Sleeping Beauty: Blu-Ray Doesn’t Mean Better

Sleeping Beauty

The Blu-Ray release of Sleeping Beauty has generated a lot of attention, not only from the media, but also from animation fans who have noticed this version’s oversaturated colors, poor color timing and DVNR. The changes in color have also been noticed by industry professionals like Lou Romano, art director of The Incredibles, who writes on his blog that he prefers the 2003 DVD release and also posts a bunch of frame grab comparisons. I agree with Lou and everybody else; to my eyes, the colors in this new version look way too hot. It’s a shame that they can’t get the colors right on a film in which color plays such an integral role.


  • Chris Sobieniak

    Again, they’re never get the colors right at all, and we’re left with another flavor of interpenetration to discuss to the cows come home.

  • http://www.taberanimation.com Taber Dunipace

    You’d think they would be able to nail it with all the technology we have. Is this some sort of executive order making the colors this bright and unpalatable or is this really a technology limitation?

  • http://www.2livefools.com David Fein

    I’m happy to see that you guys noticed this, but where were you with the OUTRAGE that is the inconsistent colors and image on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST! Coggsworth changes shades of RED when he’s actually brown….

    It’s HORRIBLE!!! We should be talking about this PRIOR to the BluRay being released so that they can get it back to the accuracy that was the LASERDISC…. The DVD is TERRIBLE!!!

    Who else noticed this???

  • http://louromano.blogspot.com/ Lou

    Thanks for posting this, Amid. It’s definitely not a technological limitation, it probably has more to do with taste. I don’t know who was calling the shots, but I have to admit I got rid of the new version. I’ve still got the 2003 DVD so, I can’t complain.

    The real clincher for me was the scene in which Aurora is under Maleficent’s spell, following her green orb through the castle. It’s my favorite sequence in the film and one of my all-time favorites in animation, particularly for color. Looking at the new version I got the impression that somebody felt that sickly green cast to the princess was too unsettling…which is the whole point of that scene. That kind of “improving” is annoying. And while we’re on the subject of “new and improved” movies, thank God the original Star Wars trilogy exists on DVD. George Lucas can suck rotten eggs..in his Special Edition Cantina. Wink-Wonk.

  • Mr. Semaj

    Just looking at these screenshots, they definitely screwed-up somewhere in the blue-ray version.

    In fact, I noticed some tinkering with a recent print of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, where all the colors seemed to emphasize more red-violet, green, blue, and pink than what probably existed in the original print. They seemed to simply tint the colors.

    Can’t they hire a professional colorist for this type of stuff?

  • mark c.

    I’m not surprised to read this. I have a friend who freelances as a digital “restoration” artist. According to my friend, most of the artists work without proper supervision and are never given visual reference. They’re often told to just wing it and make it look good. It’s hastily thrown together and tossed out to the masses.

    To my knowledge, this is the second or third time Sleeping Beauty has been “restored”. The first time I recall was for the laser disc version, which in my opinion looks better than the 2003 DVD.

    I’m sure in 2012, we’ll have another chance to buy the “newly restored” version of whatever new format will be out…hologram DVD or something like that.

  • http://niffiwan.livejournal.com/ Niffiwan

    If anyone’s interested, I recently translated a passage from Yuriy Norshteyn’s new book where he talks about the importance of colour in an animated film. Originally it was written for a legal defense against a DVD company which was putting out editions of his films with bad colours:
    http://niffiwan.livejournal.com/10065.html

    As he says, “to ruin the colour is to ruin the emotional fabric”.

  • http://www.autodaddy.blogspot.com tom

    Sonofabitch! I don’t have the 2003 and I was looking to buy this new version.

    I guess I’ll just steal the one from the liberry.

  • http://www.sisterson.co.uk Dennis Sisterson

    Thanks for this discussion, I don’t think I’ll be buying this now – I was naively expecting some sort of definitive restoration rather than a cynical hatchet job.

  • http://braains.blogspot.com/ Laurel

    Why, Disney, why? The colors were the best thing about this movie!

  • Ryan

    Gah! Why can’t anyone EVER get ANYTHING RIGHT?? That Peter Pan DVD made me sick, this manages to beat even that one somehow.

  • http://www.jasoncampbell.com Jason Campbell

    Lou I’m curious, were you comparing the 2003 to the Blu-Ray version? I realize the color timing is the real issue and that there obviously were some missteps there but since you didn’t say out right on your blog it was in fact the Blu-Ray version I am curious if that is the case. Because outside of the color issues which I have to say were not something I was aware of when I watched my Blu-Ray copy, mostly because I had neither your comparison nor obvious talent for color, but outside of that just watching the film blasted on my wall in Blu-Ray HD left me awe struck. It was gorgeous to my eyes, simply amazing.

