North By Northwest DVD: Possibly from VistaVision elements?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Patrick McCart, Mar 2, 2002.

  1. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    I noticed that the previous version of North By Northwest was 1.66:1, but seemed to cut off parts of the picture (notibly the MGM byline under "North By Northwest" gets cropped a bit).

    The DVD is 1.78:1 and reveals MORE information on the sides than the 1.66:1 LD.

    I read somewhere that MGM's flat (35mm non-anamorphic) productions were made at 1.75:1 when they started putting out widescreen films.

    This leads me to belive that the DVD video transfer of North By Northwest possibly could be from VistaVision.

    Anyone care to share their thoughts?
     
  2. GerardoHP

    GerardoHP Supporting Actor

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    I don't know the answer to this, but the American Widescreen Museum used to have an article as to the incorrect cropping and scanning of this picture for home video. I can't remember if that applied to the DVD or the LD but I'm in the process of finding out.
     
  3. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    I forgot to add...the DVD adds more space on the bottom and the sides than the 1.66:1 LD.
     
  4. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    Patrick-
    As someone who makes a point to read every comment
    he makes in this forum,
    I can tell you that Robert Harris says the DVD
    is the best presentation of the film he has seen
    on an home video format...and he had nothing to do with the
    restoration, which has yet to be done to actual
    film elements. Meaning there is no "archival
    restoration print" of NXNW as of yet.
    Harris was so impressed that he started a thread
    called
    The Beauty and The Beast referring
    to North By Northwest as the beauty DVD
    and The Sound of Music as the beast DVD.
    Since Harris even addressed concerns with how
    Lawrence of Arabia doesn't have the
    right coloring for the desert (entirely too welcoming),
    I am sure that if Harris thought the framing was off
    in the slighest of NXNW, he would've said so.
    He also mentioned that film film is matted a bit
    on the top an the bottom, as without it, in one scene,
    for example, you see the plywood below Grant when he
    hits the ground during the crop duster scene.
    Also, there was mention of the sign in Washington DC,
    "United States Intelligence Agency"
    looking cropped on the left ("Un" is cropped,
    as is "Int"...), and Harris said that there
    is no reason to think that Hitch
    did the shot with the whole sign in the
    first place.
    Mark
     
  5. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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  6. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    Damin-
    It is a common practice to shot one way, and
    have the film transferred to film stock in a format
    other than how it was shot.
    For example, Cameron frequently shoots using
    a Super-35 film process, but must transfer the
    film into another film process, since most theaters
    (if not all) cannot show Super-35 film.
    Since VistaVision is shot on 35mm stock, but runs
    left to right, and not up and down,
    it is highly doubtful that any commercial
    theater actaully presents (or presented)
    the film shot in VistaVision
    that are not transferred and reduced
    to normal 35mm film, in
    the "normal" vertical manner.
    I'm far from an expert on this, but I remember
    something about how Katz and Harris transferred
    'Vertigo' (which was also shot
    using the VistaVision process) to 70mm, rather
    than "reducing it to 35mm"
    get the framing correct off
    of that VistaVision film.
    To see more about shooting one way, and
    transferring to other film formats for theatrical release
    , go here:
    http://www.cs.tut.fi/~leopold/Ld/Fil...hootingSuper35
    Mark
     
  7. paul o'donnell

    paul o'donnell Second Unit

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    Mark, what exactly did RAH say was wrong with Sound of Music dvd. I've not got it yet, and can't find the thread.

    Thanks
     
  8. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    Paul-
    It is a pretty old thread, like maybe 14 months
    ago, so I doubt a "search" will have it appear.
    But most members of this forum who have
    high-end equipment will tell you
    The Sound of Music as presented
    on DVD leaves much to be desired.
    I think Obi should have his
    review (which reflected the same sentiments
    that RAH exspressed) can be found in his review
    section here somewhere.
    http://www.obisreviews.com/main4.html
    From what I understand, it appears that
    Fox pulled all the best film elements, but
    then didn't do any restoration work, and
    so the images are not that great, some
    problems with softness, alignment, and color.
    I remember one quote from RAH's comments
    that his wife made when he started playing
    the DVD: "What is wrong with that picture?"
    Mark
     
  9. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Actually, VistaVision runs from right to left.

    RAH
     
  10. Peter Kline

    Peter Kline Cinematographer

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  11. Joseph Bolus

    Joseph Bolus Cinematographer

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  12. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer
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    RAH-
    Thanks for correcting my comments.
    [​IMG]
    Mark
     
  13. David Von Pein

    David Von Pein Producer

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  14. Ric Easton

    Ric Easton Cinematographer

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    Drool...

    It puts me in the mind of those Laserdisc boxsets we were talking about in that other thread!

    Ric
     
  15. JeremySt

    JeremySt Screenwriter

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    I own the 1984 P&S laserdisc edition, and the framing is radically different from the DVD edition. Much more headroom, like the DVD is a hard matte. The pic quality on the LD is horrid.
     
  16. Rob Tomlin

    Rob Tomlin Producer

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    All I know is that the DVD transfer of NXNW is one of the best I have seen. It is definitely one of the top three DVD transfers for a movie that is more than 35 years old (Citizen Kane and Doctor Zhivago give it a run for its money)!

    Regarding The Sound of Music: I agree that the current DVD is a horrible transfer. What is really interesting, however, is the fact that FOX has announced that this will be one of the titles that it will be releasing on the new D-VHS D-Theatre High Def tape format!

    It will be very interesting to see what they do with this new high definition transfer!
     
  17. TedD

    TedD Supporting Actor

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    The transfer of NxNW was a groundbreaking combination of using the 35mm horizontal VistaVision elements to obtain the best possible detail. Unfortunately the color of the original elements was so bad as to be unusable.

    The answer, as I understand it was to take a 35 mm Vistavision general release print that was printed in the IB Technicolor process that does not fade, transfer it into a computer, and combine the color with the high resolution 35mm horizontal Vistavision luminance information saved from the 35mm horizontal VistaVision elements in the digital domain.

    This restoration was not done on film, but purely digitally and that is why there in no 35mm restoration available.

    Of course the digital hi-def master could be put through a digital to film printer like " Lucas used for Attack Of the Clones", I suppose.

    Vern Dias
     
  18. PaulaJ

    PaulaJ Supporting Actor

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    What's the difference (besides packaging) of the old DVD of North by Northwest and the Collector's edition coming out on June 11?

    And.. the same question with the old Ben-Hur DVD and the new one coming out also on June 11.
     
  19. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    To the best of my knowledge the situation on N x NW is as follows:

    Orig VVLA negative, shot on 5248 has total yellow layer failure. Warner created a new 8 perf IP with all the inherent problems, inclusive of flicker caused by uneven fade, and transferred that element to digital files.

    The digital master was then provided to Lowry Digital Images, which does superb low-rez work. Lowry used the appropriate algorhythms to create a false yellow record, which does a fine job (not perfect by any means, but very workable for DVD) of bringing back the original look of the film. The resultant element was also slightly degrained which is not a good thing and partially removes the film look.

    This was the same situation with Kane, Snow White and other titles processed via this methodology.

    It creates superb looking DVDs, but does not replicate the film.

    In the end what we have is less a representation of the original look of the film and more a new product which must stand on its own.

    The film is still there to be viewed as film when projected.

    RAH
     
  20. PaulaJ

    PaulaJ Supporting Actor

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    Dear Robert,

    Thanks for the answer. However... does that apply to BOTH DVD releases of North by Northwest? If not, which one? The new one coming out next week?

    And if anyone can answer that Ben-Hur question...
     

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