Jump to content



Sign up for a free account!

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests to win things like this Logitech Harmony Ultimate Remote and you won't get the popup ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

Photo
- - - - -

'Sand Pebbles' Restoration background info.


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
11 replies to this topic

#1 of 12 dannyboy104

dannyboy104

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 55 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 08 2006

Posted June 01 2008 - 08:23 AM

After watching the new Blu-Ray of ' Sand Pebbles' which looked great,I found some background information to the recent restorations

Audio:

Restoring sound for The Sand Pebbles included using 26 reels of rich 6-track mag recordings.
The 20th Century Fox film's recent audio restoration (including print mastering for some theatrical showings) was done by Ted Hall of POP Sound in Santa Monica, Calif., a division of Ascent Media with a distinguished history of film and TV post work, restoration, and multichannel mixing. In fact, Hall had also worked on the restoration of West Side Story a few years ago and met Wise (now deceased).

[Fox] sent over 26 reels of [Westrex] 6-track mag for the 70mm version of the film. “The common way 70mm was done in the '60s was what's called five-across-the-front: left, left-center, center, right-center, right, and then a mono surround. Jerry Goldsmith did the [Oscar-nominated] music, which was really cool because it was a 6-track of the orchestra, and the music sounded unbelievable. It was these great big tube analog recordings, and done in the same kind of five-across-the-front, plus a B and C stem, which were additional tracks for either room sounds — like the scoring stage — or specialty instruments he wanted to separate.”

The trick, he says, was getting it all together and then conforming the show. “I had a kind of cryptic cue sheet to go by. It was called their ‘studio version’ show, which is the one that's been on TV. After I'd done that, though, I called up [Fox's head of restoration] Schawn Belston and said, ‘I have a bunch more audio and picture.’ So they investigated, and apparently there was also what they called a ‘roadshow’ version for true 70 houses — not just stereo or mono houses — and that was a longer version, so I conformed that, too. Then I called them up and said, ‘I still have more audio.’ So there's also now an extra, extra long version for which they found the [additional] picture in England. The one they made [theatrical] prints of is the basic roadshow version, which is the medium-length version.

“The thing about 70mm of that era is the left-center and right-center were sometimes derived from [combining] the right channel and center channel [and left channel and center channel], and when you were listening discretely, it was fine, but if you fold it down to stereo or LTRT or mono, it incurs a slight delay and it starts phasing. So I put it all into [Digidesign] Pro Tools and adjusted it so I got everything totally time-aligned, which took a long time. So we got that together, matched it to the music, did some effects sweeteners, and created an effects stem.”


To bring The Sand Pebbles into the current theater (and home theater) enviornment, POP Sound created new sounds for the stereo surround and subwoofer channels.
Part of the challenge of bringing a film like this — even with good multichannel source elements — into the current theater (and home theater) environment is breaking out the sound into the stereo surround and subwoofer channels. “A lot of what we put in the stereo surrounds are ambiences I took from the movie — rather than from a CD library or something — and then panned in certain ways,” Hall says. “One problem I had is that because there were these different versions, there might be a [mono] surround channel for a minute, and then it'd be gone. So in something like one of the engine room scenes, where there was a lot of background stuff going on, I would take a good section of the [mono surround] channel, loop it, extend it if necessary, copy it to another track, and then shift that a second later — and you get this cool stereo image that has some real dimensionality. I also used a digital spatializer to give it a little more depth.” Certain effects from the front channels were also judiciously panned into the rears, but Hall says, “You have to be careful with that sort of thing because everything is tied together, and you want it to still sound natural.”

As for the all-important subwoofer channel, “We had to create that from scratch,” Hall says. “Of course, there are various explosions and things that we put in the sub. And with the music, the cellos and double basses were separated enough that I could sneak some of that in the sub, too. The music, in general, was very discrete, so it was easy to work with.”

Hall says that the other laborious task on the project was “de-noising and de-clicking it because it was extremely hissy.” Still, all things considered, he says, “The sound design on the original movie was pretty amazing. There are all sorts of scenes on the water, on boats, and in Shanghai, China, and various other places, and fortunately it came to us in fairly good shape.”