  • http://tommyday.com Tommy Day

    What a bummer. We picked up this edition as a transition between Old School TV/DVD and our new HDTV as our first Blu Ray disc. Why do people have to meddle with everything?

    I am pretty excited about Pinnochio in March, I haven’t seen that for 10+ years and that was on VHS. That has to be an improvement.

  • Johnny

    The problem is the distributors only care about sales. They outsource the processing to third parties who simply drag and drop filters and parameters onto the print and then hit the ‘go’ button.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    Re:
    I guess I’ll just steal the one from the liberry.

    That’s selfish! Just dupe it and return it, so others can dupe it and return it. DVDShrink and DVD Fab Decryptor are your friends.

  • Aleksandar Vujovic

    Something tells me they’re not going to remaster it again for a while.
    Remember that Disney only likes bright shiny warm lovely colors in 2008.

    Is that an accident? I don’t know, I don’t know. Seems to me like whoever had this under their wing to execute, doesn’t understand color and the impact of color in scene on the viewer. It’s really kinda sacrilege.

  • http://www.brandoncordy.com Brandon Cordy

    I have both DVDs, and while I prefer the color timing on the 2003 version, the 2008 version has a clearer image and isn’t cropped slightly on all four sides.

    My main issue is that the “original soundtrack” used on the 2008 DVD is hissy and poppy, even though a 5.1 version of the same mix was used for the 2003 DVD and sounded fine.

  • Keith Paynter

    How is it possible that studios feel that they have to “colorize” their own color films? DVNR should just be about dirt and scratch removal, not changing the color pallattes. Take an archival print, show it on a screen, and THAT is your color. Television already has the ability to oversaturate, there’s no need to help it any further. I fear for FANTASIA.

  • Kevan

    While I completely understand the outrage here, and do wish that Disney would allow their classics the same respect that Leonard Maltin has given their Treasures releases, if those involved in the restoration were not given proper reference, I can see how some of these discrepancies seemed like logical choices to them. I personally do not have a strong relationship with Sleeping Beauty, so I did not notice these choices as mistakes. Because of this, the wonderful detail added to the lush background plates for the Blu-Ray greatly outweigh any problems with the color for me, and this will remain my preferred version. However, here’s hoping that Pinocchio will not see similar problems.

  • http://www.theaftend.com Allan

    Tom, I was planning on getting it too. But as soon as I read this I went and bought the 2003 edition off eBay for pretty cheap.

  • Harry

    “Just looking at these screenshots, they definitely screwed-up somewhere in the blue-ray version.”

    The screen comparisons were not 2003 to 2008 BLU-RAY. Just from DVD to DVD.

    The Blu-Ray of Sleeping Beauty is outstanding on every front–with truer colors, better contrast, and thankfully not-overly saturated colors. There is a subtlety to a vast majority of the new transfer superior to any previous version available. I have not compared the new DVD to the Blu-Ray (harder to do on a mac), but wouldn’t be surprised if there were differences there.

  • sean w.

    i was looking forward to this too. but i should have known how little respect the modern disney has for their historic properties. all those crappy sequels are a good indicator.

    my guess is they ran this through a process and didn’t even check the final product. “if the computer says this is what it should be…it must be right!!”

  • Nichole

    That’s not cool … This movie had such a gloomy, somber feel to it and that was the point. And it made it different. Adding all these warm colors really ruins the visual effect. Good thing I think I still have the old VHS version.

  • EHH

    If the colors bother you that much, change the color and tint on your TV. It may not be the same thing, but that is all I can think of.

  • a reader

    “i was looking forward to this too. but i should have known how little respect the modern disney has for their historic properties. all those crappy sequels are a good indicator.”

    And which sequels would those be?

  • http://www.jessica-plummer.com Jessica Plummer

    While color is a huge issue with reproducing works of art, I wasn’t completely bothered by the colors in the Blu-ray version. I’ll agree with David Fein that the Beauty and the Beast release was the worst I have ever seen (and possibly Little Mermaid; I think a lot was butchered to over saturate THAT film). What bothered me to NO END…so much so that I was ready to actually throw my brand new Blu-Ray copy in the trash, was Disney’s BD Live feature it’s including on it’s copies of Blu-Ray movies now.

    Send chat messages to your friend’s online while you watch the movie together! Leave a message for someone in a part of the film! Engage yourself to death while you watch our film but only after you sit through a dozen ads for our stuff (because we’re not convinced you’re buying our stuff)! Because I totally don’t want to simply watch a film, I’m totally in to wasting more hours of my life on pointless things. This whole “online” feature weighed down the starting time of my disk (not the 2-3 min it promised…more like 20; I had to unplug my internet and pop in the movie for the 5th time to get it started). I understand this is show “business” and all, but Disney is getting really tacky.

