A few words about…™ Superman: The Movie — in 4k UHD Blu-ray

Fans who do not yet own a 4k setup, and want to run the Blu-ray until they have that capability need not apply, as the included Blu is archaic. 4 Stars

One of the all-time fan favorites in the superhero genre, coming from an earlier, far more innocent era, arrives on 4k, and it’s a winner.

While I’d have loved to be able to compare the new 4k to a modern Blu-ray of recent parentage, that can’t be done, as the previous Blu, which is also represented as the Blu along with the new 4k is showing its bottle age. Actually, it’s well past its prime.

The film was always soft. It was shot that way by cinematographer Geoffrey Unsworth. His lush grainy textures are the overriding appearance of the project. And it works beautifully.

I had to initial thoughts upon hearing that the film was coming to 4k was “why.” Other than a handful of shots, there isn’t any 4k to to be had.

And then I viewed the Blu-ray, and came to the realization that there is no comparison, simply because there is no high quality Blu-ray available. Presumably a telecine from an IP, the extant Blu-ray looks fine for what it is, but today, one will notice the lack of black, shadow detail, overall resolution.

And then there’s the constantly moving image, and total lack of stability.

So the 4k wins, possibly not because a modern Blu-ray might not appear all that different, but rather, because the extant version doesn’t hold up to today’s parameters.

More detail can be seen in the highly reflective costumes in the opening sequence. HDR has also made blacks and colors pop. It’s all good.

The addition of Dolby Atmos also raises the bar.

My other concern me when I heard about the release was the possibility of the film being shorn of its grain – and a grainy little devil, it is. But the grain has been retained, yielding a lovely velvety appearance.

Fans who do not yet own a 4k setup, and want to run the Blu-ray until they have that capability need not apply, as the included Blu is archaic.

Probably no need to include.

Image – 5

Audio – 5

Pass / Fail – Pass

Upgrade from Blu-ray – Absolutely

Very Highly Recommended

RAH

Published by

Robert Harris

editor,member

152 Comments

  1. Okay, so it looks like the included blu-ray is the same as the 2011 edition. Good to know.

    I am curious about the sound, specifically the effects. Are they true to the 1978 version or are they from the 2000 version? I never cared for the new "whoosh" effect in the opening titles from the 2000 version.

  2. So basically what I'm getting is the 4k is going to be a complete disappointment for many here but wins by default because the 2011 Blu-ray is too old a transfer to properly warrant a full comparison (even though said transfer is more recent than the one done for the Donner cut on S:TM).

    …yeah that sounds about right.

  3. Is it possible to confirm that the second 5.1 track on here really is just plain Dolby Digital and not a lossless encode? Also, can you let us know if it has different sound effects than the Atmos track? Does Krypton sound like a box of broken glass during the destruction?

  4. I know the 4K is the original theatrical version. That's fine. My question is whether the Williams score for the opening credits is the boosted bass version that came along with extended home video version later. I actually prefer the score/effects of the more recent soundtrack (but am perfectly happy with the original theatrical visuals).

    I suspect EVERYTHING is the original theatrical version.

    Oh, question #2… On the 4K, what is the song that is playing on the kid's car radio when they are driving from Smallville high school past the Kent farm? It had better be Bill Haley's 'Rock Around the Clock'!

    Mark

  5. Mark Booth

    On the 4K, what is the song that is playing on the kid's car radio when they are driving from Smallville high school past the Kent farm? It had better be Bill Haley's 'Rock Around the Clock'!

    Has it ever been anything else?

  6. TonyD

    Has it ever been anything else?

    John Williams actually wrote original music for all the car radios in Superman The Movie (presumably to cover these scenes if the rights to the selected diegetic tracks didn't pan out). Eventually those cues made it into the TV version.

  7. TonyD

    So my question to what Mark said still stands. He asked that as if there are versions on home video that have a different song playing.

    Well then the answer is yes. The TV cut that came out last year has the alternate tracks.

  8. A guy on another forum (that received his copy) says the Dolby Digital 5.1 track is the original theatrical soundtrack and he says it sounds quite good (I interpreted his comment to mean that it *might* have slightly boosted LFE during the opening title sequence). He said the Dolby ATMOS track is the remix soundtrack from 2000 (or whenever the first special edition was released). He said the ATMOS track, if anything, has even more LFE than it had in 2000 for those opening titles.

    So, apparently, we get the choice of both.

    Mark

  9. This is bittersweet news. I've wanted the original six-track audio released since the earliest days of the DVD format. Maybe even as far back as the Laser Disc era (when we called Dolby Digital "AC-3"). Over the years the only 5.1 track was the Thau mix, which is revisionist and doesn't sound like "Superman: The Movie".

    This original mix could have been included in 2011 as a DTS-HD Master Audio track on the Blu-ray of the theatrical cut. Instead we got a conformed version of the Thau mix, with just a stereo 2.0 mix of the 1978 audio.

    I'm glad we'll all finally get to experience the original discrete mix, but lossy Dolby Digital only in 2018 on a 4k disc? Could it be a size limitation? Maybe, but Ready Player One has a similar running time to Superman and has an Atmos track and a lossless 5.1 track as well.

  10. Well, it would have been great if the original soundtrack was lossless. That being said, I’ll take the 5.1 upgrade (whenever I get a 4K display) and pass on seeing the re-release in theaters since it’ll most likely have the redone sound effects.

  11. Neil S. Bulk

    At this point there's really no need for the Thau version. We now have the real six-track audio available and the TV cut in HD. What purpose does the 8 minute longer, re-done sound version fulfill anymore?

    It's a Donner-approved version, so I would argue that it's more legitimate than the TV cut.

  12. Adam Lenhardt

    It's a Donner-approved version, so I would argue that it's more legitimate than the TV cut.

    Yeah same reason why we have three cuts of Close Encounters in 4k despite the original really only being there for the sake of historical preservation and the '81 SE because it has its fans…what few there are.

  13. This is far and away the best of the Superman movies, for the simple reason that Richard Donner made the picture about the story and the character. The sequel was close, but only because Donner directed most of it before Richard Lester was brought in to edit it like a music video. The rest of them are about working in a role for Richard Pryor (III), a sermon about nukes (IV), or the CGI effects (all the rest). Of course, all the superhero movies since are solely about the CGI effects.

  14. Adam Lenhardt

    It's a Donner-approved version, so I would argue that it's more legitimate than the TV cut.

    Regarding the "Donner-approved" version. Check out his last answer.

    IGNFF: Were there any difficulties in finding original sound elements?

    DONNER: No, they just had to be cleaned and brought up to a contemporary standard but we found everything.

    IGNFF: There have been reports that the sound effects were recreated that they are not the original sound effects.

    DONNER: Let me just tell you something if somebody did that and I don't know about it, I'm going to kill somebody. Michael would not have done that.

    IGNFF: There have been numerous reports of sounds that people remember well being completely different in this new mix, from the rings rotating around the Kryptonian criminals to the searing sounds of the title sequence.

    DONNER: Do you mean different sounds, or they were enhanced?

    IGNFF: Different sounds.

    DONNER: That doesn't make sense. I know we enhanced the sound, but I don't think we added any. I, quite honestly, did not hear the final mix. I heard the three run-throughs, and all we did was enhance sound.

    You can read more here, but be warned, the formatting is wonky.

    And while I agree, that yes, WB has a sign-off from Donner on this version, that didn't stop them from issuing the TV version, which is really all anybody ever wanted. That and the theatrical cut. The 2001 version is a weird stop-gap nobody asked for that's been supplanted in every way.

  15. trajan007

    Lester directed most of SUPERMAN TWO. He redirected and got rid of much of Donner's footage. He had to direct well over 50% to qualify for a directors credit. Superman two is a much better film.

    I've seen the Richard Donner cut of Superman II and I just don't like it as much as the theatrical one. There are compensations like the extended dialogue between Superman and Jor-El and the CGI-enhanced visuals but Superman II is a classic and anything but the version we all know and love is just sacrilege.

  16. Screen caps comparison:

    http://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?a=1&x=550&y=223&d1=12539&d2=12538&s1=124660&s2=124642&l=0&i=4&go=1

    I picked a particular frame and section of that frame. Roll over and compare the detail in Lois's face and the items behind her on the 4K vs. the 2011 Blu-ray. The increase in detail is outstanding, yet, there's still smooth and gorgeous film grain. And the color timing looks like film instead of a boosted digital coloring book.

    Mark

  17. Neil S. Bulk

    And while I agree, that yes, WB has a sign-off from Donner on this version, that didn't stop them from issuing the TV version, which is really all anybody ever wanted. That and the theatrical cut. The 2001 version is a weird stop-gap nobody asked for that's been supplanted in every way.

    You're speaking for a lot of people that aren't you with "anybody" and "nobody".

