 Post by HitchcockLang » Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:22 pm

The biggest downside to Criterion going UHD for me would be the clogging of the upgrades schedule. If I have to sit through another round of Breathless and 400 Blows upgrades, I'll never get Testament of Dr. Mabuse.

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#147 Post by Drucker » Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:28 pm

HitchcockLang wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:22 pm
The biggest downside to Criterion going UHD for me would be the clogging of the upgrades schedule. If I have to sit through another round of Breathless and 400 Blows upgrades, I'll never get Testament of Dr. Mabuse.
The Eureka BD is fantastic FWIW.

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#148 Post by colinr0380 » Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:51 pm

dwk wrote:
Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:49 pm
Dont forget that Kino has said that they are reasing two UHD discs this year and, depending on how well those two sell, they plan on releasing Leone's Man with No Name trilogy on UHD.
I had not noted that before. Which are the two titles that Kino are going to release?

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#149 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 31, 2019 1:54 pm

They've been coy so far, but I imagine it will be a mainstream horror or action film in order to guarantee a return

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Re: Criterion and UHD

#150 Post by Zepfanman » Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:38 pm

All interesting points. Thanks for the replies. The Kino news is particularly relevatory! Source? It sounded like they were going to release the Dollars Trilogy in Ultra HD, but they're technically just "4K restorations" on standard Blu-ray.

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