Picture:
The original negative for The Sand Pebbles at 4K (4096x3112 pixels per frame) using a Northlight 1 pin-registered film scanner to 10-bit Cineon files. The scanning process takes about seven seconds per frame, and it took 20-30 hours to create the 4K digital files for each reel. The 13 reels of The Sand Pebbles required close to 14 terabytes of disk storage space.

Using the Quantel iQ4 system with Pablo, colorist David Bernstein made a first pass for rough color correction and restoration of the heavier image damage, and removed the reel-end “change-over” cues that were physically punched into the original negative. “The iQ box is a combination of everything Quantel has made over the last 30 years, so there’s a bit of Harry, Henry Paintbox, Editbox and all that stuff,” says Bernstein. “It’s all resolution-independent, so I can bring any resolution from standard definition to 4K into the system, mix and match any of those on the timeline, and output them at any resolution.”

After Bernstein’s initial color-correction and image-restoration steps, the digital files were sent to a contract facility in India for dustbusting. This process removed more than just embedded dirt; the visible, thin-line CinemaScope splice marks were also removed.

“The scans come out kind of flat,” says Bernstein. “Some of the stuff coming out of the scanner looks fairly normal in terms of color balance, [but it’s] very flat. Some of it is [also] heavily biased toward red or green, resulting from different film stocks that the scanner might not have been calibrated for, so I added contrast and balanced the shot-to-shot color variations. I did that so the people doing the dust cleanup could more easily see the white specks, but this sort of broad color correction could also be applied using a lookup table at the cleanup workstation. I think we’ll set it up that way in the future.

“What I did in the initial pass was create a consistent look and eliminate the biases. If there’s a shot where we all of a sudden cut from one scene to a dupe of that scene for an optical, like a dissolve, and the color shifts dramatically between those two elements, I built in a balance there for the first pass. It made my work a little easier when I went back to do the final color pass, giving an overall consistent look to the reel, even though there wasn’t a true shot-by-shot color timing until the end.”

When the dustbusting is complete, Bernstein will make a final pass for color correction and quality control before doing the final transfer to 35mm. For the final color correction, he will compare his timing of the 4K files to a 35mm print of The Sand Pebbles that was made as a color reference from the original negative at Ascent’s Cinetech film laboratory. Fox’s goal is to create a new 35mm negative and separation masters that will retain the image quality inherent in the original camera negative and provide for archival preservation.

Although Bernstein is correcting obvious flaws in the surviving material, he is avoiding any sort of heavy image processing or grain reduction. “It’s not my intention to do any of that,” he says. “To begin with, there’s not a lot of grain structure to The Sand Pebbles, and it looks pretty good. There are a number of grain-reducing tools I could throw at it that would involve additional rendering, but film has a grain structure, and I like to keep as much of that as necessary to maintain the look of film. That’s something Fox is concerned about as well.

“Ultimately,” he continues, “Ascent will deliver a new 35mm negative, an answer print, the HD deliverables — three hi-def masters in different aspect ratios of 2.35:1, 1.78:1 and 4-by-3 — and the 4K data files that were used to create the negative, probably stored on LTO-3 tape, or whatever format Fox wants.” With this new restoration, The Sand Pebbles will be set for a return to active duty and live to fight for another 40 years or more.

I hope this was of interest.

#2 of 12 john a hunter

john a hunter

    Supporting Actor

  • 589 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 11 2005

Posted June 01 2008 - 09:56 AM

It sure is . Thanks for the research.

#3 of 12 Kris Z.

Kris Z.

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 191 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 10 2006

Posted June 01 2008 - 10:18 PM

Thank you, that was pretty interesting. This quote especially:
Quote:
Although Bernstein is correcting obvious flaws in the surviving material, he is avoiding any sort of heavy image processing or grain reduction. “It’s not my intention to do any of that,” he says. “To begin with, there’s not a lot of grain structure to The Sand Pebbles, and it looks pretty good. There are a number of grain-reducing tools I could throw at it that would involve additional rendering, but film has a grain structure, and I like to keep as much of that as necessary to maintain the look of film.
What can we do to get more guys like this in charge?

However after Patton and The Longest Day, I'm not sure if I can do anything but roll my eyes at this:
Quote:
That’s something Fox is concerned about as well.


#4 of 12 Dennis Maricic

Dennis Maricic

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 81 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 24 2000

Posted June 02 2008 - 01:19 AM

Thanks David, that was great info.

