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AnthonyClarke

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In the Kino Lorber thread, 'RichardBurton84' posted the URL to an eight-minute documentary from Mosfilm about their current film restoration projects.
I'm reposting it here for the benefit of people who missed it in that thread.


The most exciting aspect for me is the mouth-watering prospect of seeing on Blu ray what appear, from this evidence, to be excellent restoration of the two 'Ivan the Terrible' movies and 'Alexander Nevsky' ... both films notable not just for Eisenstein's work, but also for the outstanding soundtracks composed by Sergei Prokofiev. Bring them on soon, please, while my rapidly-fading eyesight will still let me enjoy them!
 

Dick

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There is a lot of cool information squeezed into 8 minutes there. What I was hoping for was some mention of what I would have thought would be their topmost priority title, WAR AND PEACE.
 

Robert Harris

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While I applaud their ethic, I’m in total disagreement with their concept of “restoration.”

RAH
 

Winston T. Boogie

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While I applaud their ethic, I’m in total disagreement with their concept of “restoration.”

RAH

I wondered what your take would be on what is shown in that video. Certainly exciting that they are addressing the films in some way and that maybe there is hope we can get access to blu-rays of these films at some point. I'm guessing nobody has called to fly you to Russia to consult.
 

trajan007

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Well if we can.'t have WAR AND PEACE ,Mill Creek is giving us a new restoration of Benji.
 

Robert Harris

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? Lack of new negatives?

My problem is not with what they are doing. I love the Eisenstein films, and can’t wait to see how they’ve been handled.

The problem is the concept of referencing EVERYTHING as a restoration, even if it’s a relatively modern, non-problematic title, that’s simply been ultrasonically cleaned.

Everyone has a Lipsner-Smith.

So what?
 

Josh Steinberg

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The problem is the concept of referencing EVERYTHING as a restoration, even if it’s a relatively modern, non-problematic title, that’s simply been ultrasonically cleaned.

Russia isn't the only offender there -- everything that Criterion puts out is a "restoration" even if the film came out this decade.
 

B-ROLL

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Russia isn't the only offender there -- everything that Criterion puts out is a "restoration" even if the film came out this decade.

One might argue it's a Universal issue as well ... IF some of the footage from the FOX Cleopatra was found and integrated into the FOX film ...THAT might be a "restoration" :)
81ak-KXtOSL._SL1500_.jpg
 

Robert Harris

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Universal is quite good these days, with its use of the term
 

bigshot

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For me the biggest misuse of the word "restoration" is when films get restored to a state that they never existed in before. There are three ways of handling old objects... "Conservation" is about halting the ravages of time and preserving it in its current state. "Restoration" is trying to reverse deterioration and make it look they way it did when it was new. "Recreation" is filling in missing things with bits that are newly created. Conservation and Restoration are great. I'm not so fond of recreation. There's a surprising amount of recreation on blu-ray.
 

Patrick McCart

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The new Mosfilm restorations of the Eisenstein sound films are on Filmstruck and...

While they certainly look better than anything that's been on video before, it's almost like they took the Disney animated feature approach to digital restoration. Dirt and scratches are completely removed, the image is stabilized, grain is reduced without looking waxy, but... it looks more digital than film. It's worst when there's a shot with very little or no movement, as it looks like a freeze frame. Again, it's not like they look like Predator or Children of Paradise, but more like Snow White or Pinocchio. Obviously, what works for animation on Blu-ray may not work as well for live-action. It's worth saying this didn't keep me from enjoying the two Ivans.

As for the audio, they seem to be a strange mix of original sound and dubs on the two Ivans. It's like they tried to replace music whenever possible with a newer recording, but it results in the fidelity going all over the place and occasionally requiring replaced sound effects. Though, I wonder if it was from the same time Ivan Part 2 was released since the mixing is way more consistent, only hampered by most dialogue sounding like it was taken from production tracks. From the parts I sampled (only watched Ivan 1/2 in full), Alexander Nevsky appears to have its original music intact compared to the Criterion/Image DVDs.