  18. Mr. Harris, thanks for the review.

    Quick question: when you note the older Superman transfer was lacking, I’m wondering if you’re referring to the original Blu-ray that came out in the late aughts, or the Warner Archive Collection release that came out this time last year? (Which not only contained the Donner definitive re-edit from 2000, but also a 3-hour TV version recently uncovered in its proper ‘scope framing.) Personally, I thought the WAC release looked quite good on Blu-ray. Curious of your thoughts. Thanks!

  19. Adam Lenhardt

    You're speaking for a lot of people that aren't you with "anybody" and "nobody".

    I sure am, because I'm certain no one ever said, "I want an 8 minute longer version of Superman with revised sound". I am certain people wanted a high quality release of the TV version over the years.

  20. Mark Booth

    Screen caps comparison:

    http://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?a=1&x=550&y=223&d1=12539&d2=12538&s1=124660&s2=124642&l=0&i=4&go=1

    I picked a particular frame and section of that frame. Roll over and compare the detail in Lois's face and the items behind her on the 4K vs. the 2011 Blu-ray. The increase in detail is outstanding, yet, there's still smooth and gorgeous film grain. And the color timing looks like film instead of a boosted digital coloring book.

    Mark

    I'm looking elsewhere in that cap. It's pretty mushy. Again, no surprise.

    Also no HDR in that cap.

  21. This looks like a definite upgrade whenever I make the leap to a 4K display. I may even pick it up before that if it dips below $20 (I bet this will show up in a 3 for $50 sale at Amazon). It's a shame the Blu-ray wasn't remastered like 2001: ASO. WB would have gotten their money from me already had they done that.

  22. I can tell there is a better movie nestled somewhere within Superman II, but unfortunately the slapstick tone of the Lester stuff just completely undermines it. It's especially damaging during the smackdown in Metropolis because it's infested with stupid sight gags (roller skater, guy eating ice cream, guy talking on phone).

    That being said, the theatrical cut is superior to the Donner cut by virtue of being a finished product (and "General, would you care to step outside?" is a much better line than the one it replaced). The Donner cut was a neat idea, but I think it would have been better to do something like "Twin Peaks: The Missing Pieces".

  23. Lord Dalek

    I'm looking elsewhere in that cap. It's pretty mushy. Again, no surprise.

    Also no HDR in that cap.

    By their nature, screen caps are SDR.

    Superman and other Unsworth lensed films were shot soft, intentionally.

    Mark

  24. Another screen cap comparison that shows the 4K's strength:

    http://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?a=1&x=245&y=231&d1=12539&d2=12538&s1=124655&s2=124648&l=0&i=9&go=1

    The 4K looks much more natural and reveals detail without artificial enhancement. Look at the water, particularly to the left of the Army vehicle. On the 4K the film grain in the water is even and smooth. On the Blu-ray you can see all sorts of artifacts from artificial enhancement and the image clearly has an artificial contrast boost that looks fake.

    Mark

  25. FINALLY it looks like the teal is gone! For years I’ve been discredited for mentioning the fact that the color work on all the new masters in the Anthology box were messed up (I and II theatrical, III and IV) and there were the youtube comparison videos that first brought it up.

    This looks incredibly better in mostly subtle but very noticeable ways. All four Supermans have always been made to look very flat on video and it has been very hard to get away from that. The VHS looked bad, the LD looked bad, the DVD looked bad, the BD looked bad etc.

    I’m dying to check this out. Why does 4K have to be so pricey? If the lossy 5.1 is indeed the 70mm mix it’s very likely they already had it laying around in the digital domain somewhere.

    Does it have the opening mono to stereo surround transition? If so that would indicate my long held belief that the 1990 letterboxed LD audio (which so far is the best sounding version anywhere) is derived from the 70mm mix. The opening to the Laserdisc has the opening child’s voice and musical cue locked to the center channel in ProLogic decoded form and then it swells to full stereo for the opening titles and then the opening swooshes go into the surround for full stereo surround. The rest of the film has a much better surround presence unlike the rather flat and dull 2.0 Dolby Stereo.

    The film was released in three formats: Dolby Stereo, Dolby Stereo 70mm and mono. Each mix was done separately at the mixing stage one at a time. I think it’s silly to dump the 2.0 Dolby Stereo since there’s obviously the space for it and the 70mm audio should have been lossless. All three tracks should be there.
    And of course nobody cares about poor mono mixes. The mono for this film doesn’t seem any different outside of being single channel but I’ve only heard samples.

    Ultimately this is the first and only time a video release really looks like the 1978 release print. This looks darn near close to the pristine nonfaded print I saw three years ago.

  26. I’m almost positive that Donner and Thau listened to the rather dull and unimpressive original Dolby Stereo when first preparing the SE. If they had looked up the 70mm mix, the new 5.1 mix would have been unnecessary.
    It would be interesting if anyone ever found the split surround 70mm test mix that was never used.

  27. English Invader

    I've seen the Richard Donner cut of Superman II and I just don't like it as much as the theatrical one. There are compensations like the extended dialogue between Superman and Jor-El and the CGI-enhanced visuals but Superman II is a classic and anything but the version we all know and love is just sacrilege.

    To be fair, we will never know for sure what a real Donner directed version of SII would have been. The Donner cut is at best an approximation but nothing more. There really is no such thing as a “Donner Cut” and there never will be.

  28. WillG

    To be fair, we will never know for sure what a real Donner directed version of SII would have been. The Donner cut is at best an approximation but nothing more.

    The Richard Donner Cut is a rough assembly of what Donner's Superman II would have been at the time he stopped working on it. Obviously, once they decided to use the turn back time ending for Superman: The Movie, they would have had to come up with a new ending for Superman II.

    I would love to see the movie that Superman II would have been had Donner been able to complete it originally.

  29. Adam Lenhardt

    The Richard Donner Cut is a rough assembly of what Donner's Superman II would have been at the time he stopped working on it. Obviously, once they decided to use the turn back time ending for Superman: The Movie, they would have had to come up with a new ending for Superman II.

    I would love to see the movie that Superman II would have been had Donner been able to complete it originally.

    But that cut still had to use a fair amount of Lester footage. There was no way a real Donner cut could ever have existed.

  30. No director shoots every frame of their movie. There are multiple units and assistant directors shooting chunks of the film. As long as he edited the film, and it represents his vision, I'm satisfied that it's called the "Donner cut" even if he didn't direct all the footage.

  31. Mark Booth

    Another screen cap comparison that shows the 4K's strength:

    http://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?a=1&x=245&y=231&d1=12539&d2=12538&s1=124655&s2=124648&l=0&i=9&go=1

    The 4K looks much more natural and reveals detail without artificial enhancement. Look at the water, particularly to the left of the Army vehicle. On the 4K the film grain in the water is even and smooth. On the Blu-ray you can see all sorts of artifacts from artificial enhancement and the image clearly has an artificial contrast boost that looks fake.

    Mark

    Funny, I was just looking last night. The "problem" with caps-a-holic is you can't compare HDR to SDR, as the 4K UHD HDR is converted to SDR. So the colors will always look different. You can however compare resolution, and of course compare Blu-ray to Blu-ray which are both SDR. That being said, if comparing 2001, I can see a clear uptick in resolution. For Superman, not really.

  32. If you look at Lois Lane, the blinds, and antenna, you can see finer detail. But more so, film grain with better encoding is more clearly rendered on the UHD BD. The grain on the BD looks more blocky and digital making the UHD BD look much more filmic for sure. It also appears the contrast boost of the Blu-ray (as was the case with many older BDs) is gone.

    http://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?go=1&a=0&d1=12539&d2=12538&s1=124660&s2=124642&i=4&l=0

  33. I was present at some of the mixing at Pinewood in Theater Two. There were two shifts, day and night, to get the track completed on time. There were some opticals that were still not completed and didn't make it to the final theatrical print. Gordon K. McCallum was in charge. I remember he was rehearsing the main title music with effects using the newly introduced split surround format. I believe the configuration for the intial 70mm release was channel one: Left; channel two: Split surround left (above 500hz) below, baby boom; channel three: Center; channel 4: Split Surround right (above 500hz) below, baby boom; channel five: Right; Channel six: Mono Surround.
    My role on the film was as a cutting room assistant. There was a huge cutting crew and we occupied the upper floor of the old film library. I had to take rolls of 35mm film of flying background plates and show them to Andre De Toth on a steenbeck. He would select what was to be used and specially graded prints were prepared for projected backgrounds behind Christopher Reeve.

