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Robert Crawford

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I am only looking at the screenshots and the dvd looks a bit more color charged the blu of course looks sharper and more film grain but the colors look sadly lost to the pacific ocean 45 or more years ago on both
So you don't own the Blu-ray?
 

RobertMG

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So you don't own the Blu-ray?
Just got it last weekend had the dvd for years and dvr'd it on MOVIES! last night! Only have a 27 inch JVC Monitor Using Beaver shots as reference because dvd is in storage thought we were selling house - maybe not now so gotta get them back from storage
 

Robert Crawford

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Just got it last weekend had the dvd for years and dvr'd it on MOVIES! last night! Only have a 27 inch JVC Monitor Using Beaver shots as reference because dvd is in storage
Well, I guess you and I won't agree on this issue, but I have no problems with this Blu-ray as it looks fine so far.
 

lark144

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Just a point about the "awful blue bias" of "The Black Swan". It's supposed to look very blue, as Leon Shamroy used blue gels, especially during the night and interior scenes as an alternative to overlighting the sets which was necessary for three-strip technicolor. If you listen to the commentary, Maureen O' Hara states this a number of times. Also, the sets and costumes are very blue. And yet, the faces aren't blue at all. Even when her face is bathed with blue light, you can see the red of her lips and rouge on her cheeks. Her dress is bright red. So no, there is no blue bias, at least according to these eyes.
If you're talking about the way it "used to look" on TV, well, that was based on a badly faded eastmancolor element with an extreme red bias. So getting rid of that red does not make it "wrong". That's how it's supposed to look.

Now, in terms of the color. It is derived from a somewhat faded CRI. Personally, I think they achieved a miraculous clarity. I think the colors are lovely and clear and precise. You get to see Mr. Shamroy's lighting scheme in all its beauty. But....it doesn't look like three-strip technicolor and it never will. hence Mr. Harris' rating. He isn't saying it's not watchable. Just that it doesn't look the way it should. According to Mr. Harris, nitrate prints are not really good source material for Blu-rays in terms of color reproduction. Therefore, they went with the CRI and did what they could to make as it close as possible.
 

Robert Harris

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We did what we could with Black Swan, and a few other Fox Technicolor titles with Mr. Belston’s approval. They were later publicly screened as ”restored” at a festival, although they were not.

I consulted the nitrate, which was brought in to Lowry, where we did the work. Far too expensive to attempt a match, as beyond all other problems, this film used the silver record.

It’s quite viewable, but is what it is, which in itself is a small miracle.

Could it be better today, scanning the nitrate?

Possibly.

I did perform dye transfer scan tests on Blood and Sand.
 

Robert Crawford

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Just a point about the "awful blue bias" of "The Black Swan". It's supposed to look very blue, as Leon Shamroy used blue gels, especially during the night and interior scenes as an alternative to overlighting the sets which was necessary for three-strip technicolor. If you listen to the commentary, Maureen O' Hara states this a number of times. Also, the sets and costumes are very blue. And yet, the faces aren't blue at all. Even when her face is bathed with blue light, you can see the red of her lips and rouge on her cheeks. Her dress is bright red. So no, there is no blue bias, at least according to these eyes.
If you're talking about the way it "used to look" on TV, well, that was based on a badly faded eastmancolor element with an extreme red bias. So getting rid of that red does not make it "wrong". That's how it's supposed to look.

Now, in terms of the color. It is derived from a somewhat faded CRI. Personally, I think they achieved a miraculous clarity. I think the colors are lovely and clear and precise. You get to see Mr. Shamroy's lighting scheme in all its beauty. But....it doesn't look like three-strip technicolor and it never will. hence Mr. Harris' rating. He isn't saying it's not watchable. Just that it doesn't look the way it should. According to Mr. Harris, nitrate prints are not really good source material for Blu-rays in terms of color reproduction. Therefore, they went with the CRI and did what they could to make as it close as possible.
I agree with your comments! I watched the Blu-ray in its entirety again this afternoon and was pleased with how it displayed on my OLED.
 

Robert Crawford

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We did what we could with Black Swan, and a few other Fox Technicolor titles with Mr. Belston’s approval. They were later publicly screened as ”restored” at a festival, although they were not.

I consulted the nitrate, which was brought in to Lowry, where we did the work. Far too expensive to attempt a match, as beyond all other problems, this film used the silver record.

It’s quite viewable, but is what it is, which in itself is a small miracle.

Could it be better today, scanning the nitrate?

Possibly.