Might just be a Russian thing. Mosfilm has a beautiful print of October on their YouTube channel (albeit in 480p) with a great score, but with the strange inclusion of sound effects and a spoken prologue. It's entirely possible that a proper 1080p Blu-ray would display the master much better as even the high quality streams on Filmstruck are subject to more compression than any home media.

EDIT: Might just be compression, though the audio issues remain.
 
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Robert Harris

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The new Mosfilm restorations of the Eisenstein sound films are on Filmstruck and...

While they certainly look better than anything that's been on video before, it's almost like they took the Disney animated feature approach to digital restoration. Dirt and scratches are completely removed, the image is stabilized, grain is reduced without looking waxy, but... it looks more digital than film. It's worst when there's a shot with very little or no movement, as it looks like a freeze frame. Again, it's not like they look like Predator or Children of Paradise, but more like Snow White or Pinocchio. Obviously, what works for animation on Blu-ray may not work as well for live-action. It's worth saying this didn't keep me from enjoying the two Ivans.

As for the audio, they seem to be a strange mix of original sound and dubs on the two Ivans. It's like they tried to replace music whenever possible with a newer recording, but it results in the fidelity going all over the place and occasionally requiring replaced sound effects. Though, I wonder if it was from the same time Ivan Part 2 was released since the mixing is way more consistent, only hampered by most dialogue sounding like it was taken from production tracks. From the parts I sampled (only watched Ivan 1/2 in full), Alexander Nevsky appears to have its original music intact compared to the Criterion/Image DVDs.

Might just be a Russian thing. Mosfilm has a beautiful print of October on their YouTube channel (albeit in 480p) with a great score, but with the strange inclusion of sound effects and a spoken prologue. It's entirely possible that a proper 1080p Blu-ray would display the master much better as even the high quality streams on Filmstruck are subject to more compression than any home media.

Sounds potentially to be a different concept of restoration, and nothing to which I can subscribe.

Any chance, since you note that this is streaming, that they’re simply heavily compressed?
 

Ed Lachmann

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The Mosfilm youtube video does mention Sergei Bondarchuk so I'd imagine they'd be working on War and Peace. The Ruscico box DVDs of some years ago looked pretty good as did the print that was shown over 20 years ago at the DGA Theater on Sunset. This is the one I've been waiting for. Wonder if we will see it in blu-ray form from Ruscico in the future.
 

Patrick McCart

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Sounds potentially to be a different concept of restoration, and nothing to which I can subscribe.

Any chance, since you note that this is streaming, that they’re simply heavily compressed?

The more I think of it, that's probably what's going on. Filmstruck has higher quality compression than most other streams, but I noticed grainier films get sort of mangled (Faces is nearly unwatchable).

Just for reference, here's a screenshot:
shiViws.png


The odd thing is that Mosfilm's YouTube channel has the same restoration, yet it seems to have more apparent fine detail (especially beards) despite lower quality compression. I'm used to looking for blockiness. Not that it really means anything until we see a proper Blu-ray, but just an observation.
 

Alberto_D

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You can't really take grain reduction as part of film restoration for preservation/archive. You need to store the image without grain reduction.
Why ??? ...Wel... Supose you reduce grain on image files, and remamber almost all grain reduction system at least washe offs some percentage of image details, so how would you deal if 20 years in future a better grain reduction technology arrives ?

Someone may argue that Lowry Digital system is able to reduce some grain and even increase image detail. It's true, despite be expansive even today. But even this system can get better in future, and would require the original grain to try a new advanced future version of the system.

A grain reduced file of the film can also be stored for presentation purposes.
But a heavy grainy print, with a low quality grain reduced system, can transform a 2K scan into a DVD looking video, waxy and poor in detail.

Sometimes Criterion Collection may call everything as restoration. But they did a lot in real film restoration projects, scanning in film resolution and cleaning-up iomages, and usually they search fopr the best film ellements available. We muist thanks them for this work, despite some few non ideal use of the word restoration for some cases.
 
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