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Home Theater United Episode 20 - Film historian and preservationist Mr. Robert A Harris (1 Viewer)

Sam Posten

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Find out why Sam is an embarrassment!

Mr. RAH @Robert Harris is on to discuss his work restoring and preserving historic and important films, how he got started, how he sees the health of restoration efforts, and his side gig of giving “A Few Words About” recent releases:
  • How he got started doing film restoration.
  • How is restoration different than preservation?
  • Thoughts on the colorization of B&W movies
  • Color correction
  • Restoration of 3D or High Frame Rate films?
  • How badly did the pandemic affect studios efforts to restore films? Is the “industry” of restoration in bad shape? Are the studios losing their appetite for big restorations? Has studio consolidation or move to streaming affected the calculus?
  • Has he embraced streaming?
  • What films that haven't made their way to disk does he most want to see?
  • What does he wish our readers understood better about restoration efforts?
  • “A Few Words About”
Plus a hilarious Good Bad and Ugly
 
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Brian Dobbs

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Dig the signature addition Sam. ;)

"An embarrassment" according to noted film historian and restorationist Mr. Robert A. Harris
"
 

Sam Posten

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Sam Posten

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Brian Dobbs

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People need to start listening to Trumbull. Maybe this is why HFR isn't catching on.

"The problem with digital projectors and televisions is that they have no shutter. If you increase the frame rate and don’t have the shutter, it’s going to look exactly like television. That’s the problem with “Gemini Man.” I tried endlessly to explain this to Ang Lee, over and over again, and he never got it. None of those guys ever understood it. And they put that movie out with no shutter. Digital projectors in movie theaters don’t have shutter.

I found that you can actually add a shutter in the DCP copy of the movie with black frames that replicate the shutter. That’s the difference between cinema and television — the shutter. They keep making the same mistake. Peter Jackson made the same mistake with “The Hobbit.” I don’t know what Jim Cameron is doing with the next “Avatar” movies but I’ve shown him what we do here and he was blown away. I don’t know if he’s going to try to alter the frame rates or tone down the high frame rate stuff that looks so video-like.
"
 

Josh Steinberg

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I’ve heard Trumbull talk about that in person and it certainly could be part of the equation.

But I think another issue with how HFR has been deployed, and I think we touched on this when I was on the podcast, is that filmmakers are still using the same cinematic language when filming with HFR as they do when filming at the standard frame rate. The same thing also happens when filmmakers use 3D: they’re shootings things that will look good in 2D and then enhancing it with 3D, rather than re-examining how to shoot and edit.

If you look at the history of film at the dawn of the 20th century, the language of film evolved as the technology did. Early silent films were shot and staged very differently than early sound films, and the addition of sound changed how films were done, and the same could be argued to a lesser extent with the addition of color and widescreen.

I think the problem is always going to be that if you shoot and edit a film using the kinds of framing and editing techniques that are hallmarks of standard 2D photography, only in HFD or 3D, it’s still going to feel in many ways like a traditional film, which will make the majority of the audience wonder what the point of using the new technology was (and also, leave the audience why they’re being asked to pay more for the ticket). It forces the new tech into being perceived as gimmicky because it’s mainly being deployed in that capacity.

There are things I like HFR does really well - the clarity of the imagery and the level of detail can be just astonishing and incredibly immersive. But the filmmaking style of this moment works against HFR in a way. Fast cutting in particular is more jarring in HFR than in standard. HFR is fantastic at making you feel that you’re there, but techniques like shaky cam and quick cutting remind you that you’re watching a movie and work against the extra realism the photography is capable of providing.

I think Trumbull has part of the picture right - filmmakers could do more to give it a cinematic vs live television appearance. But I think changing the way they shoot and edit would have a greater impact. I can’t believe this is gonna be my metaphor of choice but just in the way that writing a fantastic essay is a different skill set from writing a trendy tweet, making conventional movies and working with HFR are two different beasts and should be treated as such.
 

Sam Posten

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I started researching Mr Trumbull last night to see if I could reach out to him to ask about this tech but couldn’t find any contact information. He seems very private only doing an interview or two a year
 

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