    …complaints out of the way on my part, however, I still wouldn’t pass up getting this film on Blu-Ray…it’s absolutely stunning. Color a bit different, yes, but when you’ve got brush strokes visible on those hand painted backgrounds showing up in the best resolution I’ve ever seen of this…as if a high quality print has been pasted onto your 40″ screen…that’s something you just cannot pass up. Anything less depreciates the detail that went into this film.

  • http://louromano.blogspot.com/ Lou

    To clarify and answer Jason Campbell’s question, my frame to frame comparisons were made from the 2003 and 2008 DVD releases only, not the Blu-Ray disc. I have not seen the Blu-Ray version.

  • BobT

    Am I a cynic if I think they do this deliberately so that they can say they’ve improved the images yet again when they do another re-release in a couple of years?

    You know, kinda like how they managed to make the lightsabers in the fancy smancy Star Wars special edition dvd look worse than they ever did. (at one point Vader had a pink lightsaber!).

    I guess that when it comes to Disney movies and the star wars film they’ll always tinker with what was good in the first place.

  • Dave

    What saddens me with all these “digitally restored” and remastered versions (even the few good ones) is that we now have a generation of people who have never seen and probably never will see these films on a big screen in a darkened theater the way they were meant to be seen.

    I’d give anything for a few less “newly restored” DVD/BluRay’s and a few more decent theatrical re-releases. The hype around these DVD/BluRay’s is that they’re giving people a total experience of seeing the film as they’ve never seen it before (which I suppose might be true if all they’ve ever seen is an old VHS tape) but in fact most people who think they’ve seen these movies have never really seen them in their entirety.

  • Dave

    “http://niffiwan.livejournal.com/10065.html

    As he says, “to ruin the colour is to ruin the emotional fabric”. ”

    That is so true. Thank you for posting that article by Yuri Norshteyn.

    Disney ought to just hire Hans Bacher as a permanent color consultant every time they want to release one of these films on DVD/BluRay.

    I am hoping for the best with the long-awaited Pinocchio release but I won’t get my hopes up too much.

  • Dan Jeup

    Hi Lou,

    Great comparison on your blog, thanks. I agree with you. However, did you happen to see the new print that played recently at The El Capitan? If so, I’d like to hear what you thought of it. I thought it looked amazing. Heard the Blue-Ray version looks great too, but haven’t seen it yet. Hope all is well in your world.

    Dan

  • Jacob

    Judging by that shot, and others, whoever did the restoration obviously does not like the colour green.

  • http://Mr.FunsBlog Floyd Norman

    Whenever Disney does a restoration there are always the purists who cry, foul! Disney has screwed up once again.

    The truth is — it ain’t 1958 anymore, and everything concerning our technology has changed. It’s a lot like the debates I hear over analog and digital recording. Many audio purists hate the new technology because it simply isn’t faithful to the music.

    Eyvind Earle painted his backgrounds based not on how they would look to the eye — rather how the backgrounds would look on film. How the camera would “see” them.

    I’m probably the only one here who saw the film back in 1958 at the Disney studio. We shot the film on 5247, a film stock that’s probably no longer in use. Film stock, timing, and other factors determined how the picture would look back then.

    I still find it amazing that all the “experts” who know exactly how the film should look, never even saw it back in 1958.

  • acetate

    Is it really a color timing issue or is the problem with blu-ray itself? The reason I ask is this. I was watching a demo reel of scenes in a Best Buy store meant to showcase blu-ray’s claritiy but all it seemed to do was make alot of the background scenery look “plastic”. At least to me. Scenes from Pirates and Spiderman looked relly weird. Not real at all. Then when a clip came up from Close Encounters it seemed to amplify the grain ! I’m not sold on it at all.

  • Brad Constantine

    Floyd,
    would they use colored lights with the cels when they
    shot the film on the multiplane camera?
    Many folks talk about using the original cels and BG’s as color reference. Since many layers of cels were stacked, the color was adjusted on each layer to account for this, correct?
    I had that issue with my own work with cels. We had to shift the colors per layer to get an outfit’s parts to appear to be the same color.

  • EHH

    I love what you said Floyd. But which “experts” are you referring to, the ones who restored it or the purists?

  • William o’Malley

    Thank you, Floyd Norman, for the voice of reason in your comments about Sleeping Beauty. I wonder how many of the above posters have ever seen a dye-transfer Technicolor print of this film projected. I used to own a 35mm Scope Tech print of SB and I must say the new Blu-Ray version has come the closest to duplicating the color values of the film print.
    To the poster who mentioned using the original cels as a color reference: This would not work as Disney had to work out a different color palatte when painting the cels to allow for the shift in color values when the film was processed in Technicolor. I have seen cels from Sleeping Beauty of Aurora and her hair has a strong green tint which photographs a beautiful blonde on the screen.
    Finallly, any film on DVD will never look as goood as the projected film version. There is a depth to the photo-chemical process that simply cannot be duplicated in the electronic medium. At least, not yet.

