A Few Words About A few words about...™ The Great Escape -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, May 8, 2013.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I have been assured that the Blu-ray is a by-product of the 4k scan.RAH
     
  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Well, that answers that. Do you wonder if the BD preparation was done properly?
     
  3. dannyboy104

    dannyboy104 Stunt Coordinator

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    Highlights from an interview by Bill Duelly with John Kirk, Director of Technical Operations, MGM/UA and Paul Rutan Jr., and Tony Munroe of Triage Motion Services.


    Restoring The Great Escape
    From Cinema Retro magazine January 2005


    CR: Was the original negative Technicolor or Eastman?
    JK: Eastman

    CR: Were release prints made in IB Technicolor or were they only DeLuxe (Eastman)?
    JK: DeLuxe

    CR: Was the methodology employed by Lowry Digital utilized for this restoration?
    JK: No, no digital picture work was used.

    CR: What is the current state of the negative?
    PR: The original negative has been completely repaired and, many hours were spent cleaning the original negative, frame by frame, by hand. We then fully color-corrected the A & B rolls, the B-roll containing about fifty fixes. We’ve done quite a bit of repair to the original negative so the negative is now in very good condition.

    CR: Tell me about some of the fixes that were required?
    PR: We used the original Y-C-M separation masters exclusively for replacement fixes to the original negative. We found that these masters were very flat and the three records didn’t fit. So we optically fitted and recombined the separations and manipulated the contrast, photo-chemically, to match the original negative. The replacements were printed on Eastman 2242 Estar Inter-negative.

    This included the main title, which had many, many damaged sections and several poor laboratory replacement duplicate negatives that had been cut into the original negative over the past forty years. Some of these old sections were from a print: some were made from a poor Inter-positive.


    CR: How do you color correct the images on the original negative? Is it through timing of the printing or are sections reprinted from the separations and then re inserted?
    PR: We did both. We carefully timed the sections that were correctable and replaced those that weren’t, from the Y-C-M’S.

    CR: Were the original Y-C-M separations created from the negative at the time of release? This seems odd if they did not make Technicolor release prints.
    (Editors note: Technicolor prints were made of the trailers. This was not an uncommon occurrence.
    PR: Technicolor wasn’t the only lab that made Y-C-M’s, Deluxe, MGM and CFI made them, as well.

    CR: Was this standard practice? If so, it certainly seems to have come in handy for trying to recreate faded elements.

    PR: Technicolor was the only lab, however, who insisted that separations be made on all their Dye Transfer titles. Most UA titles that didn’t print at Technicolor didn’t get separated. We were lucky with the Great Escape.

    CR: Any ‘alternative footage’ employed or is it the standard theatrical release?
    JR: Standard theatrical release

    CR: Were the mag soundtrack elements remixed?
    JK: The sound was remixed from the mono English comp and music & effects tracks into stereo-ised Dolby Digital 5.1.

    CR: Is this the version on the recent Special Edition DVD?
    JK: That DVD was released late last year before the restoration of the picture and sound were completed. The only way to see the restoration for the next few years will be on theatre screens. There will not be a DVD release anytime in the near future

    Thanks
    Dannyboy104
     
  4. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Mr. Rutan, who does superb work, is now at NT. He did the optical work for us on Spartacus.

    Keep in mind that this work was performed c. 2004, and although the OCN would have been the basis for the new 4k scan, a different and higher quality of work to affected shots is attainable today. Not certain that the B rolls created at that time would be worth scanning.

    RAH
     
  5. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    So with that assurance we now know this is not an older transfer.
     
  6. FoxyMulder

    FoxyMulder 映画ファン

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    This is my only gripe about all this, i understand it looks very good and i appreciate your review but if we are now learning it is from a 4K scan then why does it not look like its from a 4K scan, of course you mention a by-product of the 4K scan so i assume that's maybe the reason but not why, can you perhaps elaborate more on this.
     
  7. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    I watched the disc last night. I wasn't expecting it to be like The Sound of Music, given it was filmed within a few years of each other and Music is a cheery piece with lots of music. Escape was about a dreary prison camp and escape. It looked great to me! I want to compare some scenes to the last DVD because of brightly shot outdoor scenes, like when Hilts booby traps the road to get the motorcycle, it looks a tad dark. But it could have been that way all the time.I always wondered why the cinematographer used the gauzy effects on certain scenes. Perhaps to give them a dreamlike quality, the 4th of July sequence I guess because they were all a bit drunk. And the scene they shoot the 50. I always wondered if Blythe went blind from the moonshine or as he said the progressive myopia. Perhaps the myopia is the actual reason in the script.
     