  34. Dave H

    If you look at Lois Lane, the blinds, and antenna, you can see finer detail. But more so, film grain with better encoding is more clearly rendered on the UHD BD. The grain on the BD looks more blocky and digital making the UHD BD look much more filmic for sure. It also appears the contrast boost of the Blu-ray (as was the case with many older BDs) is gone.

    http://caps-a-holic.com/c.php?go=1&a=0&d1=12539&d2=12538&s1=124660&s2=124642&i=4&l=0

    Yes, it looks a bit better in some scenes, probably overall. But we'll never know about the colors. I think that's mostly due to the new encode, not necessarily the 4K rez. But the HDR stuff bothers me here, unlike in 2001. Anyhow, no thanks to WB for not releasing a new BD alongside, and using the 2011 transfer. Boo!

  35. ghostwind

    Yes, it looks a bit better in some scenes, probably overall. But we'll never know about the colors. I think that's mostly due to the new encode, not necessarily the 4K rez. But the HDR stuff bothers me here, unlike in 2001. Anyhow, no thanks to WB for not releasing a new BD alongside, and using the 2011 transfer. Boo!

    The highlights are far better on the UHD BD. Just look at Jor-El alone. Seems the HDR has been done tastefully and expanding higher range. There is excessively clipping on the BD. Considering they reportedly went back to the ON, I would put my money on the UHD BD color which even on my cheap monitor here looks more naturally rendered but I will have to watch this on my set-up. If I do see this at the theater, I will also make note of how it compares to the UHD BD.

  36. Watched mine yesterday it looks fantastic! So much grain & rich colour. Such a natural looking UHD.

    Saw some new detail as well. Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine from ROTJ & Star Wars the Prequels) appears @ 12:02 in a brief few frame background uncredited cameo semi smirking for the camera in one of the Krypton high council scene's!

  37. Stephen PI

    I was present at some of the mixing at Pinewood in Theater Two. There were two shifts, day and night, to get the track completed on time. There were some opticals that were still not completed and didn't make it to the final theatrical print. Gordon K. McCallum was in charge. I remember he was rehearsing the main title music with effects using the newly introduced split surround format. I believe the configuration for the intial 70mm release was channel one: Left; channel two: Split surround left (above 500hz) below, baby boom; channel three: Center; channel 4: Split Surround right (above 500hz) below, baby boom; channel five: Right; Channel six: Mono Surround.
    My role on the film was as a cutting room assistant. There was a huge cutting crew and we occupied the upper floor of the old film library. I had to take rolls of 35mm film of flying background plates and show them to Andre De Toth on a steenbeck. He would select what was to be used and specially graded prints were prepared for projected backgrounds behind Christopher Reeve.

    I did attend a 70mm screening at the Odeon L Square for a cast and crew screening and this was the only 70mm screening in London as
    the print went back to the USA after.
    I know Max Bell from Dolby was at the remote desk in the theatre but cannot remember if this was screened in Split Surrounds.
    (Format 43) but i think it was screened in ( Format 42) as the Odeon was not wired for Split Surrounds yet.

  38. DP 70

    I did attend a 70mm screening at the Odeon L Square for a cast and crew screening and this was the only 70mm screening in London as
    the print went back to the USA after.
    I know Max Bell from Dolby was at the remote desk in the theatre but cannot remember if this was screened in Split Surrounds
    (Format 43) but i think it was screened in ( Format 42) as the Odeon was not wired for Split Surrounds yet.

    It's been well documented that the film only played with mono surrounds in 1978. This is due to the facts that the Format 42 decoders weren't ready at the time and the team at Pinewood only using them on a handful of sequences.

  39. Let's see.. I saw 'Superman' in the theater three times in 1978. I had purchased my first VHS VCR about 1 year earlier, in 1977. When 'Superman' was released on VHS cassette I got together with a friend and we connected our VCRs to make copies for ourselves. Yeah, I know, shame on me… but my penance is what follows…

    I purchased the first Laserdisc version of the film in 1983. It was pan & scan.
    I upgraded to the widescreen Laserdisc version in 1990.
    I purchased a DVD version of the film in 2001.
    I purchased a DVD box set of all of the films a few years later.
    I purchased the HD DVD version of the film in 2006.
    I purchased the UK Blu-ray Anthology set in 2016.
    I purchased the Special Edition/Extended Blu-ray version in 2017.

    And I just purchased the 4K version.

    Santa is bringing me a $1,000 4K Blu-ray player for Christmas (which might not arrive until January), the Panasonic UB9000. The film I'm most looking forward to try in it is, you guessed it, 'Superman'.

    When will the madness end? 🙂

    Mark

  40. DP 70

    I did attend a 70mm screening at the Odeon L Square for a cast and crew screening and this was the only 70mm screening in London as
    the print went back to the USA after.
    I know Max Bell from Dolby was at the remote desk in the theatre but cannot remember if this was screened in Split Surrounds
    (Format 43) but i think it was screened in ( Format 42) as the Odeon was not wired for Split Surrounds yet.

    At the time of the release I was in the US and saw it at the Chinese Theater in 70mm.
    I heard that the Warner Theater only ran it in 35mm, because of something to do with not wanting to run a 70 print on platters. Is that true?

  41. Dave H

    The highlights are far better on the UHD BD. Just look at Jor-El alone. Seems the HDR has been done tastefully and expanding higher range. There is excessively clipping on the BD. Considering they reportedly went back to the ON, I would put my money on the UHD BD color which even on my cheap monitor here looks more naturally rendered but I will have to watch this on my set-up. If I do see this at the theater, I will also make note of how it compares to the UHD BD.

    I don't like the HDR on Superman 4K UHD, but I know others do. It's subjective of course. Even if it's not used a lot, sometimes it's out of place for me. On the 2001 4K it isn't out of place to me (but maybe to others). So it varies, and is subjective as I said.

    I was just reading Bill Hunt's review of this disc, where he said, "Colors are more accurate, richly saturated, and nuanced than ever before." To me, that's also so very subjective, because again, no consumer display in existence can reproduce the REC.2020 color gamut. P3 remember is not for home cinema/displays. 4K UHDs are mastered to P3 gamut, but wrapped in a REC.2020 container in order for consumer displays to understand it. But since you can't calibrate the REC.2020 primaries on any consumer display device, the colors are not only not accurate (which is why such reviews I quoted are funny to me), but will look different on every display, depending on how each display deals with it.

    So, while you are correct that the physical disc is most probably correct, and the best there is, we don't yet have the devices to display it properly. That's why I wanted a new Blu-ray from the new ON 4K master.

  42. ghostwind

    I don't like the HDR on Superman 4K UHD, but I know others do. It's subjective of course. Even if it's not used a lot, sometimes it's out of place for me. On the 2001 4K it isn't out of place to me (but maybe to others). So it varies, and is subjective as I said.

    I was just reading Bill Hunt's review of this disc, where he said, "Colors are more accurate, richly saturated, and nuanced than ever before." To me, that's also so very subjective, because again, no consumer display in existence can reproduce the REC.2020 color gamut. P3 remember is not for home cinema/displays. 4K UHDs are mastered to P3 gamut, but wrapped in a REC.2020 container in order for consumer displays to understand it. But since you can't calibrate the REC.2020 primaries on any consumer display device, the colors are not only not accurate (which is why such reviews I quoted are funny to me), but will look different on every display, depending on how each display deals with it.

    So, while you are correct that the physical disc is most probably correct, and the best there is, we don't yet have the devices to display it properly. That's why I wanted a new Blu-ray from the new ON 4K master.

    I haven't seen this disc yet (arriving today, but I doubt I will get to it tonight).

    But so long as your P3 dE color errors (within the 2020 container) are under 3, I don't see how that's much of an issue? I think with animation where you reach 100% saturation it can be a bigger issue, but below that more displays are able to reach closer. I agree things can look different depending on the display EOTF and tone mapping, but several calibrated displays I've looked at with certain discs look pretty similar in many regards.

    I've also noticed how the wider color gamut just looks more nuanced and pleasing – naturally with all of the UHD BD discs I've looked at (40ish). Where as with rec 709 on BD, there's almost a bit more of an over-saturated look a times that seems less natural looking. UHD BD just has more pleasing, natural color to my eyes.

  43. Mark Booth

    A guy on another forum (that received his copy) says the Dolby Digital 5.1 track is the original theatrical soundtrack and he says it sounds quite good (I interpreted his comment to mean that it *might* have slightly boosted LFE during the opening title sequence). He said the Dolby ATMOS track is the remix soundtrack from 2000 (or whenever the first special edition was released). He said the ATMOS track, if anything, has even more LFE than it had in 2000 for those opening titles.

    So, apparently, we get the choice of both.

    Mark

    How can the 5.1 be the original theatrical (and I presume you mean 70mm) track? In the 70mm Dolby Baby Boom format before Apocalypse Now, the surrounds were mono and there were two LFE tracks (channels 2 and 4). Now in a 5.1, they can send the LFE tracks to the .1 and the surrounds can be mono, but then it's not really the original theatrical presentation and it's not really 5.1, is it? And by the way, split surround was used experimentally on a few 70mm prints on one reel, so there actually can be stereo surrounds for that one segment if they were able to find those original tracks.

