2K Blu-ray Remasters From 4K Film Scans

Introduction

I've been hesitant to jump on the 4K train on account of I haven't seen any eye-popping enticements yet. The last time I saw eye-popping enticements, from a television, was in June of 2009 when I saw some Pioneer Kuro plasma TVs in two different stores. I immediately negotiated a good deal on their 60" model and forked over the cash with pleasure. In the subsequent years I quietly saved my nickels in anticipation of the day when Pioneer (or maybe some other brand) would come out with something bigger and better. Imagine my bitter disappointment when I learned that Pioneer was getting out of the plasma market and that the world was switching over to *choke* LED and all its myriad variants.

I recently had another eye-popping experience when watching the 2K Blu-ray version of Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight". While I liked the movie when I saw it in the theater, I wasn't impressed with the video quality. It was a good quality print, but nothing to make a thread about. After viewing and reviewing the Blu-ray, I did some research and found that the print shown in theaters was from a 35 mm reduction print made from the original 65 mm film stock on which the movie was photographed. Further, the 2K Blu-ray was made from a 4K master which was scanned from the 65 mm film. The difference in detail, depth, and color saturation was quite stunning. The screen captures below can only hint at the wonderful video quality of this Blu-ray transfer.

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Figure 1. The Hateful Eight screen capture. Outstanding depth of field and three dimensionality.

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Figure 2. The Hateful Eight screen capture. Outstanding detail, black levels, and low light detail. Watching the scene where they were all eating a pot of stew made me hungry for some beef and vegetable stew.

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Figure 3. The Hateful Eight screen capture. Outstanding color saturation. On my television, it looked like I would be able to feel the soft leather of Samuel Jackson's gloves if I touched the screen.

After this spectacle, I wondered if there were any other movies in my collection that had been mastered or remastered in 4K resolution. I found three:

1. "Being There" (1979), $7 million budget ($24.180 million in 2018 dollars). The 2K Blu-ray was released in 2009. The 2K Blu-ray remastered from a 4K master was released in 2017.

2. "Sex, Lies, and Videotape" (1989), $1.2 million budget ($2.428 million in 2018 dollars). The 2K Blu-ray was released in 2009. The 2K Blu-ray remastered from a 4K master was released in 2017.

3. "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (2000), $17 million budget ($24.736 million in 2018 dollars). The 2K Blu-ray was released in 2010. The 2K Blu-ray remastered from a 4K master was released in 2016.

I only had the DVD versions of the above three movies in my collection. Used copies of the original version Blu-rays and 4K remastered 2K Blu-rays were available online.

"Being There" Version Comparisons

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Figure 4. Being There DVD screen capture.

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Figure 5. Being There Blu-ray screen capture, 2K master.

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Figure 6. Being There Blu-ray screen capture, 4K remaster.

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Figure 7. Being There close up of Peter Sellers' beard shadow, left - right: DVD, 2K mastered Blu-ray, 4K remastered 2K Blu-ray.

"Sex, Lies, and Videotape" Version Comparisons

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Figure 8. Sex, Lies, and Videotape screen capture, 2K master Blu-ray on left, 4K remastered 2K Blu-ray on right. At first glance, the picture on left might be perceived to be the more detailed picture because it is brighter. However, if you study the facial contours, and shadow details, you will find that the 4K remastered picture on the right is less flatter in perspective and is more three dimensional. Skin details, such as facial pores and veins in the forehead are also more discernible.

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Figure 9. Close up of Andie McDowell's left eye, 2K master Blu-ray on left, 4K remastered 2K Blu-ray on right.

"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" Version Comparisons

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Figure 10. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon DVD screen capture.

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Figure 11. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2K master Blu-ray screen capture.

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Figure 12. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 4K remaster Blu-ray screen capture.

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Figure 13. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon DVD screen capture.

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Figure 14. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2K master Blu-ray screen capture.

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Figure 15. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 4K remaster Blu-ray screen capture.

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Figure 16. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon eye detail screen capture left-right: DVD, 2K master Blu-ray, 4K remastered 2K Blu-ray.

Conclusion

Based in the 2K renderings of Blu-ray movies from 4K masters, even with movies that are two or more decades old, I expect the full 4K renderings would be quite spectacular...if I had a 4K Kuro plasma.

