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Robert Harris on The Bits 8/21/06 - Official Discussion Thread


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#1 of 18 OFFLINE   Bill Hunt

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Posted August 21 2006 - 08:34 AM

Hi Everyone,

Robert Harris has just produced a new edition of his Yellow Layer Failure column on The Digital Bits:

http://www.thedigita....ris082106.html

In this installment, he interviews Warner's Ned Price regarding the transfer issues related to the new DVD and HD-DVD editions of John Ford's The Searchers. I think you'll find it interesting reading. When you're done, be sure to check back in here at this HTF thread to discuss the details.

Best wishes to all of you!
Bill Hunt, Editor
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billhunt@thedigitalbits.com

#2 of 18 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted August 21 2006 - 08:56 AM

That's an excellent interview and it is to Ned Price's credit that he has come forward and given a full and frank explanation. I've got few issues with the new transfer, but I did want was an assurance that what I was seeing was as near to John Ford and Winton Hoch's intentions as was possible and I, for one (the minor niggle of the day for night scene aside) am satisfied.

Thanks also to Robert, and Bill, for helping to clear the air.
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#3 of 18 OFFLINE   Patrick McCart

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Posted August 21 2006 - 12:56 PM

Personally, I have no problems with the standard DVD. The color has a really nice oil painting look to it. What really impresses me is how amazingly sharp and detailed the image is. If it wasn't for dated items like hairstyle and the use of long gone actors... you could almost pass it off as a new film.

Glad to hear about Looney Tunes in HD. While I won't be able to get into it for a few years, I'm glad WB is making their classics worthwhile.

#4 of 18 OFFLINE   WadeM

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Posted August 21 2006 - 01:06 PM

Excellent interview. Ultimate Edition, here I come!

#5 of 18 ONLINE   Steve...O

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Posted August 21 2006 - 01:45 PM

Folks like Mr. Harris and Mr. Price have forgotten more about film restoration than the collective membership of HTF will ever know. I greatly appreciate the education these types of articles provide to us and thank them for taking the time to share their expertise with us.

I'm not going to pretend that I understand what all jargon in the article means. However, to paraphrase Potter Stewart, I know a good transfer when I see it and, in my opinion, WHV has delivered solid transfers of most of their classic films over the past several years.

Given the respect that WHV has consistently shown to not only their catalog, but their consumer as well, I am confident that their releases, The Searchers or otherwise, represent the best that can reasonably be expected. Short of time travel, they're not going to be able to do transfers from pristine camera negatives every time. Like it or not, there are going to be occasions where the image doesn't look as good as we like or maybe isn't technically perfect.

Sometimes I fear that we as viewers focus too much on the minutia of the DVD presentation at the expense of the entertainment value the movie provides. Does that mean we should accept substandard transfers, stop looking for improved restoration techniques, or stop offering valid criticism? Of course not. But we must also guard against labeling an otherwise stellar product as inferior because a few scenes don't look like we think they should.

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#6 of 18 OFFLINE   Sten F

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Posted August 21 2006 - 05:50 PM

Thanks, for a great interview.

However, as both Mr. Harris and Mr. Price are technical wizards the interview quickly skids into the technical restoration jargon making it hard for the avid collector to get a clear understanding of the proces, and what actually happened. Perhaps in the future Mr. Harris would kindly make a short summery of such interview.

Anyhow, the new release of The Searchers seem to be as good as it gets based on the material available. Personally, I have no problem with it.
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#7 of 18 OFFLINE   Reagan

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Posted August 22 2006 - 01:38 AM

Great interview. Very educational. My thanks to both parties.

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#8 of 18 OFFLINE   PaulP

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Posted August 22 2006 - 09:45 AM

Quote:
Glad to hear about Looney Tunes in HD.

But it makes you think that the imperfections that are inherent in the original negatives and are plainly seen in shorts available right now in SD in the Golden Collection sets will be viewable so much clearer. Unless WB undertakes yet another restoration, a frame-by-frame digital cleanup.

#9 of 18 OFFLINE   Ken_McAlinden

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Posted August 23 2006 - 12:59 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulP
But it makes you think that the imperfections that are inherent in the original negatives and are plainly seen in shorts available right now in SD in the Golden Collection sets will be viewable so much clearer. Unless WB undertakes yet another restoration, a frame-by-frame digital cleanup.
Why would they bother to do that? Production and element-related artifacts that are plainly visible in standard def would be plainly visible in HD or 35mm film. It shouldn't be any more or less distracting.