  44. Dave H

    I haven't seen this disc yet (arriving today, but I doubt I will get to it tonight).

    But so long as your P3 dE color errors (within the 2020 container) are under 3, I don't see how that's much of an issue? I think with animation where you reach 100% saturation it can be a bigger issue, but below that more displays are able to reach closer. I agree things can look different depending on the display EOTF and tone mapping, but several calibrated displays I've looked at with certain discs look pretty similar in many regards.

    I've also noticed how the wider color gamut just looks more nuanced and pleasing – naturally with all of the UHD BD discs I've looked at (40ish). Where as with rec 709 on BD, there's almost a bit more of an over-saturated look a times that seems less natural looking. UHD BD just has more pleasing, natural color to my eyes.

    P3 dE errors are measured @ below 100nits. The complete gamut is mapped by a display (from the mastered 1000/1100 or 4000 nits), and any change in the PQ curve naturally affects color also. Plus as I was saying, you cannot calibrate colors in HDR. You may TRY to calibrate the displays' CMS, but those 6 points will usually create even more problems and are best left at their defaults. I tried all this (and still mess around to try new things every other day) on my LG OLED, and it's just not a good thing. On a projector it will be worse.

    Another thing I was going to mention, is that while HDR is a subjective thing some may or may not like on a particular disc, the display technology also plays a large part in that. On a projector you aren't really getting much of an effect, as the light output is not suitable for HDR. So it's doing heavy tone mapping. On an OLED or LED LCD, the same disc's HDR effects will look more pronounced. So it's really impossible to compare and totally subjective.

    At the end of the day, if you like it, that's all that matters. If WB released an SDR Blu-ray along the 4K, it would be really easy to compare and see the differences. Comparing with a seven year old Blu-ray is not apples to apples. Or 4k apples to 2k apples 🙂

  45. Dave H

    I haven't seen this disc yet (arriving today, but I doubt I will get to it tonight).

    But so long as your P3 dE color errors (within the 2020 container) are under 3, I don't see how that's much of an issue? I think with animation where you reach 100% saturation it can be a bigger issue, but below that more displays are able to reach closer. I agree things can look different depending on the display EOTF and tone mapping, but several calibrated displays I've looked at with certain discs look pretty similar in many regards.

    I've also noticed how the wider color gamut just looks more nuanced and pleasing – naturally with all of the UHD BD discs I've looked at (40ish). Where as with rec 709 on BD, there's almost a bit more of an over-saturated look a times that seems less natural looking. UHD BD just has more pleasing, natural color to my eyes.

    P3 dE errors are measured @ below 100nits. The complete gamut is mapped by a display (from the mastered 1000/1100 or 4000 nits), and any change in the PQ curve naturally affects color also. Plus as I was saying, you cannot calibrate colors in HDR. You may TRY to calibrate the displays' CMS, but those 6 points will usually create even more problems and are best left at their defaults. I tried all this (and still mess around to try new things every other day) on my LG OLED, and it's just not a good thing. On a projector it will be worse.

    Another thing I was going to mention, is that while HDR is a subjective thing some may or may not like on a particular disc, the display technology also plays a large part in that. On a projector you aren't really getting much of an effect, as the light output is not suitable for HDR. So it's doing heavy tone mapping. On an OLED or LED LCD, the same disc's HDR effects will look more pronounced. So it's really impossible to compare and totally subjective.

    At the end of the day, if you like it, that's all that matters. If WB released an SDR Blu-ray along the 4K, it would be really easy to compare and see the differences. Comparing with a seven year old Blu-ray is not apples to apples. Or 4k apples to 2k apples 🙂

  46. zoetmb

    How can the 5.1 be the original theatrical (and I presume you mean 70mm) track? In the 70mm Dolby Baby Boom format before Apocalypse Now, the surrounds were mono and there were two LFE tracks (channels 2 and 4). Now in a 5.1, they can send the LFE tracks to the .1 and the surrounds can be mono, but then it's not really the original theatrical presentation and it's not really 5.1, is it? And by the way, split surround was used experimentally on a few 70mm prints on one reel, so there actually can be stereo surrounds for that one segment if they were able to find those original tracks.

    Check out this article: http://www.in70mm.com/news/2012/format_43/index.htm

  47. Watched the 4K Superman this afternoon. It is, easily, the best this film has ever looked on home video. I watched the opening titles with both the ATMOS track and the DD 5.1 track. As mentioned earlier, I actually prefer the boosted LFE and swooshes (in the titles) so I watched the entire film in ATMOS. The DD 5.1 sounds fine, it just lacks the punch of the boosted effects.

    The song on the kid's car radio is 'Rock Around The Clock', as it should be. :thumbsup:

    Blacks looks terrific. The star fields during the opening titles and other parts of the film are excellent. Space is nice and black and the stars are nice and bright. The glowing white Krypton clothing looked terrific too. It looked quite luminous on my setup but you could still see detail. Colors are awesome and Superman's suit stayed blue throughout, I don't recall a shift to teal anywhere. 99% of everything about this release is outstanding.

    Now, my quibble… Playing it on my Panasonic UB900 (which lacks Dolby Vision) to my Sony 940E I felt the image was a bit too washed out at times. I feel Warner Bros went a little bit too far in dialing back the contrast (compared to earlier versions). Fortunately, it's not in every scene. Only the daylight outdoor scenes. It almost felt like there was a haze over the image (at times) that shouldn't be there. I don't mean softness, I mean a haze in the sense of how the sun would reflect off of a light fog and give a hazy look.

    I am very curious to see how it will look in Dolby Vision when I get my UB9000 player. More important, how it will look in HDR10 with the UB9000's dynamic HDR adjustment set for the brightness of my 940E.

    The lack of contrast didn't prevent me from enjoying the film. In fact, by the middle of the film I stopped thinking about it. But I certainly did notice it. It's been too long ago for me to remember if the original film was projected this way.

    Mark

  48. Mark Booth

    The song on the kid's car radio is 'Rock Around The Clock', as it should be. :thumbsup:

    That was only ever changed on the television version. No other release of the movie (theatrical mix/2001 re-mix) has had the WIlliams source cue. "Rock Around the Clock" has always, always, always been there.

  49. Neil S. Bulk

    That was only ever changed on the television version. No other release of the movie (theatrical mix/2001 re-mix) has had the WIlliams source cue. "Rock Around the Clock" has always, always, always been there.

    Well this is what I thought and why I questioned it even being brought up. Still don’t know why it was ever brought up.

    TonyD

    So my question to what Mark said still stands. He asked that as if there are versions on home video that have a different song playing.

    Lord Dalek

    Well then the answer is yes. The TV cut that came out last year has the alternate tracks.

  50. Neil S. Bulk

    Check out this article: http://www.in70mm.com/news/2012/format_43/index.htm

    I've been curious for some time if the boom tracks (for any movie) actually ever contained discrete LFE info, or if they were always both duplicates containing the same LFE info. The block diagram in your referenced article suggests that both boom tracks originated from a single source and would therefore be identical. Either way it made sense to have the boom info on both tracks 2 and 4 for compatibility with pre-Dolby (Todd-AO) 6-track playback, but particularly with the original specs of the boom tracks being low passed at 250Hz it seems it might have been reasonable for them to have provided directional bass information.

    I got the 4k disc at Target today, and thoroughly enjoyed listening to the entire 5.1 DD track this evening. Although I have an Oppo UDP-203 to play the disc, I'm still watching on a vintage 2008 1080p SDR display, so I won't comment on the picture. I also saw this as an opportunity to get the theatrical version on Blu-ray, which I didn't have before.

  51. zoetmb

    and there were two LFE tracks (channels 2 and 4). Now in a 5.1, they can send the LFE tracks to the .1

    See my post above. I've been wondering if the boom tracks (2 & 4) were identical or not. The other issue could be if the boom tracks contained audio information above the 120hz brick wall limit on the LFE (.1) channel of our current home audio codecs. That higher frequency bass would be lost if it wasn't somehow moved to the tracks for the front (LCR) channels.

  52. I've always been under the assumption that the boom tracks were just duplicates of each other owing to the fact that the left and right center channels didn't have enough oomph to output those LFE effects on their own. Proper subwoofers didn't become a thing with Dolby Baby Boom until THX standards came along.

  53. ^ Tomlison Holman's book "5.1 Surround Sound: Up and Running" states: "Just six months after "Star Wars," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" was the first picture to use dedicated subwoofers, installed just for the purpose of playing the Baby Boom channel." In my area (to the best of my memory) there never were any theaters that combined THX certification with 70mm Dolby 6-track.