By the way, I dropped by Best Buy this week to take a look at the 4K sets. The only set that caught my eye was the Sony X850F 85" LED TV. A salesperson saw me continually looking at other sets and going back to the X850F and lingering. He told me the upgrade model X900F 85" was on display in the Magnolia room. The X900F retails for $800 more than the X850F and has better processors, but I didn't see a difference in picture quality with the X900F playing the same demo loop as the X850F.

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Figure 17. Sony X850F 85" 4K LED TV on display at Best Buy. For the first time since June 2009, I saw a television picture I actually liked watching...but not as much as my Kuro though. If had watched this on my Kuro, I would have wanted to stick my hand through the TV screen and touch the cars.
"So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
"Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
"Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
"Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK

Comments

  • F1nutF1nut Posts: 40,622
    Some things and people look better in low resolution.
    Political Correctness'.........defined

    "A doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical minority and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a t-u-r-d by the clean end."


  • mantismantis Posts: 15,063
    Actually the 900F smokes the 850 by a lot. It has a way better processor in the X1 Extreme and the even better thing about it is it's motion chip. I also owned well I still have it a 60 inch Pioneer Elite Kuro which is just wrapped in a blanket in my basement.
    Coming from Plasma LED is very difficult to own. I almost returned my Sony XBR65Z9D which is considered the best TV on the market even to right now. Until the new Z9F comes out anyway. The 900F even has better motion then the Z9D. It's the only thing it does better but better it is. I wish I could upgrade my Z9D with the new Motion chip the 900F has, it's incredibly smooth and looks very Plasma like when setup properly. The 850 has the older motion chip and does not have good motion. If you buy that TV, you will be returning it as you might get motion sickness from it. I hate LED movement it sucks bad.
    The only TV you should consider for 4k is the Sony XBR Z9D. There is nothing you can buy for HDR and Dolby Vision right now that will outperform it. The 900F can't even come close in any other aspect. The master drive back light system is incredible to say the least. The black levels are damn near as good as the Pioneer was but can get WAY brighter which is especially important for Dolby Vision and HDR stuff.
    I held off for so many years due to how good the Pioneer is. I still feel it's a superior TV to anything out today. BUT it can't replay 4k and I really wanted to experience 4k HDR and Dolby Vison for myself in my own home not just my clients houses.
    I'll be strongly looking at the new Z9F which is what I think you should hold out for my man. I don't think you will be happy with the 850 or even the 900. You might be very happy if you can find a Z9D but at this point the Z9F is coming out , just hold out for that I think it will be worth it.
    Dan
    My personal quest is to save to world of bad audio, one thread at a time.
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,340
    edited September 3
    @mantis Thanks. I appreciate that advice.

    I agree that I wouldn't be happy with the 850 or 900 as my main TV. I could tolerate them for secondary use such as a game room.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,340
    edited September 3
    The 2016 remastered Blu-ray for "Purple Rain" was not sourced from a new 4K scan of the original film, but from a new 2K scan. I mention it here because it is a good example of a thoughtful high definition restoration job, even when the source film was made under less than optimal (i.e. low budget) conditions.

    The original 2007 Blu-ray release was made from the same 1K high definition scan that was used for the DVD release (shame on Warner Brothers). As is typical when a new higher resolution entertainment media format comes out, content providers rush to market with often carelessly made "new editions", all the while planning to double-dip and play the "newly remastered" game later.

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    Figure 18. Screen shots from "Purple Rain", left-right: DVD, 2007 Blu-ray from 1K master, 2016 Blu-ray from 2K master.

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    Figure 19. Screen shots from "Purple Rain", left-right: 2007 Blu-ray from 1K master, 2016 Blu-ray from 2K master.
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • billbillwbillbillw Posts: 5,792
    The LG 4K OLED sets are pretty impressive IMO. They don't come in huge sizes, but for most rooms, 65" is enough.
    Main 2-ch:
    Sony SS-M9; LSA Statement Amplifier; VPI HW-19 Mk3/Sumiko Premier FT-4/Audio Technica AT15SA; Pass Labs DIY Pearl Phono; Sony SCD-C333ES SACD Changer; TEAC UD-301 DAC; Dell/WYSE 5010 (running Daphile); Sony ST-SA5ES Tuner; Nanotec Golden Strada speaker cables (SR+#79 Shotgun); Audioquest Coral interconnects
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