#5 of 12 Dennis Maricic

Dennis Maricic

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 81 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 24 2000

Posted June 02 2008 - 01:27 AM

Deleted "duplicate post"

#6 of 12 dannyboy104

dannyboy104

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 55 posts
  • Join Date: Oct 08 2006

Posted June 07 2008 - 07:32 AM

Having viewed Sand Pebbles for the second time on a large scope screen,my feelings are that this release is most satisfactory in regards to both picture and sound quality.
The picture has a certain amount of grain in places,but keeps the definition needed to give a really outstanding image. Shot in 35mm 2:35:1 Anamorphic for 70mm blow up(2:20:1), using Panavision Camera's and lenses, rather than Fox's own CinemaScope. Robert Wise wanted to shoot in 70mm,but this was rejected by Fox (due to the large amount of distant locations) and the Panavision process was the compromise.
This disc really brings a real epic roadshow feeling, with a superb score by Jerry Goldsmith.(Only the shorter length- theatrical version is on this Blu-Ray)With the volume turned to a sufficient level the soundstage really comes alive,reproducing the original 6 track mix when the Dtshd-ma 5.1 (which is front heavy) is selected. There is an isolated score included, with commentary in the gaps which is very informative and essential listening.There is another Commentary which I havn't had a listen to yet with the director Robert Wise amongst others.

A word of warning, "The Making of the Sand Pebbles",a very in depth look at the story in how the picture was made is hidden away under the 'extra road show' scenes section.
There does seem to be some inconsistency compared to the other Fox Blu-Ray release's 'Patton' and 'Longest Day' in relation to the end product. This disc has a nice gritty film look with slightly muted colour's, and looks splendid in high definition.It dosn't have that slightly clean proccesed look at any stage.The cover art is even different to the other release's using the original poster art by Howard Terpning*
Photography by DOP Joe Macdonald ASC using Panavision Camera's including Panafocal lens. A Daylight filter 85,Polar Screen for Dusk scenes and ND's filters for exposure control.It becomes apparent that the exterior's must have been a nightmare to shoot,in relation to the weather and matching camera's,but the extra clarity via this Blu-Ray release brings out the best of the cinematography of Mr Macdonald.

With the Release Prints, certain sequences were given a light sepia tint by the Laboratory.This was possibly done to give the "period" quality of the film.This can give the impression that scenes are a bit softer and are a bit off in colour correction.The impact of colour in the the movie can be described as desaturated with intended muted tones in wardrobes and sets,which is exactly what the Blu-Ray looks like.

*link to Howard Terpning movie poster art Howard Terpning - The Hollywood Years!
link to the score by Gerry Goldsmith FMS: Feature [Goldsmith's "Sand Pebbles" Celebrated – by Jon Burlingame]

#7 of 12 DaViD Boulet

DaViD Boulet

    Lead Actor

  • 8,805 posts
  • Join Date: Feb 24 1999

Posted June 07 2008 - 12:34 PM

Fantasic thread. Just what makes it worth visiting this forum.

Posted Image
Be an Original Aspect Ratio Advocate

Supporter of 1080p24 video and lossless 24 bit audio.

#8 of 12 Mark-P

Mark-P

    Screenwriter

  • 2,111 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 26 2005
  • Real Name:Mark Probst
  • LocationCamas, WA

Posted June 07 2008 - 03:11 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by dannyboy104

...To bring The Sand Pebbles into the current theater (and home theater) enviornment, POP Sound created new sounds for the stereo surround and subwoofer channels...

...As for the all-important subwoofer channel, “We had to create that from scratch,” Hall says...

...“Ascent will deliver a new 35mm negative, an answer print, the HD deliverables — three hi-def masters in different aspect ratios of 2.35:1, 1.78:1 and 4-by-3 — ...
Am I the only one who is disturbed by these things? I'm not crazy about adding new sounds that were not part of the actual movie (remember Mary Poppins? They added a "whoosh" sound when they jumped into the the chalk-pavement picture.) Can't they just clean up and remix the original sound recordings to give us the best-sounding representation without re-inventing the sound with new recordings?
As for the last quote, I really don't care if they make supplemental 1.78:1 and 4X3 editions just so long as the 2.35:1 is the primary version.

