One possible reason Star Trek The Motion Picture Directors Cut is not on blu ray?

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by XIDOR, May 21, 2016.

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  1. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Toronto, Ontario
    Huh?! If you have worked with film then you know much a negative will deteriorate in 37 years. Maybe I misunderstood you comment. But saying it can't look any worse than it did 35 years ago is not worthy of you sir. Film is organic and it does get worse with age. Or were you making a joke? Perhaps I didn't understand.

    Pro audio is my thing. Not video. But take for example The Anne Of Green Gable movies done by the CBC back in 1985/86. The films needed to be restored. They were in bad shape. And that was 8 years ago. So a film from 1980 must be worse.

    You saw the negative 2 years after it was made. When did you see it last? All the original 6 classsic movies came out on Blu-Ray a few years ago. Or was it last year? I assumed that all those negatives got scanned at 4k when they put them out on Blu-ray. Or is that wishful thinking?

    I read somewhere that the resolution of a 35mm film negative is somewhere between 3.2k and 3.6k. Can you confirm this? Following this logic would a 16mm negative be half of that? And 8mm half of that?

    A 35mm movie house print is 800 lines of resolution tops. That I know. It's been proven. I still think a movie house 35mm print looks better than a 1080p HD Blu-Ray made from a 2k/4k master. I just prefer analog film. And digital projection I hate. It looks horrible. Great for big budget mthem on a real pro projector. But all the home digital projectors I have seen fall short. I remember when back in 1982 when our school rented a 16mm copy of The Empire Strikes back. I guess the Blu-ray is better. (1997 version). But...there is something about film...I guess at 50 I am getting old.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2019
  2. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Toronto, Ontario
    That was the first VHS movie I had ever bought back in 1989. I purchased it because the box said, 12 ADDITIONAL MINUTES. I plugged in my headphones to watch it. I had never heard a VHS HI-FI soundtrack before. It blew me away. I had only heard full range stereo sound like this in the cinema. Wow! And I loved the extra 12 minutes. Mr. Wise was right about the extra 12 minutes making the movie drag. But I have some news for him..The movie drags nevertheless! But leaving the 12 minutes in makes it better, and makes the plot and certain character motivations more clear and concise.

    We should get both versions. Just like we should get the two versions of Saturday Night Fever.

    The director knew that when the movie was going to end up on television that it would get cut up and the swearing bleeped out. So, he shot two versions of each scene.
    Every sene was shot as original written with all the swearing and racist remarks. And then the same scene would be shot over again. But this time no profanity or nude shots, etc.
    Essentially, believe or not two separate versions of this film were shot and edited: One for film and one for television. But because those duplicate scenes were just shot for television the actors were more relaxed and as a result better acted. I understand by contract agreement that "TV" edit of the film can never be released. Does anyone know?

    Check out the audio commentary for Saturday Night Fever. This is straight out of the directors mouth.

    And where is the longer version of Star Trek 2?
    I haven't seen it since the early 90's.
    I understand Willam Satner had to edit 30 minutes off of Star Trek 5. How come there has never been a director's cut of Star Trek 5. I know the studio made him cut a lot out. I read his book.
  3. captainsolo

    captainsolo Forum Resident

    Murfreesboro, TN
    The theatrical cut on the later widescreen Laserdisc reissue is a newer master than the older discs and looks and sounds amazing even in matrixed 2.0 surround. This film really could benefit from 4K despite the more drab color palette and diopter shots etc. The current Blu-ray has wonky color and tons of DNR in addition to a 7.1 remix so I never watch it.

