Old* films in HDR

Discussion in '4K Ultra HD Blu-rays' started by Pecker, Jun 28, 2017.


    1. Pecker

      Pecker
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      * For which read almost all (if not all) 35mm/70mm films, and quite a few digitally shot films.

      This argument has been kicking around since HDR was first suggested - old films were 'not shot for HDR'. I'm perhaps not knowledgeable about the precise terms to articulate the argument myself, so I'll quote Robert A Harris.

      For those who are unaware, RAH has been responsible for a number of film restorations over the years, starting with the job of simply restoring film for archive film and presentation purposes, but then also for moving these works into the digital media of (at first) LaserDisc, then DVD, and then Blu-ray Disc. He's restored Hitchcock's Vertigo, Coppola's Godfather Trilogy, Lean's Lawrence of Arabia, and Kubrick's Spartacus. The master analogue (film) elements and digital masters were largely restored and created by him; whenever you watch a restored print of The Godfather, or view it on Blu-ray Disc, it's his restoration you're seeing, from film cell to digital pixel.

      Harris says:

      A more damning criticism of applying HDR to older films, I cannot imagine. A more knowledgeable or reputable source, it's difficult to picture.

      I wanted to bring this up, as we have a thread here about Blade Runner, and I don't doubt there'll be more 'premium' titles given the HDR treatment in the near future. Now whether these will be given an HDR 'remix' is not yet clear. But it's a factor of which I think we all need to be aware, before automatically swooning over the possibility.

      In most cases the increased resolution of 4K compared to 1080p will be negligible on the best displays at anything like a normal seating distance, and invisible on many.

      And the increased colour space, whilst visible, will not be worth the substantial extra cost for most. Ask yourself this, when was the last time you came home from the cinema, turned on your TV, and noticed any difference in the colour gamut on offer?

      I'm not anti-UHD. To be absolutely clear, if a film is shot in 4K with plenty of extra detail, using the full colour range on offer, and in HDR (and with an HDR presentation in mind), and you have a large display at a reasonably clos seating distance, then a UHD viewing will be closer to what the film-makers wanted you to see. And I'd definitely rather see such a film on UHD than Blu-ray Disc.

      But that's a tiny, almost imperceptibly small number of films in the great scheme of things.
       
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    2. thegeminiman

      thegeminiman
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      At least we now have a response from someone with real technical knowledge that all this baloney about HDR being such an important part of UHD is bollocks.
      Those willing to buy upscaled 2k disguised as 4k excuse the con by claiming HDR makes it worthwhile. I think Robert Harris knows a thing or two more about film than some of the people on this forum.
      At least it might prevent whining when a title suddenly appears without HDR and the fanboys go ballistic because the disc is incomplete
       
    3. simonblue

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      But again it's only another person's opinion on the subject,and for all of his credential he is not and has not been as director or an cinematographer or lighting technician.
      As within any industry when changes come there will be those who favor it,and those who don't,its always been that way.
      :)
       
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    4. thegeminiman

      thegeminiman
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      I think you need to check up on Robert A Harris. He knows a thing or two about films and how they should appear. It was his correct criticism of the 50th Anniversary restoration of Spartacus that ensured it was done right for the 55th.
      He has been responsible for many restorations including My Fair Lady , Vertigo and more. I first saw his name when he was credited for restoring Spartacus back in 1990.

      Re: clarification that HDR is not part of the UHD spec is enough. And as HDR is a home video feature added later I would say he knows more about its application than many cinematographers or lighting technicians from the age of celluloid
       
      Last edited: Jun 29, 2017
    5. simonblue

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      I no who Robert Harris is,all i am saying its just one person opinion ?

      By the way under the spec of the UHD Alliance,which most major studio have signed up to the spec include HDR.


      UHD Alliance (link) :)
       
    6. Coz22998

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      Nice pull on that - thanks for sharing. I agree entirely - I'm not interested in any form of changing the original look and intent of a film, be it via retrospective colour timing changes (cough....Friedkin......cough) or OAR variations (cough......Storaro.......cough).......when it comes to the picture. But these kinds of things have been going on for decades - colourised B&W films? This is just another new tool that filmmakers will try and apply to older films.

