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WARNING To Anyone Buying The New WEST SIDE STORY Blu-Ray!

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Jordan Catalano
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From Digitalbits.com


Also, one more important title alert: It looks as if there are major problems with MGM's new West Side Story Blu-ray Disc, due in stores on 11/15. Apparently, the mastering work was done by MGM on the cheap (and not Fox, which has gotten pretty good at it over the last year or two) and as a result there are issues. The studio is apparently going to be fixing these a "running production change", but the disc isn't going to be recalled so there could be lots of the screwed up copies out there on store shelves. Robert Harris had this to say about it over at Home Theater Forum, and Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere has been talking about it too. When and if there's a way to identify fixed discs, we'll let you know. In the meantime, the moral of the story is: buyer beware.

Other discussions at these links -

http://www.hometheaterforum.com/t/315747/a-few-words-about-west-side-story-in-blu-ray

http://hollywood-elsewhere.com/2011/10/who_are_the_bad.php
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Thanks for the heads up Jordan!
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What a pity. I was hoping for a nicely restored version for its 50th anniversary. The dvd version I own has some parts where the sound is completely out of sinc with the image WARNING To Anyone Buying The New WEST SIDE STORY Blu-Ray!
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I'll wait. Thanks for the heads-up posting this!

EDIT: As for all the discussion in those threads about the title sequence error, there's no way that's an authoring mistake. Authoring/compression can't add or remove fades in prerecorded video. It can only encode what is already on the screen and try to make it as clean and clear as possible with as little added noise, artifacting, and banding as possible. This is definitely a problem in the HD master.

Still, to fix it, you have to get a new master AND a new encode. Even if Fox Home Video (who owns MGM's catalog) can get MGM to redo the master, they will still have to pay for a new encode, since the current encode by the authoring center (most likely Deluxe but maybe Technicolor) can't be blamed for any error.

There have been problems like this in the past, but that was when everybody had more money and was taking their jobs more seriously. Now everybody's broke, nobody wants to take responsibility, and nobody wants to pay to redo the work.

I hope DigitalBits or others stay on top of it as far as a revised master & encode. I don't know how anyone could tell the difference when they order, though, if the bad discs aren't going to be recalled.

On a side note, I was recently very disappointed in the Scrooge BD (which looks and sounds fine) in that they left the overture off the disc. It was on the previous DVD release, and it's on the new DVD (with a weird authoring glitch), but it's missing entirely from the Blu-ray. Again, in years past, Paramount would have fixed this. Not today, though. Times are different.

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Updated On: 10/28/11 at 06:21 AM
chickfila
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Canceled my pre order. I can wait.
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As the person who was first to post this news everywhere (I called Mr. Harris the minute I saw the Blu - which I got from the UK - in fact, that's how he finally saw it - I sent it to him), I can tell you the fade out/in in the title sequence is a travesty. There is also some really weird shimmering that goes on, mostly in the aerial shots that open the film, where buildings seem to take on a life of their own - the shimmering occurs at other points but not as bad.

But, as I've said elsewhere and as Mr. Harris has confirmed, this transfer has much that's excellent - the color, the sharpness is a huge step up from the previous lousy DVD. Everything is in synch. The other problem, at least for those of us who saw the film in 70mm and six-track stereo is that the four-track stereo has been used to create the sound. The problem there is that several wonderful rear-channel directional effects are no longer present. For example, the whistles that open the film originally came completely from the rear speakers and were hard-panned left and right. They now sort of come from the rear but are centered - it's minor, but I do believe the original mix won an Oscar or at least was nominated.
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I assume the sound synch in Tonight has been fixed from the previous transfer?
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bk wrote: As the person who was first to post this news everywhere...

Congratulations on this major achievement. :P WARNING To Anyone Buying The New WEST SIDE STORY Blu-Ray!

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Updated On: 10/29/11 at 02:49 AM
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bk, it's an honour to have sthe FIRST PERSON IN THE ENTIRE WORLD who noticed this error on the board. WARNING To Anyone Buying The New WEST SIDE STORY Blu-Ray!

It is incredibly frustrating when something is released with such fanfare and pre thought, and is screwed up... I assume this is a problem with the standard release as well, not just the BluRay? When Disney released their first limited volume of Silly Symphonies they had problems like some shorts had re-release title cards, some had none at all, and some non remastered prints were used (I never have any idea how such major errors happen in archival releases), but they allowed customers to call, and quote their UPC number and get mailed new discs.
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^ I did this, and the "recall" process was very smooth. Disney replaced my discs with no fuss, and they did it very quickly.

Ah, the good ol' days ...
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I remember I had a very nice lady on the phone, who wanted to read the tiny little numbers on the inside ring of my original DVDs, and I swear to God my copies didn't have them, but she essentially just said screw it and gave me the replacements anyway. (I gave the "bad" discs to my 4 year old newphew who loved the DVDs but had a habit of finding and grabbing them without asking me and yes, I'm a horrible uncle, who freaks out when my niece and nephew try to even touch one of my DVDs or CDs).
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ggersten
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So what is being shown in movie theatres on November 9? Is it this Blu-Ray transfer? Or some other version?
bk
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I don't think there's much question it will be the transfer on the Blu-ray.
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I think Mr. Harris may be a bit confused. While the Jet whistles that begin the overture indeed came from the back of the theatre, the whistles during the helicopter shots were not so starkly directional but more ambient. I've always been quite satisfied with my 2-DVD set of the film and see no great reason for change.
Well-well-well-what-do-you-think-of-that-I-have-nothing-here-to-pay-my-train-fare-with-only-large-bills-fives-and-sevens....
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THIS IS INEXCUSABLE!!!!