WWW: Alien Quadrilogy - Region 1 Vs Region 2 Comparison Review

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by Chris Marin - DVD Debate, Nov 28, 2003.

  1. Chris Marin - DVD Debate, Nov 28, 2003
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  2. Chris Marin - DVD Debate

    LesterBangs Guest

    Thanks Chris ... Keep up the Good work

    Glad I got the R1 rather than wait for the R2/R4. Only watched Alien3 Work
    Print. Very Happy Camper down Under (except for the Rugby that is..)


    Lester Bangs

    Change Male to mail to reply

    Bored ... Check out what drains my wallet.. consistently

    "Pity is underrated" - George Costanza
    LesterBangs, Nov 28, 2003
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  3. Chris Marin - DVD Debate

    Shinner Guest

    Quoting the review for Aliens: "Unfortunately, it appears that in order to
    reduce the grain in this transfer, too much digital processing/noise
    reduction (call it what you will) has been applied, resulting in some
    pretty nasty compression artifacts during the darker scenes. As well as
    pixelation and blocking, we get quite a few instances of smearing during
    camera pans, or shots of moving objects"

    Don't you think this sort of thing should be unacceptable in a $100 set? I
    wasn't sold on dropping a c-note for this set, but after reading this I'm
    even less inclined to do so.
    Shinner, Nov 28, 2003
  4. Chris Marin - DVD Debate

    Con Guest

    set? I > wasn't sold on dropping a c-note for this set, but after
    reading this I'm
    OK. Here goes. First of all, I tend to agree with this person's
    anxious response to the latest "Aliens" DVD edition, and here's

    Frankly, I am not even sure WHY this latest transfer of "Aliens" was
    even attempting to "reduce the grain," since any perceived "grain" is
    SUPPOSED to be there in the FIRST place!

    Keep in mind that this was James Cameron's first (and last!)
    mainstream experiment with a simple 1.85:1 aspect ratio, and
    apparently he used a dull, grainy film stock ON PURPOSE, in order to
    "heighten the mood" and the suspense, and also to help establish a
    pseudo-documentary "feel." Therefore, trying to take that grain "out"
    is actually going **against** what Cameron was trying to achieve!

    Almost every review I have ever read for "Aliens" since it first came
    out at the show (and in its subsequent video incarnations) has
    mentioned this grain "problem," but contrary to popular opinion, not
    every one of them was completely negative about it. For example:

    From www.laserrot.com's review of the Fox CAV LD set --
    "Some people have been unnecessarily vocal about the fact that quite a
    few grainy sequences are present in the (LaserDisc) transfer. Bitch
    and moan all you like, but as Cameron personally supervised this
    transfer of Aliens... it looks the way it's supposed to look. No ifs,
    ands or buts. Parts of Aliens were grainy during its original
    theatrical release, and they're grainy here as well."

    Here's what somebody else said about the follow-up "Aliens" DVD: --
    "Due to the film stock and the production design, colors seemed pretty
    bland during Aliens. However, that's not really a complaint, as I don'
    t expect vivid hues from this - or any of the series, for that

    Further proof that not everybody out there was "against the grain"
    (err, so to speak) --
    "Cameron intentionally shot the film on grainy film stock for a murky
    feel so, even though the film is remastered in THX, the film doesn't
    look quite as good as the Alien - Special Edition DVD. The film still
    looks great though."

    Here's an excerpt from a review of that "notoriously grainy" CAV LD
    set mentioned above --
    "This transfer has come under criticism as being overly grainy, and it
    is a bit grainy, but the reasoning that both director Cameron as well
    as transfer supervisor Van Ling have given makes it understandable.
    Instead of softening the picture to reduce the grain inherent in the
    type of film stock used, they decided to make a sharp picture that
    revealed more of the grain. I am happy with the choice they made."

    And here's one final (rather perceptive) comment about this entire
    matter --
    "I, for one, am rarely bothered by (film) grain anyway--it's the
    nature of the beast known as celluloid."

    Anyway, to make a long story short, from the sounds of it, in trying
    to 'remove' the grain from "Aliens," they have apparently made things
    go from what was perceived to be a bad situation (but which was
    actually just fine, thank you) to a significantly worse situation.
    *sigh* Oh well. I've still got my old pre-Quadrilogy DVD to fall
    back on.... not to mention the CAV LaserDisc set.... and my
    memories.... etc etc etc....

    Con, Nov 29, 2003
  5. Chris Marin - DVD Debate

    Shinner Guest

    I'd definitely prefer the grain over compression artifacts...
    Shinner, Nov 29, 2003
  6. Chris Marin - DVD Debate

    Joshua Zyber Guest

    Except for The Terminator, of course.
    There are a lot of misconceptions about whether Aliens is or is not
    supposed to be grainy. The fact of the matter is that the Special
    Edition cut of the movie was assembled and completed in the video realm,
    not on film, and the basis for the assembly was a seriously flawed
    film-to-video transfer done in the early 90s. Cameron and Van Ling
    attempted to cover up their mistakes by claiming that the movie was
    intentionally that grainy. However, that is not true. When Fox
    remastered the theatrical cut of the film for the later THX laserdisc,
    the results were considerably sharper, more colorful and less grainy
    than the Special Edition, without looking smeary or having excessive DNR

    Because the Special Edition does not exist in its final form on film, it
    cannot be remastered by transferring the film to video again. Instead,
    the best that can be done is to take the existing video transfer and
    apply new processing and noise reduction techniques to it in the hopes
    of making it look better, but the side effect of this is that the
    picture winds up soft, smeary, and DNR'ed. The new DVD is perhaps a
    little less smeary and DNR'ed than the last one, but it does not look as
    good as the movie would if it could be retransferred from the original
    film elements. Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen because the
    cost of re-assembling the Special Edition cut from scratch using all
    film elements would be exhorbitantly expensive and Fox doesn't want to
    spend the money.

    And so the "It's supposed to look that way" myth is regurgitated every
    time a new video release comes out.

    Widescreen Review ran an article in 1996 that explained everything that
    went wrong with the Aliens video transfer (though the author could not
    use actual names or titles for fear of being sued for libel, it is easy
    enough to read between the lines). I've posted the text of that article
    in its entirety here:

    Joshua Zyber, Nov 29, 2003
  7. Because the engineer responsible for the transfer was an ignorant idiot?
    Pentti Lajunen, Nov 30, 2003
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