  8. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Just finished watching the Blu-ray.Just the greatest war movie ever made. Period. The cast is amazing andI never get tired of watching this film. Three hours went so quickly, and thatis quite uncommon for a movie to accomplish that feat.The transfer? For the most part, better than I expected. It's certainly notthe travesty that was originally reported. I can tell you this -- the print isabsolutely blemish free.Some scenes did not look as good as others. I am glad this was mentionedpreviously, but for me, the moonshine scene looked very out of place in thefact that it looked cloudy. I have no idea if this was an intentional effect by the cinematographer or it is a problem in the transfer.Hard for me to say if this transfer could have had more work done to it or not.I don't know what the original elements look like. I can say, as Robert Crawfordhas, that it looks better than the DVD. For that reason (and the price) worthy ofa purchase.Just love this film. It is a true classic. I so much miss Steve McQueen. PS: Never understood why the Germans would give known tunnel escapees gardening tools. Also, if I were to nitpick at the events, a little too much gardeninggoing on and men coming and going, standing in the middle of the dirt patches.Suppose one really needs to suspend belief that it doesn't look suspicious.
     
  9. Oblivion138

    Oblivion138 Second Unit

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    Am I the only one seeing a lot of aliasing in this transfer? I mean, it looks decent, but I'm definitely seeing the "staircase" phenomenon in pretty much every scene. In motion, I find it a bit distracting.
     
  10. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    You are not, although it doesn't become obvious or problematic unless the image is enlarged.I actually did an interesting test comparing two Blu-rays with publicity noted 4k restorations. I sampled both at 2x enlargement.I was looking at grain structure. With Great Escape, grain became soft, and it was difficult to determine whether said grain was anamorphic as it should have been. Resolution dropped. And the stair-stepping you note becomes very obvious. On my system, this was equivalent to projecting an image 18 feet in width. Anyone running at 60 inches is unaffected.The other example that I tested was Funny Girl. Enlarging had the following affect. The larger image appeared as if I was projecting a 35mm print, and changed lenses to one half the length.Grain held perfectly, while being enlarged. Resolution was unaffected, as the sharp image simply became larger. There were zero digital anomalies. Wish I had the answer.RAH
     
  11. Professor Echo

    Professor Echo Screenwriter

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    As a little kid in the 60's I immediately gravitated to McQueen and Newman and owe so much of my (admirable) iconoclasm to that exposure. In true 60's fashion, these rebels had a cause even when they didn't. Watch their movies and you'll know what I mean.
     
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  12. Oblivion138

    Oblivion138 Second Unit

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    Thanks...just wanted to make sure my eyes aren't going in my old age. ;)
     
  13. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    Worse than that really. It wasn't a new camp, it was a new compound in an old camp. The camp kept on getting over-crowded, so they had to keep adding new compounds. The prisoners volunteered to help build the compound, & so were busy stealing & hiding tools & even putting in false walls to hide things behind! You'd think the Germans would have known, but maybe they needed the help. The film gets everything wrong! But seeing as it's one of the most entertaining films ever made, all is forgiven, & if you want history, read a book, & there are several good books written about it. It's an epic story, & you really need a series like Band Of Brothers to do it justice...but would it be as much fun?

    I had a look at the caps over at caps-a-holic (I'm so sorry!) & it looked a bit flat compaired to the DVD, but seeing as I thought the DVD had far too much contrast, hopefully the Blu should be fine.
     
  14. MichaelEl

    MichaelEl Stunt Coordinator

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    The DVDBeaver review is right: this Blu-Ray has the dreaded "teal and orange" look. In particular, the nice blue skies from the DVD now have an ugly green-blue cast. Check out this screencap, for example:

    http://www.caps-a-holic.com/hd_vergleiche/comparison.php?cap1=22053&cap2=22045&art=full&image=0&cID=1692&action=1&lossless=#vergleich

    Not being an expert on color timing, I don't know if this appearance is reflective of original prints or if it's the historical revisionism of the ALIENS Blu-Ray again. I tend to think it's the latter, as I don't seem to remember any pre-90s films having a constant "teal and orange" appearance.
     
  15. Lromero1396

    Lromero1396 Supporting Actor

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    The color doesn't seem accurate to me either.
     
  16. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    not everyone dreads "teal and orange" it's only a problem if applied to something that didn't get timed that way in the first place. It irritates me to see scores of people just generally bashing the wrong thing - it's not the colors that are bad, it's the accuracy of the timing that is at fault.
     
  17. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    They look fine to me.
     
  18. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    I must be a bit slow this evening, I don't understand this post at all. As an ex filmlab timer (grader in the UK) & telecine colourist, the colour is all down to the timing. The person who's doing the colour grading has a lot of power, you can't have good colour & bad timing. I must say the caps look a wee bit cold to me. I remember seeing it at the pictures in 1963, & I can't say I remember what it looked like, but I'm sure it looked like yer average Hollywood film looked like then, nice colour, good greyscale & neutral grays. I'll be seeing the Blu in a month or so, should be interesting.
     
  19. Moe Dickstein

    Moe Dickstein Filmmaker

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    I'm more remembering the stuff from Indiana Jones where people were basically saying how "all current color grading is pushing things into teal and orange" and my feeling is if that is a look the filmmaker wants, then it's fine, but the argument got into how that particular look itself was unacceptable. When doing catalog it should be accurate to the original intent, but wanted to head off any "teal/orange" fixations
     
  20. haineshisway

    haineshisway Producer

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    Well, the problem is the caps aren't all that accurate - as they never are. The transfer I watched on Blu-ray has blue skies. Have you seen the actual transfer, because if not, I'm afraid these caps discussions bring nothing interesting to the table.
     
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