      But, like a number of remixed 5.1 tracks we have on DVDs and BDs, as an alternative, I'm all up for them being put out to market and offered as a choice as long as we as consumers have the originals also being made available - in some cases I'm a purist, in others....well, less so (Jaws in remixed 5.1? Doesn't bother me at all oddly!), but what I value is choice.

      The upcoming Blade Runner UHD in HDR is going to be fascinating to look at - given Scott's penchance for revisiting his works, it seems oddly fitting that he'd go back and do a new HDR pass on the film. It may not be what was originally intended, but as long as I have the original (or should that be originals in this case?????) then bring it on I say! I'll be getting it even as I don't have a 4K screen, but Vangelis in Atmos? On it like a tramp on a chip. Interestingly I've been loving the new Atmos remixes of previously non-Atmos tracks - the recent Sony 4K restorations of FFC's Dracula, Leon and Fifth Element sounded immense! Still, horses for courses and all that......
       
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    7. Coz22998

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      Again that's not quite the whole story though is it? There are full and proper HDR passes applied to new films by directors who wish to use it as a tool to achieve their original intent that are finished at 2K that ARE a genuine improvement over the non-HDR passes applied to the standard BDs: in these cases the UHD represents the full and true directors intent and we're not necessarily seeing that on regular 1080p BD. HDR passes being retrospectively applied to films where HDR was never a concern - that's a very different story.
       
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      Last edited: Jun 29, 2017
    8. Drongo

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      The pertinent question is ‘Does HDR applied to older films show us more of what is on the original negative; or is it adding something not originally intended?’

      Is there a definitive answer to this question or is it a matter of debate?
       
    9. Will Scarlet

      Will Scarlet
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      HDR applied to older films is most definitely adding something not originally intended. The idea of Casablanca or Lawrence of Arabia etc., being given an HDR pass, I shudder to think.
      To be honest I am more than a little concerned about the upcoming Blade Runner release.
       
      Last edited: Jun 29, 2017
    10. thegeminiman

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      I agree although to be fair Blade Runner is the type of film that might benefit. Certainly the real oldies may not
       
    11. thegeminiman

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      I think Mr Harris has answered that
       
    12. thegeminiman

      thegeminiman
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      You said "new films" and that is correct. This thread and the comments from Mr Harris refer to old films.
      New films are presumably shot with the additional tricks available from modern technology in mind
       
    13. thegeminiman

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      When it comes to the restoration of old movies saying that Mr Harris opinion is just one man is like saying the views of George Lucas on how the Star Wars films should look is "just the views of one person".
      And we should remember this is specifically referring to films not shot with modern tech originally in mind
       
    14. raduv1

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      I thought 35mm had a far greater dynamic range than rec709 was ever capable of showing ?

      Rather than HDR being an add on , isnt it now just HDR rec2020 finally being able to show the full dynamic range of these 35mm films ?
       
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    15. Uruloke

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      That was also my understanding. That the Wider Colour Gamut of HDR allowed for a more accurate representation of what was captured on the film.

      Unforgiven in HDR looks fantastic.
       
    16. Coz22998

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      Fair play - I thought your comment about HDR on UHD was in general and not just in reference to older films, so apologies. I agree entirely about it on older films - no interest in seeing shiny new bells and whistles added, unless it, as others have said, now allows a better representation of what was originally captured and shown.
       
    17. johngerard

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      Precisely what my understanding of it is. Not adding, just getting even more of what was there originally.
       
    18. Pecker

      Pecker
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      I believe you can release a UHD of a film with the original colour gamut of 35mm film (or a lot closer than we get currently from Blu-ray Disc) without it being HDR, though I stand to be corrected.
       
    19. raduv1

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      Do you not need the HDR for colour volume , luminance etc ?
       
