Exemplary transfers from difficult source elements?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jon Robertson, May 30, 2002.

  1. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

    May 19, 2001
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    I'm going to nominate:

    Anchor Bay's and THX's amazing transfer of Maniac, which looks FAR better than a 20-year-old 16mm film should.

    Criterion's Fiend Without A Face - the print is clearly knackered, but the transfer and clean-up is incredible - razor-sharp with the kind of perfect contrasts and densities you only see once in a blue moon.

    Columbia Tristar's Lost Horizon - some sequences are taken from beat-up 16mm sources, but the restoration work performed on this reconstruction is miraculous.
  2. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

    May 16, 2001
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    Georgia (the state)
    Real Name:
    Patrick McCart
    Although it wasn't done for DVD, the 1983 reconstruction of A Star Is Born was brilliantly done. While most of the lost footage was indeed lost, the photograph panning/zooming/small animation was a neat idea.

    Same goes for the recent reconstruction of Greed.

    North By Northwest's transfer (Warner Bros. and Lowry Digital Images) had to be a pain to do. First, it's clear that they used a VistaVision format 35mm interpositive (horizontal image...not vertical like normal 35mm). Second, NxNW was filmed in EASTMANCOLOR (Read: beet red when faded), but released in Technicolor normal 35mm reduction prints.

    NxNW clearly had a number of tears (I could see an outline of a few by checking out the grain pattern...it's invisible without ultra zooming), plenty of dirt/dust/other damage was removed. The color is amazing, BTW.

    As for some more...

    the 1994 restoration of Help! had extremely difficult problems. First, the negative was in poor condition. It had 15+ tears, including one which was over 10 feet long, I think. Plus, the color had faded. The DVD clearly shows that the restored version contains mostly the original negative (which is very clear, almost grain-free, and super-sharp), an interpositive (a few grainer shots, but still clean), and the optical shots negative (which looks horrible, but the damage was printed into the film.)

    IMO, it could use some further digital restoration for the beyond repair optical shots, but it's still great.

    Columbia's It Happened One Night DVD looks fantastic...it's clearly obvious that a lot of restoration has been done. Most of the film looks like it's from the original negative. That part is perfectly sharp, grain-free, and glowing with nitrate glow! Some short sections seem to come from a grainy 16mm source, but is still pretty good. I only noticed one frame cut. Any nitrate film from 1934 that looks as good as that is great!
  3. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

    Jul 11, 1999
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    The Passion of Joan of Arc-Criterion always does a bang-up job and this is one of their best efforts. The comparison they use between their restored version vs. the original print (shown at the wrong frame rate as well) was astounding. This incredible film would've been all but unwatchable if not for Criterion's efforts.
    Re-Animator-I'm not so certain that the source elements were difficult to begin with, but damn, this transfer was incredible! For a dated print, it was razor sharp and clean.
  4. Rob Lutter

    Rob Lutter Producer

    Nov 3, 2000
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    Fox's The Rocky Horror Picture Show... I dare anyone to find a SPEC on that transfer... it is FLAWLESS! [​IMG]
  5. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

    Jun 3, 1999
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    Citizen Kane and Easy Rider were significant challenges to the authoring teams responsible for the respective DVDs. Just check those transfers out, though. Both look better than any print of either that I have seen.
  6. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

    Apr 8, 1999
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    Real Name:
    David Scarpa
    I'd Nominate "The Others" that movie spends 90% of it in the dark and yet the image is rock steady never muddied. It's an excellent transfer
  7. Thomas T

    Thomas T Cinematographer

    Sep 30, 2001
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    Criterion's Written On The Wind. Over the years, I've seen the film several times in a theatre and the film looked more than adequate although it lacked some sharpness and detail and the colors were less than stellar.
    The Criterion DVD was a revelation! It looks like the film was made in 1996, not 1956. Only North By Northwest comes close.

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