  • Thad

    Floyd-
    I mean this in no condescending way to you, but if they are not screwing with the colors, why does every home video release of SLEEPING BEAUTY in the past twenty years have a completely different color scheme? Surely not much has progressed in technology that would cause something like that (not in the past five anyway).

    Milt Gray has studied these things for decades (probably longer than anyone but Floyd reading this) and his strong opinion is that most of the transfers you are seeing on home video of the classic Disney features are inaccurate.

  • http://Mr.FunsBlog Floyd Norman

    I don’t recall colored lights when using the Multiplane camera back in the fifties.

    I’m not knocking the guys who did the restoration either. It’s a tough job in any case. I’m just saying that imperfect as it is — the Blue-Ray version comes pretty darn close to what I saw back in 1958. Sure, I could nit-pick every scene, but overall, it’s a pretty good job. Of course, you’ll never please everybody.

    I know I have friends and colleagues who will probably disagree with my opinion. And, that’s cool. This restoration is not flawless, and there will always be problems when it comes to interpretation.

  • gene schiller

    I saw Sleeping Beauty several times (around 1968 and 1978 respectively) – it was spectacular in wide-screen Technirama! There was an incredible depth to the image as well, which I think is well conveyed by the 2003 release. On the basis of the DVD comparison, I’d say the 2008 release shows a few minor fluctuations in color and a shade more detail, but certainly no wholesale alteration of the color scheme (as with the recent “Peter Pan”). Overall, it looks like a good job.

  • http://louromano.blogspot.com/ Lou

    Floyd Norman’s comment is apt. I do wish I could have seen the film upon it’s initial release in 1958. And if Eyvind Earle was still alive I’d like to think they would have consulted him on the subsequent releases and color timing of the DVDs. To answer Dan Jeup’s question, I didn’t see the film at the El Capitan. I did however, get to see the film on the Disney lot back in 1997-98 after a restoration. That was the first time I had seen it on film. It looked incredible. If you’re lucky enough to see a film in a nice theater with the best projection and sound, it really is a treat. The El Capitan does a great job. I was blown away by their digital projection when they premiered The Incredibles. It looked as good as it did in Pixar’s theater, where we approved all of the digital dailies.

  • Annie-Mae

    I think they did this so they can show more detail for the HD-TVs, and in order to do that they probably needed to brighten up parts of the movie. I noticed while watching a plain DVD version of it that I saw things, like brush strokes, that I hadn’t noticed before. I wish they didn’t change the colors because I don’t think Disney didn’t intended certain scenes to be painted the way they changed them. Restoration doesn’t mean photoshopping.

  • RODAN

    It’s all about the marketing…..if they gave us an acurate perfect digital copy of the film… nobody would rush out to get another… now….we all want the latest up to date…(new and improved) copy… I suppose we’ll be buying this one every three or four years until Malificent herself flys through the window and pricks our finger and puts us all to sleep ….. only to be awakend by loves first kiss…or the hallographic version served to us on a silver platter by a freshly thawed cryogenicly reborn Uncle Walt. Ofcourse he’ll expire every 12 days like a gallon of milk so they can redo him as well…and market his ass like this BLUE-RAY VERSION…ECT..ECT…AND SO ON….TO INFINITY AND BEYOND!!!!

  • Thad

    A friend made this direct frame cap of the Blue-Ray in HD to show the DVNR. No alteration was made to this image.

    http://whiggles.landofwhimsy.com/hdcaptures/sb5.jpg

    That’s just insulting to everyone who worked on the film, right down to (actually, especially) the ink-and-paint girls.

    Almost all of the films I watch were not even made in widescreen, nor had stereo sound. So I have no interest in Blue-Ray. The suits have enough of my money.

  • Nunziante

    Hi from Italy.
    Sorry for the fans of the 2003 version but it happens that I saw an IB Technicolor scope print of Sleeping Beauty here in Italy in 1978, and the colors were just those of this new blu -ray version, that has been scanned at 4k resolution from the original black and white Technirama -Technicolor horizontal negative. All previous video and dvd version were taken ( and “restored”) from EASTMANCOLOR POSITIVE PRINTS (I remember you that no IB print has been done in USA since 1975, in Italy the last prints were made at Technicolor Rome in 1978-79) . Now, Eastmancolor always distorces the Technicolor original hues, even if you make a good print from the original Technicolor separations matrices.
    And that’s more: I own a super 8mm italian copy of Sleeping Beauty that was printed back in 1978, from the IB 1978 reissue , and IT RETAINS ALMOST ALL THE COLORS (it has NOT turned red) : I’ve watched it to compare to the new version and, surprise: the colors are EXACTLY THE SAME, NO GREEN TINT in the scene where Aurora is hypnotized, and also the color of the jacket of the Jester is not so green, but resembles to the new version. So, don’t worry, the color on blu ray is the most accurate and recreates at perfection the look of IB prints!

