'Funny Face' - High-Def Digest Review - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 04-28-2014, 08:22 PM
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Default 'Funny Face' - High-Def Digest Review

David Krauss has reviewed 'Funny Face'. He says the stars, direction, Parisian setting, scrumptious transfer, and classic Gershwin music all make this Blu-ray a highly recommended release for fans of Fred Astaire, Audrey Hepburn, and Golden Age musicals.

Full review here:
http://bluray.highdefdigest.com/10465/funny_face.html
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Old 04-28-2014, 10:23 PM
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I dunno, I'm fifteen minutes in and still waiting for the sharpness and clarity to start. What I'm looking at has been DNRed and pretty obviously so. It's been done very, very cleanly, without blatant sharpening/ringing or frozen film grain like a recycled DVD master...but very, very thoroughly, without any grain or really fine details at all. God knows why they did it.

If you look for it, you can even see things turning into mush when they get too small (watch Audrey Hepburn's knit dress when she's straightening up the bookstore and walking toward and away from the camera). What a shame.
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Old 04-28-2014, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krylonman View Post
I dunno, I'm fifteen minutes in and still waiting for the sharpness and clarity to start. What I'm looking at has been DNRed and pretty obviously so. It's been done very, very cleanly, without blatant sharpening/ringing or frozen film grain like a recycled DVD master...but very, very thoroughly, without any grain or really fine details at all. God knows why they did it.

If you look for it, you can even see things turning into mush when they get too small (watch Audrey Hepburn's knit dress when she's straightening up the bookstore and walking toward and away from the camera). What a shame.
Paramount cut its archival/restoration staff to the bare minimum a few years ago.

Ron Smith, one-time VP of Archives, oversaw a number of excellent classic Paramount remasters. All work was done at high resolution from original elements.

Smith was then let go.

2 examples of his work with VistaVision on BD: The Ten Commandments and White Christmas. I think he also did To Catch a Thief. I know Smith worked on the non-VV Breakfast at Tiffany's, which is a stunning transfer -- doubly so considering it wasn't large format film and still almost looks it.

Sadly, Smith never got around to a full overhaul of Funny Face. The BD is sourced from an older, 2K scan originally intended for DVD. It's had a little digital tweaking and a DNR pass.

Like Chinatown (another title that reused its Centennial DVD master with digital tweaks), the BD looks ok... but not like film.
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Old 04-29-2014, 11:43 PM
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After reading these comments, I decided to check out other reviews of this transfer to make sure my eyes weren't deceiving me! What I discovered was that this transfer tends to play quite well on smaller displays (mine is 55"), but on displays bigger than 72" imperfections become quite noticeable. Just wondering if either of you watched this disc on a large format display?

Though this transfer is not consistent, which I mentioned in my review, I still believe this is a strong effort that does this classic musical proud...at least on a smaller display.
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:54 AM
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Default Let's Not Mix Metaphors

I'm afraid 3-Strip Technicolor was gone by the time Funny Face was shot. Let's try Eastman monopack for that - as with all VistaVision lensing. And since we can assume source materials for this release went back to negative, we can't even say dye transfer in this case.

The only question, as I have yet to view this release, is - do the colors and image quality resemble that of a typical Technicolor, dye transfer print, derived from a VistaVision negative-? The "lushness" of 3-Strip Technicolor is more attributable to dye transfer printing than that of the 3-strip negative; and although created more beautiful images than it had any right to, still produced a sin of issues all its own.
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Old 04-30-2014, 09:20 AM
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Yes, obviously three-strip Technicolor was long gone by 1957; that's why the review clearly states that the color palette "mirrors" the lushness of three-strip Technicolor.
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Old 04-30-2014, 12:15 PM
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"Topping it all off, Warner's scrumptious transfer and fine spate of supplements revitalize this 57-year-old film and make it an essential keepsake for fans of Fred Astaire, Audrey Hepburn, and Golden Age musicals. This is a must own."

Apparently, there's a correction to the selection of ratings in the drop-down
menu of choices. So David, you can bump up your rating to "Must Own".
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Old 04-30-2014, 12:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Super-VHS View Post
Paramount cut its archival/restoration staff to the bare minimum a few years ago.

Ron Smith, one-time VP of Archives, oversaw a number of excellent classic Paramount remasters. All work was done at high resolution from original elements.

Smith was then let go.

2 examples of his work with VistaVision on BD: The Ten Commandments and White Christmas. I think he also did To Catch a Thief. I know Smith worked on the non-VV Breakfast at Tiffany's, which is a stunning transfer -- doubly so considering it wasn't large format film and still almost looks it.

Sadly, Smith never got around to a full overhaul of Funny Face. The BD is sourced from an older, 2K scan originally intended for DVD. It's had a little digital tweaking and a DNR pass.

Like Chinatown (another title that reused its Centennial DVD master with digital tweaks), the BD looks ok... but not like film.
So you've seen Funny Face on blu, and you do think it is subpar compared
to those other restorations?
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Old 04-30-2014, 01:54 PM
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Tim, I originally rated the disc Highly Recommended, but a glitch in our HDD system incorrectly bumped it up to Must Own. Then our editor added the must own line to the end of the final thoughts paragraph of the review. When the glitch was corrected and the disc was correctly rated, that line was not omitted. I will do that now. Thank you for bringing that to our attention.
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Old 04-30-2014, 08:03 PM
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Let me first say I enjoy your reviews and appreciate the time and care given to each one. As a result, I have rarely been disappointed or unhappily surprised with any Blu-rays which have passed your muster. Thank you.

But with that being said, I think you missed my point. The term “three-strip” is an often over-used term to describe a particular color look which, quite frankly, really only applies to a specific window of time.

I may be a rare duck these days, but I was ‘lucky’ enough (and I don’t use that word lightly) to have experienced Technicolor films, in all their iterations: nitrate & safety prints; originals and dupes; studio prints – many gorgeous – others, quite frankly, Technicolor rejects – both as audience member and film handler/projectionist – to have acquired a well-ingrained visual color psyche to know how these films should appear.

Three-strip (a term usually reserved to describe Technicolor, color, films) should really be applied to those films of the 1930’s & 40’s – when “that look” was in fashion. The look consisted of a well-orchestrated coordination of lighting, costuming, sets, set decoration, etc., to pull-off color images many describe as “better than reality”. And if the production was really going for eye-popping effect, the colors could (and were) saturated beyond the expected, including those incredible black levels. (Unfortunately, the images also arrived containing the many issues of the three-strip camera: red color fringing; a slightly soft image; sometimes a bit too dark; etc.)

On the other hand, not all Technicolor three-strip originated films had the above-described look – originally, at least: The Adventures of Robin Hood; The Wizard of Oz; Gone With the Wind; A matter of Life and Death, to name a few, had what can best be described as ‘muted’ color, but yet they all were three-strip.

By the early 1950’s the “standard” color palette continued to shift, and by the time the three-strip camera was abandoned for Eastman monopack, that ushered-in another look for Technicolor. And that “new” look was never better represented than a VistaVision-originated camera negative combined with an IB release print.

So, I would be more than a bit surprised if this Blu-ray release of Funny Face “mirrors the lushness of three-strip Technicolor”. It should ‘mirror’ VistaVision/Technicolor films of its day, and specifically an IB print of the film.
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