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A Few Words About A few words about...™ Peter Pan -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    This is my understanding from watching the special features on Disney DVDs. they ran tests in the ink & paint department to see how the colours filmed and used them accordingly.
    that said, I enjoy these altered blurays. They look great and I think a far cry from TV fair. If the choice is clear animation like we have here in Disnyland and the dust crawling cel junk stuff that looks more like film that Warner's and everyone is so proud of with the Looney tunes, I'll take the less distracting one.
    (I'm buying all the Loony Tunes too, and enjoying them. I'm not in love with the experience of seeing garbage float around the cells as everyone else seems to be. Yes I understand it's part of the process, but it's a dumb part that could be fixed now, and I have a hard time thinking Chuck Jones wouldn't of done so himself in '47 if he was able to. We clean the junk off of old live action film prints, why they don;t clean the hair and crap that got stuck in the cells on the animation is just stupid to me.)
     
  2. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Screenwriter

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    I'm with you on the lack of cleanup done on the Looney Tunes. I've never understood why those film anomalies were not cleaned up. As you indicate, those guys would have done so themselves were it possible and practical during original production. After reading all the comments here I now find the need to view my copy of Peter Pan through "different eyes"...
     
  3. bigshot

    bigshot Screenwriter

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    That's a misconception. The wedge tests done by photographing swatches of paint weren't to determine differences and adjust for how the colors would end up looking on screen so much as to determine which colors didn't translate well to Technicolor. If a color came out different on film they adjusted it so Technicolor could reproduce it accurately. The color stylists were making precise adjustments in color to the artwork in front of them. They couldn't estimate what it would look like if there was a major shift on film. The only color that was tweaked for film was white. They would darken it slightly with brown so when the contrast snapped up on film, the whites wouldn't blow out. When I look at original film prints and original artwork, there is a direct relationship. Claiming that Tech changed the color is just a modern day excuse for changing colors completely. "We can't know so let's make them bright and gaudy like the 90s features."
     
  4. bigshot

    bigshot Screenwriter

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    Dust is a different issue. That can be improved digitally without radically shifting color balances and obliterating textures. The problem is grain smoothing and total recoloring, not dust. That said, nitrate cel stock ripple and pollen from Santa Ana winds were seasonal problems at the studios. And only affect a small number of films, usually those photographed around September in the late days of Summer.
     
  5. Dee Zee

    Dee Zee Stunt Coordinator

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    Question for the experts here. On the Silly Symphonies animated shorts that came out on DVD a number of years ago in the Disney Treasures series, I see this wash of what looks like water and particles of dust or spots moving across the image in various films. What is that and can it be corrected? I've put in my pre-order for Pan. A great little film. Also hope the Sword in the Stone comes out on blu-ray soon.
     
  6. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    I was not trying to claim that I remember every nuance of colour from my days of viewing Disney's animated films as a kid. I have watched these films a lot, especially BAMBI: which happens to be my personal favorite. I wish I was an expert and could go on something but imperfect memory, but in all my viewings of BAMBI, I have never ever remembered seeing highlights of neon purple and reds to the point that they almost seem to glow, attracting attention to themselves. I decided to watch my BD of the film tonight and I never thought that I would say that a grainy, soft and virtually unrestored trailer from the DVD reminds me more of how this film looked to me in the theatre than the Blu-ray does. The close-up of Flower's girlfriend's eyes hidden in the flower patch, for all of the grain, noise and dirt, shows me exactly what was lost in the Blu-ray version. There is a whole level of texture and colour shading that gave the flower petals form that is almost entirely missing from that scene in the blu-ray. Also, there is a scene where Bambi and Faline are standing on a rock escarpment. In the original trailer, the sky behind them is yellowish while the trees are roughly defined with a few trunks, patches of green and darker blue and purple . On the high def version, the background is also a golden yellow, but now that colour extends into the trees in the background. The trees themselves, now have definition with trunks and branches. As I see it, the entire original background looks like it has been replaced. AFAIAC, there is no way that the background in the 1942 trailer in any way shape or form resembles what they put on the hi-def version of BAMBI. As for Peter Pan, I'm in the same boat as everyone else, waiting to see what it looks like.
     