  • matt

    Thad, if you were so adamant (yes I’ve read your blog) about accuracy and quality, you’d never have posted a crappy jpeg like that in a million years. Oh the irony! The only guy I know that does correct non-translated Blu-ray screencaps and format comparisons is Xylon over at the AVS forum. That’s the only way you can make an accurate assessment on things like DNR and EE (your friend’s pic renders this redundant) and true colour and level of detail of the source.

    The comment about Blu-ray is as unfounded as Amid’s. Generally Blu-ray’s record on OAR is great. As for Sleeping Beauty, they’ve given it the true aspect ratio, which is wider than what cinemascope later became. Same is true of Bridge on the River Kwai I think, which I’m pretty sure has never been seen in the correct OAR. And it looks like Pinocchio will be the correct OAR too. Many remastered titles include original mono. And why you’d blame the format instead of Disney for the choices they made is entirely beyond me and seems like a beginner’s mistake, or sloppy at the very least. Especially considering your mantra about accuracy. Talk about shooting the messenger.

    Sorry mate. And what do you say to Floyd’s comments?

  • matt

    God almighty Amid, there you go again, posting a ridiculous and attention-grabbing heading. So the “Blu” in a Blu-ray throws the colour timing completely out does it?! Why couldn’t you have posted “colour timers/Disney MIGHT have screwed up again (might, because this isn’t based on hard facts or interviews with those who are responsible)”? And actually bothered to follow this up by finding out from the concerned parties whether they did in fact base their choices on original reference, whether the cels and backgrounds were painted with film stock shift in mind (maybe not as the animation would have been done with the original wider scope format and accompanying B&W separations in mind, I’m not too sure on that and then there’s taking the jump in film stocks into account), and which release is in fact the most accurate to date. You’re an animation journo, right? Interview them! Do some research! And stop with the knee-jerk sensationalist headlines. We come here anyway, and not for tabloid stuff. You bring us so much fantastic stuff Amid, I just hate it when you continually become slave to your prejudices and pounce on this.

    You even illustrated “Blu-ray doesn’t mean better” with Lou’s shots, neither of which are Blu-ray!! And actually viewing the Blu-ray on a calibrated set, the colours are NOT as warm as the second shot. In comparison to the shots Lou posted, generally they’re not as red-shifted and saturated. They lean more to the 2008 dvd than the 2003 (which would make sense if they’re from the same master), but not to the extent of the example Amid used. It’s generally accepted that Blu-ray (this is where boring techy stuff DOES have a bearing) has much better accuracy on blue and green tones than regular DVD. Maybe this has something to do with it, and even better reason why it was irresponsible to use the DVD while making a point/misguided rant about Blu-ray. Maybe it’s a calibration thing. Anyway, my point stands.

    A good analogy to this whole thing might be a few weeks back when everyone was absolutely outraged at the colour timing of the new restored version of the Godfather trilogy. I understand that everyone grew to love the previous versions on home video and the timing on this version diverted quite considerably in some instances. How do we solve this? We go to the source. Gordon Wilis and Alan Daviau supervised the new one and Willis says it’s the closest to the original neg (Willis had an exacting and measurable lab process so it can be judged accurately) and it absolutely reflects his intentions, with the new version coming closer than any previous transfer.

    So what I’m saying is however much people may have been used to previous versions of The Godfather, those were ‘wrong’ and we just have to swallow the bitter pill and get used to the fact that the new one people ‘hate’ is what they should have been seeing all along. We should find out the same sort of thing in respect to this film. If those colours are true to Earle’s work and the original cel colours, answer prints and so on (is there a shift in the generational loss between the original Super-Technirama 35mm 8-perf and generational loss to 65/70mm release prints/stock for example) then even if the new colours are not as appealing to our individual aesthetics, we have to suck it up. But if we get right down to the sources and people involved and find out that colour choices were made on corporate whims and interlopers’ personal whims, then I back your annoyance ALL the way guys & Amid. I’m not just playing Devil’s advocate for fun (although I admit I often do) here. This seems to be an important animation issue, and I think it warrants more than a snippy misguided headline and some links.

    I respect Lou, and he’s a lot more honest in his post, not to mention having a fantastic colour sense. There are shots in the previous 2003 version where I personally like the warmer more peachy skin tones than the newer 2008 version which has more pinky hues, especially with the Princess/Rose, but that’s a personal like. But I agree to disagree about “definitive” being up to the individual. If the new version is accurate to the original intentions, then it IS definitive and accurate. I might love it, or it may not jive with my own aesthetic, but that is different to whether it’s “right” or “true”. And saying “I’m not sure” and “I prefer” is much better than “It’s a shame that they can’t get the colors right”. THAT’S a definitive statement, but is it based on any definitive fact? I’m just trying to keep you honest Amid. Step up to the plate and be a real Animation Journo. You get paid for your writing, right? Solve this once and for all when making such an adamant statement or don’t get so self-righteous in the first place.

