My blue ray nite



Earlier this week, in professor Gunning’s class, we missed an opportunity to see how Technicolor fares in a blue-ray transfer—Hawks’ Rio Bravo. It turns out that the Film Studies Center, somehow proudly presented as a sacred place for us cinerats, does not yet feel the need to add to its admirable facilities a blue-ray player. Yes, of course, it is not a matter of rushing into a Sony store and purchasing one. What are the titles available at the moment?

We have heard the story of Godfather and I personally own a 2001. But today I learnt that BFI had begun a series of blue-ray transfers that means business—vigorous and meticulous digital transfer, essays written by specialists, lavish booklets, extras, etc. The first two released are Salo and Red Desert. A review of the latter can be found here:

According to an announcement, criterion collection is already taking steps towards embracing the new medium. The first batch of available titles are:

The Third Man
Bottle Rocket
Chungking Express
The Man Who Fell to Earth
The Last Emperor
El Norte
(the above already listed in the coming soon section)
The 400 Blows
Gimme Shelter
The Complete Monterey Pop
For All Mankind
The Wages of Fear

In fact, if we take blue-ray as just a medium that can accommodate a MPEG4-AVC encoding of 1080p images and 5.1 LPCM soundtracks in the same time, the criterion collection does not have to make a giant effort to re-release some of its existing titles. I presume that when they did the transfer, that is, telecine, they stored the digitized film in a sort of uncompressed format—not sure which one. So there is no need to repeat the most money-time-consuming process of negative cleaning, image stabilization and color correction. They of course can throw in more featurettes, which will be all the more reason to upgrade.

Now what are the titles that can benefit the most from this new technology? Looking at the cc list I have to say, it is definitely going to be sound films, and most probably color films, although we do have three B&W titles—they belong to what I call international best-selling B&W.

Finally, let us not forget the shitty issue of region code. As of writing I am not aware of any official multi-region blue-ray player. For standalone the only option is to have it modded, which means added cost and potential instability. As for PS3, better forget it. For BD drive owners, though, the problem is much easier in nature and practically solved.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OPPO makes a region free blue ray player(OPPO BDP-83). This thing plays EVERYTHING. It is pricey ($499) but its standard DVD upconversion is superb, I watched The Set Up last night and for the nost part it was great.

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