  7. EddieLarkin

    EddieLarkin Supporting Actor

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    Edwin, I assume this is one of the offending Bambi scenes you've mentioned? http://i.imgur.com/sOSM6pU.jpg The background is clearly different, as is the rock they are placed on. I assume there isn't a possibility such drastic changes could have been made between the release of the trailer and the release of the film? Do you know when such changes were implemented? For the Blu-ray release in particular, or do we need to go back to one of the DVD releases?
     
  8. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    I went back to one of my DVDs and checked the scene. The background is the same as the Blu-ray, so it appears that there was a change made between the original trailer and the release. This is very embarassing, because if I could make such a huge error in remembering the look of the background after watching the film so much then stating that I remember what the colour looked like makes me look like an enormous ass. You can COLOUR ME extremely RED at this moment.
     
  9. EddieLarkin

    EddieLarkin Supporting Actor

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    I wonder what the Laserdisc or VHS versions look like. Perhaps you are not incorrect and Disney implemented such alterations some time ago?
     
  10. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

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    By naked eye, what do you mean?
    they should be trying to replicate the colors as the colors looked after the colors were photographed under specific kinds of lights with a specific kind of film emulsion processed a specific way, with the knowledge they would be projected with the specific kind of bulb light used at the time.
    Naturally, the original artists couldn't forsee the changes in lighting rigs, film stocks, processing, and projection that would happen. Anymore than those original artists could control prints so that theatres with red drapes would get a different color timed print than theatres with black drapes or theatres with blue drapes (all of which will affect color perception). Theatres with smoking would have discolored screens, Disney couldn't correct for that. Theatres might have never cleaned the glass in front of their projector, Disney couldn't correct for that. Theatres today do not have the right kind of projection bulb to accurately portray the same color as seen originally. Viewing archival cels is going to involve using different lights than were used when the cels were painted, or different lights than were used when those cels were photographed. And the look of a first gen/contact print is going to be very different from the look of a film that is many generations removed from the original elements. There are so many variables involved, and we should remember that those variables don't end just with the distribution of prints, particularly when so much of the internet outrage is about how the exhibition of a film is supposed to be (exhibition in the home from a bluray or dvd, or exhibition in a theatre decades ago).
    Cels viewed with the naked eye will have their colors appear differently depending upon the kind of light the cel is viewed under. More significantly, color is associative, so particular colors are going to 'appear' to shift when placed in relationship to various other colors.
     
  11. Dee Zee

    Dee Zee Stunt Coordinator

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    While researching HTF for more info about Disney animation I came across this 2011 discussion when Dumbo was released on blu ray. The Disney folks clearly mention Bambi and their process of restoring (or perhaps revisioning) these films to the original artistic intent. http://www.hometheaterforum.com/t/314907/disney-s-restoration-of-dumbo-and-efforts-to-preserve-their-film-library And the brief discussion that follows the OP in 2011 is illuminating.
     
  12. Virgoan

    Virgoan Second Unit

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    "101 Dalmatians" is the Disney full anmated feature I'd love to see get Blu ray treatment.
     
  13. Adam Gregorich

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  14. bigshot

    bigshot Screenwriter

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    I just got my copy. This one is infinitely better than Alice. But I can't believe that they would author a disk where you can't still frame!
     
  15. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    This has been happening for awhile now.
     
  16. Paul Penna

    Paul Penna Supporting Actor

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    Actually, you can, but playback defaults to having the "Disney Intermission" feature enabled, which comes up when you pause. Turn that off in the Setup menu and you're able to still-frame.
     
  17. rich_d

    rich_d Screenwriter

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    Adam, Thanks for that. I read it with great interest. I was quite critical of an earlier DVD release of Peter Pan as I don't think colors should be messed with anymore than film format should be messed with. But, having watched the Blu-Ray as well as checking some frames that I found problematic in the past ... I like this. I don't think the colors are 'modern' or made brighter and such. It might not be perfect, but I'm not after perfection. I'm after an honest effort to be faithful to the work ... and that's my sense of this release. Nice going Disney!
     
