An Interview with Ned Price on the HOUSE OF WAX restoration

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Bob Furmanek, Sep 26, 2013.

Tags:
  1. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
    Insider

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2001
    Messages:
    4,809
    Likes Received:
    5,377
    My colleagues Greg Kintz, Jack Theakston and I recently had the pleasure of visiting with Ned Price, Vice President of Mastering at Warner Bros. in Burbank.

    Mr. Price kindly answered some questions on the new restoration of HOUSE OF WAX.

    [​IMG]
    Ned Price and Bob Furmanek at Warner Bros.

    BF: The restoration is outstanding. We've seen many 3-D versions of this film over the past 33 years and have never seen it look this good. Kudos to you and your team!

    NP: Thank you, that’s very generous. Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging is part of our Technical Operations research and development team, so they are able to build tools as needed for the different challenges we meet in restorations. Colorist Janet Wilson does the heavy lifting on the majority of our restoration projects, she is extremely patient and diligent in working with these titles. Janet also worked on the 3D “Dial M for Murder” restoration and the “Wizard of Oz” 3D conversion.

    BF: Can you briefly explain the process of scanning from the YCM elements and how Motion Picture Imaging approached this restoration?

    NP: We completed 4k scans of the 3-strip positive protection masters (YCM’s) for both left eye and right eye negatives for a total of 6-reels of film to restore the 3-D color composite image. The 6-layers of film were composited and aligned, using proprietary software to create a perfectly registered color image (the individual YCM records had shrunken independently of each other so they would no longer align using traditional photo-chemical restoration methods. The color composite images were then digitally processed to minimize color breathing (inherent in original processing of the YCMs).

    BF: We understand the original camera negative was inadvertently damaged by an outside laboratory many years ago. Can you tell us what happened?

    NP: The original camera negative sustained water damage and were rewashed in a lab in an attempt to save them. Unfortunately the rewash was unsuccessful and the original camera negatives for both eyes were destroyed. Fortunately, Warner Bros. had manufactured YCM separation master positives at Technicolor, which were made extremely well and provided the quality you will see on the Blu-ray.

    BF: What aspect of the 3-D restoration was the most challenging for your team, ie: left/right panel matching, alignment, convergence etc?

    NP: The most challenging aspect was for Janet to match in both right and left eyes. This is a long and eye fatiguing process as of course, Janet had to color correct wearing 3D glasses.

    BF: We've noticed a few very brief alignment issues which were errors in principal photography. They have been part of the film since 1953. Was there any thought of fixing those shots for the restoration?

    NP: We decided to retain alignment of the original photography. The moments were very brief and we decided not to touch them, we would have reworked the shots had there been more sustained errors.

    BF: We know the original fourth effects channel is the original from 1953. Can you tell us what materials were used by Chace for the new audio mix and is there any hope the Warnerphonic tracks may still survive?

    NP: Rear horn contains a different mic placement in the main title sequence. I do not know how the rear horn was derived from the original Warnerphonic track. I never give up hope in finding missing elements. It’s possible that a copy of the Warnerphonic track might turn up in Europe.

    BF: Warner Bros. owns more vintage 3-D films than any other studio, including the MGM and RKO libraries. Are there plans to restore any other 3-D titles in the near future?

    NP: We completed preservation on all the 3D features, shorts and animated titles. Elements are all prepped for restoration, but there is nothing in the cue at the moment. I’m hoping consumer response to “House of Wax” Blu-ray will encourage our sales divisions to pursue additional titles. I think the success of “Wizard” 3D conversion will also help us to release native 3D classic titles.

    BF: Thank you for your time, it is very much appreciated.

    NP: Thank you Bob, come back and visit again soon.

    For the production history on HOUSE OF WAX and the 3-D Film Archive Blu-ray review, please visit http://www.3dfilmarchive.com/House-of-Wax
     
  2. revgen

    revgen Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2010
    Messages:
    898
    Likes Received:
    499
    Real Name:
    Dan
    It's interesting to read how much work was put into bringing this title to blu-ray. Especially the part where the colorist had to wear 3D glasses while doing the color matching.

    One term I didn't understand was "color breathing", which Ned answered on the 2nd question. I tried using google, but all I came up with were breathing exercises. I've heard of "color bleeding", but color breathing is a new one for me.
     
  3. Keith Cobby

    Keith Cobby Screenwriter

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    Messages:
    1,663
    Likes Received:
    796
    Location:
    Kent "The Garden of England", UK
    Real Name:
    Keith Cobby
    Very interesting feature, thanks Bob. This is, for me, what blu-ray is all about. Classic titles given enormous care to provide us with the best possible home viewing experience. Thanks to Warner Bros. for releasing House of Wax and, I hope, many others.
     
  4. Paul Penna

    Paul Penna Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    Messages:
    592
    Likes Received:
    90
    I believe it refers to fluctuations in color caused by variations in density in the individual b/w color records. The resulting color varies in intensity in relation to the thinness or thickness of its negative, so when combined with the other two records the shifts in color appear to "breathe" in and out.
     
  5. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
    HW Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2012
    Messages:
    17,112
    Likes Received:
    899
    Location:
    Chicago-ish/NW Indiana
    Real Name:
    Sam
  6. Doug Otte

    Doug Otte Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2003
    Messages:
    748
    Likes Received:
    39
    That's correct. You can see where it wasn't corrected in some recent BDs. I'm struggling to think of examples. Black Narcissus was one, and I think Phantom of the Opera is another one.
     
  7. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2006
    Messages:
    14,699
    Likes Received:
    3,100
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    Real Name:
    Matt Hough
    The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956).
     
    Moe Dickstein likes this.
  8. revgen

    revgen Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2010
    Messages:
    898
    Likes Received:
    499
    Real Name:
    Dan
    Thanks for the info.
     
  9. Bob Furmanek

    Bob Furmanek Insider
    Insider

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2001
    Messages:
    4,809
    Likes Received:
    5,377
    As you enjoy the Blu-ray tonight, drink a toast to the outstanding restoration work done by Ned Price, Janet Wilson and the talented people at Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging!
     
  10. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Messages:
    5,214
    Likes Received:
    1,179
    Location:
    Nor'east
    Real Name:
    Charles Smith
    I shall, and having just sampled the disc, I look forward to watching it all the way through. Curtain time is about half an hour away.

    Huge thanks to all concerned!
     
    ahollis and Bob Furmanek like this.
  11. JohnMor

    JohnMor Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2004
    Messages:
    4,065
    Likes Received:
    1,296
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Real Name:
    John Moreland
    Can't wait to pick this title up. I have loved it since childhood.
     
  12. Johnny Angell

    Johnny Angell Played With Dinosaurs Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 1998
    Messages:
    6,459
    Likes Received:
    826
    Location:
    Central Arkansas
    Real Name:
    Johnny Angell
    Salut!
     
  13. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Messages:
    5,214
    Likes Received:
    1,179
    Location:
    Nor'east
    Real Name:
    Charles Smith
    Watched it straight through, and loved it like I haven't had a chance to love it since the Lafayette's 3-D festival in 2004. What a treat. And what a proud addition to the collection.
     

Share This Page