#9 of 12 GregK

GregK

    Supporting Actor

  • 951 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 22 2000

Posted June 08 2008 - 05:30 AM

Mark,

While the BluRay likely defaults to the DTS track, it might be worth checking the 4.0 Dolby Digital track as well.

http://www.hometheat....ml#post3377608
(Michael Osadciw's Post #7)

#10 of 12 Paul Rossen

Paul Rossen

    Second Unit

  • 438 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 09 2004

Posted June 09 2008 - 11:45 AM

The trick, he says, was getting it all together and then conforming the show. “I had a kind of cryptic cue sheet to go by. It was called their ‘studio version’ show, which is the one that's been on TV. After I'd done that, though, I called up [Fox's head of restoration] Schawn Belston and said, ‘I have a bunch more audio and picture.’ So they investigated, and apparently there was also what they called a ‘roadshow’ version for true 70 houses — not just stereo or mono houses — and that was a longer version, so I conformed that, too. Then I called them up and said, ‘I still have more audio.’ So there's also now an extra, extra long version for which they found the [additional] picture in England. The one they made [theatrical] prints of is the basic roadshow version, which is the medium-length version.


As far as the public is concerned there have basically been two versions of TSP.
1. The original Roadshow version as premiered in December 1966. 196 minutes or so. Now available as a supplement on the new standard DVD.
2. The cut version which has been shown all these years and is on the Laserdisc, original DVD as well as TV showings. Sometimes it is shown with Overture and Intermission music. 179/182 minutes. This version did become the Roadshow version once the cuts were made to all prints during its initial run.

That said there was a longer preview version at 200 minutes which opens up with Holman leaving his previous assignment-a battleship. This as well as other preview scenes are described on the website thesandpebbles.com

I believe that all new prints as well as the new Bluray is the standard 182 minute version. There was never any shorter version(to my knowledge). It would be something if the British print happened to be the preview print-but I 'assume' it would have been included in the double disc standard dvd version.

The discussion of the sound is fascinating in that none of the versions thus far(not including the Bluray) come close to what I recall was the overpowering sound of Goldsmith's main title music in the 70 mm Roadshow as shown at the Rivoli in NYC. Of course ones' memory does fade after all of these years but I'll assume that the care taken with the sound mix and the musical score on the Bluray will come closest to that experience.

An underappreciated film now finally getting its due.

#11 of 12 Stephen_J_H

Stephen_J_H

    Producer

  • 3,862 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 30 2003
  • Real Name:Stephen J. Hill
  • LocationNorth of the 49th

Posted June 09 2008 - 12:07 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark-P
Am I the only one who is disturbed by these things? I'm not crazy about adding new sounds that were not part of the actual movie (remember Mary Poppins? They added a "whoosh" sound when they jumped into the the chalk-pavement picture.) Can't they just clean up and remix the original sound recordings to give us the best-sounding representation without re-inventing the sound with new recordings?
As for the last quote, I really don't care if they make supplemental 1.78:1 and 4X3 editions just so long as the 2.35:1 is the primary version.
If you read the rest of the article, at no time are additional sounds mentioned. It is merely a matter of steering and spatializing, which is what modern sound engineers do in any event. I note that a 4.0 track preserving the original 70mm sound is also included. As for the subwoofer track, the article clearly indicates that lower frequency sounds were simply directed to the new subwoofer track, in much the same way you can manually set the crossover frequency for your subwoofer on some receivers. Hardly comparable to the "whoosh" in Mary Poppins.
"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#12 of 12 Mark-P

Mark-P

    Screenwriter

  • 2,111 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 26 2005
  • Real Name:Mark Probst
  • LocationCamas, WA

Posted June 09 2008 - 12:27 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen_J_H
If you read the rest of the article, at no time are additional sounds mentioned. It is merely a matter of steering and spatializing, which is what modern sound engineers do in any event. I note that a 4.0 track preserving the original 70mm sound is also included. As for the subwoofer track, the article clearly indicates that lower frequency sounds were simply directed to the new subwoofer track, in much the same way you can manually set the crossover frequency for your subwoofer on some receivers. Hardly comparable to the "whoosh" in Mary Poppins.
I was just commenting on what was quoted in the original post: "POP Sound created new sounds for the stereo surround and subwoofer channels" and "As for the all-important subwoofer channel, 'We had to create that from scratch,' Hall says" If there were no new sounds recorded, then Dannyboy's post is very misleading.


Back to Blu-ray



Forum Nav Content I Follow