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Zulu in HD
Sheldon Hall


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 377
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Watching the first few minutes of the HD transfer shown on Film4 today (presumably taken from the master used for the Blu-ray), I was struck by an anomaly in the soundtrack. The first bars of John Barry's score kick in several seconds later than they should: over the Stanley Baker/Cy Endfield production credit rather than over a black screen just before the Joseph Levine credit appears. This probably means that Richard Burton's narration also fades out later than it should too. Those of you with both DVD and Blu-ray editions might want to compare them. I wonder how many other differences there are, caused by faulty mastering?
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Sheldon

I started watching Zulu on Film Four, even being a fan and now having the Blu-ray DVD, and found it very clear visually and audio, considering it was on television.

When talking about time scale in seconds, to the novice it really doesn't spoil the effect the film has, unless viewed from a professional P.O.V.

I'm hoping anyone who has never seen the film, as in, non-Zulu War enthusiasts, watched it and enjoyed it, Perhaps leading to a full-time hobby.

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Sheldon Hall


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 377
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Likewise, but "spoiling it for the novice" wasn't exactly my point. The point is that a few seconds can make a lot of difference if you you know the film. The music is supposed to start before the first credit, following the Paramount logo; I assume that this timing was deliberate and not incidental. Mis-synchronising the soundtrack with the image undermines what the filmmakers achieved, and I wondered if this was a one-off mastering error or repeated throughout the video transfer. Of course the "novice" wouldn't notice, but I didn't think this forum was for novices - otherwise your point would apply to virtually everything posted on it!
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Wobblefilms


Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Posts: 23
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"unless viewed from a professional P.O.V."

Did you not read this bit Sheldon
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Sheldon Hall


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 377
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I did, but it's beside the point. Most people who contribute to RDVC are not, in my experience, professionals in the field of either military history or film history, but it doesn't prevent them from having a great deal of knowledge and expertise. There are many regulars who have seen "Zulu" far more often than I have and have been able to point out things that I have missed, even though I'm supposed to be an "expert" on the subject. So it seemed reasonable to point out that the HD version is at variance from the integral film in at least one respect and to ask if anyone else had noticed this or other anomalies. If I can't make this point on this forum and get an informed response, where else could I possibly make it?! If I wanted to talk to novices I'd go on Amazon or somewhere...
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peterw


Joined: 30 Aug 2005
Posts: 865
Location: UK
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Sheldon

On a similar point, I tried to play "The Wind and the Lion" DVD through my stereo system. There was a 1-2 second delay between the picture and sound. When I watched it through the TV there was no problem.

What's the likely reason in this case?

Peter
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rich


Joined: 01 May 2008
Posts: 897
Location: Long Island NY USA
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All....
Last night I followed up on what Sheldon did where he compared the blu-ray with the regular dvd on the introduction of the music. Well I have to say he is correct and I can see and hear everything he noted. Yes, there is a difference between the masterings. For the comparison, I used a blu ray which I bought from Amazon UK and my MGM dvd disc which I've had for awhile.
You know if we look at film making as craft-making by professionals I have to say the mastering difference does indicate a lapse of painstaking when looking at the 're-purposing' of the film to a better technology. If you get down to it those who did the blu-ray transition just didn't get it right. They didn't pay attention to the details of the original film and how it was made. To some perhaps it shouldn't be a big deal. On the other hand there's an analogy I've been thinking of which can perhaps shed some light on why it is important to 'get it right'. I can only think how a writer would feel if, when his original work was say re-transcribed for publication, they mucked up the order of his words or did not structure paragraphs properly. I don't think the writer would take too kindly to it. Why? Simply integrity to the art that came before and a response to a display of disrespect.

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Sheldon Hall


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 377
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Thanks, Rich - I quite agree. Cock-ups in remastering are not uncommon. MGM/UA Home Entertainment (though not responsible for the "Zulu" Blu-ray) has a particularly bad record, having messed up recent Blu-ray releases of "West Side Story", "The Big Country" and "The Greatest Story Ever Told". If the technician responsible does not take care and is not intimately familiar with the film, mistakes in, say, synchronising image and sound, transferring optical effects (like dissolves, fades and other shot transitions), colour balancing, framing and all sorts of other things can get seriously compromised. Viewers not familiar with the films in question obviously won't notice but there are plenty of people who do and who care. The worst-case effects of these mistakes are when the HD masters for home video get used to create digital copies for theatrical exhibition, changing the way the film looks and sounds in cinemas as well as at home (I have heard bad reports about the recent digital cinema reissue of "Jaws", for instance, which uses stereo sound effects created for home video that were never present in the original cinema release).

Peter, I'm afraid that when it comes to electronics I am indeed a novice!
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rich


Joined: 01 May 2008
Posts: 897
Location: Long Island NY USA
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Re: West Side Story....

One of my favorite dvds. I've been on the fence in buying the blu-ray so now knowing they "messed" that one up too doesn't sound too encouraging for me to get it.

And I have to say when I saw and heard the "mis-mastering" in the background of my head I had Chard (or Bromhead if you will) pleading to the masterers, "Come on, get it right, man!"... Wink

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Sheldon Hall


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 377
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MGM also made a hash of one of the DVD releases of West Side Story by having the sound for one of the reels involving singing (!) out of synch with the picture. You may have the re-remastered version. On the Blu-ray, a fade to black has been inserted between the end of the overture, with its stylised graphics, and the start of the film proper - it ought to be a completely smooth transition, and though a "corrected" version has been issued it is still wrong. "Present: fire!"
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Stephen Coan


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 40
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Greetings. From what has been written on this thread so far I take it the music is out of sync for the whole of Zulu on the blu ray version. Is that the case?

Slightly off topic (but Sheldon might know the answer) - what's happened to the reconstruction of John Wayne's The Alamo.
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Sheldon Hall


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 377
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Hi Stephen,
I don't have the Blu-ray so can't say if it's "off" throughout - I just saw the opening minutes on TV. As for The Alamo - I'm none the wiser!
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Well, for anyone wishing to compare, 'Zulu' is on Film4 again today at 2.30p.m., if missed it first time round.

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Stephen Coan


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
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Thanks Sheldon. As I recall The Alamo reconstruction was supposed to be ready sometime last year but everything has gone quiet. Too quiet.
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Sheldon Hall


Joined: 01 Sep 2005
Posts: 377
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Thanks for the scheduling tipoff, Coll. I tuned in halfway through this time. I didn't notice any major sound anomalies*, but the colour balance was off. Except in the night scenes, the uniforms were more crimson than scarlet - much too pinkish. I checked this against the first Paramount DVD, which used a different transfer and which seems to me a more accurate representation of the film.

*Unless... I was eating a sandwich at the time, so my ears may have missed it, but did Bromhead's muttered "Of course" disappear when Chard tells him that the last of the water has gone to Surgeon Reynolds?
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Zulu in HD
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