Official African Queen Paramount Question Thread

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Adam Gregorich, Mar 11, 2010.

  1. Adam Gregorich

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    I have a few people from Paramount involved in the release of the African Queen who are willing to answer some questions about the release (including restoration). If you have a question list it here and I will try to get it to the right person for an answer.
     
  2. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Thanks, Adam.

    One question I'd have is why there seems to be no lossless audio track on the Blu-ray release of The African Queen.

    There are those who say lossless isn't necessary when dealing with mono soundtracks, but my understanding is that lossless amounts to the best available fidelity presentation of an audio track whether it's mono, stereo, or surround.

    There must be enough room on the disc for a lossless track?
     
  3. Jay*W

    Jay*W Second Unit
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    Adam,

    I would love to know if there was a reason that the R2 Cardiff commentary could not be included.

    Thanks,

    Jay
     
  4. Doug Otte

    Doug Otte Supporting Actor

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  5. blimey

    blimey Extra

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    My question is does this restoration have anything to do with Warner Bros' Ultra-Resolution technique? Judging from the screencaps at DVDBeaver the result looks pretty good, especially the nice registration. This very much resembles Warner's Ultra-Rez restoration and Paramount did used this technique before to help with Chinatown as far as I remembered.
     
  6. Traveling Matt

    Traveling Matt Second Unit

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    Seconded. I'd also like to know if there are any other gems that resulted from Cardiff's home video participation, besides the commentary and his technical advice during the recent restoration.
     
  7. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    I have been wondering why it took so long for this to be released on something other then vhs.
     
  8. ahollis

    ahollis Lead Actor

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    1. What is the ownership trail? I understand the Paramount does not control all of the rights, but I am guessing it is international.
    2. Was the marrying of the three technicolor negatives the most time consuming part of the process and exactly what did in entail?
    3. If the three negatives were not used, what generation print or negative did they use.

    Please give them my thanks for releasing this and doing such an excellent job. I sincerely wish them huge success on this release in hopes it will bring other long awaited titles to DVD and Blu-ray (Samson & Delilah).
     
  9. Eric Peterson

    Eric Peterson Cinematographer

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    I'll second the commentary question. A film of this stature really deserves a commentary track in my opinion. The Cardiff commentary already exists, and there are no shortage of Bogart, Hepburn, & Huston biographers that I'm sure would have jumped at the opportunity to record a commentary. It's not going to stop me from picking up this release, but it is a HUGE disappointment for me.

    I hope that the documentary is an impressive one.
     
  10. Adam Gregorich

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    OK. I submitted the list. Give me a few days to dig up some answers for you guys.
     
  11. Adam Gregorich

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    OK, I got some answers from Ron Smith VP of restoration at Paramount. Still working on the others:
    Yes, the Ultra-Res Recombining was used to register the film. It combines two or more film records (most often YCMs). And yes, certain scenes in Chinatown are YCM re-combines.

    So basically, the original three-strip camera negatives of The African Queen were scanned at Cinesite in the UK (4K 16 bit) and recombined at Warner MPI in Burbank. Jan Yarbrough at MPI was the colorist/guru and the sound was restored by the amazing John Polito at Audio Mechanics.
    Cardiff’s comments led us toward a better understanding of how the film was put together, what time of day certain shots were supposed to depict, and that the film should have a warm tone – but not too pretty. He also claimed that the riverbank bug infestation was an effect that he did in camera (!) with tiny feathers.
    [FONT= ]Rather than get into the intricate complexities of title ownership and licensing, which I don’t even fully understand, I can say that the film was not held in U.S. - which made a stateside restoration unusually challenging. The film was made and financed outside the U.S. and outside the studio system. We are just fortunate to have her back. [/FONT]
     
  12. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Awesome information, Adam. Thanks!

    Hope you get an answer on the audio question since it might shed some light on the debate in RAH's thread on TAQ.
     
  13. Adam Gregorich

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    Sure to cause some controversy, here is the answer: The African Queen is presented with its original English mono audio track encoded at 224kbps Dolby Digital. It was encoded at a higher bit rate (224 vs. 192) than most other classic titles and has plenty of space for peaks encoded at 224kbps to cover the relative static dynamics of its range audio. Just to give this context, you wouldn’t construct a 100 gallon tank for 5 gallons of gas, there is no benefit in doing so and a higher bit rate ceiling provides zero benefits to the audio experience.
     
  14. Doug Otte

    Doug Otte Supporting Actor

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    Hmmm. That doesn't really answer the question for me. I'm inferring from the answer that they think there's not much more in the original audio that would benefit from a higher bitrate, but did they actually test lossless vs. DD 224 vs. DD higher bitrate? I bet they just assumed.

    Doug
     
  15. Mark B

    Mark B Supporting Actor

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    I'm curious to hear about how the restoration team dealt with the opticals, the jittery stock footage of jungle animals, and the night scenes.
     
  16. Brian Borst

    Brian Borst Screenwriter

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    I don't believe they would spend so much time, energy and money to do the picture restoration correctly, and then hardly make an effort for the audio.
     
  17. mike caronia

    mike caronia Second Unit

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    Not a question, but a big THANK YOU to HTF & Paramount for the contest!!
    Got home from a crappy day at work to find a nice little package.
    Have a busy weekend ahead, but I hope to find some time to enjoy this great film on Blu real soon!
    :)
     
  18. Adam Gregorich

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    No problem Mike! I passed along your thanks to Paramount as well. Thanks for entering and enjoy the film!
     
  19. Who's On First?

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    Echoing Mike's sentiment above, a belated "thank you" from me as well to HTF and Paramount for organizing this fun contest. I received my copy in the mail last week and wanted to convey my sincerest appreciation and gratitude for adding this title to my Blu-ray collection. Thank you thank you thank you!


    With warmest regards,

    Mark
     
  20. Adam Gregorich

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