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#10 of 18 OFFLINE   AbbyNormal

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Posted August 24 2006 - 03:57 PM

One thing that I have found very interesting with THE SEARCHERS is this: in the documentary footage of the raid on the Indian camp towards the end of the film, the camera that is in the camera truck is a 3-strip Technicolor camera without the sound blimp (you can see it plain as day and that is not the VV butterfly mechanism that I see). Now I know the film was released in VistaVision, but was it actually shot in that format, or was just this sequence shot using a modified 3-strip camera with the rest in VV? I've never seen production stills from this film showing the VV camera, so I am curious. I have never been able to find the answer to this question, and since only 3 films outside of Paramount appear to have been shot in this format [HIGH SOCIETY & NORTH BY NORTHWEST-MGM; THE SEARCHERS-WB], I'm curious how this all came about.
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#11 of 18 OFFLINE   Ken_McAlinden

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Posted August 25 2006 - 01:49 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbyNormal
One thing that I have found very interesting with THE SEARCHERS is this: in the documentary footage of the raid on the Indian camp towards the end of the film, the camera that is in the camera truck is a 3-strip Technicolor camera without the sound blimp (you can see it plain as day and that is not the VV butterfly mechanism that I see). Now I know the film was released in VistaVision, but was it actually shot in that format, or was just this sequence shot using a modified 3-strip camera with the rest in VV? I've never seen production stills from this film showing the VV camera, so I am curious. I have never been able to find the answer to this question, and since only 3 films outside of Paramount appear to have been shot in this format [HIGH SOCIETY & NORTH BY NORTHWEST-MGM; THE SEARCHERS-WB], I'm curious how this all came about.
The butterfly VistaVision cameras were first used for "The Mountain" in 1956. I believe the production of "The Searchers" pre-dated this by a few months. Ford was probably using the "Elephant Ear" style camera that preceded it. Check out the widescreen museum pages on VistaVision for many photographs of cameras used for VV productions.

http://www.widescree...een/wingvv2.htm

Regards,
Ken McAlinden
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#12 of 18 OFFLINE   David Grove

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Posted September 01 2006 - 05:00 AM

Thank you for the informative interview.

I would ask a question, just as a matter of curiosity, and not criticism. Why couldn't the day-for-night be adjusted digitally? I think Mr. Price spoke to it, but his comments didn't quite penetrate my thick skull. (Naively) I would think that something sort of like histogram equalization in reverse (essentially a nonlinear transformation) should be able to darken the scenes.

No offense intended.

Thank you.

Regards.

DG
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#13 of 18 OFFLINE   AbbyNormal

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Posted September 01 2006 - 05:37 AM

Sorry to keep beating a dead horse, but the camera in the shots looks just like an umblimped Technicolor camera, not the "elephant ear" VV camera. It could be like the one in the shot of Hitchcock on the set of MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, but I may be wrong.
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#14 of 18 OFFLINE   Robert Harris

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Posted September 01 2006 - 08:01 AM

There were a number of three-strip cameras converted to the 8 perf format.

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#15 of 18 OFFLINE   Mark_TS

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Posted September 04 2006 - 08:17 AM

regarding the coming HD of ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD,

Im sure I was not alone in thinking that the colors of the SD-SE released a while back were just too "natural" or a bit faded, at least in my opinion, compared to the "glorious technicolor" that I remember from the LD.
If im not mistaken, even Mr Harris mentioned something akin to AORH looking good, but looking nothing like we remember it... (which sounded a bit like damning with faint praise.)

The color was toned down for todays 'modern' audiences.
A shame.

I loved those warm, rich (if not a tad saturated) 1938 colors, absent from the DVD.

I wonder if this issue will be addressed in the HD-or is the master already set in stone?

I notice Ned did a much better job on the latest WIZARD OF OZ...
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#16 of 18 OFFLINE   timbox129

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Posted October 01 2006 - 12:32 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Hunt
Hi Everyone,

Robert Harris has just produced a new edition of his Yellow Layer Failure column on The Digital Bits:

http://www.thedigita....ris082106.html

In this installment, he interviews Warner's Ned Price regarding the transfer issues related to the new DVD and HD-DVD editions of John Ford's The Searchers. I think you'll find it interesting reading. When you're done, be sure to check back in here at this HTF thread to discuss the details.