  54. Britton

    Well, it would have been great if the original soundtrack was lossless. That being said, I’ll take the 5.1 upgrade (whenever I get a 4K display) and pass on seeing the re-release in theaters since it’ll most likely have the redone sound effects.

    The original movie theatre release in 1978 was only in Dolby Surround, and BTW, my Blu of this legendary film looks great on my 1080P Pioneer plasma. Also, this was Geoffrey Unsworth's last film and there is a dedication to him in the credits.

  55. williammoore

    Also, this was Geoffrey Unsworth's last film and there is a dedication to him in the credits.

    Not quite. I think The Great Train Robbery was shot after this, and he also worked on Tess up until his death, when he was replaced by Ghiskain Cloquet.

  56. Bryan^H

    The image is just so soft. HDR is used well on the Krypton explosions(Crypt-Un as Marlon Brando pronounces it)..

    Yeah that's what I'm getting here. Saying "fine detail is improved!" means nothing where there was never much fine detail in the first place. Oh sure its sharper….like 10% sharper. So ultimately you're basically only buying this for HDR.

  57. The Atmos mix is derived from the 2001 Thau re-mix, except the opening has been changed and is clearly from the six-track. The movie is supposed to open monophonically and it never did on the 2001 mix and it does now.

    The six-track is a revelation, as if a veil has been lifted on the audio. On video I've owned the mono CED disc, stereo widescreen Laser Disc and various DVDs and Blu-rays, some with the original mix in stereo only. Hearing it in discrete audio, as intended, is how the film should have always been in the discrete digital era. Finally, this movie sounds right.

  58. Neil S. Bulk

    The Atmos mix is derived from the 2001 Thau re-mix, except the opening has been changed and is clearly from the six-track. The movie is supposed to open monophonically and it never did on the 2001 mix and it does now.

    The six-track is a revelation, as if a veil has been lifted on the audio. On video I've owned the mono CED disc, stereo widescreen Laser Disc and various DVDs and Blu-rays, some with the original mix in stereo only. Hearing it in discrete audio, as intended, is how the film should have always been in the discrete digital era. Finally, this movie sounds right.

    Agreed, it's a revelation and about time we got it, even if it's not lossless. This is how the movie is supposed to sound. I can't stand the 2001 remix. Way too many changes and omissions and the music balance is off in many places.

    I think the image looks great, as good as it can given the source. It's sharper, the color is better (and it's natural and film like, not over-saturated or revisionist), the HDR is tastefully applied and there is no sign of DNR that I noticed. WB hit it out of the park. Well worth the upgrade for the audio alone.

  59. Neil S. Bulk

    The movie is supposed to open monophonically and it never did on the 2001 mix and it does now.

    The six-track is a revelation, as if a veil has been lifted on the audio. On video I've owned the mono CED disc, stereo widescreen Laser Disc and various DVDs and Blu-rays, some with the original mix in stereo only. Hearing it in discrete audio, as intended, is how the film should have always been in the discrete digital era. Finally, this movie sounds right.

    The opening is certainly monophonic now on the original 5.1 DD. I couldn't detect sound out of any but the center speaker. However the transition of the sound from the "1930's" into the title sequence seems considerably more subtle to me. The Thau mix seems to have a very dramatic transition right at the first title swoosh as the curtains spread off the screen. The original gives me more of the impression of gradually and subtly building from the mono to stereo, holding back until the appearance of the "S" to make the multi-channel sound beyond the constraint of the screen dramatically apparent. The dialog on the original seemed extremely and surprisingly (amazingly) clear and appropriate except two instances I noticed. The lines of Glenn Ford/Jonathan Kent at the farm seemed a bit muffled and/or distorted, almost as if we're still listening from a distance behind him while we're looking at his face, and the same with the first scene of Jackie Cooper/Perry White in the office. I didn't take time to focus on comparing the dialog with the Thau mix. However, with quick samples of the Dolby True HD (Atmos) track for comparison I did get the impression that the Thau mix seems to bury the listener in the orchestra, rather allowing the impression of listening from the audience. I'll have to do some more comparisons later.

    I've long though that the ultimate "Star Wars" home theater media would include all of the original 1977 soundtrack mixes (lossless of course). It would be nice to have the option of playing the 6-track from the 70mm prints, and both the Dolby Stereo and the unique monaural audio from the 35mm prints, to cover all of the original experiences of the way it was in 1977. I'd really love to have all of the original soundtrack mixes on most other movies as well.

  60. I think I'm right in saying this, the 70mm track on "STAR WARS" was a basic 4-track mix (LCRS) with bass enhancement in channels 2 and 4. It was encoded with Dolby noise reduction but was not the 'ground breaking' Dolby Stereo optical sound matrix that was developed for 35mm prints that replaced magnetic striping.
    All 35mm prints were Dolby Stereo and the track was 'mono compatible'. A regular mono optical reader would sum the two Lt /Rt channels. So I don't think there were mono prints as such.
    During mixing the Dolby Stereo soundtrack was monitored for phase accuracy through the DS4 (monitoring system for Dolby Lt Rt)and for mono compatibility.
    The 4-track stereo mix master stems of dialog, efx and music were stored separately and interlocked together and monitored through the DS4 to create the composite track.

  61. On a slightly different subject, something that really bugs me with "Superman" is what I consider to be the cut-and-paste butchery done to John Williams score. The swapping and speed/pitch changing of portions of the main and end title music is the most egregious example, but the various cuts and splices to "Chasing Trains" is another. I'd be surprised if Williams wasn't somewhat offended by this, but perhaps with him and Donner both having worked on Gilligan's Island he was prepared for all this additional editing after scoring. I'd sure like to see the film edited to the way he scored it. Maybe it is just because I'm a lover of orchestral film scores, but I usually prefer films that way.

    I bring it up because with the original mix I found the speed/pitch transition during the main title to end title transition to be a lot less obvious than in the Thau mix. However I did find the cut in "Chasing Rockets" to be more jarring than I ever remember it being before, even though it's always been bad.

  62. Stephen PI

    I think I'm right in saying this, the 70mm track on "STAR WARS" was a basic 4-track mix (LCRS) with bass enhancement in channels 2 and 4. It was encoded with Dolby noise reduction but was not the 'ground breaking' Dolby Stereo optical sound matrix that was developed for 35mm prints that replaced magnetic striping.

    That's correct. The 'ground breaking' Dolby Stereo optical sound matrix was only used on 35mm prints. Star Wars was the first use of this Dolby "Baby Boom" format which repurposed the existing 6-track magnetic Todd-AO format by using channels 2 and 4 for low frequency effects as you describe, which might also be considered 'ground breaking.' 70mm Dolby 6-track was pretty popular over nearly the same time period as Dolby Stereo optical.

    Stephen PI

    All 35mm prints were Dolby Stereo and the track was 'mono compatible'. A regular mono optical reader would sum the two Lt /Rt channels. So I don't think there were mono prints as such.
    During mixing the Dolby Stereo soundtrack was monitored for phase accuracy through the DS4 (monitoring system for Dolby Lt Rt)and for mono compatibility.
    The 4-track stereo mix master stems of dialog, efx and music were stored separately and interlocked together and monitored through the DS4 to create the composite track.

    This is the 'ground breaking' Dolby Stereo optical sound matrix that was developed for 35mm prints. You're right that this was "mono compatible." My understanding is that there were no dedicated mono prints for the exclusive first run release, but shortly thereafter a dedicated monaural mix was produced that was a significantly different. That's why I referred to it as "the unique monaural audio." It was distributed on dedicated monaural (optical) 35mm prints to several theaters during the general release. I've also seen it suggested that there may have been some 35mm prints distributed with Cinemascope 4-track magnetic, but I haven't found anything conclusive about that.

    Star Wars (1977) – Dolby/Mono Mix Differences

    http://originaltrilogy.com/topic/Star-Wars-sound-mixes/id/15294

    I'm pretty sure I experienced the 35mm Dolby Stereo optical during the exclusive first run, and the monaural during the general release. Unfortunately I missed out on the 70mm Dolby 6-track. The theater I went to for the exclusive first run was capable of 70mm 6-track but didn't receive a 70mm print. I missed experiencing Superman in 70mm 6-track as well. Hearing that reproduced now is a real treat.

  63. l am sure last true 6-track mix was Logans Run it was fantastic at the Empire in London.
    Also when Star Wars opened the the UK cinemas using 35mm Dolby Stereo prints on old Mono systems
    did have not enough level and lot of film techs had a call out on Boxing day.

  64. DP 70

    l am sure last true 6-track mix was Logans Run it was fantastic at the Empire in London.

    According to the records at In70nm.com (which is problematic…to say the least), the last American made film released with conventional 70mm prints was The Blues Brothers in 1981, and apparently only in Europe.