I did perform dye transfer scan tests on Blood and Sand.
I thought it looked more than viewable, but what do I know, except what is pleasing to my eyes when watching a movie on my OLEDs.
 

lark144

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I agree with your comments! I watched the Blu-ray in its entirety again this afternoon and was pleased with how it displayed on my OLED.
Thanks, Robert. I saw an amazingly luminous nitrate three-strip print of "The Black Swan" and a few other Fox Technicolor films from the Cinematheque Francaise in 1970-71 at the NYFF, so unfortuntely, I'm able to compare this Blu-Ray with what it SHOULD look like. The blues were almost translucent, the reds richer than humanly possible, and the whites so pure, it was unbelievable. The color elevated the film to such a level of artistry, it's difficult to describe. The color scheme of the Blu-Ray doesn't hold a candle to what I saw. That said, I though the Fox technical team did an amazing job, and it's very close to the color I saw, though of course, not the same. But you can get a strong sense from this Blu why Leon Shamroy won the Oscar. The fact that they managed to get such clarity and beauty from a faded, poorly transferred CRI is, to my mind, jaw dropping.
 

Robert Crawford

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Thanks, Robert. I saw an amazingly luminous nitrate three-strip print of "The Black Swan" and a few other Fox Technicolor films from the Cinematheque Francaise in 1970-71 at the NYFF, so unfortuntely, I'm able to compare this Blu-Ray with what it SHOULD look like. The blues were almost translucent, the reds richer than humanly possible, and the whites so pure, it was unbelievable. The color elevated the film to such a level of artistry, it's difficult to describe. The color scheme of the Blu-Ray doesn't hold a candle to what I saw. That said, I though the Fox technical team did an amazing job, and it's very close to the color I saw, though of course, not the same. But you can get a strong sense from this Blu why Leon Shamroy won the Oscar. The fact that they managed to get such clarity and beauty from a faded, poorly transferred CRI is, to my mind, jaw dropping.
I don't know how you guys can remember what I movie looked like 40+ years ago against a BD that was released in 2013. Unfortunately or maybe not, my long-term memory doesn't work that way. It's geared more towards movie and actors names and plot points.:)
 

Robert Harris

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Thanks, Robert. I saw an amazingly luminous nitrate three-strip print of "The Black Swan" and a few other Fox Technicolor films from the Cinematheque Francaise in 1970-71 at the NYFF, so unfortuntely, I'm able to compare this Blu-Ray with what it SHOULD look like. The blues were almost translucent, the reds richer than humanly possible, and the whites so pure, it was unbelievable. The color elevated the film to such a level of artistry, it's difficult to describe. The color scheme of the Blu-Ray doesn't hold a candle to what I saw. That said, I though the Fox technical team did an amazing job, and it's very close to the color I saw, though of course, not the same. But you can get a strong sense from this Blu why Leon Shamroy won the Oscar. The fact that they managed to get such clarity and beauty from a faded, poorly transferred CRI is, to my mind, jaw dropping.
To clear things up a bit, we scanned the faded CRI, dropped the Y dye layer in its entirety, and replaced it with the blue (Y) record (unfortunately) derived from the same optically produced CRI.

If one was to write a master’s thesis on film preservation, the lead concept would be to study and take into account every single attribute that went into this process at Fox/deluxe c. 1976…

And go 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

There was not one single thing that was done correctly.
 

lark144

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I don't know how you guys can remember what I movie looked like 40+ years ago against a BD that was released in 2013. Unfortunately or maybe not, my long-term memory doesn't work that way. It's geared more towards movie and actors names and plot points.:)
I don't remember every film I ever saw. But this was a very special occasion. It was the first time I had ever seen three-strip nitrates. It was a revelation. Those films were completely transformed. I had seen the films before, in 35mm eastmancolor, but this was completely different. I was able to compare, and see how that color was essential to the film's identity, and that changed everything. That color design in "The Black Swan"--for instance, the blue and yellow light on the fortress walls in the first scene, or that orange and white striped suit and matching hat Laird Cregar wears--is part and parcel of the actors' identity and also expresses the emotional underpinnings of the plot. Once seen, it's hard to forget.

On the other hand, I've bought plenty of DVDs & Blus blind, for films I thought I never saw, and it turned out I had just forgotten.
 

lark144

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To clear things up a bit, we scanned the faded CRI, dropped the Y dye layer in its entirety, and replaced it with the blue (Y) record (unfortunately) derived from the same optically produced CRI.

If one was to write a master’s thesis on film preservation, the lead concept would be to study and take into account every single attribute that went into this process at Fox/deluxe c. 1976…

And go 180 degrees in the opposite direction.

There was not one single thing that was done correctly.
Under those conditions, it's even more amazing it looks as good as it does. Some of the shots are really dazzling.
 

