Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

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Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby HungFist » 19 Jul 2016, 10:07

Warning bells started ringing when Arrow released this trailer for the BD release a few weeks ago:
http://theplaylist.net/exclusive-traile ... -20160630/

While it's just a poor quality trailer, this did not look promising:

BD Trailer:
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Media Blaster DVD
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BD Trailer
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Toei DVD
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(ignore framing / cropping since I may have cropped them a bit by accident)

BD Trailer
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Media Blasters DVD
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BD Trailer
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Media Blasters DVD
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In other words, it looks like a Smurf's ass.

Ian Jane from Rock Shock Pop received two "test discs" today, and posted a few caps. Let me steal them and add comparison caps
http://www.rockshockpop.com/forums/show ... post136047

Grudge Song (Media Blasters DVD)
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Ian's Arrow test disc
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Jailhouse 41 (Toei DVD)
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Ian's Arrow test disc
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Jailhouse 41 (Toei DVD)
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Ian's Arrow test disc
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Jailhouse 41 (Toei)
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Ian's Arrow test disc
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Note: not exact same frames. For rough comparison only.

Dear God. That test disc looks absolutely horrible!

Btw, the films are available in HD on Amazon (JP) Video. There's a preview clip available. Different scene, and I can't get it to play in HD because Amazon Video sucks, but clearly the Japanese transfer doesn't seem have the same issues.

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So? Is Arrow trying to pull some kind of April Fool's prank with a trailer and test discs that have nothing to do with the actual product, or are they really putting out BDs that look far, far inferior to the old dvd editions?

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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby Markgway » 19 Jul 2016, 11:47

Hung, you should repost this at Blu-ray.com.
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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby HungFist » 19 Jul 2016, 13:34

Markgway wrote:Hung, you should repost this at Blu-ray.com.


Actually this is a summary of my posts there. Their responses were like "Looks good to me", "It looks fine to me", "the shots that looked teal were from locations with florescent lighting", "DVD is not an accurate reference for what a film should look like"...

:banghead:

Arrow or Criterion could release Vertigo in black & white and these people would still argue that's the original look and the old dvds were an inaccurate reference.

Criterion did a little similar (but probably not as bad) "modernization" for Lady Snowblood last year. When I noted that it doesn't look right to me, they told me "dvds are not an accurate reference". When I noted that I've seen in fact several hundred Japanese films from the era on 35mm and none of them ever looked like the Criterion disc they said "you can't compare to other films". When I added that I saw Lady Snowblood from a very good 35mm print a few months earlier, they said "35mm prints are not an accurate reference".

:banghead:

I'm not saying I'm an expert on exactly how a transfer should look like. But I do believe I've seen enough Japanese films from the 70s (in every possible format, especially in 35mm) to make a more educated guess than most of these Criterion / Arrow worshippers at Blu-ray.com

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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby Marshall » 19 Jul 2016, 14:28

I've had this on preorder for months and it will make me very sad to cancel it, but this looks terrible.

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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby Guro Taku » 19 Jul 2016, 19:25

Thanks for letting us know. I just sent Arrow (I ordered it directly from them) an email asking them to cancel my order. Hopefully they'll do it and spare me the hassle of having to send it back.

I have no idea what the point of filtering these films into oblivion is supposed to be.

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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby Markgway » 19 Jul 2016, 20:29

Even if one didn't mind the tealification there's contrast boosting.
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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby Marshall » 20 Jul 2016, 00:05

I seem to recall teal transfers on ZERO WOMAN RED HANDCUFFS and SCHOOL OF THE HOLY BEAST, too. I wonder what the deal is.

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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby Shingster » 20 Jul 2016, 02:21

I think what's most worrying is that this is now a pattern after the Criterion Lady Snowblood disaster, looks like some company in Japan has gone rogue ala the glut of bullshit Bologna restorations. This means future releases of classic Japanese cinema are gonna be a coin toss! :(

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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby Guro Taku » 20 Jul 2016, 04:22

Guro Taku wrote:Thanks for letting us know. I just sent Arrow (I ordered it directly from them) an email asking them to cancel my order. Hopefully they'll do it and spare me the hassle of having to send it back.

Well, at least Arrow's customer service is excellent. They already cancelled the order and sent me a refund.

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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby Shingster » 20 Jul 2016, 17:39

OK the official Arrow line is that Toei sent them 35mm prints struck directly from the negatives so they could do their own in-house restoration. Arrow cleaned the print up and restored damage, etc but never touched the colours, this heavily "cyanised" look comes directly from their prints, which come directly from the negative. This is their official statement on the issue.

So I'm thinking there are three scenarios here:

1. This is genuinely how the films should look and colour grading in the SD realm have always negated the tint.
2. There's something wrong with the colours on the original negatives leading to a cyan push.
3. Toei somehow fudged up the print, introducing a cyan tint.

Having limited knowledge of film elements I can't say which is the most likely, but Arrow wouldn't be in much of a position to grade the colours back to what we the fans think is the correct grading, they don't really have the knowledge to do that. The best they could do would be to use the Japanese DVDs as a reference, so I can understand why they wouldn't want to touch the colours.

