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Blood Simple Regrade
#1
I decided to dig up my old PAL DVD of the theatrical cut of Blood Simple as well as my Blu-ray copy of the Director's Cut to compare the look and sound of both versions.
I was struck by how different the two versions look. The Blu-ray is far too bright and low-contrast, which kind of diminishes the noir feel of the film. The DVD is sourced from a print (there are cue marks at the reel changes), so I think it's safe to say it's more in line with how it looked theatrically.

Here are some screenshots:

Blu-ray
[Image: BD1.jpg]

DVD
[Image: DVD1.jpg]

Quick regrade test
[Image: RG1.jpg]

Blu-ray
[Image: BD2.jpg]

DVD
[Image: DVD2.jpg]

Quick regrade test
[Image: RG2.jpg]

Blu-ray
[Image: BD3.jpg]

DVD
[Image: DVD3.jpg]

I also compared a couple of shots from the trailer:

Blu-ray
[Image: BD4.jpg]

DVD
[Image: DVD4.jpg]

Trailer
[Image: TR4.jpg]

As you can see, the DVD and the trailer match almost exactly.


Blu-ray
[Image: BD5.jpg]

DVD
[Image: DVD5.jpg]

Trailer
[Image: TR5.jpg]

Here the trailer has slightly stronger blue tint than the DVD, but it's a much closer match than the Blu-ray.

The two sound mixes also sound drastically different. I feel it's kind of a similar situation as with The Terminator. The film originally had a charming lo-fi crummy sounding mono mix, but the Blu-ray has this new fancypants remix with an all new foley track. The DVD does have the original mix, but I would like to get my hands on the Laserdisc to sync the audio to the Blu-ray.

So, what do you guys think? Anyone here who would like to see this regrade?
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#2
Do it! The increased contrast looks nicer, although I've grown wary of proclaiming any version to be more "theatrically accurate."
An effort to recreate the theatrical cut would also be nice (the blu ray is director's cut only). That being said, it would probably be difficult to integrate the dvd footage with the blu ray, as the director's cut mostly trims small parts of scenes.

Regarding the audio. Most home media releases (perhaps all?) before the director's cut replace the Four Top's "It's the Same Old Song" with Neil Diamond's "I'm a Believer" because of rights issues. I'm assuming the PAL dvd with the is the theatrical cut and likely has the incorrect "I'm a Believer." To properly recreate the mono track you would have to replace those sections of the film with a down-mix of the director's cut or find a version with the true, original mix (if that even has been released anywhere besides film).
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#3
Luckily, the DVD does have the original Four Tops song, so no downmixing is necessary. Big Grin

To start with, I think I'll regrade the director's cut. I might then try to recreate the theatrical cut if it's not too unfeasible.
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#4
Sweet! That's wonderful. That's got to be one of the only correct releases. Hopefully it's easy enough to sync with the director's cut.
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#5
Love Blood Simple and this looks like a great regrade, IcePrick.
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#6
Looks like a great project, I've never got round to upgrading my dvd (had the 4:3 originally then got the widescreen version) so had no idea the blu-ray had been changed so much.

Worth mentioing that there's talk of a Criterion version at some point this year, don't know if it's a new scan though...
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#7
Just a small update on this project.

I put this project on the back burner while I was waiting for the Criterion Edition to be released. Now that it's out, I can resume work on this, but it will probably take a while since I'm working on other projects as well.

The Criterion has a new transfer, which looks a lot sharper than the MGM and has more refined grain. It's also more contrasty, but not to the same extent as the open matte DVD. Although, there are certain instances where the Criterion has less shadow detail than the DVD, which means I probably have to pull those shots from the MGM transfer. The Criterion only contains the Director's Cut and the original mono is missing. At this point, I think it's clear the Coens have no interest in releasing the theatrical cut.

I did notice there are some "Lucas-esque" changes this time around. Here are the ones I've found:

1. The passing headlight effect in the opening titles has been redone. Now there's a circular light that comes in through the windscreen.
2. In a shot of Ray flipping a light switch, an artificial dimming effect has been added.
3. When Ray drives up to the incinerator, the dolly tracks next to the car have been digitally removed.
4. When Ray runs out of the car past some billboards, a stage light can be seen in the shot. This has been digitally removed in the Criterion transfer.
5. The slow motion shot of the newspaper hitting the front door has been de-flickered.

I would like to restore as many of these differences as possible, so if someone spots more changes in the Criterion version, let me know.

I've also acquired the US laserdisc. It only has an analog track, but it sounds a little better than the DVD.
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#8
This sounds great. The Criterion transfer is much better than the MGM, and I would love to see the theatrical cut in this quality.

(2016-10-16, 09:28 PM)IcePrick Wrote: Although, there are certain instances where the Criterion has less shadow detail than the DVD, which means I probably have to pull those shots from the MGM transfer.

I would stick with the Criterion for those shots. The MGM is much too bright and lacks a lot of fine detail.
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#9
This project is still some ways off from being finished, but I wanted to give people an idea what the regrade looks like.

http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/204900/
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#10
Damn it! The Criterion Blu-ray has so many little visual "fixes", it's starting to get annoying. This one is completely bizarre (look on the right side of the image).

http://screenshotcomparison.com/comparison/214386

I'm gonna try to restore as many of these as I can, but I'm not sure if I'll spot all of them.

On another note, if anybody has original foreign dubs of the Theatrical Cut (German, French, Italian, etc.), I'd be happy to include them. They'd probably have to sourced from VHS, as virtually every DVD release is the shorter Director's Cut and has remixed audio.
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