    For the record though, I find it hard to believe that either the neon-bright greens and especially mid-blues either in this OR the Looney Tunes sets can possibly be accurate. But not having seen original cels or the original film releases not to mention 16 or 35mm prints that may not be from the original run (we all know lab work could be more hit-and miss in the optical days for general release prints and Thad, do you have a super Technirama or 70mm 4-channel version of SB?), I’m NOT going to state they’re wrong outright.

  • Lindsay

    Amid, methinks you need to amend your thread title, because the “hot” colors on the Sleeping Beauty Platinum Edition seem to be a problem with the DVD alone, and not the BD. Besides, “Blu-ray” is spelt with a lower case “r.” ;-P

    I made some comparison shots between the BD, the Platinum Edition DVD, and the Special Edition DVD when I reviewed the Blu-ray a month ago. Here are PNG files of the three faeries, for example.

    Blu-ray – http://www.blu-ray.com/images/upload/faeriesbd.png
    Platinum Edition DVD – http://www.blu-ray.com/images/upload/faeriesdvdpe.png
    Special Edition DVD – http://www.blu-ray.com/images/upload/faeriesdvdse.png

    As you can see from Flora’s cape and overall outfit, the reds flare quite a bit on the Platinum Edition. But the palette on the Blu-ray isn’t nearly as “loud” as the DVD. And of course, the Blu-ray’s overall detail is hugely improved. ;-) You can see more examples of the film, as well as Grand Canyon comparisons, at this post I made at the Ultimate Disney forums – http://www.ultimatedisney.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=410810&highlight=#410810

  • Bob Lindstrom

    Disney doesn’t treat their back catalog as “classics” as they claim. Rather, they treat these films like a bunch of old whores that they drag in, paint up, and pimp out periodically to suit the taste of the times.

  • Thad

    Matt-
    I don’t agree with Floyd. The new transfer sucks big time. It screws up the mood of the picture completely. And I don’t even like Sleeping Beauty and I care about this.

    But when it comes out in another ten years with a different color scheme, in who knows what kind of format, I am sure you will continue your mindless shilling for the Disney Empire, saying that “The Blu-Ray was obviously worse! THIS is how it’s supposed to look!” You’ve drunk the Kool-Aid.

  • matt

    Thad, I never ONCE said that the colours are spot on. You need to read more carefully. With respect, you’re commenting on how evil it is without having it yourself, right? And you ignored my question. Do you have a copy of this in 70mm, which is as close as you can get to the Super Technirama, allowing for one generation loss and that the optical transfer to the new stock? Not to mention more reliable in terms of accuracy than a 35 or even 16 mm print from decades later. Were you there at the beginning? Because if not, your opinions are only that. Opinions. If your personal aesthetic adores the 2003 dvd version, wonderful. But it doesn’t make your views truth.

    You might have noticed if you’d actually read my post that some of the colours in the 08 version aren’t my personal taste either, and that I have extreme reservations with certain colours in both SB and the Looney Tunes box sets. However I’m the one person on here responsible enough not to make outlandish definitive statements without reasonable proof. And I also know that the animators fought Eyvind Earle on this point.

    Please don’t put words in my mouth. Your kool-aid comments are redundant considering you’re attacking something you don’t have for comparison and didn’t even refute any of my points. Shilling, Kool-aid. Too bad your last post rids you of any reliability in terms of making unbiased judgements. Mindless? All of my comments are based on something that can’t be refuted. And you make the same mistake as Amid (ironic, considering the barbs on your blog) in shooting the messenger, while using a DVD as your yardstick! You couldn’t be more wrong about your accusations of evangelism. There are PLENTY of absolutely awful transfers on Blu-ray, but at least I know that it comes from idiotic and sometimes conscious decisions by PEOPLE. The medium isn’t a malevolent piece of technology that purposely screws things up unaided (as was suggested by Sean W). It doesn’t automatically impose DNR and EE. At the same time, that doesn’t mean that Patton or The Longest Day on Blu-ray aren’t shit that I refuse to buy. And your widescreen barbs and sound comments are ridiculous, but of course not having it you couldn’t know that it’s both the correct AR AND has a four-channel mix in addition to an expanded one.

    If you had said that you PREFER the 2003 dvd version I can respect that. If you admitted you didn’t know how accurate THAT version was to the source i’d respect that. If Floyd’s comments at least gave you pause, i’d respect that too. If you knew my background you’d see how laughable your comments on my predilections are. But as it stands…

    At least I generally agree with you that Disney IS an evil empire. The things they’ve done both to their movies from bastardising the story process and dooming the final product to treating their artists like dirt and being shown in retrospect to be incompetent clowns, not to mention turning their characters into lifeless patronising excuses for having a marketing department all make my blood boil. Hopefully the new regime will be shown to be better.