    One would hope for a branched 4K version with the theatrical, special longer video cut and a new version of the Director's cut from the DVD edition.
    longdist01 and john morris like this.
  4. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    I'm working on remastering a 1989 film at this very moment, and as I look at it in my mastering room, I'd say, "wow, it didn't fall apart too much." It's held together well. Star Trek: The Motion Picture was a huge A-list film on which they spent a ton of money, and the negative on that was actually in pretty good shape. The original transfer was done from a low-con print, and looked terrible, so that was jettisoned in favor of the IP. They got a reel in and decided that looked too ugly as well... and out of desperation, we very gingerly used the original camera negative (OCN) instead, in about April of 1980. I personally put a paperclip on the edge roller to bypass it because the negative had been "notched" by the lab, creating a horizontal bump on every cut. There were still some unwanted motion from splices, but for the most part, that 1980 transfer -- done by ace colorist Pat Kennedy at Modern Videofilm -- was surprisingly good for that era.

    You ask a lotta questions. There's a lot of "it depends" to this. One of Kodak's top color scientists told me in 2002 "we believe the limit of resolution in 35mm negative is 6K," but he acknowledged nobody would ever see that, because the moment you strike a print or any kind of copy, loss occurs. Even when you scan the negative, you're going through air and a lens, so the real limit is probably closer to 4K. The steadiness of the picture is also a factor, so unless the transport is pin-registered, you'll never even see 4K. The exposure of the image is also a factor, and if you shoot wide-open (say, at T1.9 or 2.2), the image is naturally going to be very soft. If you pour on tons and tons of light and shoot at T11, it will be sharp as a pin... but virtually nobody does that these days. And that's also assuming the camera operator has set the focus exactly and the actors have hit their marks and so on. And if the lab developing the film screws up -- for example, if they rush the negative through the chemical bath too quickly -- it fouls up the blue layer, and you wind up getting a softer, "noisier," grainier image. So it's not a simple subject.

    Not to me, but I've been working in television almost as long as you've been alive (46 years this week). If you strike a Vision print directly off an original cut camera negative, and show it on a precisely aligned projector, using spherical lenses, you'll get about 2K of resolution -- technically, 2048x1556 for a full-ap frame. This came from about 4-5 years of research done by Kodak research scientist Glenn Kennel (now the head of Arri America, in charge of the Alexa digital cinema camera), in the lead up to Kodak's digital Cineon system for scanning film to digital files, manipulating the files, then recording them back out to film on a laser recorder -- a process they invented (for which they also won a Technical Oscar). Glenn's a very bright man: read his book, Color & Mastering for Digital Cinema, which goes into this at length...

    Glenn reveals all the math and complex science behind all this stuff in the book, which has a vast amount of information on the subject. I don't claim to understand all the figures -- that's over my pay grade, and I'm just a mastering engineer, not a color scientist -- but I agree with his conclusions and the results.

    David Stump's book on Digital Cinematography goes over some of the same ground, but is more focused on digital vs. film. Still, he makes some valid comparisons and specifically does deal with what resolution and MTF really are as they apply to film, digital, and what we wind up seeing in theaters and on TV sets:

    I still maintain if they just took the OCN of Star Trek: The Motion Picture off the shelf and scanned it to 4K, you'd get a reasonable 4K image. I don't think there's quite 4K of information there, because it was all shot anamorphic, and the lenses and emulsions of that time were not great, but it will look reasonable, and the dynamic range is certainly there. I think you could get a satisfactory 4K HDR image out of it. E.T., shot on the same stock in spherical two years later, looks pretty good in 4K HDR. And the scanning equipment we have today is 1000 times better than what we had in the 1980s and 1990s.

    True, if you wanted to cut in outtakes from the original theatrical release, they would have to redo those VFX in 4K, but it's not an astronomical cost if there's only a dozen or two shots. The problem there is that the Viacom/Paramount/CBS management in charge are cheap bastids.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
  5. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Central PA
    I say, in the absence of Robert Wise, howabout instead a "Les Moonves Cut". I'm sure he's got plenty of time on his hands these days...and surely he'd be motivated to do a memorable job on it.
  6. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Toronto, Ontario
    Thank you. Yes a lot of questions. But it's rare that I get to talk to people in film who actually know what they are talking about. So I didn't want to waste the opportunity. A little clarification on the 800 lines film thing (the info was straight from a Mix Magazine on Star Wars Episode 2) I didn't say every film print was 800 lines of resolution. Yes, stamped directly off the negative (as you say) is 2K. I hope so! But as you know sir the thousands of prints that have to made for a movie back in the day weren't made that way. Those are not cut straight from the negative. These are what we saw back in the day. Those were 700 - 800 lines. I will find and quote you the article in Mix magazine. He went into detail as to why the resolution is so low.

