Digital Noise Reduction vs Film Grain....help me understand! - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 07-12-2008, 09:57 PM
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Default Digital Noise Reduction vs Film Grain....help me understand!

So after giving up on waiting for The Longest Day to be reviewed on this site, I went to blu-ray.com for their review, in which they gave TLD a picture quality rating of 4.5 stars. Thoroughly excited that one of my favourite movies got a good score, I put it on my to-buy list for the future.

Then, out of the blue comes a TLD review on Hi-Def Digest, in which the reviewer totally blasted the movie for "DNR", which I understand to be digital noise reduction, something that takes away from film grain. Now, I don't understand either of these concepts very well, nor do I understand how the same movie could get two vastly different ratings. From blu-ray.com:

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The Longest Day storms Blu-ray with an impressive black-and-white, 1080p, 2.35:1 framed stunner of an image. If this is what classic black-and-white films are going to look like on Blu-ray, I enthusiastically recommend that the studios bring them on.... Much like the transfer we saw on Patton, this is another first-rate effort and befitting of the spectacle and grandeur of the film. Again, well done, Fox.
And I'm sure you've already read the TLD review on this site. A quick search in Google, I found side-by-side comparisons here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1041475

And I really can't see a problem. The bottom image looks more crisp and clear, as it should, but most of the commenters on that forum seem shocked at the state of the Blu-ray images....

So I suppose I'm going to have to rent this to decide for myself before buying this, but could someone help me out and shed some light on the issue?
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Old 07-12-2008, 10:41 PM
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Film naturally has grain. DNR removes the grain, essentially by blurring it out with a loss of fine detail, but this loses detail other than the grain as well. Those pics are blurry as hell.
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Old 07-12-2008, 10:42 PM
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Trust me....this subject is not something you want to become an expert on.
The fact that reviewers themselves can't agree on PQ for this title tells you something.
Just rent it and decide for yourself. But, if this is one of your favorite movies...just buy it. It blows the SD DVD version right out of the water.
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Old 07-12-2008, 10:56 PM
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The Blu-ray version is an upgrade over the DVD though it has the ability to look much better (and natural) without the massive amount of DNR.
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Old 07-12-2008, 11:09 PM
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Now I'm all for leaving film grain in, BUT those examples are horrific. Those 2 prints should NOT be used for comparison.

How can you possibly call it blurry when placed next to that old tired tv print.

I will state that I think it does look smeared but I have nothing to compare it to. I would love to see it with the film grain intact as it has obviously been worked on.

The waxiness also can be attributed to the makeup of the time as they did use a lot in B&W films. The DNR definitely did not help.

Even so, if you're a fan it looks like a no brainer to pick it up. Hopefully it will get another pass down the road.
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Old 07-13-2008, 12:22 AM
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To the OP:

Well, for one thing - in those screen caps alone - you can see that the effect (or DNR) in John Wayne's face....

He is (was) a craggy old man (okay, only 55. But, still....) with a 'deeply textured' face. In those pictures his face is baby bottom smooth. It should be craggy, decrepit and well, not looking silky smooth.

Now, I don't think that too many people are actually saying that the DVDs of Patton and TLD have more resolution than their BD counter parts (and if they are - I don't know what to say...) but rather the detail that comes with that increase of resolution is what is missing here.

In 1080p you should be able to see the pores in Wayne's face - it's a crusty and old face and it should have pores. But, with the application on DNR all of those pores, wrinkles and 'age' have been smoothed over. It looks like he has too much makeup (maybe he does)... but, it looks strange.

If you honestly can't see the difference that's okay, DNR can be hard for some to see... I know most 'normal' people that come over to watch Patton or Pan's Labryinth at my place don't notice it - they think it looks great. That's fine... I just wish (because I do notice it) it didn't look 'that way' and had the grain and detail intact to the original extent.

I still think the Blu-rays of Patton and the Longest Day are the 'best' release that is available but, like I've said before on this board, I'm mostly curious as to what it would have looked like w/out DNR - I'm sure it would look a whole lot better.

Last edited by Super-VHS; 07-13-2008 at 01:25 AM.
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Old 07-13-2008, 01:13 AM
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I'm not saying you won't see more detail without the DNR. What I'm saying is that those screen caps are horrible comparisons. The 1st print looks like it's from someone's basement.

It's going to confuse people. You need to show the same QUALITY print with and without DNR. Anyone saying they see more detail in that 1st poor screen cap needs glasses from DVD.

It's the feel of the grain we're missing along with the fine details. But the side by side shown is innacurate and misleading. I can't make out S**t in that bad print.
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Old 07-13-2008, 01:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taffy View Post
Trust me....this subject is not something you want to become an expert on.
The fact that reviewers themselves can't agree on PQ for this title tells you something.
Just rent it and decide for yourself. But, if this is one of your favorite movies...just buy it. It blows the SD DVD version right out of the water.
I totally agree with you. Be your own judge. I swear some of the reviews lately here suck. I wonder what some people are smoking...

But luckily (for me) this review came about a month too late since I bought TLD the day it came out. And it looked absolutely stunning as Patton did.

I did read the original review of Patton on this site and because the review was so good I decided to buy the blu-disc.
I distinctly remember whoever it was who reviewed the disc gave it all high marks across the board. Now I don't know if that review still exists and been replaced by someone else's review coz from what I've heard about the Patton review lately I refuse to read it.

So yes yes yes the reviewers are at opposite sides of this issue and if you start watching the movies certain critics pan and you disagree then you can pretty much put a thumbs down on that reviewer for he/she will always pan the quality he/she feels is unworthy.

So, yes it's a personal choice and you need to make it.

BTW, I appreciate the "film" experience and expect to see film grain in transfers. However that being said (and this is where "they" differ from normal folk) ... I don't like to see the entire frame filled with film grain that ain't supposed to be there!!! I don't like anyone monkeying around with any film to make it "different" in any way than what the filmmaker's intended the film to be seen.

But studios have always done what they wanted (remember the old colorization and pan-and-scanning of widescreen films?). Whatever turns a profit the most. The only way studios learn is like politicians ... hit them where it hurts ... the pocketbook or wallet.

And you watch how many people will turn what I've said into a war of words in defense of the studios. Do they really fear the studios will get angry over blu-ray fans demanding what we pay for and stop releasing films on blu?

Give me a break. What the hell is wrong with getting what you pay for? Has society gotten so complacent to accept whatever's thrown their way as scraps?

This attitude bugs me more than anything.
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Old 07-13-2008, 01:48 AM
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After reading the reviews from HDD on TLD, I thought wow I'm really glad that I didn't purchase this movie (regarding PQ). However, after witnessing those screen shots at avsforum, my mind has completely changed!!! I am sold, the proof is in the pudding folks!!! WTF was I thinking??? Grain scrubbing or not the PQ is amazing. I'm purchasing this first thing tomorrow!!!
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Old 07-13-2008, 02:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revolutionary View Post
However that being said (and this is where "they" differ from normal folk) ... I don't like to see the entire frame filled with film grain that ain't supposed to be there!!! I don't like anyone monkeying around with any film to make it "different" in any way than what the filmmaker's intended the film to be seen.
Who's adding film grain to the master?
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