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El Cid - a classic title in HD digital (in theater) 01/28/08

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by OliverK, Jan 10, 2008.

  1. OliverK

    OliverK Screenwriter

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    Hi,

    I know a lot of our forum members long for classic titles in HD and although this will be a theatrical presentation of a new HD master it might be worth the price of admission for our classics loving membership that lives in and around the Washington area.

    And if you go let us know if we can look forward to seeing this on Blu-Ray [​IMG]

    Oliver


    Monday, January 28, 7:00

    MARS presents
    EL CID
    Special HD Digital Presentation: The Digitally Restored Wide-screen Epic

    "EL CID is one of the greatest epic films ever made. Anthony Mann's sense of composition, his use of space, and his graceful camera movements bring to life an ancient tapestry where the transformation of an ordinary man into a legend becomes almost a mystical experience." - Martin Scorsese

    Film legends Sophia Loren and Charlton Heston ignite the screen in this medieval tale of passion and chivalry. Heston plays the heroic Spanish knight, Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, or, to his followers, "El Cid" - Moorish for "one who is both compassionate and a great warrior." Without compromising his strict sense of honor, he succeeds in driving the Moors from Spain and becomes a legend. Loren plays the mysterious Chimene, a Moorish princess torn between her desire for revenge against Heston -whom she blames for her father's death- and her developing love for him. Directed by the great Anthony Mann.


    DIR Anthony Mann; SCR Ben Barzman and Philip Yordan, based on the story by Fredric M. Frank; PROD Samuel Bronston. 1961, color, 182 min. NOT RATED

    Tickets reserved and purchased online must be retrieved in person at the AFI Silver box office. The same credit card used online must be presented to the cashier to redeem your tickets.


    Coinciding with the DVD release of EL CID by Weinstein Company WIN A COLLECTORS DVD!
    All ticket holders are automatically entered in a raffle to win a copy


    AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center
     
  2. Darren Gross

    Darren Gross Supporting Actor

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    I know your heart is in the right place, Oliver, but you really should go to HTF jail for that thread title and for posting it on this forum instead of in "movies."

    What a tease!
     
  3. OliverK

    OliverK Screenwriter

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    Yes it's a tease and after I saw the thread title amongst the others I noticed it, too and I tried to edit it but it wasn't possible anymore [​IMG]

    At least those of us who cannot attend may have something to look forward to once Weinstein starts to release on Blu-Ray [​IMG]
     
  4. John Hermes

    John Hermes Screenwriter

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    I remember seeing the restored "El Cid" in a theater back in the 1990s. Oh, my god. Color like that has been unseen in movies since the IB Technicolor days.
     
  5. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I'll have a free copy of the DVD box set up for grabs in the SD forum this weekend, and OMG do I hope this comes out in HD.
     
  6. willyTass

    willyTass Second Unit

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    screencaps are up now at DVDbeaver...
     
  7. OliverK

    OliverK Screenwriter

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    Same here [​IMG] Therefore it would be great to get some feedback from the Digital presentation at AFI on the 28th - I hope somebody will go there and post it on the web or even better on this forum.
     
  8. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    And I edited the title for you!


    Cees
     
  9. OliverK

    OliverK Screenwriter

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    Thanks ! It was not my intention to be so misleading, probably I was a bit too excited when I wrote my post [​IMG]
     
  10. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    That's 15 minutes from my house. I think I'll have to make it!

    dave [​IMG]
     
  11. OliverK

    OliverK Screenwriter

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    Well Dave that is very good news ! I would say that it is your obligation to us forum members and to yourself as a home theater enthusiast to attend and to report back [​IMG]
    And please make sure to sit at a proper seating distance to the screen - after all it is a (hopefully) soon to be Blu-Ray disc that you will be watching. Of course if anybody from Weinstein is present you have to tell them that you are representing the members of the worlds two biggest home theater forums and that they demand El Cid on Blu-Ray [​IMG]

    Oliver
     
  12. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    You bet!
     
  13. OliverK

    OliverK Screenwriter

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    Dave that's great ! Looking forward to your report.
     
  14. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Ok folks,

    here's my eye-witness account.

    The movie was incredible... hadn't seen it since I was about 16 years old (20 years ago). Very moving, though I still love Ben-Hur as my all-time favorite Heston flick.

    The image:

    The projection was indeed digital. I think it was LOCS because I saw no pixels at all and the image was silky-smooth and very film like. I would have assumed it was film except that the (knowledgeable) staff there confirmed that it was a digital projection and HD tape. They were also very apologetic because the projector was off-center from the right rear of the room and the optics could not keep a tight focus on the left side of the screen. That did bother me, but I survived.

    The image is spectactular in many regards: restoration, color, contrast, just beautiful. However, in NO WAY did it create that "sharp as a tac, looking out a window" effect I've seen from good 70mm prints. One of the Wenstien guys was there talking about the DVD before the show, but there was no QA so I didn't get to ask him about the print or film-source nor what type of scanner was used. Here's my suspician: the image has that slightly soft/blurry look like the recent Ben-Hur DVD (which looked softer than the previous DVD). The problem with that transfer was that that large-format elements were scanned on equipment optimized for 35mm telecine. I think we have the same problem here. I just can't imagine an actual large-format negative or interpositive really lacking that much detail. It was definitely "HD" and not a DVD upconvert... but it just lacked subtle detail and "snap" like a good print or HD transfer.

