Archival Film Remastering

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Vidiot, Nov 15, 2023.

  1. longdist01

    longdist01 Senior Member

    Location:
    Chicago, IL USA
    Thank you Marc for preview and follow-up on Remaster work on this film - looks like a purchase in Spring 2024! @Vidiot
     
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  2. 64FALCON

    64FALCON Forum Resident

    I would expect there's bunches of movies out there with only one film print extant -- condition variable.

    I clearly recall watching the 2012 video of 'The Restoration of JAWS' to prepare it for a Blu-Ray release. It's on YouTube and runs 8½ minutes. Spielberg says in the piece that the negative for JAWS was in "pretty crummy" condition. Think of all the less-famous movies that have a degraded negative or no negative remaining.
     
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  3. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    I know that Universal spent an enormous amount of money restoring Jaws in 4K some years ago. In some cases, they might have had to go back and forth between the original negative (which was a bit beat to hell) and a nearly-pristine IP (a 1975 positive copy of the O-neg), and all they'd have to do is de-grain and dust-bust everything and then match all the color. It's not impossible to do, it's just time-consuming.

    I thought Jaws looked excellent in 4K, but a few night scenes were -- to me -- a little bit light. But I always say, "if the director saw it and approved it, then that's the way it was supposed to look."
     
  4. 64FALCON

    64FALCON Forum Resident

    In regards to the JAWS restoration video there was something called a 'wet gate' or 'wetgate' scan mentioned; I'd never heard that term before I watched the video several years ago.

    It was also stated it took several hours to remove the scratches from each frame. Maybe it would take less time in 2023 than it did in 2011/2012? In any case, there was a bunch of sophisticated-looking computer 'stuff' in the video that I couldn't make heads nor tails of what it was . . . but it looked ex$pensive!

    I reckon it's entirely unrealistic to believe that every movie which needs some kind of 'restoration' will get it. In point of fact, some movies probably deserve to disintegrate into dust! GIGLI, anyone? :p
     
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  5. "Wow, that's amazing work! Remastering old films sounds tough but super rewarding. The sneak peek is awesome, gives a good feel for the transformation. It's cool seeing how much better it can look after all those years. Keep it up
     
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  6. mBen989

    mBen989 Senior Member

    Location:
    Scranton, PA
    Well, wet-gate just covers film scratches long enough to either make a hi-rez digital scan or a new dupe element.
     
  7. 64FALCON

    64FALCON Forum Resident

    So what movie will Vidiot work on next . . . ?

    Vidiot business card tagline: "Salvaging Movies From 'The Ravages of Time'". :righton:
     
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  8. The Beave

    The Beave My Wife Is My Life! And don’t I forget it!

    So from here I wandered into the Animation Restoration side of the community and MAN, I had no idea the competition between 'Restorers'.
    I have bought discs from Thunderbean and the likes but had no idea how crazy this community is Vidiot!
    I applaude you for having the demeanor to navigate the many nut-bags out there.
    I was just going through one thread on the cartoon forum and one guy was having a conniption fit because the ENDING credits faded in and then went to black, before fading back in and ending. He was like DEMANDING to know if this was a 'restoration flub' or if it was part of the element!
    And he was being really brash.
    Wow.
    so all I can say is keep on keeping on.
    Now, onto the Hawks losing to the 49'ers.....on Thanksgiving .........
    Beave
     
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  9. mBen989

    mBen989 Senior Member

    Location:
    Scranton, PA
    I'm sorry if my Niners are spoiling your Thanksgiving.
     
  10. thxdave

    thxdave "One black, one white, one blonde"

    Hey Marc. Will AI have any effect on your work (good or bad) going forward? Can it help your efforts?
     
  11. The Beave

    The Beave My Wife Is My Life! And don’t I forget it!

    :righton:
    Not at all!! I love the Hawks but they are a mediocre team, but they're fun to watch.
    And they are getting SLAUGHTERED right now.........I'm loving it.
    SF is a top tier team, the Hawks aren't.
    Enjoy!!!!
    Beave
     
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  12. The Beave

    The Beave My Wife Is My Life! And don’t I forget it!

    Can we Please get this to 3 fricking pages guys??????
     
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  13. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    thanks for the heads-up! and since you've worked on it it will be extra special...thanks!
     