  • PorkyMills

    I was amazed by the amount of detail and clarity in the Blu-Ray version. Despite the change in colours, it warrants a buy simply on account of its unprecedented visual print. OTOH, I have trouble understanding how Disney can change, in some shots, the entire color palette of characters (such as the one shown) and present it as the definitive classic version.

  • Randy

    Seems that each of Disney’s animated features gets worse and worse looking with each successive DVD reissue. Hate to think what they’re going to do to poor Snow White. These newly-tweaked films have been off my shopping list for awhile now and are going to stay off. The older releases are fine with me. At least they look reasonably close to how they’re supposed to look. Not that Disney has ever had that great a track record. We’re all still waiting for a FANTASIA that hasn’t been altered to protect our sensibilities and that has Deems Taylor on the soundtrack where he should be instead of whoever it is they hired to rerecord his narration.

    I’m not much of a double-dipper, anymore. If you expect me to buy the same title on DVD twice, then you’d better give me a damn good reason.

    In one sense, these uproars over screw-ups in the latest Disney reissue are sort of moot. Most people who buy these things don’t know and don’t care because they’re picking them up mainly for the kids, anyway.

  • Marc Baker

    You ever get the feeling that some of the suits at Disney are secretly sabotaging their animation legacy by messing around with these movies on purpose so they can create another excuse to get out of animation entirely, and just produce more ‘Hanna Montana’, and ‘High School Musical’ junk from their ‘genetics’ lab? After all, ‘tweenage pod people are easier to manage than wild, and crazy animators.’

  • Dennis Johnson

    I work at Disney and have been privileged to speak with Theo Gluck, the man leading the group who restored the current version of the film.
    From his comments, I have complete confidence that the color of the current Blu-ray release is accurate. Original reference was used – in other words, the actual original cel and background artwork was used to determine color accuracy throughout.
    There ARE some problems, but it is the Blu-ray medium itself that reveals them – such as the “Merriweather’s Gift” sequence, where the original negative has been lost, and all that restorers had available was an old (and terrible) attempt to restore the sequence based on ancient scans and digital color additions. The quality loss is very apparent in that sequence on modern equipment – it was less apparent on the old VHS tape version it was intended for.

    The color in the Blu-ray version, in my opinion, cannot be called into question. It is as accurate as accurate can be.

  • matt

    Thanks Dennis. I wish there had been a feature on the restoration similar to the recent Godfather one. I was surprised not to find one (although I haven’t looked through everything yet)! I wish you’d seen this thread a bit sooner though, as both Floyd and your posts may have stopped the sheep a bit. It now strikes me that Thad’s rant was even more ironic – if anyone was drinking the Kool-Aid it seems it was all the naysayers.

  • Dennis Johnson

    I’m afraid I have to correct myself about the Merriweather’s Gift segment. I’m not at all certain where the elements came from that were used for that part of the Blu-ray, as in reviewing the 2003 DVD release that segment looks strikingly better as to line quality.
    Now you’ve got me intrigued – I’ll have to poke around and see if I can discover what happened to the original elements in the intervening 5 years.
    It is puzzling indeed why – if the original elements were indeed lost for the segment – such a very poor job of replacement/restoration was done, particularly knowing the ability of Blu-ray to show up the slightest flaw. What is seen in the current release of the segment in question looks like a very crude job of scanning and digital painting.
    Very curious indeed.

    I can find no other scenes on the Blu-ray that look as bad as this one – and certainly no others where it can be said that the previous DVD release actually look better.

    I beg your forgiveness for my previous inaccuracy.

  • Victoria

    So, this thread might be dead, but I just wanted to mention that I had seen the original paintings and I think that the colors might actually just be those colors. The really hot greens and reds were in the original backgrounds. I think it looks bad but maybe thats just the way that it was.

  • Town Crier

    Floyd Norman wrote:
    >I’m probably the only one here who saw the film back in 1958 at >the Disney studio. We shot the film on 5247, a film stock that’s >probably no longer in use. Film stock, timing, and other factors >determined how the picture would look back then.

    Why would Disney have a shot an SE negative on a COLOR film stock like Kodak 5247 (yes, I’m talking about the 1950-2 version)? Didn’t they always shoot their SE negs on B & W negative stock?

