A Few Words About A few words about...™ Universal's promo on the restoration of Jaws -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Apr 15, 2012.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Universal promo, which can be found on line, covering their restoration of Jaws, is a worthwhile viewing.

    One caveat, however, as there are several instances that make it appear that something special is occurring when it is not.

    The digital workflow is very much like analogue. One thing that is always performed is color correction, as pieces of film -- shots -- are cut together to form a cohesive continuity. These shots may have been taken days, weeks or months apart, and always need to be color corrected shot by shot.

    The promo makes it appear as if the studio techs are performing some yeoman-like task in making corrections so that shots match, and at the same time, making it appear as if DP, Bill Butler, may not have gotten something correct.

    This would be the wrong conclusion, and while I doubt that that was what was intended, it should be made clear.

    Otherwise, a nice promo.

    http://www.billdesowitz.com/?p=5193

    RAH
     
  2. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    Wasn't Jaws an editing and color correction nightmare in the first place, owing to the light and weather conditions that changed by the minute, pretty much throughout the filming, but especially in every ocean scene?
     
  3. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    Bill Butler says in the Jaws documentary from the laserdisc that much work was done in post production to get the light to match between so many disparate shots taken at different times. As Robert Harris points out, the work being done for the new Blu-ray is good work - but it simply reflects what Butler already did in 1975. I hope that the technicians today would be working from Butler's notes from then.
     
  4. Billy Batson

    Billy Batson Cinematographer

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    Yep, agree with all that. they're only doing what a film lab timer (in the UK, grader) would do for every film, & most of the time not get a credit. It would be the same for a scanned interpos, the colour grading is all there printed in, but it still needs scene to scene tweaking.
     
  5. Geoff_D

    Geoff_D Supporting Actor

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    As you so often say RAH, it's all about the "sizzle".
     
  6. Felix Martinez

    Felix Martinez Screenwriter

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  7. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    I wouldn't jump to conclusions about the grain based on a one minute YouTube clip.
    Let's see what the actual Blu-ray looks like in August.

    When we have the review discs in hand, we'll be able to see more.
    Given that this is a prize film for Spielberg, I tend to doubt that they would simply scrub all the grain off without anyone saying anything.
     
  8. mikeyhitchfan

    mikeyhitchfan Supporting Actor

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    Spielberg was clearly involved, as he is featured in the doc, so quit worrying. Christ, the preview looks fantastic-better than I've ever seen it-and I saw it in the first run theatrical release. I saw plenty of detail on the preview scenes- crisp close ups, and the detail and color looks great. If it looks that good on 1080p Youtube I'm sure the BD will look even better.
    I hope they do this good of job on "The Birds" restoration. Lots of optical work on that.
     
  9. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Both films should look beautiful.

    RAH
     
  10. Greg_D_R

    Greg_D_R Stunt Coordinator

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    Eric Vespe, aka Quint on AintItCool is so excited about the restoration that he's calling for a US theatrical release (which IS happening in the UK) this summer:
    http://www.aintitcool.com/node/55963
     
  11. Jeff Robertson

    Jeff Robertson Second Unit

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  12. EnricoE

    EnricoE Supporting Actor

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    the only thing i worry about is that we only get a crappy low-quality (dolby 192kbit) original mono track of the movie. i don't like how so many movies get the 7.1 treatment when coming from mono or 4.0 (star trek anyone?). even 5.1 movies should be shown in there original audio. this is the new "doing a lucas" on audio.
    if universal screws this one up, i'll rip the movie from the disc and remux it with my ld signitature collection audio :P
     
  13. Kosty

    Kosty Supporting Actor

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    Why can't Universal do this for all their major studio library classic new to Blu-ray titles? :huh:
    Looks pretty good so far....:cool:
     
  14. rich_d

    rich_d Cinematographer

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    Illogical. Film timing in 1975 was based on 1975 elements. Those aged elements or by-products have been converted to digital form. So, what notes from Butler are still applicable? Something like ... 'worked real hard to get twilight scene coming through windows of boat during Indianapolis scene to match' ... great. That's helpful? How? Point being - - that it's fine to WANT the restoration to be consistent with the film as originally released, warts and all, but that's just not truly possible with aged elements. They need to do the best they can and if that means that digital color work is flat out better than it was back when ... because digital techniques are flat out better thus permitting that outcome ... I'm fine with it. Now, if the intent is to make it 'pretty' just to appeal to the masses, that's a legitimate issue. However, if so, that's on Spielberg.
     