  18. Ron Barbagallo

    Ron Barbagallo Auditioning

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    I've been reading through the Peter Pan posts and there are a few things I want to respond to. Firstly, I want to introduce myself. For over 25 years now, I have been working as an art conservator specializing on the preservation of Disney cels and background paintings. Before that, I was a book and record cover illustrator and before that my college thesis was: Matte Painting which involved putting paint to glass/masonite and doing extensive testing to see how the colors transpose to a variety of film stock positives. So my knowledge of how a Peter Pan background should look on film is not general. It's built upon sometimes spending many, many months studying one background and its cel components and knowing how these colors respond to film. In regard to motion picture film restoration, back in the late 90s Pete Comandini at YCM in Burbank, CA asked me to review several films he was restoring. This included a film positive version of Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). In regard to Snow White, Comandini wanted me to go through the film, scene-by-scene and supply notes on how the film corresponded to what I know to be true to the backgrounds as they would transpose to a film positive. With the exception of three scenes that appear to have been timed differently at the time of original production, the Comandini print was a revelation. It was Walt's gothic vision of forest earth tones against crisper shades of red, cobalt blue and flesh tones brought to life. The end result was a mirror into the soul of what Walt Disney intended. When the film was sent to whoever it was that did the digital cleanup, and the final version came out all sort of alterations were made and the end result was honestly impossible for me to sit through. Less jarring an experience was Star Wars. The Comandini version was the clear and calculated version of the Gilbert Taylor cinematography in all its glory, a glory that was not seen in the 1977 print version that hit theaters. The digitally enhanced version of that film positive is what was released on DVD back in the '97, I believe. In regard to Blu Rays and DVDs and the studios that make them, first and foremost -- it's a business run by businessmen and women. In addition, the studio consumer products divisions are aware the public has varying equipment to view these Blu Rays and DVDs upon. So the product they release take that into consideration as well as the limited budgets they have to do this sort of work. Restoration in Hollywood is an activity done to aid in the sale of product and not something where the most skilled restorer is sought out to make a dedicated journey. Frankly, except on rare occasion, the egos of those who hire restorers are more concerned with the politics around their studio and their studio's goals than they are with hitting the right shade of umber in a forest scene. Also, there is a cottage industry within Hollywood of negative opinions made on people in the restoration industry based upon jealousy and a profound lack of visual understanding. This is to say nothing of the hubris involved in making decisions to market color palettes to skew more like "The Little Mermaid (1989) than what the artist's original intent was (and I'm not singling Disney out there by using Mermaid as my visual rule of thumb). So there is a balance between what a purist might desire and what is going to happen when any film is considered for restoration. Having said all this, there are two additional things I want to add. Up top, I want to state that I am a big fan of the completist aesthetic of Bob Harris and his understated ability to restore a film evenly from beginning to end, hit all the tones and hues correctly and add an intoxicating, subconscious level of visual involvement unparalleled in the industry. I also acknowledge that budgets, professional jealousies and the foibles of people get in the way of delivering a purist product to the public. Hollywood is a business. It always has been. And, this is not to say that there are not a handful of people - on the top tier - like Roger Mayer (to name one) who get it. But Mayers like Harrises do not grow on trees. Also, the only thing I can add regarding the Disney Blu Rays and DVDs is that as a group: they vary greatly. Often I have found them to be visually inconsistent within a single frame, inconsistent within an entire film and vastly inconsistent as an overall collection of films. I look at the releases as a way to sell product, not an inditement that every color has been nailed correctly and will appear correctly on everyone's TV or laptop. However, I'd be lying if I didn't suggest that I wish that they were.
     
  19. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Ron,
    Welcome to HTF, and thanks for the kind words.
    You've mentioned one of my heroes in Mr. Mayer. He is one of the few people in the industry responsible for standing behind the preservation of a studio's output in an era when other studios were simply standing by...
    or worse.
    RAH
     
  20. Ron Barbagallo

    Ron Barbagallo Auditioning

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    Roger was easy to work for. You checked in with him via phone. He left you alone and treated you with the upmost respect. It is often the case when you are dealing with people at the top of their game that their egos are in the right place. The last thing you really want to be dealing with is a manager or director of a department who has no background in fine art, animation art, preservation, archiving or library studies. And, yet in Hollywood, it is more often the case that libraries are run by people who did not pursue their dream job and took one at a studio. They're not visually equipped to gage restoration and the perception of their title and what that means to them can be deadly to everything and everyone concerned. However, there are heroes among the villains.
     

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