My copy of Cube (1997) UK DVD - help please

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My copy of Cube (1997) UK DVD - help please

Postby Ewan_McMahon » 06 Oct 2017 18:02

Hi everyone, I got a strange topic I would like to discuss.

I have a copy of UK DVD "Cube (1997)" (part of the Cube-Trilogy boxset), that I have had for many years (can't remember exactly when I bought it - early 2000's somewhere I think). This is a bit tricky to explain, so I'll try my best:

When playing the movie, throughout non-stop on the far right of the screen, there's a strange thin semi-transparent black line from top to bottom of the screen - only a couple of millimetres wide. Also this line is not quite up against the right hand side of the screen - and there is another couple of millimetres gap on the right to the edge of the screen (in this gap you can see the edge of the screen of the movie play normally). This copy I have is (according to the back cover) ratio 1.85.1 letterbox.

It's hard to describe in words I know. I have a screen-cap image of it - is there a way I can show you guys the image here on the forums or something? I'm not sure how to do that (presumably I upload the picture to a website somewhere and post the link here in the chat-box, but are there any websites out there where I don't have to sign-up for first? I prefer to avoid signing up to too much if I can avoid it). :-D

I'm just curious to know just what this strange effect on my copy is - probably something to do with the letterbox thing, but I wondered if anyone knows or has seen anything similar...
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Re: My copy of Cube (1997) UK DVD - help please

Postby Ulrich_Christensen » 06 Oct 2017 20:54

Ewan_McMahon wrote:I have a screen-cap image of it - is there a way I can show you guys the image here on the forums or something? I'm not sure how to do that (presumably I upload the picture to a website somewhere and post the link here in the chat-box, but are there any websites out there where I don't have to sign-up for first? I prefer to avoid signing up to too much if I can avoid it).


My personal preference at the moment for quickly hosting images is Imgur.
I believe they do support account-less uploads, if you really need to.
I personally find it easier having an account.

Once you upload your image, you can use:
Code: Select all
[img]DIRECT_LINK__URL_TO_IMAGE[/img]

using the Direct Link url.
Imgur also provides a BBCode prepared box, you can use.
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Re: My copy of Cube (1997) UK DVD - help please

Postby Ewan_McMahon » 07 Oct 2017 07:23

OK, I gave in and made an account - only took a moment to do, thought it would be far more complicated. :lol:

Anyway, here is a link to the screen-cap image I was talking about (I sort of tried to embed it into this chat box, but preview size is far too big, and cut off the side of the image - so here is a direct link - hope it stays an active link...):

https://i.imgur.com/A8MD0fw.jpg
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Re: My copy of Cube (1997) UK DVD - help please

Postby Ewan_McMahon » 13 Oct 2017 14:58

Can anyone help identify (in the link I provided) this strange line on my DVD copy please?
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Re: My copy of Cube (1997) UK DVD - help please

Postby Ulrich_Christensen » 14 Oct 2017 13:23

One possible explanation is that it has to do with overscan of old (CRT) TVs, but this is just me theorizing and shouldn't be taken as the right explanation.
Since this looks to be a non-anamorphic transfer (fits a 4:3 Full-frame screen as old TVs are), it is very likely someone was taking this into account.
Overscan means that you are expecting part of the edge to be cut off, so you have a few options:
  • Introduce a black matte border (or any other style of border).
  • extend and have part of the frame that wasn't supposed to be shown (whether noticeable depends on tightness of the original framing).
  • do nothing and have the overscan cut off part of the frame that was supposed to be shown.
Given this, I theorize that the second option was chosen and whoever did the transfer took the film stock to the very edge of the negative, which means that what you are seeing is the border of the film stock. On a CRT TV, it would be appropriately cut off, but on a modern display and on the computer, you will see the actual full frame image.

Anther explanation is that it is an authoring error introduced while doing the transfer. Comparing different transfers can tell whether those lines were originally there or introduced later.
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Re: My copy of Cube (1997) UK DVD - help please

Postby Ewan_McMahon » 15 Oct 2017 16:36

Ulrich_Christensen wrote:One possible explanation is that it has to do with overscan of old (CRT) TVs, but this is just me theorizing and shouldn't be taken as the right explanation.
Since this looks to be a non-anamorphic transfer (fits a 4:3 Full-frame screen as old TVs are), it is very likely someone was taking this into account.
Overscan means that you are expecting part of the edge to be cut off, so you have a few options:
  • Introduce a black matte border (or any other style of border).
  • extend and have part of the frame that wasn't supposed to be shown (whether noticeable depends on tightness of the original framing).
  • do nothing and have the overscan cut off part of the frame that was supposed to be shown.
Given this, I theorize that the second option was chosen and whoever did the transfer took the film stock to the very edge of the negative, which means that what you are seeing is the border of the film stock. On a CRT TV, it would be appropriately cut off, but on a modern display and on the computer, you will see the actual full frame image.

Anther explanation is that it is an authoring error introduced while doing the transfer. Comparing different transfers can tell whether those lines were originally there or introduced later.

Ok thanks for that information Ulrich.

