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Disney "Digital Restorations" (1 Viewer)

Chuck Pennington

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Hey guys,

I started threads over at UltimateDisney.com I thought some of you might be interested in. Rather than duplicate it here, you might wanna check out these links with screep capture comparisons between all the video releases of:

THE LITTLE MERMAID
http://www.ultimatedisney.com/forum/...ic.php?t=18829

PETER PAN
http://www.ultimatedisney.com/forum/...ic.php?t=18812

PINOCCHIO
http://www.ultimatedisney.com/forum/...ic.php?t=18826

SLEEPING BEAUTY
http://www.ultimatedisney.com/forum/...ic.php?t=18815

BAMBI
http://www.ultimatedisney.com/forum/...ic.php?t=18811

After checking them out, maybe we can post here about it. Most of the people over there don't seem to be as knowledgeable about film or DVD.

Chuck
 

Kris Z.

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Very nice work compiling the screenshots. Most of the DVDs look good in comparison to the LDs but I'm growing more and more tired of the grain removal on the older films. Although I can understand it since they're mostly marketed toward "regular people" and to most of them grain equals bad quality. Still annoying though, and I can't help but feel that the contours and grey lines particularly in Bambi could have looked a lot more solid without the grain removal. The Little Mermaid also suffered some unpleasant ghosting issues most likely due to this.

And I notice a peculiar inconsistency in the colour of Ariel's tail. In the first shot that it's visible in, the 1990 LD one is greener and in the 2006 DVD edition it's more turquoise/blue. But in the shot lower down it's the exact opposite, the 1990 edition has almost the same turquoise colour and the 2006 edition is green.

Also, I recall some mention that the framing in Sleeping Beauty for the special edition DVD was incorrect or something, but I can't see anything particularly off in the shots. What exactly was it or did I mix it up with some other movie?
 

PaulP

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Chuck, thanks so much. Great work! Do you plan to do all the Disney restored features this way?

As for grain removal, I actually am for it. I think that's the way animation should be watched, and this is how it always was intended, but couldn't be achived due to limitations back then that we can overcome now.
 

SilverWook

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I'm suddenly glad I still have my old LD's. Replacing the RKO logo is a bit baffling. Fixing the cel goofup in Bambi, (well known enough it's mentioned in a animation book or two) is taking restoration a little too far.
 

Patrick McCart

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I think fixing any goofs in the animation is fine, especially cel dust. A lot of the flaws were hidden in older prints, but today's technology brings it all out. Now, erasing cigarettes and replacing logos are out of the question.

The PAL Pinocchio looks absolutely stunning. Why Disney would be sitting on that for the past few years, I don't know. I'm at least happy Disney did it right the first time for Bambi... besides the omission of the RKO logo. The 2002 Peter Pan has a lot of DVNR artifacts, but the new 2007 DVD apparently used the Lowry Digital Images version. Too much edge enhancement on the 2002. Sleeping Beauty looks really weird, especially since it's a Technirama film and was shot in sequential exposure. There's no reason why it shouldn't look perfect since Disney didn't have to deal with a faded negative.
 

Chuck Pennington

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Disney didn't have to deal with a faded negative of ANY of these films. They were all short sequential exposure Technicolor. I think SLEEPING BEAUTY is the most successful of the restorations, but perhaps because it was done pre-Lowry and back to film. The framing on the DVD crops a bit off of the top and bottom of the image, especially when compared to the P/S 1987 Laserdisc. Still, it was framed for 2.35:1, and the DVD is very close to that. I'm all for matting if it is what was intended and done properly.

As far as removing film grain, I think it is dangerous. Look at how flat the DVD's look with none of the subtlety in shadow or lighting. Colors have been changed and an effort was made to make them more uniform throughout the films - but different lighting situations and scenes and such means they wouldn't be the same at all. Blocks of color have been recolored to remove any painstrokes, but this process also removes some of the outline around the colors.

The DVD's of many of these films no longer look like films - they look like made-for-video "product". CINDERELLA III looks like the DVD of the first CINDERELLA, and that should not be the case. Check out how whites or lighter shades fair on the DVD's - PETER PAN has grayish skin tones, and CINDERELLA (which I will post in the next few days) has whites that are gray and way off. Look at the pink flame in PINOCCHIO! :-(

Cel dust shows up more than ever partly because of sidestepping the old Technicolor printing process - but also from brightening the film. I'm not saying the oldest releases are the best - but there has got to be a point where someone steps in and stops the plastic surgery.

