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Dersu Uzla DVDs

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    Master Thief

    I am still waiting for the French MK2 release to arrive. Amazon France appears to be out of stock as they send me an apologetic email every couple of weeks saying it will be delayed.

    However I now have a copy of the Artificial Eye release and on a quick scan of it on my PC, it is very disappointing. Throughout much of the film, a strip down the left side is pretty washed out.

    I have compared the “cut grass” scene with the Kino release and I must say that on my PC the Kino is the better quality – sharper & richer colour. But both are far from what I re-call seeing at the cinema when the film first came out. The AI also appears to be slightly cropped on the sides. I have been trying to produce some comparable screen shots, but using the capture screen button on the different DVD player software I have somehow is distorting the image size on the AI. Not sure if there is something else I can use to produce shots which can be directly compared. Any suggestions?

    I am not hopeful that the French version will be any better. I may just have to live with my memories of how glorious this looked on the big screen 30 years ago.


    Vili Maunula

    Thanks for the information, Master Thief!

    Can’t really be of much help with the screen capture question. But I’ll look into it when I have the time.


    Master Thief

    I have worked out what the problem with capture was. It is because the Artificial Eye is an anamorphic transfer, the DVD player software captures it prior to it being processed. I have just re-sized the captured images to the correct ratios.

    Here are my 2 screen shots so far: http://kurosawa.jokerman.net/dersu_uzala.html



    I have to say to my eye, and from your two captures your assessment that the Kino version is the better seems fair. Alas, that is not a what I had hoped.



    Keep in mind that your DVD player used on the computer is not effected by 10% overscan that a TV would project. The wider Kino might be the equal to the Artificial Eye’s version if AE compensated for the overscan by adding a matte to the ends(granted I think it should of shown up on the capture). The end result on a TV would have both films display equal amounts on the side of the frame.

    The top and bottom difference could again be for overscan that a TV displays, although not as much is cut off from the tops and bottom. There is a normal 5% that can be expected to be lost. To me the Artificial Eye’s version has too much head spacing between the top of the person’s head and the top of a frame. If AE didnt matte the top, the 5% cut off from a TV would in return look like the Kino’s version and there for be nearly as wide.

    It also depends on the source material they used for the transfer. When projected on a theater screen I would think it would be set so that 2-3% of the frame would be cut off the top but sides should all fit, so that the end result is that it comes closer to looking like the AE release.

    Its possible that the AE is a truer view to what it looked like in a theater. That is if you have not configured your TV from what the factory sets as 10% overscan to the corrent 3-5% overscan with the use of service menus and testing DVDs. In a properly set TV both would have problems, however personally such minor framing issue dont effect composition and dont bother me greatly.

    I dont know if this was there thinking or how much care took place in the transfer, also I havent experimented with any of this, I am simply just stating a observation. Its a bit confusing and I hope I didnt confuse myself in typing it



    Dersu Uzla was filmed 35mm 2.35:1 and blown up to 70mm, 2.20:1. Even on a widescreen TV there would still be bars at the top of the frame, so my comments about the top being cut off and both appearing equal maybe wrong in this case, although in a 1.85:1 it could hold true.

    The comments about the sides may or may not be true but it is certainly possible.

    Personally minor issue like this are not very important to me,in this case what was in the original framing and cut off in the transfer, is objects to fill negative space. Its not need to see the extra inch of a plant of wall for composition and blocking to be as effective as originally attend.

    What does need attention is the poor picture and sound quality and which MasterTheif has posted another thread regarding the issue

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