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  14. cdcollector87

    cdcollector87 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Does anyone know if we'll ever see James Bond movies restored in 4K HDR? Just feels like MGM will never spend the money on it. Would Amazon now that they co-own it?
     
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  15. Joe Lopez

    Joe Lopez Forum Resident

    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    Very happy to see this coming out! I remember seeing The Swiss Conspiracy when it ran on the CBS Late Movie probably in the early ‘80’s. I picked up a dvd transfer of it a while ago when I was having a bit of a David Janssen retrospective, but it was a big disappointment. Faded badly, probably taken from a 16mm TV print (aspect ratio was 1 to 1.33) and with some jump cuts that indicated that footage was missing. I gave up about halfway through.

    For what it’s worth, here’s a blog entry on the upcoming Film Masters release.
    The Restoration of The Swiss Conspiracy – STEVE ALDOUS, Writer
     
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  16. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    No, the Bond films were excluded from Amazon's purchase of the MGM library.

    We use some machine-learning tools for stuff like window tracking, stabilization, and other kinds of tools, so in some ways it allows us to fix more with less manual labor. But there's still labor involved. If they use real Generative A.I. to make movies, then it eliminates cameras, cinematographers, gaffers, electricians, set builders, truck drivers, prop builders, sound people, and many other "physical production" people, even actors if they regenerate the voices and faces. I'm not convinced you can use Generative A.I. to edit or mix a film, let alone do final color or VFX work. I have an "in the year 2525" suspicion of the whole process.
     
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  17. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Wetgates are not always the answer: they tend to adversely affect bright images on the negative as well. Sometimes, scans are made from a combination of dry and wetgate images for this reason.(I believe that was done on Godfather, and they opted to not use the wetgate most of the time.)

    MTI DRS Nova is the most widely-used system I know of to remove film dirt (negative and positive) as well as eliminating scratches, weave, restoring missing frames, eliminating splices, and solving other problems. It's not a purely automatic process, but it is expensive (about $20,000+) and requires a human artist to sit and watch the film and evaluate it, sometimes frame-by-frame, sometimes just shot-by-shot or scene-by-scene. A really good restoration person could do a movie like Jaws in about 3-4 weeks, maybe less if you had multiple people working on it in the same room at the same time. It does not take "hours to remove scratches from each frame," but I think it's fair to say that it might take :30 seconds for 1 frame.

    Whenever I'm asked, I always say, "I think every movie and TV show and short that ever got commercially released deserves to look and sound as good as it possibly can, and should be available for the public to watch and enjoy in some form -- on streaming, in TV syndication, or on a physical disc." It's not for us to decide if it's a horrible film. For all we know, somebody out there might like it... and who am I to say they have no taste? If it's they're favorite film, more power to 'em.
     
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  18. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    The problem is, a big part of the video remastering business -- like the music remastering business -- is that it requires taste and experience to do well. And if somebody else has completely different taste than you do, they tend to be fairly judgemental. Restoration people can be very opinionated, but I try to let it be open to debate, so we try different things and go with whatever works the best.

    One problem with a question like that is there might be three different film elements out from different eras, and one fades, one cuts out, and the other has completely different titles. Which one is correct? What do you believe?

    I did a movie where -- for reasons I'm not sure of -- the TITLE of the film was cut out of the opening of the film, and at the very end, there was no copyright notice. WTF? My guess is some distributor came in and made that decision, and then using some other film elements (like an interpositive, going down a generation or two), they cut in an alternate title. I've certainly had situations where we had two completely different edits of a film, each of which wound up in theaters in different parts of the world. Which is the correct version? What if the director and producer aren't around to tell us? We just have to make an educated guess as to how it should look, and in a situation like this, I'd lean towards the "kitchen sink" approach: just include everything, make sure the story makes sense and the pictures look good, and get on with life.
     
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  19. The Beave

    The Beave My Wife Is My Life! And don’t I forget it!

    Very Good Points you make here.
    To me, living in the year 2023 I take what I can get from reputable people/companies. I get a laugh out of people who dissect The opening title segments of Looney Tunes. To tell you the truth, I remember all of them, growing up with them, But I haven’t the brain complicity to really Care about that.
    I fully understand the fact that movies/cartoons were butchered up for television etc. I find it kinda funny that those who complain about such things don’t understand that, as it IS business, these things happen. And to have somebody find original elements and bring it up to 2 or 4K is ITSELF an incredible thing.