    I doubt the 6k because whenever they try and scan the negative at 6k the image quality goes down. I was under the impression that 4k was the resolution that all 35mm is scanned at now. Considering that 8k is the future you would think they would scan these negatives at 6k if 6k is truly the resolution of a 35 mm negative. It just doesn't add up. If it is 6k then wow, things can only get better! I thought well...4k that's it.
    And if all you can get out of 6k 35mm negative is 4k then it's not really 6k is it? Or am I missing something? It's like if you have a million dollars in the bank but you can only ever withdraw $600 000. Then you don't have a million?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 25, 2019
  7. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Toronto, Ontario
    I promise not to ask too many questions but...

    DNR should never be used to cover up film graine. Why? Are they afraid that the film might look like an actual FILM! Nooooooo!! (Like Darth Vader in Episode III)

    I am sure you know your movies and stuff but a 440 line Laser Disk is not in any way a representative of what the actual film looks like.
    You say the colours on the Blu-Ray look all wonky. The scanning technology is way better today than it was 33 years ago. Unless you have at least a 16mm print to compare it with then I don't see how you could come to the conclusion that the colors are all "wonky" as you say. Your only frame of reference is analog 440 line resolution Laser Disk taken from a low resolution scan made on primitive early 80's scanning equipment. How do you know that isn't the way the film actually looked? Although (LOL LOL) turning up the DNR to Super Max 11 will ahhh.....make things look waxy and other unpleasant stuff. Please explain to me what you mean by "wonky" colours if you could. I have the Blu-Ray set and it looks fine.Certainly the DNR would make give the movie that crayon look.

    Now I have no illusions that some idiot might have said, "Let's make it look like an HD video." Maybe the colours are all FUDGED UP as you say. (LOL LOL)

    Are you a videofile or a Laser Disk Fan?.I find Laser Disk fans just think everthing looks great on Laser Disk. That the colours on Blu-Ray are to entense and all wrong. I heard one guy actually say that he didn't like HD because it had too much detail. Yes, I have no doubt that the the original version of Star Wars: Episode V looks best on Laser Disk. But 99% of the time Laser Disk is inferior to DVD and certainly Blu-Ray. And even more so 4k.

    Let me explain it to you this way. At Seven Nations Studio we do a lot of mastering. We even have our Flat Transfer Series. No eq, no compression, No peak limiting on transient peaks, no NR (Oh God!), No Overs (With the clients permission you can go over 0 dbfs.)
    The only thing we do would be editing and fades. Those who bought the original record seem to think the vinyl is a great reference point as to how the album should sound. It isn't! It probably was made from a copy. The bass was reduced and some compression has been added. (Good tasteful analog compression from the 70's). And because it was pressed from a copy the vinyl has a some loss of top end. A while back we released this record that had never been released on CD anywhere. It was under the banner of our Flat Transfer Series. Anyway we got several hundred angry emails saying, "You goosed the bass! You added a whole lot of high frequency EQ!" And all we did was transfer the 1/4 inch half track tape straight to the studios reference Brown-bur DAC. They were going by the vinyl record which they prefer is not a representative of the master tape.