Billy Batson

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Well I'll say it. I can't stand the dupey look of those Fox three-strip Technicolor films. You only have to look the stunning pictures from other studios (mostly Warner) where they had the original nitrate camera negatives to work from, to see how bad these Fox films look.
 

RobertMG

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Totally understand - FOX has an interest in MOVIES! wonder if they used HD masters? But no way does the blu or dvd do justice to the original release and that's is for sure and that is sad it is a great film. Has anyone here seen the UCLA print?

Well I'll say it. I can't stand the dupey look of those Fox three-strip Technicolor films. You only have to look the stunning pictures from other studios (mostly Warner) where they had the original nitrate camera negatives to work from, to see how bad these Fox films look.
RAH should start a new feature here "We've Been Duped!" The most frustrating thing about the classic Fox films are that "State Fair" 1945 looks nearly like Glorious Technicolor as does "Hello Frisco Hello" and "Drums Along The Mohawk" (I know it was restored too but here in NY and LI the old WOR TV airings always looked good) and even the old SFM Holiday Network airing of "The Captain From Castile" looked stunning (the dvd was a let down) then we see films like "The Black Swan" and "Leave Her To Heaven" and we can only dream what they looked like when released.
 

Will Krupp

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The most frustrating thing about the classic Fox films are that "State Fair" 1945 looks nearly like Glorious Technicolor as does "Hello Frisco Hello"
We'll have to agree to disagree regarding HELLO, FRISCO, HELLO. The blu-ray is one of the few discs I gave away because I couldn't imagine watching it again as I disliked it so much. I actually much prefer the look of the DVD, which isn't SUPPOSED to happen, lol. :oops:
 

Dick

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I agree with your comments! I watched the Blu-ray in its entirety again this afternoon and was pleased with how it displayed on my OLED.

I, too, ran this on an OLED (65") and I find the transfer very disappointing. Mr. Harris said, "We did what we could" with the movie (italics mine), which I guess means he particpated in the work done to it, but I respectfully concur with those who find THE BLACK SWAN to be 1. A fine adventure film, 2. A nice showcase for O'Hara, 3. A sharp image,and 4. a colorwise mess. It's amazing how people with different sets of eyes can see the same image and completely disagree about it. But, hey, diversity is what makes the world go 'round! :unsure:
 

RobertMG

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We'll have to agree to disagree regarding HELLO, FRISCO, HELLO. The blu-ray is one of the few discs I gave away because I couldn't imagine watching it again as I disliked it so much. I actually much prefer the look of the DVD, which isn't SUPPOSED to happen, lol. :oops:
I should have clarified - I have the dvd of Frisco so I agree with you! Still wish we could see the Nitrate on Swan!
 

Robert Harris

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Well I'll say it. I can't stand the dupey look of those Fox three-strip Technicolor films. You only have to look the stunning pictures from other studios (mostly Warner) where they had the original nitrate camera negatives to work from, to see how bad these Fox films look.
RAH should start a new feature here "We've Been Duped!" The most frustrating thing about the classic Fox films are that "State Fair" 1945 looks nearly like Glorious Technicolor as does "Hello Frisco Hello" and "Drums Along The Mohawk" (I know it was restored too but here in NY and LI the old WOR TV airings always looked good) and even the old SFM Holiday Network airing of "The Captain From Castile" looked stunning (the dvd was a let down) then we see films like "The Black Swan" and "Leave Her To Heaven" and we can only dream what they looked like when released.
Sorry, but Drums is contrasty garbage. Best thing that might be said about it is that it is. None of these films look anything like Technicolor.

If you’re talking about Fox Technicolor syndication prints from the late ‘60s into the ‘70s, they were dye transfer 16mm, and were beautiful.

Those prints looked nothing like the mid-‘40s prints.
 

JimMiller

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RAH should start a new feature here "We've Been Duped!" The most frustrating thing about the classic Fox films are that "State Fair" 1945 looks nearly like Glorious Technicolor as does "Hello Frisco Hello" and "Drums Along The Mohawk" (I know it was restored too but here in NY and LI the old WOR TV airings always looked good) and even the old SFM Holiday Network airing of "The Captain From Castile" looked stunning (the dvd was a let down) then we see films like "The Black Swan" and "Leave Her To Heaven" and we can only dream what they looked like when released.
I must be one of the few who found many things to like in the Criterion release of "LHTH". One reviewer had complained that Tierney's lips looked more chestnut than red but, on my monitor, they're bright red. I guess we all see things differently. As we may never see a perfect transfer to home video, I'll take the Criterion disc.
 

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