    Plus, in the year 2023 the fact that this is still going on is a blessing to me. I’ll take what I can get. I don’t have time to be anal about the minutia of it.
    Not knocking anyone who cares about that, it’s totally valid to me. But since I don’t work in the Smithsonian institute I’d just rather enjoy what I can at this point.

    And just ordered from a community guy, the complete KOKO the clown set.
    If the Real companies can’t rock me…..somebody will!!
    Hey, that’s a Stones Song……see what i did there…..
    beave
     
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  20. cdcollector87

    cdcollector87 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Well, that is unfortunate. The 2006 Lowry transfers are not bad, but they didn't do all the movies did they? I thought it was only 9 or 10 of them; and I remember reading somewhere that the Blu-rays may have used some earlier transfers? I've also heard here and there that the original negatives are in poor shape. I wonder if MGM will give these to Kino Lorber to remaster for 4K UHD.
     
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  21. 64FALCON

    64FALCON Forum Resident

    @Vidiot: "Deserves got nuthin' to do with it". :p

    As far as junk like GIGLI goes I say sell the negative to Bennifer and if HeShe doesn't want it then send it to the film crematorium 'cause it's takin' up space somewhere that could be better used to store sock puppets. :laugh:

    Here's a link to the YouTube video about the restoration of JAWS I've referenced in case anyone reading this has not seen it; uploaded April 10, 2012 and runs 8½.

    ALSO: I narrowed it down; the fella who says it could take some 3-4 hours to digitally remove the scratches from one frame is a gent named 'Eric Bauer, Inferno Artist'. He talks about laying one damaged frame over a good frame and then proceeding to remove the scratches with the computer. → I noted 'Vidiot' has related it shouldn't actually take that long to clean up each frame.

    I watched this countless times over the years to absorb it into my memory banks. The 'before' shots of the beach scene and the boat cabin before restoration look just like the 1980 VHS tape I've watched. No color matching done for the 1980 MCA Videocassette, Inc. release. Catalog # is '66001' on the video box.

     
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  22. 64FALCON

    64FALCON Forum Resident

    @Vidiot: You spoke of an instance where a film's title was cut out and weirdly replaced with an alternate title. I've got an aging VIDCREST Video release from 1984 of the 1973 UK movie THE MUTATIONS. A very bizarre film starring Donald Pleasence, Brad Harris and an unrecognizable Tom Baker (later of "Doctor WHO" fame). Somewhat like an early '70s version of "Freaks" but the plot also involves cross-breeding plants with people. Of course it does. o_O

    The U.S. homevideo release from VIDCREST cuts in a cheap, computer-generated title "The Freakmaker" where "The Mutations" would be. Maybe Robert Weinbach (he owned Vidcrest) thought the new title would help sell tapes for his small video company?
     
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  23. mBen989

    mBen989 Senior Member

    Location:
    Scranton, PA
    I get the feeling Dr. No, From Russia with Love, Goldfinger and Thunderball need some major TLC.
     
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  24. Dansk

    Dansk rational romantic mystic cynical idealist

    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I've manually cleaned plenty of black and white still photo scans, because there's no automatic infrared dust removal with black and white film. 3-4 hours is an absolute worst case scenario, where there's loads of dust and the image is really complex, requiring a lot of careful cloning and editing. I've only encountered one or two photos like that, thankfully, because they really suck.

    For motion picture film, where you have the frames before and after to use for comparison for automated correction, there's no way it should be taking that long unless the negative is well and truly trashed.
     
  25. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Yeah, weird stuff happens sometimes. We try to ask for textless elements (that is, the original camera negative without optical titles) when possible so the titles can be digitally fixed if it's necessary. But often for a film that's 30-40-50 years old, those film cans were tossed to the winds decades ago, and nobody knows where they are any more. It's even more difficult for obscure films that aren't very well-remembered.

    Sure, 12 years ago on an Inferno, which was an incredibly expensive, clunky beast. Modern film restoration software, like DRS Nova, is many times faster. By the same token, I can comfortably run 4K film in Resolve today much easier (and cheaper) than I could run HD video 10-12 years ago. Computers get faster, hardware gets cheaper, software gets more advanced... things change. I've sat with DRS people and watched them bop-bop-bop through each frame in less than :30 seconds, assuming they're talented, they have fast machines, and the film isn't torn to shreds.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2023
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