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DVNR - an illustrated demonstration


News is incredibly slow in movie-land at the moment, for some reason (although I apologise for not reporting on the announcement of the impending release of the DreamWorks classic Norbit sooner), so I’ve essentially been browsing the web for things to report on. During my adventures, I came across a rather interesting DVD image comparison on a French forum called Sans Commentaire. The title under the microscope is Rob Zombie’s highly entertaining The Devil’s Rejects, specifically the Canadian release by Maple Pictures (which presumably uses the same master as the US Lions Gate version) and the French release by Metropolitan. As many of you probably know, this film was shot on 16mm, giving it a harsher, grainier look than its predecessor, House of 1000 Corpses. Why should you give two hoots? Why, because the screenshots of the Metropolitan release demonstrate just how destructive DVNR (digital video noise reduction) can be on a grainy source. Look especially at the second capture, and what happens to the texture of William Forsythe’s skin. The same thing happens again in Capture 6, where poor Captain Spaulding now looks like he’s wearing a wax mask rather than mere face paint (look what it does to his scraggy beard too).

Here’s the thing: Rob Zombie shot The Devil’s Rejects in 16mm for a reason… and no, it wasn’t because he couldn’t afford to go to 35mm, as evinced by the fact that both it and House of 1000 Corpses cost an estimated $7 million. He shot it that way because he wanted it to look raw and documentary-like, a callback to similarly rough and ready 70s exploitation flicks like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Attempting to remove, or more accurately, smother the grain not only destroys the film’s texture, making it look unnatural and digital, it also goes against the grain (apologies for the unintentional pun) of what the director was trying to achieve. On the Maple DVD, The Devil’s Rejects features some compression artefacts as a result of the visual complexity of the grain pattern, but this is, in my opinion, vastly preferable to the diffuse smush that the Metropolitan disc seems to be.

Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2007 at 10:26 PM | Comments: 5
Categories: Cinema | DVD | Technology



I think the same thing happened to the R1 version of "Thirteen". Mine version is blurry and free of any grain - I just recieved the R2 and it looks much much better

Posted by: aw, April 11, 2007 9:53 PM


You’re absolutely correct. The R1 Thirteen is heavily DVNR’d, whereas the R2 UK release has one of the best DVD transfers I’ve ever seen.

Posted by: Whiggles, April 11, 2007 9:55 PM


Sans Commentaire is a great site, although of course they tend to concentrate on French releases which aren't always English-friendly.

I wonder if the UK R2 from Momentum uses the same transfer as the Metropolitan?

Posted by: Philly Q, April 11, 2007 11:31 PM


So for the Devil reject's, I have the r1, but do like this film, as Philly Q previously said, does the UK R2 version have the same transfer. Please could someone confirm this

It would be much appreciated

Posted by: Nadeem Rasool, April 18, 2007 8:01 AM


I wish I knew. It will certainly be a PAL transfer rather than an NTSC one, so it will definitely be different from the US disc, but whether or not it’s the same as the French disc is anyone’s guess.

Posted by: Whiggles, April 18, 2007 4:28 PM

Comments on this entry and all entries up to and including June 30th 2009 have been closed. The discussion continues on the new Land of Whimsy blog:


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