Darn! Drawn back again!
It has been remastered from a duplicate negative in 4K, but has only been shown in theaters.
For anyone curious about why I'm so obsessed with getting better and better versions of the film is not only because of the direction and storyline, but because Kurosawa composed the background of every scene so carefully. Something I learned about when I watched my Criterion Laserdisc in full with the commentary by Donald Ritchie immediately after watching the film completely once before. That's over 7 hours in one sitting.
The thing that really "shocked" me was when he pointed out how each person in the crowd watching Kyuzo (the quiet, extremely skilled samurai) battle the ragged ronin was carefully placed within the scene, and how everyone looks left or right as the camera moves left or right. Brilliant composition and direction! With each successive improved release, it's easier to see and appreciate Kurosawa's scene compositions with every scene a masterpiece that you could watch dozens of times as I have, and be able to pick out something new. To me, it's like listening to Cream. Even after 40+ years of listening to the same songs, I'm still able to pick up on something new everytime I hear it.
Edit: Ironically, Kurosawa's compositions actually work better on the home screen versus the big screen where I've only seen it once when the 3hr 27min restored version was released. On the theater screen it's too hard grasp the composition with slightly moving your head, missing something on the other side of the screen. At home with a proper seating distance, the most you have to do is move your eyes slightly and don't miss anything in your peripheral vision.
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Last edited by lingyi; 2nd Oct 2020 at 20:41.
Realistically, today's bluray video quality couldn't have been achieved without many people motivated to achieve technical perfection.
That said IMO with high bitrate 4K HDR we are nearing the end of the road for actual perceivable quality improvements for the mainstream.
AI might help with improving noisy sources such as classic japanese film for the next cycle of re-releases.
Looking at the future, the thing I am most certain of however is that if people are willing to pay for it, someone will make it, irrespective of whether it makes any sense.
It depends how big the screens ultimately get, but I tend to agree with you."Well, my days of not taking you seriously are certainly coming to a middle."
It is nice that technology is advancing. I buy DVD box sets on occasion and they have all been DVD thus far. The problem I have with discs is that you can get the odd one that has a flaw and one episode or maybe more are not able to be enjoyed. I am happy with lower resolutions as I watch on small screen televisions. 360p or 360i if is encoded correctly is good enough for me. Now if I ever win the big lottery jackpot of course I would want a big screen TV and a Blu Ray library. I am hopeful that a Westerns streaming service comes about, so I can enjoy all the episodes of Gunsmoke. I could buy the complete series box set but the odds are with that many episodes at least one discs is flawed.
4K, 8K, [HDR] and beyond is just one component of quality. There's also color gamut, depth of field and other components, where we have a long way to go. Even UHD[/HDR] releases have to color graded down from the cinema gamut (sorry, I don't know the terms) for home viewing. And even the best cameras are capable of capturing a limited range of the full color gamut we see in nature.
It's not quite so esoteric, but an analogy may be the harmonics golden ears claim to be able to hear from vinyl that supposedly aren't there in digital because of the limits of the sampling. In video, it's far less esoteric. On another forum, a poster claimed he "calibrated" his set by comparing the scene he shot outside his window to what he saw on his set. He was quickly debunked as others pointed out that everything from the optics of the camera to the light at the time he shot video greatly affected what he saw on his screen and even if he exactly matched the color, it was still only for that one video.
What's past is past and I'll never be able to go back in time to stand behind Kurosawa while he was filming, and even if I were, I would see real life color, not the glorious B/W he filmed in. But I'm still looking forward to whatever technological improvement that may be made to the video in the future. I am aware that at some point, there's a possibility of going beyond what was originally intended, for example bringing out details that weren't intended. But I'm still excited for the next enhancements to all videos in the future!
Have we reached the limits of what real life perception of what consumer video is capable of? Far from it.
Last edited by lingyi; 3rd Oct 2020 at 13:04.