What still puzzles me though:

This copy I have is part of the boxset sold around 2005 at least according to Amazon (I don't know for certain / can’t remember when I bought since I bought it from a shop not Amazon). I have investigated into the history of DVD releases of this title (not counting the other two movies in the boxset which seem unaffected). Although I only have Amazon-reviews to go by, this title might have had a confusing history of various DVD releases (in the UK anyway). Also, (individually) according to Amazon this movie was released in 2000 - and my own experience with potentially ANY DVD titles from around that period and earlier often meant they were poor / badly printed / various faulty copies. Though my boxset copy was supposed to be released in 2005, I do wonder if one of the older 2000 copies somehow got into my box or something, which might account for the strange line-glitch (but no way I can prove that)... :lol:

Anyway, this is mass-produced item right? And DVD-data should all be from one original source, therefore all produced copies should be identical right? (Apart from if a data transfer glitch occurred or if the disk was damaged). Assuming my copy is not one of the older 2000 releases that got slipped into my box by mistake, I just find it curious how I have not found any evidence anywhere (on Amazon-reviews anyway mainly) of anyone else having mentioned that their boxset copy also has this strange line-glitch thing like mine has. Or come to think of it - a similar effect on ANY other DVD title!

OK, true this title and boxset aren't necessarily the most popular thing many people will buy, and probably even less people would leave behind a review on Amazon, also maybe people just haven't actually noticed the weird effect. But still makes me wonder why I have never found any sign or mention of this kind of glitch on any DVD title anywhere else.

Perhaps it's more a common fault with letter/window/whatever-box DVD transfers? I never did understand these weird kinds of DVD structures (different ratio(widescreen/fullscreen) sizes I understand - but letter/window-boxing?) I wonder does anyone else have another title on DVD with a similar effect - am just curious to see more cases... 8)
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Re: My copy of Cube (1997) UK DVD - help please

Postby Ulrich_Christensen » 16 Oct 2017 08:52

Ewan_McMahon wrote:Though my boxset copy was supposed to be released in 2005, I do wonder if one of the older 2000 copies somehow got into my box

It is common practice for distributors to repackage their older discs to get rid of their surplus stock. Boxsets are often repackaging of their existing older releases. Sometimes the disc labels are changed, sometimes not (I have some of those).
It is almost a given that the disc you bought in the boxset in 2005 is the same as the old release from 2000.

Ewan_McMahon wrote:DVD-data should all be from one original source, therefore all produced copies should be identical right?

Here goes for a "bad" explanation:

DVDs are produced from a master. There can be multiple transfers of a film from the original negative to digital. Each transfer is a multi-step process of scanning the negative, repairing damage and cleaning-up.
If anything happens during the process, any subsequent masters produced from the same intermediate source will have the same defects.
Access to certain transfers may be restricted to the company which paid for the restoration, which explains quality differences between releases.
A bad transfer can trigger a producer/distributor to get a new transfer done, but it can be costly. The idea of a remaster is going back to the source and doing a new master.

During the process, things like re-framing and color-correction can done using the theatrical print for reference.
Se7en (1995) has a good DVD, where part of this process explained in a featurette, including a list of changes compared to the theatrical version.
Perhaps you want tighter framing (more zoomed in) and/or you want more of the top and less of the bottom (and vice versa). Some have a different aspect ratio due to these changes, either as open matte or cropping the sides.
As for other issues, I remember one release of The Silence of the Lambs (1991) erroneously had the first bit of the opening titles missing, since the overlay effect wasn't applied.
It is very likely that later anamorphic transfers and Blu-ray releases have other choices made than an early non-anamorphic one. Especially one which would be seen as an error.
Older releases may have artifacts that weren't as visible when they were first released, while newer releases may have too much DNR (Digital Noise Reduction) to smooth out flaws but removes detail.

Ewan_McMahon wrote:I just find it curious how I have not found any evidence anywhere (on Amazon-reviews anyway mainly) of anyone else having mentioned that their boxset copy also has this strange line-glitch thing like mine has. Or come to think of it - a similar effect on ANY other DVD title!

The Amazon reviews don't seem to mention anything but the movie itself. Nothing about picture quality or anything, so they are nothing to go by. Given the release is an older one with a non-anamorphic transfer, it is likely considered subpar already.
On a CRT TV screen it will probably look fine because of the overscan, so anyone not seeing it on a widescreen will not notice, but I could be wrong and the weird lines are too far in. Maybe it is more noticeable on a computer, I don't know.

Do remember, this is just me theorizing, not fact. I could have said, that this is a disc manufacturing error or your player, and be equally wrong. I tried to apply some logic for an explanation other than manufacturing error, but without proof from another copy or frame-by-frame comparison with a different version, there is no way to know for sure.

As for different examples, I can't come up with a specific example, but I do remember a non-specific bunch of movie releases where a VHS version has a wider angle in shots than the higher quality DVD ones, so maybe having tighter framing is the more common choice.
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Re: My copy of Cube (1997) UK DVD - help please

Postby Ewan_McMahon » 16 Oct 2017 13:39

Ulrich_Christensen wrote:Do remember, this is just me theorizing, not fact. I could have said, that this is a disc manufacturing error or your player, and be equally wrong. I tried to apply some logic for an explanation other than manufacturing error, but without proof from another copy or frame-by-frame comparison with a different version, there is no way to know for sure.

Oh I know, I understand this is all theoretical - at least without another copy to compare it with. I appreciate any of the possible explanations to this strange copy I have - I was just overall curious that's all.

I'll probably live with my copy (unless they re-release all 3 "Cube" movies again in another boxset or something). :wink:
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