  65. In 1981 that would have been in 6-track Dolby Stereo, Logans Run in the UK was in full 6-track stereo including inner left and rights
    Dolby Format 40 unlike Dolby stereo with baby boom Dolby format 42.
    It does have a Dolby System Logo in the credits but the 70mm print in the UK was non Dolby also like some 70mm prints of
    CE3K and A Star is Born (1977) used in theatres that had not had the Dolby CP100 installed yet.

  66. Lord Dalek

    So basically what I'm getting is the 4k is going to be a complete disappointment for many here but wins by default because the 2011 Blu-ray is too old a transfer to properly warrant a full comparison (even though said transfer is more recent than the one done for the Donner cut on S:TM).

    …yeah that sounds about right.

    I'm getting my 2nd Panasonic UB-820 player today, so tonight I will take a look at both the 4K and the Blu-ray simultaneously on two different inputs on my LG and report back. I can judge better that way, switching inputs fast between scenes instead of relying on memory while swapping discs on one player. Both inputs will be calibrated as best as possible – the SDR input for the Blu-ray with a 3D LUT for REC.709 and the HDR/Dolby Vision input with a 2pt grayscale (only thing you can calibrate for Dolby Vision or HDR without messing up the PQ curve and colors).

  67. Robert Crawford

    I was going to wait to buy this 4K/UHD release, but the positive comments has led me to now wait so I'll have it on Friday for a weekend viewing.

    I watched it last night – overall, very impressed with it. I also liked the 5.1 track. Well worth the price.

  68. DP 70

    In 1981 that would have been in 6-track Dolby Stereo, Logans Run in the UK was in full 6-track stereo including inner left and rights
    Dolby Format 40 unlike Dolby stereo with baby boom Dolby format 42.
    It does have a Dolby System Logo in the credits but the 70mm print in the UK was non Dolby also like some 70mm prints of
    CE3K and A Star is Born (1977) used in theatres that had not had the Dolby CP100 installed yet.

    The Blues Brothers was not issued in Dolby PERIOD. The 35mm prints on it were optical mono and 4-track mag.

    Universal was sluggish to adopt to Dolby in general. For instance in 1979, 1941 was released with only mag stereo prints.

  69. That would make sense as a number of places were slow to adopt Dolby, and few theaters equipped themselves early on and even fewer did proper installs. The Spy Who Loved Me is a four track stereo film but has no Dolby credit (Has anyone ever seen a mono print of this out of curiosity?) and it was only on Moonraker in 1979 that the Bond films went out as Dolby encoded.

    The Star Wars mono mix was custom made and is arguably the definitive mix for that film. Lucasfilm continued this practice and made custom mono mixes with differences for ESB and Raiders, with the custom mono for ROTJ being a folddown of the stereo but properly monitored to not lose any significant information. Ben Burtt has been quoted on the ESB stereo mix being designed to not have any important info outside the stereo mains so that if the Dolby unit went out or if the theater hadn’t installed a center and surround that audiences could still follow the film.

    It sounds as if my suspicions were correct and that the letterboxed Laserdisc audio was from the 70mm mix.

    Superman also had a mono release but I’ve only seen it on ebay print listings. It’s likely a fold of the stereo but you never know.

  70. Spencer Draper

    (Has anyone ever seen a mono print of this out of curiosity?)

    Neil has. I'm still confused as to how MGM was able to dig up a mag stereo master for Man With the Golden Gun that allegedly only played in London only to go mono for the Lowry master.

  71. Lord Dalek

    Neil has. I'm still confused as to how MGM was able to dig up a mag stereo master for Man With the Golden Gun that allegedly only played in London only to go mono for the Lowry master.

    Wow!!!!!
    I had heard rumors of some of the Bonds having mag stereo runs but had never heard concrete evidence outside of some random online postings and John Glen's autobiography describing tearing out and installing proper surround channels for the OHMSS premiere in stereo.
    Then there are the rumored 70mm runs of YOLT, Spy, Moonraker, FYEO and several others which are unconfirmed. (Only Octopussy seems to be official.) I don't know why the series seemed to stick to simple standards other than perhaps Broccoli and Saltzman didn't really believe in stereo and 70mm at the time. The first nine films seemed to always be made with standard mono runs in mind so any news of alternate versions is fantastic. I knew there had to be a mono TSWLM somewhere but had never seen one.
    The other big question would be if Thunderball had an alternative release planned which caused the emergence of the alternate audio mix that MGM made into the stereo surround track.

  72. Lord Dalek

    Neil has. I'm still confused as to how MGM was able to dig up a mag stereo master for Man With the Golden Gun that allegedly only played in London only to go mono for the Lowry master.

    Whenever I've seen a 35mm print of TSWLM it's been mono.

  73. Neil S. Bulk

    Whenever I've seen a 35mm print of TSWLM it's been mono.

    Yeah I've come to the conclusion that all prints outside of London were mono only. Not enough Dolby processors in the summer of 1977 and they were all tied up with Star Wars.

    We do know that a 70mm mix of Moonraker was made in 1979 as that was reportedly the source for the old 5.1 on the laserdisc and THX dvds. No documentation exists that suggests that prints of it were made though.

  74. Spencer Draper

    That's interesting. I wonder why the mono has never resurfaced as it's been stereo surround on video since 1988 at least.

    For what its worth, the mono mix is on all the US domestic CBS Fox and European Warner video releases..

  75. Lord Dalek

    For what its worth, the mono mix is on all the US domestic CBS Fox and European Warner video releases..

    Doh! That never occurred to me. I have the P/S older LD release but it's time compressed to fit one disc. I'll have to track down the older CBS Fox VHS then.

  76. Colin Jacobson

    That's one of the most perplexing comments I've ever read on this board. Every superhero movie since 1987 is "solely about the CGI effects"?

    They didn't even have CGI Effects in the first three Batman movies!

  77. Lord Dalek

    They didn't even have CGI Effects in the first three Batman movies!

    If you mean the Burton movies I’m pretty sure there was some cgi in the first one.

    Wouldn’t the animated Batman cape shadows be cg?

  78. ’89 doesn’t have any CG that I know of as it’s all model work and practical effects. Batman Returns had CGI for the Batmobile shields, the remote control Batarang and the flying bats sequences. It was still relatively early on for CG in a major feature and if scrutinized those shots look pretty ropey on disc but far better in the release prints which are properly timed dark. (Both Burton films are far too light on all home releases and have always been so. I really hope 4K is on the way for Bats too so that a proper looking version of 89, Returns and Forever would be possible.)

  79. Yes, I would love to see Batman 89 for its 30th ann next year! I just watched the BD recently and it's most certainly showing its age in some respects (although not terrible for an old transfer).

  80. Spencer Draper

    '89 doesn't have any CG that I know of as it's all model work and practical effects. Batman Returns had CGI for the Batmobile shields, the remote control Batarang and the flying bats sequences. It was still relatively early on for CG in a major feature and if scrutinized those shots look pretty ropey on disc but far better in the release prints which are properly timed dark. (Both Burton films are far too light on all home releases and have always been so. I really hope 4K is on the way for Bats too so that a proper looking version of 89, Returns and Forever would be possible.)

    However much CG appeared in "Batman" or its sequels, the contention that every superhero movie since "Superman IV" is solely about CG effects is bizarre and tremendously dismissive…

  81. ghostwind

    I'm getting my 2nd Panasonic UB-820 player today, so tonight I will take a look at both the 4K and the Blu-ray simultaneously on two different inputs on my LG and report back. I can judge better that way, switching inputs fast between scenes instead of relying on memory while swapping discs on one player. Both inputs will be calibrated as best as possible – the SDR input for the Blu-ray with a 3D LUT for REC.709 and the HDR/Dolby Vision input with a 2pt grayscale (only thing you can calibrate for Dolby Vision or HDR without messing up the PQ curve and colors).

    OK, so I finally had the time to look and compare the the 4K UHD disc with the included Blu-ray last night. I was running them in parallel via two Panasonic UB820 players, as I was saying in the post quoted above. Here are my impressions:

    1. The 4K UHD clearly has more visible resolution and is a cleaner transfer. A lot more than the screenshots at caps-a-holic or other sites show. And this is on a 65" OLED. It's quite visible and looks very nice. On a larger screen it should be a major difference.

    2. The HDR, I didn't care for. But this is important, because it depends on the display technology used. As I said before, on an LED LCD or OLED, the HDR will stand out a lot more than on a projector due to their max peak brightness levels being so much higher. So it really depends not only on taste, but on the display technology used. And it depends on each film. Here, I found it too jarring here for example. Too distracting, and it just wasn't blending in with the visuals for a 1978 film shot in the way it was.