    Was anyone else in attendance and can share your thoughts?

    I'd buy this in HD (blu) to show my support for studios restoring historic films of this kind (I'll pass on the DVD and wait for high-def), but I also want to verify exactly what process was used to scan this image to learn if the soft look I saw was representative of the elements or a result of improper equipment for telecine.
     
  15. OliverK

    OliverK Screenwriter

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    Hello Dave,

    good to hear from you and glad you could make it [​IMG]

    The HD master for El Cid was indeed created from standard 35mm elements. Weinstein did not get back to the original (horizontal) Super Technirama negative which is about 150% bigger than the standard 35mm scope element used. Regarding the techniques used to arrive at the HD master it is possible to do a transfer with a 2k telecine as well as a 4k scan of individual frames, from what you say it might have been the 2k telecine which would also be much more cost-efficient.

    Still I am happy to see that indeed an HD master exists and I look forward to buy the movie again once it is released on HDM.

    Oliver
     
  16. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Hey Oliver!

    Thanks for that info. If you learn any more about the telecine process for this film please let us know!

    If the source was 35mm instead of large-format, I feel "better" about the softer-focus image.

    Also, given the horizontal off-set of the projector and the problem with focus for the left side of the screen, it's possible that even the focus on the right side of the image wasn't fully representative of the detail in the HD master.

    I indeed plan to get this on Blu-ray Disc (when available) and see how it compares. They gave away 5 copies of the new DVD (release date today) but I didn't win one. [​IMG]
     
  17. OliverK

    OliverK Screenwriter

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    Or they deliberately defocussed the picture so that you would not see pixels from the first row of seating [​IMG]
    Anyway it is clear you have not watched the movie as good as it could have been, so there is room for improvent once it comes to Blu-Ray.

    Could you elaborate a bit how big you think was the screen and and approximately how many seats there were and how the attendance was ?

    And don't worry about not winning a DVD - having watched the HD version of El Cid you would not want to watch it on DVD anyway [​IMG]
     
  18. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    The screen was huge: it's the historic "great theater" room at the AFI in Silver Spring which, in its day, was one of those glory-sized theaters during the 1930's. It's been lovingly restored down to the carpet and paint colors, though now there's a 2.35:1 screen (which looks at least 50 feet wide) in place of the historic academy-aspect-ratio screen that would have been there originally.

    AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center

    The large auditorium (the historic theater room) seats 400, and it was *packed* for the show. I was actually shocked... I expected to see the handful of folks turn out that I saw for Hello Dolly in 70mm. There must have been at least 350 people there last night. Very impressive.


    Precisely what I was thinking... [​IMG]
     
  19. Jim*Tod

    Jim*Tod Second Unit

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    I was at the AFI Silver screening last night as well. I sat in the fourth row in the middle, which in some ways replicated at least the size of a 70mm release. Sadly the focus problem on the left hand side of the screen, referenced by David Boulet in his review, was pretty hard to ignore. I would agree with him that this is not remotely the clarity and depth one would expect from a true 70mm presentation of a large format film. (I think he and I were both at that remarkable 70mm presentation of HELLO DOLLY a couple of years ago.) Sitting probably too close as I did it seemed like some parts of the film had better color than others. During the last hour where most of the most spectacular action takes place, it seemed to me that the image got progressively grainer and washed out looking. I was amazed at the turnout though... the friend who went with me chided me for insisting on getting tickets online early. A sell out on a Monday night is pretty amazing. I hope they can resolve the projection issue for FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE. I had read this was set to come out in late April, but according to the DVD Savant column today, the release has been moved to the fall.

    For those of you in the DC area.... please e-mail the Silver and point out the huge attendence last night. In other parts of the country, new 70mm prints of such features as PATTON, RYAN'S DAUGHTER, STAR!, CLEOPATRA and others have been shown to great acclaim. This is the kind of thing AFI should be bringing to audiences on the east coast. Last night showed that there would definitely be an audience for those films. The Silver is one of the rapidly vanishing venues that can do 70mm right.... let's encourage them to make us of those facilities.
     
  20. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Jim,

    next time you head out for a historic flick at the AFI, let me know! PM me, would love to meet you and tag along.

    I was about 1/2 way back in the theater, so I was approximating a 1.5 screen-width. Even from that much more forgiving distance, the image was quite soft.

    I actually spoke with the guy who introduced the event and he explained the technical problem of the off-set projector and keystoning issues (also made me wonder if the image was getting reprocessed/digitally scaled, I might have to do more investigating). Let's all contact the AFI to let them know that if they need to move that PJ dead-center for a presentation to get a proper image, then that's exactly what they should do. It seemed that this was the first time this problem had occured by the way the manager was explaining it.
     

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