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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby luckystars » 20 Jul 2016, 19:55

Just wow


If they were sent prints, you'd think they'd just realise and pull the plug there and then. Both those releases look awful

I get so pissed with unsympathetic restorations. I passed on the recent blu's of Kikujiro and Dolls coz the colours were a bit 'modernised' or framing was off.
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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby HungFist » 21 Jul 2016, 09:58

Shingster wrote:1. This is genuinely how the films should look and colour grading in the SD realm have always negated the tint.


I think this is quite unlikely for many reasons
1) None of the old dvds had that look, even though they came from multiple source prints. For example the French Jailhouse 41 dvds come from a cut French print, while the Toei dvd is obviously a different print.
2) Would it even be possible to restore natural colors and additional detail in bright areas if the Arrow look, which seems to have none of them, was the original look?
3) Considering these are some of the most visually beautiful and colorful films I've seen, I find it very unlikely they were intended to be seen in blue and white. Imagine Suspiria being released with a simular look.

Also, here is a quote from another forum:

Adrian Jones wrote:I've seen good quality 35mm prints of these in Japan i've never seen the films look like those screenshots...horrible!

Also why is the TOEI HD master on Amazon Japan so different?

- http://www.rockshockpop.com/forums/show ... post136241

Once there are more screenshots available from the Arrow discs, I will rent one of the Japanese HD VoD versions and try to compare more.

Shingster wrote:The best they could do would be to use the Japanese DVDs as a reference, so I can understand why they wouldn't want to touch the colours.


The Japanese dvds have the same natural colors as the US dvds. In fact, I believe the US DVDs (Media Blasters and Discotek) are more or less direct ports of the Toei dvds.

Guro Taku wrote:Well, at least Arrow's customer service is excellent. They already cancelled the order and sent me a refund.


Same here

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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby luckystars » 21 Jul 2016, 22:23

Also just that NO films ever look like this pre-2000's. I mean NEVER
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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby Shingster » 23 Jul 2016, 00:27

Yeah I'm with you on that front Hung, the chances that this is what the negatives look like are ultra-slim imo. Like youself I'm really struggling to come up with any Japanese films from that time period that had a heavily cyanised, contrasty look. The only film that immediately springs to mind is a good deal older than Female Prisoner and that's Jigoku, which even then the blue-lit sequences were only incorporated for the film's heavily stylised final act. You've also got the Yukionna segment from Kwaidan and the subsequent 1968 film kaidan yukijorô, but again it's more for certain sequences using proper stage lighting techniques.

luckystars wrote:Also just that NO films ever look like this pre-2000's. I mean NEVER

Let's not get carried away!

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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby HungFist » 23 Jul 2016, 03:49

Ian posted more screencaps
http://www.rockshockpop.com/forums/showthread.php?12114-Female-Prisoner-Scorpion-Box-set-from-Arrow-in-July&p=136545&viewfull=1#post136545
http://www.rockshockpop.com/forums/showthread.php?12114-Female-Prisoner-Scorpion-Box-set-from-Arrow-in-July&p=136547&viewfull=1#post136547

Studio Canal
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Pathe
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Toei
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Arrow
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For those who have not seen the films or just don't remember how they looked like on DVD, let me post a few more screencaptures from Jailhouse 41 Toei DVD just to demonstrate the look.

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I find it almost impossible to believe that the filmmakers would go thru the trouble of creating a beautiful range of different colors for different scenes, and then color it all teal in the post production so that most of those colors disappear...

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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby luckystars » 23 Jul 2016, 20:36

Possible they did some kind of in-house 'special edition' or restoration? And Arrow got sent a dupe of that
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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby luckystars » 02 Aug 2016, 22:20

Funny Arrow just released the original trailer, and the colours are clearly normal https://www.youtube.com/shared?ci=6ctGC9hnofY
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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby HungFist » 03 Aug 2016, 18:06

Here's Arrow's new trailer for the box set:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tdg89zE8qwk

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This trailer also contains some clips from the original trailers, with normal colors.

Here's a review of the Arrow set with some dvd comparison caps:
http://mondo-digital.com/femaleconvict.html

This kinda says it all:

Media Blasters
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Arrow
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The review used the crappy Image dvd of Jailhouse 41as comparison point, so I took matching caps from my Toei dvd. These should represent the Discotek disc as well.

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More screencaps from the first two films:
http://forum.blu-ray.com/showpost.php?p=12503111&postcount=309
http://forum.blu-ray.com/showpost.php?p=12504378&postcount=316

The contast seems really terrible. Whatever isn't blue, is blooming white. And those caps were apparently intentionally taken from scenes that don't look so blue. And the Arrow trailer suggests those caps don't even show some of the worse looking scenes...

When Arrow said they received reference materials from Eureka, I think this poster is what they got

Image

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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby HungFist » 08 Aug 2016, 05:37

"cakefactory" has been doing great comparisons between the Media Blasters DVDs and Arrow BD's at Blu Ray.com. Let me borrow a few of his screencaps:

Discotek & Toei DVDs
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Arrow BD
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Arrow is so boosted that the people disappeared from the background

Discotek & Toei DVDs
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Arrow BD
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Notice how Arrow has lost tons of detail in dark areas.

