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[Released] Le Corbeau / The Raven (1943) Optimum UK DVD Synced to StudioCanal / Criterion BD
#1
Here's an audio sync for another classic but lesser-known title. Before Diabolique (1955) & Wages of Fear (1953), Henri-Georges Clouzot directed Le Corbeau in 1943, under Nazi occupation of France. It almost derailed his career post-war, when Clouzot was accused of collaborating with the Nazis. But this film is anything but collaborationist, it served as an allegory to expose a society devoid of morality.

Picture quality first:

I took some screen caps comparing Criterion and StudioCanal's BDs. They are sourced from the same 4K restoration. To my eyes, grain on Criterion appears slightly more defined, so the Criterion BD is what I'll be syncing audio to. See M A's comments below. Criterion is actually sharpened a bit and has compression artifacts. I've added a sync to target StudioCanal as well.

Caps: https://slow.pics/c/h9sZull5

Now, audio:

Let's start with the 2005 Optimum (UK) DVD, slowed down to 23.976 fps. It's very hissy, but very detailed. There are some distortions during loud music, e.g. during opening, and artifacts elsewhere, but nothing I can't stand.

[Image: hiiMSSd.png]

Next up is the 2004 Criterion DVD.

Criterion DVD Booklet Wrote:The soundtrack was mastered at 24-bit from a digital monaural mix, and audio restoration tools were used to reduce clicks, pops, hiss, and crackle.

Criterion applied a high-pass filter and some more filtering in the upper frequencies. It still sounds ok, but slightly worse than the Optimum DVD.

[Image: 5giD44b.png]

Had the audio "restoration" stopped here, the result would have been pretty respectable. But then Éclair restored the audio as part of a 4K restoration, and StudioCanal released that on BD in 2017.

Criterion BD Booklet Wrote:The original monaural soundtrack was also restored at Éclair, [...]

Whereas the DVD tracks used to boast detail up to ~15 kHz, everything is now cut off at ~8 kHz. Very muffled.

[Image: M0nr4GL.png]

Finally, we arrive at the Criterion BD, released in 2022.

Criterion BD Booklet Wrote:The original monaural soundtrack was also restored at Éclair, with additional restoration carried out by the Criterion Collection.

As usual, Criterion can't keep their fingers off the "filter" button, even when the input is already filtered. Additional high-pass filtering on top of an absurdly low-pass filtered track.

[Image: 3WRXETv.png]

Flip between these spectrograms here: https://slow.pics/c/S8kaLqBN

Input: AC-3, 2.0 mono, 224 kbps, 48 kHz
Output: FLAC, 2.0 mono, 421 kbps, 48 kHz, 16 bits

Notes on the sync:
  • Optimum DVD is presented in 25 fps. I've slowed down the audio to 24/23.976 fps to match StudioCanal/Criterion BD's frame rate. Confirmed pitch through spectrogram afterwards--it matches theBDs.
  • R channel at around 00:49:57 (SC BD timestamp) contains a very noticeable extra (digital?) artifact not present on L channel. There is another minor artifact only found on L channel at around 01:29:11 (SC BD timestamp) . I've patched in the opposite channel's signals during these two segments. The two channels are otherwise effectively identical, as confirmed by inverting the phase of R and downmixing to 1.0.
  • There is a somewhat frequent "pop" (?) on the Optimum DVD track. I've detailed this at https://fanrestore.com/thread-5320.html. I fixed a few places before deciding to leave them as is because there are just too many instances. Hopefully you don't find them distracting. The Criterion DVD's high-pass filtering masks these somewhat, but they are still audible at places.
  • I mostly synced by video. Where the frames diverged: 1) Optimum DVD has extra frame b/w Criterion BD timestamps 00:29:40.570-612, 2) DVD missed 1 frame during a dissolve b/w BD timestamps 00:49:47.067-00:50:23.812, 3) DVD missed 3 frames during another dissolve b/w BD timestamps 00:59:18.638-00:59:40.911, 4) DVD missed 1 frame b/w BD timestamps 00:59:40.911-952, 5) DVD missed 1 frame b/w BD timestamps 01:25:06.018-059.
  • Criterion and StudioCanal's BDs are frame-wise identical, except that Criterion has an extra 456 frames at the beginning (Criterion & Janus logos).

PM me for a link. Enjoy!

[Image: PlMHFJ4.jpg]
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Thanks given by: stwd4nder2 , M A , PDB
#2
First & Foremost axeyou, thank-you that is some good comparison. The high pass filter on Criterion DVD seems very visible and probably a loss of detail, below 15khz. But optimum by graphs looks like good to me. 

Edit: Just read the part where you said you did an inverse check. So this is golden :D

Regards
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Thanks given by: axeyou
#3
Great work!

But looking at the screencaps, I feel the StudioCanal blu to be better encoded - I think Criterion just applied a bit of sharpening, which makes it seem better on the surface. Dark areas especially look much blockier on the Criterion.
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Thanks given by:
#4
(2023-06-14, 03:07 PM)M A Wrote: Great work!

But looking at the screencaps, I feel the StudioCanal blu to be better encoded - I think Criterion just applied a bit of sharpening, which makes it seem better on the surface. Dark areas especially look much blockier on the Criterion.

Thanks, M A!

I'm flipping between the caps and can't seem to detect any sharpening artifacts. If Criterion did sharpen, wouldn't it show up in the last cap around the letters on paper? Can you help point me to some specific areas of either sharpening or encode anomalies?

If SC indeed is the better encode, I'll re-sync to that tonight.
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Thanks given by:
#5
(2023-06-14, 08:46 PM)axeyou Wrote: Thanks, M A!

I'm flipping between the caps and can't seem to detect any sharpening artifacts. If Criterion did sharpen, wouldn't it show up in the last cap around the letters on paper? Can you help point me to some specific areas of either sharpening or encode anomalies?

If SC indeed is the better encode, I'll re-sync to that tonight.

I think the sharpening (if that truly is what was done) is quite light so artefacts aren't that obvious, but I think some are visible at the bottom of the newspaper in cap 2. It's something that Criterion does quite often e.g. on The Elephant Man. Even in places where the Criterion's encode seems better, if you zoom in closer it looks made up of very sharp blocks, while the SC looks more natural to my eyes.

In dark areas, the Criterion definitely looks worse, e.g. top left of cap 5
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Thanks given by: axeyou
#6
Thanks again, M A!

I also asked xwmario and he concurs SC looks better. Plus he pointed me to running SoX to adjust speed instead of eac3to.

Good thing I kept logs on the exact cuts/dupes I did in Audacity. I’ll resync to SC later tonight. Will make both versions available as some folks only have the Criterion BD.
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Thanks given by:
#7
Updated now with a new sync to the superior StudioCanal BD.

I've also slowed this new sync down to 23.976fps and added a silence at the beginning to sync to the Criterion BD, if that's the only one you have.

PM me for either one of them. Enjoy!
Reply
Thanks given by: stwd4nder2 , xwmario
#8
(2023-06-15, 09:54 AM)axeyou Wrote: Updated now with a new sync to the superior StudioCanal BD.

I've also slowed this new sync down to 23.976fps and added a silence at the beginning to sync to the Criterion BD, if that's the only one you have.

PM me for either one of them. Enjoy!

Thanks for the sync, got to check the audio, it sounds way better!
Regards
Reply
Thanks given by: axeyou


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