    Those expensive special 30 minute per side 440 line resolution, AC3 5.1 Laser Disks back in the day that were the best short of buying 16mm film prints of movies. (Which my Uncle Jack did. He now has some 600 16/35mm prints in his basement. No joking!) I assume you own a few of these ahhh....440 line Special Edition Laser things sir. How much was the 440 line (30 min per side) directors cut of Star Trek: The Motion Picture? I remember these things (pardon me) being $90 - $150. Some say even as high as $200. Is this figure real or am I having a fantasy? Back in the day all the television were NTSC 525 (250 lines of resolution). I understood back then the only way to get the full 440 effect was to hook it up to one of those too too expensive rear projection CRTs. And hooking the disk player up to the S-Video input of the big beasty...Asumming it had one. Was there another way to view the full 440?
    Why didn't they make regular CRT televisions that were up to say 460 lines of resolution? Surely they were enough people buying the Special Edition-pawn-your-wedding-ring 440 resolution Laser Disks. And in the late 80's came S-VHS. 440 lines of resolution there. They were even some movies released on S-VHS. "The Last Crusade" was one. I have used S-VHS. It gave a better picture on EP then regular VHS produced on SP. It should for $10 a damn tape!
  8. A little bit of grain management can help when there are variations in film stock. etc. IMHO but, on the whole, yeah removing grain removes the essence of what film is to me. If it looks too "clean" I can't watch it. It's unnatural looking to me. That's why most digitally shot material has grain added to it to make it look like film.

    I've had a good experience with 4K discs so far but it is all about the mastering and that step between that and the film itself can be....a problem.

    You mentioned that the original negative is never used to make prints. It's not that. It depends on how many interpositives are printed up for the film that can be a problem. The OCN can be damaged in these instances.

    I can attest that laserdiscs were fairly expensive back in the day but I usually didn't pay between $90-150.
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  9. It's a pitty Universal aplied DNR to the UHD BD in such a bad way. I think they used an automated DNR algorithm, if you go to 1 hour, 40 minutes, 38 seconds you will say Elliott on his bike being chased by a Goverment car. If you keep looking and even better, if you play this part in slow motion you will see the car's radio antenna appearing, dissapearing, showing up again and then dissapearing again, a mess.
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  10. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    have I missed any announcements yet of this showing up on BD?
  11. Nope but Digital Bits announced that it was coming. It'll be like watching paint dry waiting for it comes out.
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  12. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    I only watched the E.T. 4K Blu-ray disc in a non-critical way, but I didn't see anything out of control in motion (not step-framing through it). With normal Spatial Noise Reduction and Transient Noise Reduction, there's no need to lose any detail like what you describe anymore, because they don't work in real time; the problem is it might take up to 10 hours per hour of program material in order to process (depending on how you do it). But there are no artifacts like what you described, not with the enhanced NR out there in the last few years.

    In a lot of ways, I would rather see some noise reduction rather than none at all. If you check the Close Encounters 4K Blu-ray, that thing has got grain so intense, it looks like it's raining all the time. Horrendous noise up the ying-yang, far worse than a normal 35mm print would have (vintage or recent).
  13. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    Star Wars: Attack of the Clones was shot on early experimental Sony HD Cinealta gear in 2001 & 2002, all on HDCam videotape, and the problem with that format is that it was 1440x1080, uprezzed to 1920x1080. It's about all they could do back then (we're talking 17-18 years ago), so they were pushing the limit of what was practical in terms of technology back then. The next-generation Cinealta gear, HDCam-SR, could capture true 1920x1080 10-bit 444 RGB, which gave them a lot more information, which allowed better keying for visual effects and also a lot better detail in Revenge of the Sith. But real digital cameras have been 2K for a long time now, at least since the Red Camera in 2007. And 2K film scanning has been possible since the late 1990s.

    [quote[I doubt the 6k because whenever they try and scan the negative at 6k the image quality goes down. I was under the impression that 4k was the resolution that all 35mm is scanned at now. Considering that 8k is the future you would think they would scan these negatives at 6k if 6k is truly the resolution of a 35 mm negative. It just doesn't add up. If it is 6k then wow, things can only get better! I thought well...4k that's it.[/quote]
    I think 8K is absolute bullspit and is a complete waste of time. I would much rather they concentrate on getting more accurate color and better dynamic range. Dolby Vision & HDR are the real deal, and has a much more profound and intense difference in picture quality than jumping from 4K to 6K or 8K. I don't have a problem with people who choose to shoot in 5K/6K/8K and then crop down to 4K for release. There are some directors (David Fincher very high on that list) who literally reframe every single shot they do, and that's not a problem when there's lots of time and money, and you've specifically engineered the shots to be reframed.