  15. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Elements are elements, whether printed in analogue or scanned digitally. While we have additional tools in the digital world, the problems, and in a general sense, the solutions, are the same. And for the record, the original negative for a 1975 film is not considered an "aged" element. It should be Eastman 5254, a long-lived, and robust negative.

    RAH
     
  16. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    I'll try to clarify. Among the things Butler notes in the documentary was that they had a heck of a time getting shots on the Orca to match due to some happening under brighter skies and others happening in overcast conditions, which was the preferred look. (Gray). I would think that Butler's notes would indicate the kind of mood and lighting style he was going for. There may also be indicators like Gordon Willis had about how many parts red to one part of another color for the intended look of The Godfather. That kind of thing shouldn't be changing just because the work is being processed in the digital realm. Further, Bill Butler is not likely to have made notes as general as to match the light coming through the windows of the Orca. His notes would be likely to say HOW he intended that to be done, so that any colorist, then or today, could follow his instructions and wind up with the correct result. I would go farther and say that it would be even more helpful to involve him in the process and have him look at the work to confirm he approves of it. This may not be feasible given his age, but you never know. I've met some pretty spy 90 year olds. I strongly doubt that Steven Spielberg is going to want JAWS to look pretty - he wants it to look in his, your and my home theaters as close to the theatrical experience of 1975 as possible.
     
  17. rich_d

    rich_d Cinematographer

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    Aren't the 1970's known as part of the the "quick fade" era ... primarily for the use of Kodak's negatives? How is that not aging?
     
  18. rich_d

    rich_d Cinematographer

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    Your points are well made, it's just that we have different viewpoints. For example, a pro golfer might use a putter to get the ball from the apron on a green and a day later select a wedge in the same situation. Same pro, same tools, why the different decision? Would a film editor cut the film the same way the very next day? Next week? How about 40 years later? Would a cinematographer set up the same lighting, same lens, same angle? Would he make the same color timing decision on those 3 seconds of film or was he more focused on the pretty intern that walked into the room?
    Your point about The Godfather thematic 'look' is a good one, but I'm not sure it applies much to Jaws. Part of that may have to do with a problematic and extended shoot. Part of that may have to do with the difficulty of shooting water scenes and evening scenes and daytime scenes made to look like nighttime scenes. But when Spielberg has one water and underwater scenes bathed in a beautiful blue hue and another water and underwater scene bathed in a harsh yellow light, it's hard to discern any thematic 'look' that he or the cinematographer were going for.
    Moving on, my guess is that Spielberg will go beyond just making the film as "close to the theatrical experience of 1975 as possible" to making changes that reduce some of the continuity problems in the 1975 film. If he does, I really don't have any problem with it. If he takes some of the sun off the waves shown through the windows during the Indianapolis scene, would that be a bad thing? Was removing the wire holding the falling model jet at the end of GOLDFINGER a bad thing? Either way, time will tell.
     
  19. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    You are confusing 5254 with 5249.
     
  20. Kevin EK

    Kevin EK Producer
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    Rich, you do have a good point about cinematographers, not to mention directors, having a different point of view about their work as time goes on. I had an apropos moment on this subject last year when I talked to Ernest Dickerson about the 2009 Blu-ray of Do The Right Thing. The original theatrical release and Criterion discs had a heavy warm filter to give an overwhelming feeling of heat. The 2009 transfer does not have that filter, and posters at HTF were up in arms about it, saying this was yet another transfer ruined by Universal, etc. but when I asked Ernest directly about it, he immediately told me that he supervised the timing of the 2009 Blu-ray and that it was his choice not to use the filter. I asked why not, and he said it had been many years since he'd seen the movie and he felt the transfer he did for 2009 still looks plenty hot. I think that may be an example of precisely the situation you were describing. That said, I'd still want to see Butler involved, if only out of respect for the man and his work.
     

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