I'm not even going to BEGIN talking about the sound remixes....

For a sample (I don't have the 1989 Laserdisc yet, which is what I'm waiting on to post a bunch of screenshots on UltimateDisney.com), check these out:

1995 CAV Laserdisc (enclosed book says it was restored on film):


2005 DVD


1995 Laserdisc


2005 DVD


1995 Laserdisc


2005 DVD


There will be a lot more when I have compared all 3 video releases and post on UltimateDisney.com in a few days. I just wish they had done a new digital transfer of the restored element and done mabe a little dirt and scratch removal - and left things at that. Transfer technology has imporved so much since 1995 that there would still be a giant leap in quality, but it seems they instead have made the leap into made-for-video, plastic and artificial quality.

Oh, and what do you see that looks quite wrong in the 2005 DVD capture here?

1995 Laserdisc


2005 DVD


Also, all of these images were captured using VLC with no additional color/contrast/brightness work.

Chuck
 

MatthewA

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Doesn't the studio have reference 35mm IB Tech prints from which to judge the right look? The original negative would not capture the cels exactly as the human eye saw them, which is the problem with most of these digital jobs.
 

Jack Theakston

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In some cases, the studio does have dye-transfer prints available. However, they are not always year-of-release prints (ie. they have reissue prints) and thus, do not always have the same color timing. This was a major issue with the restorations that were done of GONE WITH THE WIND over the last decade or so. There's are differences between a 1939 print and a 1954 reissue print and a 1961 reissue print.

On the other hand, even if an original print does not exist, there are, in many cases, Technicolor's timing sheets that give shot-for-shot information as to how to time prints off of their original negatives. This can be applied to standard Eastman printing today.
 

ScottR

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Plus, there are instances in Cinderella where the lines were redrawn for dvd, as well as some backgrounds!
 

Lord Dalek

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What was the last Disney movie to use 3-strip, Cinderella? Peter Pan?
 

Jack Theakston

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None of the features used three-strip. All of them used successive exposure on a single strip of film. I believe this technique continued into the '60s.
 

Joe Caps

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Big Disney fan but some of Disney transfers really suck.
Peter Pan has been getting better over the years.
All of the region one Pinocchios are pretty bad. The last one from the so called restoration turned everything to shades of orange and brown. Woyld like one with the original mono sound too.

All the early pinocchio transfers have a problem in that in your comparisons, they try to make Jominy cricket with human fleshtones, instead of the pale green he should be. The PAL at least gets that correct.
 

TomTom

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Thanks for making the threads. It must have been alot of work.

I've always had issues with Beauty & the Beast on dvd.

This is one of my all time favorites. I've seen it many times during its theatrical run while working at a movie theater & even more on both laserdiscs releases. While the new dvd is a must have, I'm a little distracted viewing it. I much prefer the laserdisc for it aspect ratio of 1.66 (more balanced than 1.85 which is proper but a little cramped).
I also like the laserdiscs color to a certain degree. I remember the beast being overall a little more brown in color as well as his cape (now more red). I figure when they did the transfer years ago they made sure the colors matched whatever values that disney animation applied to them. And obviously Disney approved the origianal transfer.
Playing the trailers,music video footage (disc 2) or "Break the Spell" on Disc 1 and then the movie will demonstrate this to anyone interested. I guess have grown up watching an improperly color corrected original
transfer?
What set me off was the end transformation (my favorite overall) scene. Upon seeing it I immediately knew Belle's hair wasn't dark enough as well as Beasts fur color (too light). I mean its nightime. Her hairs alittle darker. Its almost like they punch up the same color value for her hair throughout the whole movie. Regardless of day or night or rain. The same goes for Gastons shirt.

I also compared it to all the Disney books I own on B&B and the colors in the photographs are a closer match to the old laserdisc.

These all-digital transfers allow pristine images, but also take away the filmic pleasantries we're so used to. I felt the same about Snow White's "too perfect" pictures.
 

Jay Pennington

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Thanks for all the work on these comparisons!

I don't have a problem with the restored versions in any of these examples. When an image goes from original negative to dupe negative to release print (and sometimes more stages between), all kinds of things can happen to colors. I don't think the colors of any release print (and the video transfers of same) can be taken as gospel.

I'll grant you that the fixing of the misregistered baby opossum in Bambi was probably a step too far, though.

The 1997 restoration of Bambi was an abomination, though. They replaced each background with a composite still image, complete with grain frozen in place. Big, unmoving chunks of grain now part of the background artwork. An incredibly boneheaded approach.