Media Blasters DVD
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Arrow BD
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Again Arrow has lost tons of detail in dark areas. You can't even see her shirt.

Media Blasters DVD
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Arrow BD
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What planet is she from on the Arrow BD? Her face is blue and green.

Media Blasters DVD
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Arrow BD
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Notice how she looks like she has Fukushima Daiichi under her shirt on Arrow. Massive loss of detail. Plus she looks like an alien again.

You can find his original posts here:
http://forum.blu-ray.com/showpost.php?p=12514463&postcount=341
http://forum.blu-ray.com/showpost.php?p=12523951&postcount=410
http://forum.blu-ray.com/showpost.php?p=12523965&postcount=411

Oh, and dvd beaver published their review:

"there is some teal-leaning - notably in Beast Stable. Colors have some impressively bright and deep moments. In short I can't imagine these four films looking any better on digital"
- http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film5/blu-ray_ ... lu-ray.htm

:lol:

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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby HungFist » 08 Aug 2016, 06:43

Here are a few screencaps from the Amazon stream. I took them with the print screen button since I don't know any other way to get screencaps from an Amazon stream. I stole Arrow caps from various sources... from cakefactory (see links in the previous post), dvdcompare review, dvdbeaver, and Mondo digital. All credit to them for the caps.

Amazon
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Arrow
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Amazon
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Media Blasters DVD
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Media Blasters DVD resized to 1920x1080
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Arrow
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Amazon
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Arrow
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Amazon
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Arrow
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Amazon
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Arrow
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Amazon
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Arrow
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Amazon
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Arrow Youtube Trailer! (ignore the lack of detail on Arrow, that's youtube's fault)
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A few more Amazon screencaps
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It seems to be the same old master that was used for the Media Blasters dvd. There's an increase in detail compared to the dvd, but it's not terribly drastic. Note though, that this is a heavily compressed Amazon stream, so it would surely look a bit better on BD. Colors and everything are ok, although it has a bit of green haze, which probably results from ageing and is not intentional + weak black levels. A much smaller problem than Arrow's crazy contrast (?) that has made everyone's skin look really white and sick IMO. And this is supposed to be the best looking of the Arrow transfers...

I think we can assume the other three streams will follow the same pattern: the same source as the Toei / Media Blasters / Discotek DVDs but with a bit more detail. Obviously these wouldn't have made such great BDs. Not that it matters here, though; I'd rather watch these masters on VHS than the Arrow BDs, but anyway.

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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby luckystars » 08 Aug 2016, 18:46

Does the Amazon version have English subs?
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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby HungFist » 09 Aug 2016, 05:04

luckystars wrote:Does the Amazon version have English subs?


Nope. And you probably wouldn't be able to view it anyway since only Japanese credit cards are accepted.

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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby Lourdes » 13 Aug 2016, 14:51

Arrow have done horrible things here.
But bear in mind when doing comparisons that most of these DVDs and the VOD have the wrong levels. You'll find this with a lot of releases/masters from Japan, really not sure why this is but it may be a holdover from their version of NTSC being brighter. Why it still continues I don't know... It actually screws up releases outside of Japan moreso than DVD/BDs from Japan these days, where they get the master but don't fix it so that black is black. How hard is that?

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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby Shingster » 14 Aug 2016, 02:22

Some BD players have a dynamic range adjust feature that makes it a two-button-press job to fix many of this incorrectly set Japanese releases (ala Arrow's Snowblood releases). I find it a god send on my Oppo.

Disregarding that though, It would be unfair to blame Arrow for creating these transfers, they're only guilty of not realising there was a problem (at best) or realising and not bothering to get the issue fixed (at worst). IMO they deserve the benefit of the doubt, I know for a fact that they have delayed other releases in the past after realising masters weren't up to snuff. You have to bear in mind as well that they don't have a lot of Japanese film experts on staff, their producers have good knowledge but are not J-cinema historians or anything. Jasper Sharp is one of the few guys they have a close working relationship with who is, but I don't think he does consultations on the film presentations for them.

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Re: Arrow's Female Prisoner Scorpion BD Set: An Utter Disaster?

Unread postby Lourdes » 14 Aug 2016, 08:31

That setting (PC>TV levels) will usually leave you with crushed blacks that often aren’t true black either.

That’s not a complicated concept, you don’t have to be a Japanese film scholar to know that black should be black do you? The titles/credits kind of give the game away to begin with.

They didn’t fix it for the Yoshida films, Battles Without Honour & Humanity series, Katakuris, Retaliation, Battle Royale films, Snowblood films, and Blind Woman’s Curse - at a minimum. I think that’s nearly every Japanese film they’ve released. But it doesn’t stop there because there are lots of other discs from them where black is grey including many of their giallo releases. Severe incompetence.

Arrow did create these, they were supplied prints and this was their restoration and colour correction.


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