    Town Crier

  • Joe Sparks

    I just saw the 2003 DVD edition, and I have to tell you all that the DVD release is a piece of f***ing s**t compared to the original movie on VHS. I was so completely shocked to see the whole movie has been CRUDELY re-drawn with vector art, and all the soft, beautiful, strikingly original style of the water-colory backgrounds are GONE. This movie has been raped and pillaged and completely destroyed! I can’t believe this debate is about DVD vs Blu-Ray. I went searching to see if anyone was a shocked as I was at the so-called “digital remastering” of a timeless beautiful classic. I can’t even believe they did this. Poor people growing up thinking the DVD version of this movie is a some-how better-than-original. It is NOT. Look around for the older release on VHS and compare. the new version of this is hideous, crude, lame vector art, not the original beauty at all. Horrid! Shocking!

    Last time I was at Disneyland, they had removed the beautiful sleeping beauty’s castle exhibit in the castle. Must be part of this apparent plot to destroy sleeping beauty.

    • garyrc

      You shouldn’t call the VHS the original. The original, shown starting in January 1959, was the Technirama 70 version. The color was very intense and darkly beautiful. The backgrounds were anything but “soft” — they were more like “etched.” The 70 mm version had the 2.20:1 aspect ratio established by the earlier Todd-AO for non-anamorphic 70 mm projection. The 35 mm prints were not as striking — a little softer — but still more intense than most, and much more vivid than the VHS, and had a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The original, horizontally traveling, Technirama negative didn’t use quite all of the height available, and had a 2.55:1 aspect ratio. The Blu-ray edition now available uses this shape, and has color close to the 70 mm prints. People speculate as to why the negative had a wider AR than would be used theatrically. My guess is that when they started to plan the backgrounds and the blocking they had the old CinemaScope in mind, before both magnetic and optical soundtracks were squeezed onto most (35mm) prints, reducing the aspect ratio. By 1956, three years before the release, they knew they would use Technirama, and talked about it in the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through booklet given out at that time, but 70 mm Todd-AO’s competitors were beginning to use wider aspect ratios, including Raintree County being shot in Camera 65, and Ben-Hur being planned in C65. Walt may have decided to keep going in 2.55:1 so they would be ready for the wider 70 mm ARs if they caught on. They didn’t, and the vast majority of 70 mm prints were shown in 2.20:1 (including SB), and 35 mm widescreen prints stayed at 2.35:1, until they crept up to 2.39 (“2.40″) in the ’70s.

  • Ray

    How can you compare the DVD to the Blu-Ray and say the DVD is better? I have both, and the Blu-Ray blows the DVD out of the water. The vibrant colors, the details — they’re ASTOUNDING on the Blu-Ray as if I was watching the film for the very first time. the 2.55:1 aspect ratio is gorgeous. The colors are NOT too hot at all — someone must have adjusted your HDTV incorrectly.

    Seriously, I’ve watched this film numerous times as an animation/art nut (theatrical releases, VHS, DVD, and now Blu-Ray). My jaw dropped when the Blu-Ray images came on. It was incredible — the depths and details and color contrasts and clarity are all incredible. This is beyond “reference disc.” It’s as if the film was made in 2009 instead of 1959.

    I have a 65″ HDTV and I stood close enough to count the brushstrokes and see all the hues.

    I have a feeling that some of you may have your TV set to display the DVD (which is comparatively much more muted) perfectly and thus having “trouble” with the Blu-Ray.

    To those who decided not to get the 2003 DVD instead of the Blu-Ray based on this little review, I’m sorry you’ve been misled.

  • http://www.kohrtoons.com Robert Kohr

    First off viewing Blu-ray or DVD on a computer monitor will not accurately represent the intended color temperature. An NTSC DVD from 2003 was likely balanced for a CRT Television which needs to have less red. A DVD in 2009 now 2010 is balanced more for LCD which favors blues and greens thus the hue is stronger.

  • David Mackenzie

    What Robert’s saying is the tip of the iceberg here.

    First of all, it’s typically only professional video monitors that come set up to reproduce accurate video. Consumer televisions ship with ludicrous picture settings (which some people have hinted at here in the comments).

    The situation is getting better. Some TVs come with a “THX” picture mode, the point of which is to reproduce colour, greyscale and gamma correctly.

    However, the comparisons between the different colour grades are undeniable. I’m not saying there’s no difference and I’m not saying that revisionism isn’t going on (it clearly is – the new BD releases are grain-sucked and unfilmic). What I’m saying is that most people’s TVs/monitors are distorting things even more.

  • gary camp

    The colors in the original 70 mm version of Sleeping Beauty (which I saw repeatedly in 1959) were unbelievably rich and “hot.” The Blu-ray was closer than I ever thought it would be, and better than the DVD and VHFHiFi versions. Both the Blu-ray and the 70 mm print I saw were of a little higher contrast than the original cels, some of which I have. To show colors similar to the 70 mm print, a cell has to be lighted very carefully (to avoid any glare) or a Polaroid filter can be used to remove glare, but not be rotated any more than the amount needed to barely remove the glare. Under these circumstances the character’s color schemes are very much like the 70 mm and the Blu-ray, except for the slight increase in contrast in the copies that I mentioned.