Interview Exclusive Interview: Robert A. Harris & Kevin Koster on the Restoration of My Fair Lady

Robert Harris

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haineshisway said:
Having spent a few hours over a couple of days at Fotokem watching Mr. Harris do his magic, was not only fun, but it made one's heart race, seeing that incredible image. You're all in for quite a treat. I'm not sure I'll venture out to any of the theaters that are playing this - I worry for proper brightness and it doesn't seem to be in any really large theaters. If it were to play the Academy or the DGA, absolutely.
It's always a pleasure having Bruce visit, as he knows his stuff.

He is also the only non-Fotokem viewer to have seen a sample compressed Blu-ray, on a 25 foot screen.

RAH
 

Robert Harris

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MatthewA said:
I'll be seeing it when it comes to Santa Cruz, and I already knew they would be able to do it justice, but this article and its copious screenshots really made me excited for it. I've seen the film three times on film (twice in 35mm and once in 70mm), but even in a digital screening we're finally getting something to bring this cinematic masterpiece up to the technical standards of the 21st century. I, too, wish they could make at least one 70mm print of this restoration just to show it can still be done, but at least it's safe for future generations and fixes that were out of the reach of 1994's technology are now within reach.


My Fair Lady was recorded back to 65mm negative on Eastman Kodak stock, and a final corrected answer print, has been struck with audio time code, for The Acacdemy.

So, yes, CBS has backed up its asset, with full protection.




It just so happens the one time I've seen it in 70mm happened to be at the Academy. The screen was so big and so bright and the print so clean, colorful and sharp, you could see Audrey's fillings when she opened her mouth wide enough! Why don't movies LOOK like this anymore? Maybe if Mr. Tarantino's new film makes money, we'll see a renewed interest in 65mm-originated productions. It's way past time another musical was shot in it.


I wasn't planning on discussing this, as it gets into layers of tech, but one of the problems of the 1994 70mm prints on modern print stock, and even more so, 8k scans from original negatives, with zero generational loss...

Much like the lion's tail, Godfather squib filaments, the reflective backgrounds and floating pen in 2001, the majority of the fillings were removed. It's all part of that balance between what one was intended to see half a century ago on color print stock, then only a decade old, and projected with bob and weave, and an absolutely stable highly resolved, digital image.

RAH
 

Charles Smith

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That last bit, totally understood. Common sense, man. Can't beat it. Though I imagine some of those types of decisions are head-scratchers.

Interesting mention of bob and weave, though. In my fallible memory, those 70mm road show presentations were rock solid. (And I think I'll just leave them that way.) :)
 

Robert Harris

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Charles Smith said:
That last bit, totally understood. Common sense, man. Can't beat it. Though I imagine some of those types of decisions are head-scratchers.

Interesting mention of bob and weave, though. In my fallible memory, those 70mm road show presentations were rock solid. (And I think I'll just leave them that way.) :)
They only appeared that way...
 

Billy Batson

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Yes, when checking camera steady tests on telecine we always put a grid up on the screen. What can appear rock solid without the grid, with the grid overlaid you could sometimes detect a slight weave.


Great & interesting interview. You buy this & Spartacus & you get so much effort & craft for not really that much money...& a great looking version of the films.
 

KPmusmag

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Thank goodness CBS was willing to do what was needed and that they had the good sense to retain Mr. Harris to see to it. I have loverly memories of seeing the 94 restoration at the Plitt Century when I was living in L.A.


I cannot believe that it is not showing anywhere here in Las Vegas! It is playing in Mesquite, NV of all places - a tiny town near the border of Utah. My parents will be visiting and we may go if they feel up to a 180 mile round trip. I am just concerned that the screen won't be much bigger than my home theater! I don't know what kind of theater they have there.
 

SAhmed

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Fantastic stuff - I don't necessarily understand the "gory" details but I KNOW that I am going to love the end product - and this is one of the releases which will drive me to a full 4K setup when a 4K Blu Ray release is made available. Thank you to all concerned!


Regards,
 

Billy Batson

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Exhilarating...on every front and at every level !!!​

I have much too much to say;​
and altogether much too much to be grateful for.​
______________________________________________________​
Robert A. Harris [from the interview]:​
"Digitally, we were able to fix some shots,​
and where it now costs about 50, 60 cents​
a frame to record a large format 65mm picture,​
it was then costing about $50.00 a frame."​
___________________________________________________________​
Perhaps this quote, alone, should best place things in perspective for anyone who
feels that owning in its entirety a BD/4K of "My Fair Lady"
- as restored by Robert A. Harris -
was priced too high; be it at $29.99, $34.00, $37.50...or whatever.
Truly, we are blessed.
 

Jonathan Burk

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Great interview!


I had to read the comment about "I would rather see My Fair Lady in 4k than 70mm at this point" twice because I thought I read it wrong. :eek:
 
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warnerbro

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Thrilling! The screen shots are breathtaking. I knew Mr. Harris was not going to disappoint in any way. It has apparently been worth the wait.
 

Stephen_J_H

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Thanks to all parties involved for this. I look forward to both this and Spartacus next month.
 

BarryR

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Wonderful article; manna from heaven!


On a modest note, I saw MY FAIR LADY in somewhat inauspicious circumstances. Probably in 1965, when it was playing at a drive-in! The image was fine but the car speaker was less than perfect. I'm looking forward to hearing the latest incarnation!
 

Mark Edward Heuck

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A dumb question to ask, I suppose, but as part of the overall asset strategy, were any 35mm elements or prints created, and would CBS make a 35mm print available for play. I know one high-level client (not the one you would automatically suspect) who would like to view it in such a manner, even though obviously the digital presentations would be closer to the true fidelity of the restoration.
 
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I too am thrilled at this news. I have earlier blu-ray and it is a favorite of mine. Cant wait to see the restoration - and listen to the audio!

Dave
 

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Amazing interview and information. Looking forward to see this on my JVC front projector and 9 foot wide scope screen. Believe it or not, I've never seen the movie either!
 

Robert Harris

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Mark Edward Heuck said:
A dumb question to ask, I suppose, but as part of the overall asset strategy, were any 35mm elements or prints created, and would CBS make a 35mm print available for play. I know one high-level client (not the one you would automatically suspect) who would like to view it in such a manner, even though obviously the digital presentations would be closer to the true fidelity of the restoration.
35mm prints were struck in 1964-5, and again in 1970.

If it were up to me I wouldn't strike 35s today. No need. Only frustration and cost.
 

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