    As far as I know, you can oversample stuff all you want, but it doesn't actually create detail that's not really there. It's sort of like taking an analog tape and transferring to 384kHz 32-bit: it would've been just fine to stay at 48kHz/24-bit or even 96kHz/24-bit, because (generally) there's no more "there" there. There is a point of diminishing returns.

    I do think there's more than 6K of information with special large format stuff, like spherical Todd-AO or 65mm Panavision, stuff like My Fair Lady, Lawrence of Arabia, 2001, and so on. That's easily 6K, and arguably 8K. For Star Trek: The Motion Picture, it would be ridiculous overkill. Again, even though I don't think there'll be anything even remotely hitting 4K of bandwidth in a 1979 anamorphic production shot on Kodak 5247. There aren't enough pixels in the emulsion and there's not enough MTF in the lenses for 4K to be there. 2K for sure. I'd call it "3K at best, on a really good day," but not very often. Everything changed once the Vision stocks hit in the 1990s, and then they really could do 4K. But in less than 20 years, film as we know it pretty much came to an end (or close to it).
  14. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    thanks...figured that...another letdown.
  15. Try that scene and you'll see the car's antenna dissapearing, apearing, dissapearing again, and apearing again. It's at 1 hour, 40 minutes and 38 seconds. Please have a look and tell me what you think.
  16. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    No time! I'm booked on two features due before August 10th and am working 10-12 hours a day, including weekends. There's all takin' and no givin' when you're workin' for a livin'!
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  17. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR!

    Hollywood, USA
    I will simply say there's many knobs involved, and a reasonable amount of noise reduction will often help. We also use a process called grain management to make sure we don't have shot #1 with tons of grain, followed by shot #2 with a medium amount of grain, and then shot #3 with very little grain. Ideally, I'd like to see them all with a medium amount of grain -- not overwhelming, but enough to remind you, "hey, I'm watching film." We don't want it plasticky and fake and digital; there is such a thing as being "too clean." (Famously, one of the first Lowry Digital projects was Hitchcock's North by Northwest, and that was completely scrubbed clean of all grain, and there were thousands and thousands of complaints about it. They didn't repeat that mistake.)

    The mastering process requires experience, lots of time, great equipment, and good judgement -- and that counts for both sound and picture. We don't just crank up a knob and forget it. We have the ability to noise reduce highs only, mids only, and shadows only, we can set different levels for each, we can bypass some and not others, and we also have the ability to only noise-reduce certain parts of the frame -- like the sky only and not the people. We can also noise-reduce individual color channels, like just red-only, green-only, or blue-only; I frequently will do a tiny bit of blue-only NR because that happens to get noisy in film negative (being the yellow layer of the top of the emulsion). On 90% of the stuff I do, it's basically impossible to see the effect of the NR without being in the room and have me bypass it... and if I did, you'd say, "oh, god, please leave it on." And we vary the NR shot-by-shot and scene-by-scene, even frame-by-frame if necessary, since the grain itself also changes all the time, depending on the day it was shot and how it was exposed.

    But trust me: there's still a lot of grain left. It's just the difference between a mild amount of grain and an overpowering amount of grain. There are directors who absolutely loathe film grain; Jim Cameron is on record as saying he feels he only wants the essence of the image and not the medium on which it was shot, so he did make the decision to remove most of the grain from his remastered 2K and 4K projects. It's his film, not ours, so complain to him if you don't agree. If it were left up to me, I'd probably leave half the grain in, but that's another creative choice.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2019
  18. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    San Francisco
    I've seen some old films where they've scrubbed most if not all of the grain away and it is somewhat...unsettling.