They used a similar technique with the more recent restoration but without held grain it works better. My only beef is that they apparently cut out a generous area around the characters as they moved across these new, "dead" backgrounds, meaning there was moving grain from the original background following characters around like an aura. I only spotted this artifact in a few places, though.
 

Chuck Pennington

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But what you don't seem to see is these aren't restorations - they are creating something wholly new. SLEEPING BEAUTY is the only one of them that could accurately be called a restoration because it was restored on film completely and then digitally touched up and transferred back to film. The other "transfers" were made from restored film elements, but then something wholly digital was created from them. All patches of color on characters have been selected and evened out, removing all subtlety in lighting and shadow not to mention normal film grain. There is a flat, video-like look to many of these films now. This will be more apparent when my comparison of CINDERELLA is ready, but I'm still waiting on the CAV 1989 Laserdisc to show up. It's funny, but I owned that disc so long ago and here I am re-acquiring it - lol

I disagree that release prints can't be used to judge color because original Technicolor prints [at least those sent to the big cities as well as studio reference prints] were carefully timed. Perhaps the density of the image would have lessened as the Technicolor printing process improved, but the colors would have been accurate to what was intended.

CINDERELLA now looks just like CINDERELLA III, a cheap made-for-video affair. Isn't that nice?

As far as PINOCCHIO goes, I don't think the PAL version is foolproof. Look at the flame on the candle, an example of changing a color as well as removing the lighting effects. At least there is still cel dust to show it wasn't as drastically overhauled as CINDERELLA or BAMBI. I actually prefer the color and look of the 1940 and 1984 trailers on the 1993 CAV Laserdisc. It looks like the 1940 trailer was restored but not mucked with digitally. After all, it's only a trailer.
 

ScottR

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What are your thoughts on Snow White? I commented at the time of its dvd release that every time a scene faded to black that a couple of seconds of animation was unseen because the fade seemed to happen faster than its vhs counterpart. Could that have been because they fixed the contrast, and due to it being darkened, that accounts for the "missing" animation?
 

Jack Theakston

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Doing three-strip seps is common practice, but sequential animation dwindled as more films went Eastman, and was totally phased out when Technicolor stopped printing dye-transfer.
 

Adam_S

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Sleeping Beauty and Pinocchio fare best in those comparisons and Bambi is also excellent. Peter Pan does not look right and Cinderella looks overly sharpened. I think Little Mermaid is a big improvement and the variations seem to be the result of different colorists involved in the end product, but look at how Ariel's hair is a different shade of red than the varieties of red on Sebastian for a good example of why the new version is better.

I don't know the details of these restorations or any new or alterations done digitally, but the weaker ones appear to have been made with an eye towards maximizing the small screen potential of 400 lines of resolution. You can see the detriments of this approach with Cinderella and Peter Pan, but the higher resolution PAL images on Pinocchio shows that an actual restoration has been accomplished with some of these films and in high definition these worries about 'smooth images' and loss of film grain and texture should dissappear. the muddy softness you're seeing in the old versions of Cinderella isn't film grain, vhs doeesn't have the resolution to properly display the full complexities of a fine grain structure, you're seeing video noise grossly overexaggerating and magnifying the grain structure until it's interfering with the picture. Even at 400 lines of resolution, grain is more of an artifact than it is an actual representation. Hopefully these films will look much better in high definition, which has the resolution to properly represent a fine grain structure that a good restoration will reveal, and there will be no need to smooth out the low resolution interference.
 

Chuck Pennington

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If they were just doing clean, correct transfers of restored elements, that would be fine and I'd agree with you. However, the versions of the films being released now are computer products, re-colored and devoid of any depth. These versions, I'm afraid, are the ones we'll see in the future. They look like made-for-video cheap animation.

I'm not saying we should all go back and view the Laserdiscs. As transfer technology improved, and formats like DVD arrived offering higher resolution and digital clarity, the films would naturally appear sharper and more detailed. However, technology has led Disney to create wholly different versions of some of their films. Again I cite CINDERELLA as a disasterous venture all around, and when I finish making screen captures from all 3 video releases we can all compare them.

I hope that future high-def versions (I guess on Blu-Ray) offer a restored original + the new digital versions in addition to the original mono sound mixes and any other sound options people might want in uncompressed PCM or the equivalent. There's enough room, and it would offer fans a choice - and it would give Disney a new way to promote these films.
 

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