Best wishes to all of you!
Bill Hunt, Wouldn't Be Cool if On November 2010, after prinicpal photography on the Dexter's Odyssey Trilogy, Tim Box, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros., Cartoon Network, Tim Box Animation Studios and Robert A. Harris will start work on restoring all of the deleted scenes of The Powerpuff Girls Movie with Robert A. Harris for the 86-minute theatrical re-release of the Powerpuff Girls Movie called The Powerpuff Girls Movie: Special Edition, which will feature THX Digitally Remastered Picture, all of the deleted scenes that were cut from the film, and a newly-remastered, remixed, and redoned soundtrack in Dolby Digital Surround EX and DTS ES supervised by Skywalker Sound and Park Road Post? The Powerpuff Girls Movie: Special Edition will have a gigantically massive marketing, advertising and promotional campaign. The Powerpuff Girls Movie: Special Edition will released to Digital Projection, 35mm, and IMAX theaters June 15, 2012 with a 316-day theatrical run and with the 27-minute completed and reconstructed widescreen version of the unfinished Powerpuff Girls episode, Deja View, which will also be screened with Dexter's Odyssey: The Birth of Mandark. When the Powerpuff Girls Movie: Special Edition is released, everyone worldwide will begin listing the Powerpuff Girls Movie as among the greatest animated feature films of all time.

The Powerpuff Girls Movie will also be re-released on DVD by The Criterion Collection on November 13, 2008, 6 Months into its 316-day theatrical run. The Powerpuff Girls Movie: The Criterion Collection will be a 6-disc set and will feature both the 74-minute theatrical and 86-minute extended cut, both in THX-Certified 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Audio include THX-Certified Dolby EX 5.1 and DTS ES 6.1 audio supervised by Skywalker Sound for the extended cut, and THX-Certified Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 audio for the theatrical cut. On Discs one and two, there will be two audio commentaries (for both versions), the completed widescreen version of the unfinished PPG Episode, Deja View, and the original widescreen version of Dexter's Lab: Chicken Stratch, Two Isolated Music-Only and Sound Effects-Only tracks and a 73-minute behind the scenes branching option. Discs 3, 4, 5, and 6, will feature all of the supplements from development to release, including a 235-minute documentary on the making of the film, most of the illustrations and videos made during the making and release of the film, and a complete set of promo material. The DVD set will be housed in highly-collectible digipack packaging and in a highly-collectible slipcase packaging with a 10th anniversary Commemorative In-package Keepsake, a 1,452-page minature book whose size could fit the DVD packaging, The Powerpuff Girls Movie: The Making and Art of An Animated Film, and a 100-page booklet, the longest of any Criterion essays.

So on November 2010, Tim Box, Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox, Cartoon Network, and Robert A. Harris and I, Timothy McKenzie, will Start Working On the Powerpuff Girls Movie: Special Edition! Posted Image

Sincerely,
Timmy McKenzie

#17 of 18 OFFLINE   Jon Lidolt

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Posted December 07 2006 - 03:19 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbyNormal
One thing that I have found very interesting with THE SEARCHERS is this: in the documentary footage of the raid on the Indian camp towards the end of the film, the camera that is in the camera truck is a 3-strip Technicolor camera without the sound blimp (you can see it plain as day and that is not the VV butterfly mechanism that I see). Now I know the film was released in VistaVision, but was it actually shot in that format, or was just this sequence shot using a modified 3-strip camera with the rest in VV? I've never seen production stills from this film showing the VV camera, so I am curious. I have never been able to find the answer to this question, and since only 3 films outside of Paramount appear to have been shot in this format [HIGH SOCIETY & NORTH BY NORTHWEST-MGM; THE SEARCHERS-WB], I'm curious how this all came about.
The 3-strip cameras were modified by Technicolor for shooting 8 perforation images on single-strip Eastman color negative stock. Each frame of a motion picture shot with this camera was the same shape and size as a standard 35mm color slide. These cameras were used to shoot films with spherical lenses in Paramount's VistaVison process and with
1.5:1 anamorphic lenses in their own wide-screen Technirama format.

#18 of 18 OFFLINE   Douglas Monce

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Posted March 04 2008 - 11:39 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by John KFilm
Hi,

I have a question about the new restored Searchers: I really enjoyed Robert Harris' interview with Ned Price, but there are a few points that are not clear.

1. Why is there so much brown in the image, particularly for the interiors. This is also the case for the overall look of the film, there seems to be a lot of brown in the image.



2. RAH makes a good point about backing it into the matrices, as does NP about the nature of the print concerning the color capability, but this still does not explain why there is so much brown in the image. BTW, the skies in the new edition are alright, but there is still a lot of brown in the image which interferes with the blue.

Maybe RAH could could clarify. Also, does the Blu-Ray look different than the SD? I have seen some of the online comparisons, but was not satisfied with the comparisons posted.


Color wise the SD and blu-ray/HD DVD are virtually the same. Resolution of course is another story all together.

Doug
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