    20. Will Scarlet

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      I too stand to be corrected, but I believe Pecker is right, WCG and HDR are separate things and not interdependent. I am sure Geoff will be along in a little while and put us all straight.;)
       
    21. raduv1

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      That's alright I may be confusing myself here :D as the WCG may well be . I stand by the colour volume and luminance though that has to be tied into the HDR :smashin:.
       
    22. Will Scarlet

      Will Scarlet
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      I just found this online, which appears to confirm that HDR and WCG are indeed separate entities:

      "High Dynamic Range (HDR) displays a greater difference in light intensity from white to black, and Wide Color Gamut (WGC) provides a greater range of colors."[emoji106]

      Thinking about it, Oppo has a 'Strip Metadata Function', which aims to strip away HDR Metadata leaving the rec 2020/WCG intact. It's experimental at the moment, but I believe Panasonic have a version on the UB900 that works very well.
       
      Last edited: Jun 29, 2017
    23. raduv1

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      Cheers mate , i actually I never said the WCG was not separate in discussion though :). I actually said.

      Do you not need the HDR for colour volume , luminance etc ?
       
    24. Will Scarlet

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      No you don't, see the paragraph I've added to my post above.
       
    25. raduv1

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      WCG and colour volume , luminance are also very different and you need HDR for the latter that in most respects is more important than the former.

      The WCG without HDR will not get you that colour volume as colours have luminance and will be clipped out in the very bright and dark scenes , hence one will miss detail that HDR can bring .

      Yup already knew the OPPO could strip back the HDR metadata. Isn't this mainly for projection though ?
       
    26. raduv1

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      What a nasty first post and disrespectful of other members of the forum that has no bearing on the OP . Great discussion now though.
       
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    27. google

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      I don't know enough about film but are there any real problems being caused by adding HDR to 'old' films as long as we can still access the films as they were meant to be seen too?

      A few directors/directors families and film owners might be a bit miffed having to have their films HDR'rd but isn't that for them to worry about?

      I'm thinking purely from the viewpoint of a film buyer and viewer.
       
    28. raduv1

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      But will it be adding HDR to 35mm films , or is it that dynamic range already in place but due to tech/display limitations this might be the first time that we as an audience can finally witness what the director saw whilst filming ?

      Is it adding when that dynamic range was always there but has always been limited for the audience ?
       
    29. Pecker

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      And yet it's difficult to dismiss the comments completely, irrespective of the tone and language.

      I do not doubt that there are people who will defend UHD, come what may, just as there'll be people who will defend 16K and 32K formats if and when they come, with even wider colour spectrums and even greater dynamic range.

      When we get to a place where a format can produce every colour perceptible to the human eye, and greater dynamic range then can be had between human vision in the dimmest moonlight through to the brightest light, there'll be those advocating doubling that as 'necessary over sampling'.

      Whether we find the term 'fanboy' insulting or not, I have no doubt that this phenomena will happen.

      In one respect, I have no interest, and this is not my point. If new films are created, then I'd like to see the ability to create them accurately at home.

      My passion is for preserving the intent of over a century of film-makers, and to use RAH's analogy, HDR risks them being doctored with, on a par with post-production 3D.

      We can sit here in 2017 and debate whether or not Blu-ray Disc will ever replace DVD, or UHD banish Blu-ray Disc to history. But make no mistake, come 2040 almost everything (physical format, downloaded or streamed) will be in 2K PLUS, most will be in 4K PLUS, and HDR (PLUS?) will be the de facto standard.

      I think it's important that everyone makes a stand now, from film makers and film archivists all the way down to film fans and AV enthusiasts, to protect the film-makers' original vision from revisionist tinkering.
       
    30. raduv1

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      I have not agreed or disagreed to your OP , in fact I've tried to expand and discuss it with an open mind . Unless you see other wise ? Like many members on the forum, and a new format one takes it on a disc by disc basis not the whole format . Is HDR doctering a 35mm film if that HDR was always there but as yet never able to be let out the box ?
       

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