    3. With regards to colors and black levels, I found the Dolby Vision and HDR10 (I looked at both by enabling and disabling Dolby Vision in the Panasonic player), I prefer the Blu-ray. On my display, the blacks are too elevated and colors too desaturated and subdued on the 4K UHD. And there's nothing I can do to change that. Also it has a cooler look, even though I did a proper grayscale calibration for HDR/DV. The Blu-ray has more pleasing colors, and I know they are at least correct. Same with black levels. That being said, the Blu-ray is not a great transfer. I too wonder how a new Blu-ray would have looked.

  82. ghostwind

    P3 dE errors are measured @ below 100nits. The complete gamut is mapped by a display (from the mastered 1000/1100 or 4000 nits), and any change in the PQ curve naturally affects color also. Plus as I was saying, you cannot calibrate colors in HDR. You may TRY to calibrate the displays' CMS, but those 6 points will usually create even more problems and are best left at their defaults. I tried all this (and still mess around to try new things every other day) on my LG OLED, and it's just not a good thing. On a projector it will be worse.

    Another thing I was going to mention, is that while HDR is a subjective thing some may or may not like on a particular disc, the display technology also plays a large part in that. On a projector you aren't really getting much of an effect, as the light output is not suitable for HDR. So it's doing heavy tone mapping. On an OLED or LED LCD, the same disc's HDR effects will look more pronounced. So it's really impossible to compare and totally subjective.

    At the end of the day, if you like it, that's all that matters. If WB released an SDR Blu-ray along the 4K, it would be really easy to compare and see the differences. Comparing with a seven year old Blu-ray is not apples to apples. Or 4k apples to 2k apples 🙂

    Agree that calibration for HDR is very scattershot at the moment, a real wild west as opposed to SDR because of differences in tone mapping/display, display limitations in relation to color, etc. Regarding CMS calibration in HDR, in my experience, the issue you mention is exclusive to LG OLEDs. For some damn reason tweaking the CMS makes everything worse. This goes for SDR, too. However, with other HDR displays (Sony, Samsung, TCL, Vizio, etc.) one can tweak CMS in HDR and not have everything go to hell. At least that's been my experience. When I do calibrations for HDR it's very basic: don't touch brightness, contrast, etc. because those pre-set values are mathematically tied to the display's particular tone mapping; do a 2-pt. greyscale (not 10 or 20), do CMS in displays other than LG. And that's it.

  83. Lord Dalek

    Neil has. I'm still confused as to how MGM was able to dig up a mag stereo master for Man With the Golden Gun that allegedly only played in London only to go mono for the Lowry master.

    "SPY WHO LOVED ME" was the first stereo Bond.

  84. Stephen PI

    "SPY WHO LOVED ME" was the first stereo Bond.

    From in70mm.com (emphasis mine):

    View attachment 51855

    Now they're loaded with errors (and I'm not sure if that claim that the film played in 70mm in Spain is legit) but the idea that the film was only issued in London with a stereo mix is credible when you consider the Dolby Surround track on the old blue spine dvd only uses the front three channels. And of those channels left and right are confined to music only. All sound effects and dialogue are locked in the center.

  85. Lord Dalek

    From in70mm.com (emphasis mine):

    View attachment 51855

    Now they're loaded with errors (and I'm not sure if that claim that the film played in 70mm in Spain is legit) but the idea that the film was only issued in London with a stereo mix is credible when you consider the Dolby Surround track on the old blue spine dvd only uses the front three channels. And of those channels left and right are confined to music only. All sound effects and dialogue are locked in the center.

    I don't know the fine details, but I do know the original configuration, as mixed by Gordon K. McCallum at Pinewood Studios in Theater 2, was 4-track stereo. Details of the mix, only John Hayward survives from the crew and he is now retired.
    "MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN" was a mono film.
    It is not uncommon to have 70mm striped prints but with mono audio. "ANDROMEDA STRAIN" was one.

  86. The Spy who loved me screened at the Odeon L Sq in London in
    35mm four track mag , also before the feature a 70mm trailer
    Of Close Encounters was shown as they had 3 projectors
    It was no problem.

    Also as Stephen points out some 70mm prints had mono tracks
    I have read there was a 70mm print in Japan of You Only Live Twice
    But that could have been mono.

  87. DP 70

    Also as Stephen points out some 70mm prints had mono tracks
    I have read there was a 70mm print in Japan of You Only Live Twice
    But that could have been mono.

    Definitely mono, as I previously mentioned, "SPY" was the first.

  88. Stephen PI

    Definitely mono, as I previously mentioned, "SPY" was the first.

    Well then where did the stereo track on the old 2000 dvd come from? Why are they claiming it played in 35mm Mag Stereo in London? The fact that it played in 70mm in Spain allegedly is irrelevant. What matters is the damn 35mm print!

  89. Lord Dalek

    Well then where did the stereo track on the old 2000 dvd come from? Why are they claiming it played in 35mm Mag Stereo in London?

    While the raw or pre-dub music track and the three-track mono survive, it would be easy for MGM to create a stereo mix for home video. No theatrical stereo to my knowledge was created.
    Sorry Lord Dalek, I don't believe it played in stereo in London, but "SPY", yes.

  90. JWC1969

    Agree that calibration for HDR is very scattershot at the moment, a real wild west as opposed to SDR because of differences in tone mapping/display, display limitations in relation to color, etc. Regarding CMS calibration in HDR, in my experience, the issue you mention is exclusive to LG OLEDs. For some damn reason tweaking the CMS makes everything worse. This goes for SDR, too. However, with other HDR displays (Sony, Samsung, TCL, Vizio, etc.) one can tweak CMS in HDR and not have everything go to hell. At least that's been my experience. When I do calibrations for HDR it's very basic: don't touch brightness, contrast, etc. because those pre-set values are mathematically tied to the display's particular tone mapping; do a 2-pt. greyscale (not 10 or 20), do CMS in displays other than LG. And that's it.

    Yeah, internal controls are typically crude to begin with, best moved only in small increments in either direction. Perhaps LG's CMS is more crude than Sony's. Yeah, the 2pt grayscale is just about all one can do for HDR/DV – but when I mention this, people are surprised or don't believe it. This is why I stick with SDR for judging accuracy – HDR black levels, colors, etc. vary too much from display to display and most times look inaccurate to me because of display limitations and also implementation. I have two Panasonic 4K UHD 820 players, one for 4K UHD direct to my LG on an input where I just calibrate 2pt grayscale and another for 1080p/SDR Blu-rays that goes to an external 3D LUT box for total and accurate 21pt cube calibration (9261 color points). When people see it they are amazed, as it's a lot more than 21pt grayscale + 1pt CMS (27 color points). Once they see it, they get it, but it's hard to convey just how good it looks.

  91. Stephen PI

    I don't know the fine details, but I do know the original configuration, as mixed by Gordon K. McCallum at Pinewood Studios in Theater 2, was 4-track stereo. Details of the mix, only John Hayward survives from the crew and he is now retired.
    "MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN" was a mono film.
    It is not uncommon to have 70mm striped prints but with mono audio. "ANDROMEDA STRAIN" was one.

    As was Nicholas & Alexandra

  92. With the discussion of the "Thau" audio mix, I thought these articles might be of interest.

    Superman – An Icon Reborn – DVDFile

    Detailing the Restoration (direct link to the first page of the Thau interview)

    Interview with Michael Thau (Superman Homepage)

    I find a few of his comments to be rather surprising. Here's a perspective from someone else who worked on it:
    Inside Surroundpro – Flying High on Krypton – Surround Sound Professional

  93. Here's one more I just found that's not an interview, but discusses the "Thau" audio mix.

    Souped-Up Superman – Sound & Vision

    I found this interesting as it matches my impression of the Atmos track (page 4):

    "Thau directed us to pull the orchestral music back into the theater," said Pederson, "even more than we typically do today with new films. He just wanted to really lean into the surrounds, which I think in a home environment will fill up the room and really immerse the viewers in the sound."

    Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but I think it's more effective when the overall sound is primarily balanced toward the screen giving the surround effects more contrast. In "Superman" I find this evident when the council voices simultaneously announce "Guilty." I don't find it nearly as effective or contrasting in the 7.1 TrueHD core of the Atmos mix as I do in the 5.1 DD audio. That combined with not being terribly interested in having a bazillion surround speakers to provide precise localization of sounds well off the screen is probably why I'm not all that enthusiastic about the new "Immersive Audio" formats, particularly in the home.

  94. Yesterday was a snow day (I know, I know, it's only November) so I showed my kids the extended edition of Superman on blu-ray, all 3 hours and 8 minutes of it. It was terrific. For a non-director's cut, the transitions are pretty seamless. It's such a good film in any version, but I found myself laughing out loud of many of the added sequences, a lot of which are scenes involving Luthor, Otis and Ms Techmacher. It's still the best superhero movie, and all without the hero throwing so much as a punch. It had been a long time since I saw the extended version, probably since ABC aired it way back when. I've watched the scenes on the other S:TM releases but it's so nice to have them integrated back into the movie.

