[Videolib] Bret Wood on the new Blu-ray of Keaton's THE GENERAL

From: Steffen, James M <jsteffe@emory.edu>
Date: Mon Dec 21 2009 - 07:12:18 PST

Thought you all might find this interview of interest, since Bret Wood talks at some length about what goes into transferring a film for DVD or, in this case, Blu-ray:


Here are a couple of interesting quotes from the interview:

"[...]When we first transferred The General<http://www.amazon.com/General-Silent-Blu-ray-Buster-Keaton/dp/B002NTDX6O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1261103124&sr=8-1>, a minimal amount of digital grain reduction was applied and it is this version that was released on DVD. Upon close inspection of the Blu-ray test discs, we found that even that small amount of digital noise reduction had created visual artifacting, a slight blurring and ghosting of the image. We brought the film element back to the lab (Crawford Communications) and re-transferred it specifically for Blu-ray, without DRS or any artificial grain reduction. So the film was remastered specifically for the Blu-ray release."

 "The DVNR technology of the DVD era is not subtle enough for the 1080 requirements of the Blu-ray age. In fact, when I look back at some silent films that were released on DVD, heavily treated with digital noise reduction, I cringe. I now recognize the degree to which the film's natural grain and sharpness have been glossed over for the sake of a smooth image. I worry that this has spoiled the consumer, who will now expect every film to look this way when the actual film never looked that way to begin with!"

At the same time Wood notes that not all films have good enough surviving elements for mastering on Blu-ray and cites the difficulty he has had preparing a new edition of Andrei Tarkovsky's THE SACRIFICE, which was from the mid-Eighties(!).

Hope you all have a great holiday season!


James Steffen

James M. Steffen, PhD
Film Studies and Media Librarian
Theater and Dance Subject Liaison
Marian K. Heilbrun Music and Media Library
Emory University
540 Asbury Circle
Atlanta, GA 30322-2870
Phone: (404) 727-8107
FAX: (404) 727-2257
Email: jsteffe@emory.edu
Web: www.jamesmsteffen.net
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Received on Mon Dec 21 07:13:16 2009

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