    On the other hand, it also makes the film look much more modern, which is kind of an interesting effect. It sorta feels like I've entered a time machine.
  19. HGN2001

    HGN2001 Mystery picture member

    That antenna disappears on the standard 2K Blu-ray too.

    A little humorous side note, that car is a Ford Fairmont. I used to own its twin, the Mercury Zephyr, and believe me, my antenna used to disappear too - to hoodlums! :)
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  20. agentalbert

    agentalbert Senior Member

    San Antonio, TX
    This is showing near me, and as its my favorite of the ST films, I'll be going. But which version are they showing? The run-time for the showing at my theater is 145 minutes. But these special events often have an intro or some short interview after the film. Anyone know for sure which version is being shown for the anniversary screening? Hoping for the directors version myself, as its the better of the two.
  21. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Toronto, Ontario
    Thank you. I learn something new everyday.

    Maybe the new 4k release of Aliens (1986) is grain free (if it was released) but my 1080p Blu-Ray of Aliens looks plenty grainy on my Sony Bravia monitor. Set up with a professional calibration disk. And I watch films with the lights off as they were meant to be seen.
    There is Jim Cameron on the audio commentary talking about how he didn't realize that Aliens was that grainy. He said "...That was just the stock that year...." something about Kodak having not worked out the " T Emulsons" or whatever. Sir, what are T-Emulsons?

    Many Videophile complain about excessive DNR causing the colours to go all waxy. Or the classic silly comment from one Videophile during a review of Meet Me In Saint Louis on Blu-Ray HD. I quote, "..How could they ruin a classic move like this with what is obviously too much DNR..."

    Anyone who knows anything about film at all (And I know pretty much next to nothing!) knows that Technicolor is a grain hiding process.

    A lot of people seem to think that either the DVD or the Laser Disk version is the way it is supposed to look. So when they see the HD Blu-Ray they immediately say, "Colours are all wrong." What do they base this on. If they had a 16mm print maybe but neither a 440 line Laser Disk nor a DVD is any kind of a referencepoint for how a movie should look. And film is not video. A lot of Videophiles don't realize this. When going from film to video some changes have to be made. Or am I wrong here?
  22. sunspot42

    sunspot42 Forum Resident

    San Francisco
    Google is your friend:

    Tabular-grain film - Wikipedia

    Tabular-grain film is a type of photographic film that includes nearly all color films, T-MAX films from Kodak (with Kodak's T-grain emulsion), Delta films from Ilford Photo and the FujifilmNeopan films. The silver halide crystals in the film emulsion are flatter and more tabular (hence T-Grain).

    Tabular crystals probably existed from very early days of silver-gelatin photography. However, it was about 1970 when emulsion engineers could make emulsions that consisted mainly of tabular crystals. Moreover, it was not until the 1980s that tabular crystals began to be used in production emulsions.

    john morris likes this.
  23. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Toronto, Ontario
    Maybe it's my lack of understanding of film but are you telling me when the studio was set to release "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane" in 800 movie houses across North America that each print was made from the actual negative?
    How long does it take to make each print? My understanding (and I could be wrong) was that your typical movie house print is not stamped directly from the negative. 800 prints would take a long long time doing it that way. Is there anyone here who actually knows how this is really done.

    I remember seeing special edition sets between $80 - $120. But this was back in 1989. Maybe the price dropped. I am taking about "Gone With The Wind" on 4 disks over 8 sides. Those must have been been costly. So maybe it was the big multi-disk sets. Not the 103 minute Disney movie over 2 disks.
  24. Scooterpiety

    Scooterpiety Current operator of the Freedonia peanut stand

    Do they count the time for trailers? Maybe it's been sort of "rounded off" to 1:45 because the film is just over 1:30 minutes long.
    I think the directors cut is only around 4 or 5 minutes longer than the original.
    It's my favorite Trek film as well and it would be a nice surprise if it is indeed the directors cut.
  25. john morris

    john morris Everybody's Favorite Quadron

    Toronto, Ontario
    Ahhhh, o.k. a little less confused. A little less..
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