    PS The kids loved it. They'd seen S:TM before but they most likely don't remember it.

  95. Neil S. Bulk

    Check out this article: http://www.in70mm.com/news/2012/format_43/index.htm

    Yes, thanks – I knew all of that except for the comments about the phase problems in filters, although if you think about it, if the LFE was out of phase with the high frequencies of the split surrounds, it probably would have made no audible difference and due to the different frequencies, there would have been no perceptible cancellation or diffuseness.

    But my understanding (and I don't remember the source, but it might have been Larry Blake) is that split surround was only used experimentally on Superman, only on one reel and only on one or two prints, which is why Apocalypse Now is generally considered the first Dolby 70mm film with split surround.

  96. Brett Lovett

    ^ Tomlison Holman's book "5.1 Surround Sound: Up and Running" states: "Just six months after "Star Wars," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" was the first picture to use dedicated subwoofers, installed just for the purpose of playing the Baby Boom channel." In my area (to the best of my memory) there never were any theaters that combined THX certification with 70mm Dolby 6-track. I honestly don't know if my favorite 70mm house (the Glenwood Theatre of Overland Park, Kansas) ever added subwoofers to their Altec-Lansing A2-Xs.

    Those added subwoofers for CEOTTK were added to just two theaters: one in California and the Ziegfeld in NYC. The two systems were slightly different (there was an article published years ago about this, perhaps in "db" or in "Recording Engineer/Producer"), but I believe the NYC installation used bolted speakers with 3/4" plywood fronts, 8 Cerwin-Vega Baby Earthquakes, 21 Bose 901 surrounds with the system able to generate 110db at 50Hz.

    I saw that original presentation and it was one of the best theatrical experiences of my life. The recent digital re-release, even seen at a Dolby Vision theater, didn't even come close. For reasons I never understood, the theaters did not keep those b-chain enhancements in place, AFAIK.

    Edit: The California theater was probably the Coronet, in San Francisco.

  97. Stephen PI

    I believe the configuration for the initial 70mm release was channel one: Left; channel two: Split surround left (above 500hz) below, baby boom; channel three: Center; channel 4: Split Surround right (above 500hz) below, baby boom; channel five: Right; Channel six: Mono Surround.

    I think the correct crossover point in the L/R split surround / baby boom mode should be 250hz not 500hz.

  98. Britton

    I just picked this one up and it appears the digital versions only have the Atmos soundtrack. If true, you can chalk up another reason why I will always prefer discs.

    What digital service are you using as it's Dolby Vision on iTunes and Dolby HDR on Vudu for me? By the way, I have several titles in 4K in my digital libraries that are not available as such on discs. These digital potshots are getting ridiculous.

  99. TonyD

    I think he’s saying it only has the Atmos track, and doesn’t include the track that isn’t Atmos.

    That is correct. Thanks Tony! I prefer to watch Superman with the 1978 sound effects. I hereby revise my previous statement to say "why I prefer discs for now."

  100. Britton

    That is correct. Thanks Tony! I prefer to watch Superman with the 1978 sound effects. I hereby revise my previous statement to say "why I prefer discs for now."

    Okay, I just played Superman on my 4K Roku and iTune units. On Roku, watching Superman on Vudu it's 4K HDR with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack. Using my 4K Apple TV, it plays in Dolby Vision, but there isn't a Dolby Atmos soundtrack, only a 5.1 DD audio. However, if you utilized the Vudu app. on iTunes, you do have Dolby Vision along with Dolby Atmos audio.

    My personal preference is the Dolby Atmos track!

  101. Robert Crawford

    Okay, I just played Superman on my 4K Roku and iTune units. On Roku, watching Superman on Vudu it's 4K HDR with a Dolby Atmos soundtrack. Using my 4K Apple TV, it plays in Dolby Vision, but there isn't a Dolby Atmos soundtrack, only a 5.1 DD audio. However, if you utilized the Vudu app. on iTunes, you do have Dolby Vision along with Dolby Atmos audio.

    My personal preference is the Dolby Atmos track!

    I don’t have an Apple TV, but I would wager that the DD 5.1 track has the newer sound effects. I watched the hell of out this movie growing up, so the new sound effects have always bugged me. I particularly hate the loud “whoosh” sound that Jor-El’s face makes when it moves through the camera. It almost drowns out the fantastic music that accompanies our first glimpse of Superman as he flies out of the Fortress.

  102. Britton

    I don’t have an Apple TV, but I would wager that the DD 5.1 track has the newer sound effects. I watched the hell of out this movie growing up, so the new sound effects have always bugged me. I particularly hate the loud “whoosh” sound that Jor-El’s face makes when it moves through the camera. It almost drowns out the fantastic music that accompanies our first glimpse of Superman as he flies out of the Fortress.

    To each his own!

  103. Stephen PI

    I think the correct crossover point in the L/R split surround / baby boom mode should be 250hz not 500hz.

    My understanding from what I've been able to find is that it's more complicated than there being a single crossover point at 250 or 500Hz. There was an intentional gap in frequency between the baby boom (below 250Hz) and stereo surround information (above 500Hz) recorded on tracks 2 & 4 in order to prevent any of the boom information being played on the surround speakers, and any of the stereo surround info from being played through the left and right extra/center speakers and/or subwoofers, and to assure compatibility with non-equipped theaters.

    In an equipped theater, the stereo surround was then recreated by combining the below 500Hz info from track 6 with the above 500hz info on track 2 for the left surround, and with the above 500Hz info on track 4 for the right surround. The left and right extra speakers and/or subwoofers were fed the below 250Hz info from tracks 2 & 4. This also allowed a completely non-equipped theater to play the movie with the high frequency drivers on the left and right extra speakers disconnected so as not to play the stereo surround info through them while still carrying the boom info, and the surround speakers playing only the full range track 6.

  104. I finally gave the disc a full viewing and noticed something odd just as Christopher Reeve’s name faded out during the opening credits. There was this quick orange flash and vertical banding. Someone else was able to get screen caps: http://m.imgur.com/a/15cgETF

    I am not sure if this was a mistake with the encode or a defect inherent to the source. It shows up on Vudu UHD too.

    The picture quality was solid, but things looked especially rough between Superman opening the chest with Kryptonite and Luthor pushing him into the water.

    I would pass on this if you don’t have problems with the Blu-Ray from the Superman Anthology set.

  105. Britton

    I finally gave the disc a full viewing and noticed something odd just as Christopher Reeve’s name faded out during the opening credits. There was this quick orange flash and vertical banding. Someone else was able to get screen caps: http://m.imgur.com/a/15cgETF

    I am not sure if this was a mistake with the encode or a defect inherent to the source. It shows up on Vudu UHD too.

    It's a mistake in the 4k master. You can also see it on the iTunes streaming version. I hope WB corrects it.

    Britton

    The picture quality was solid, but things looked especially rough between Superman opening the chest with Kryptonite and Luthor pushing him into the water.

    That small section is from a dupe as the original negative was damaged at some point and replaced.

    Britton

    I would pass on this if you don’t have problems with the Blu-Ray from the Superman Anthology set.

    I disagree, as the default audio on the 4k disc is the original six-track mix, which has never been on video until now. It sounds superb and is a genuine upgrade over the 2011 Blu-ray.

  106. Neil S. Bulk

    It's a mistake in the 4k master. You can also see it on the iTunes streaming version. I hope WB corrects it.

    That small section is from a dupe as the original negative was damaged at some point and replaced.

    I disagree, as the default audio on the 4k disc is the original six-track mix, which has never been on video until now. It sounds superb and is a genuine upgrade over the 2011 Blu-ray.

    I never noticed the dupe before, but it looks to be a dupe there with the HDX version on Vudu too.

  107. Neil S. Bulk

    Yeah, it's been cut into the OCN. The Thau version went to a different source for this portion, presumably the TV cut IP, as that does not have the dupe section and loss in quality.

    Ahh, I must have thought they used that different source for the theatrical cut on the Blu-ray too. Thanks for sharing Neil!

    I am not at all holding out hope for a fix on the opening credits though.

  108. Britton

    I would pass on this if you don’t have problems with the Blu-Ray from the Superman Anthology set.

    Neil S. Bulk

    I disagree, as the default audio on the 4k disc is the original six-track mix, which has never been on video until now. It sounds superb and is a genuine upgrade over the 2011 Blu-ray.

    I just wish I could combine the original six-track mix from the 4k disc with the image from the theatrical BD. I didn't have the Anthology set, so the 4k package was my opportunity to get both, and I'm still waiting for the consumer 4k HDR display technology to mature a bit more before I buy one. At 1080p SDR the theatrical BD has the superior image in my opinion, but I love listening to the original six-track. I find the use of the surrounds surprisingly aggressive for 1978.

Leave a Reply