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New Umbrellas of Cherbourg restoration with newly-found three-track stereo recordings and period foley (1 Viewer)

Konstantinos

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Love this film, and I have the Criterion edition.
I wonder if this new restoration casts the yellow tint!
 

haineshisway

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Worth reading the article. The before and after images are such low-rez but I have no doubt the actual images will look much better, and thankfully Varda has nothing to do with transfers anymore. One can only pray they do this for The Young Girls of Rochefort so they can get rid of that awful yellow haze that permeates the entire previous transfer. Not sure why they're confused about the three-track tape. Clearly, that is how the score was recorded, as were all stereo recordings back then. That was then mixed down to mono for the prints and to two-track for the album masters. No confusion at all.
 

david hare

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Bruce, although Agnes is no longer with us I was disappointed to read that the entire 35mm restoration to new master has been supervised by Demy junior, Mathieu. It was he who was responsible for letting the hideously degrained, unwatchable disaster of Lola out of the cage. He should not have been let loose on anything else.
 

Robert Harris

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While I love the idea of a new restoration, I seem to recall Agnes telling me that the OCN was totally faded. Something I found very hard to believe that 1963 Eastman (presumably) 5251 stock would be gone.

She told me that the only viable elements were the masters.

To say that I’m confused by this new project, makes me think of the wonder that was Out of the Blue - the single most expensive and most Herculean effort thus far known to mankind - at a cost of over 42 million dollars.
 

Robert Harris

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And a tidbit from iMDB, which explains everything:

”Knowing that the Eastmancolor process fades over time, in order to preserve the film's saturated colors and unable to afford the true three-strip Technicolor process that had fallen out of favor by the 1960s, director Jacques Demy subsequently printed three 35-millimeter separation masters on black-and-white film stock that was dyed yellow, cyan, and magenta. These masters formed the basis of the film's 2013 restoration.”

This would tell us that Umbrellas was the first motion picture for which separation masters were invented.

I love accurate history.

It informs, allows us to dream, and wonder about a world that might have been outside of France.

The quote above seems to be referencing true 3-strip cinematography, which ended c. 1955.

Had M. Demy been desirous, however, to print in dye transfer, prints could have been produced as late as 1977, and later in LA c. 1996-2000.
 
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Robert Harris

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And more knowledge from wiki…


The film version released in 2004 on DVD by Koch-Lorber Films is a completely restored version of the original.

The film was originally shot on Eastman negative stock, which had rapidly faded and thus had become almost unusable. The various copies of the film used in the cinema circuit gradually lost their quality. Umbrellas thus could not be seen with the rich colours which Demy had originally intended.

Knowing as he did that the Eastman stock would fade over time, Demy had made the three main yellow, cyan and magenta color separation masters on black-and-white negative films, which do not fade. These black-and-white separations had greater longevity.

In the 1990s, Demy's wife, film director Agnès Varda, headed a project to create a new colour-negative film from the three black and white separations. Restored full-color prints were made from this in 2004. The resulting film recaptured Demy's vision of a fantastically colourful Cherbourg.

Composer Michel Legrand assisted in restoring the original four-track stereo sound masters to digital. He remastered his score to produce a higher-quality version, released in 2014.

A digital version of the film was released on Blu-ray by Ciné Tamaris in 2013, on the 50th anniversary of its original release. This version was restored independently of the 2004 version with colour grading supervised by Demy's son Mathieu Demy.

The film version released in 2004 on DVD by Koch-Lorber Films is a completely restored version of the original.

The film was originally shot on Eastman negative stock, which had rapidly faded and thus had become almost unusable. The various copies of the film used in the cinema circuit gradually lost their quality. Umbrellas thus could not be seen with the rich colours which Demy had originally intended.

Knowing as he did that the Eastman stock would fade over time, Demy had made the three main yellow, cyan and magenta color separation masters on black-and-white negative films, which do not fade. These black-and-white separations had greater longevity.

In the 1990s, Demy's wife, film director Agnès Varda, headed a project to create a new colour-negative film from the three black and white separations. Restored full-color prints were made from this in 2004. The resulting film recaptured Demy's vision of a fantastically colourful Cherbourg.

Composer Michel Legrand assisted in restoring the original four-track stereo sound masters to digital. He remastered his score to produce a higher-quality version, released in 2014.

A digital version of the film was released on Blu-ray by Ciné Tamaris in 2013, on the 50th anniversary of its original release. This version was restored independently of the 2004 version with colour grading supervised by Demy's son Mathieu Demy.”

These facts will help viewers to understand why no color films survive outside of three-strip. I’d always found this confusing.

The only true archival medium is digital. And speaking of digital, one might wonder what became of the original ”four-track stereo sound masters” noted above?
 

Stefan Andersson

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Press dossier, in French and English, for the 2013 restoration and re-release. English text about the restoration from p. 65 onwards. Page 18-21: restoration info in French:

https://www.cine-tamaris.fr/wp-cont...ier_de_presse_les_parapluies_de_cherbourg.pdf

-Film shot on Kodak 5251 (50 ISO)
-Separation masters ("three-color selection") made in 1963 and used for 2013 and 1992 restorations
-Sound restored and remixed in dolby stereo based on original magnetic tapes
-A shot in the last sequence was damaged in original materials and replaced by a duplicate
-Last sequence and carnival sequence restored manually, as digital tools could not tell snowflakes and confetti from image damage
-"the restoration of the sound – mostly the music by michel Legrand – was made from the sound restoration of 1992, among which several digital bands with mixes on three tracks as well as the digital analogic sound negative, digitized by ourselves" (P. 21: "La restauration sonore – essentiellement la musique de michel Legrand - a été effectuée à partir de la restauration son de 1992, dont plusieurs bandes numériques contenant le mixage tripiste ainsi que le négatif son optique dolby sr analogique, numérisé par nos soins.")


French review of the French 2013 bluray w/ English subtitles:


-1.66 OAR changed to 1.85
-Sound restored from analog NR sound negative, made in 1992, and from three-track music only recording made for vinyl release. ("Les pistes sonores ont été restaurées à partir du négatif son NR analogique fabriqué pour la précédente ressortie en salle, en 1992, ainsi qu’un enregistrement tri-piste de la musique seule (pour une commercialisation en vinyle). Le Blu-ray propose une version stéréo et une version 5.0 surround").

Googled four-track stereo masters for Umbrellas; found no info. Text above bolded by me.


Further mentions of a) image restoration from OCN and b) three-track mix, in stereo, of singing and music; made on 35 mm magnetic tape, rediscovered at Universal Music Publishing:


Off-topic but of interest:

Press dossier for Demy´s Lola:


Restoration info in English from p. 71 onwards.
 

haineshisway

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Bruce, although Agnes is no longer with us I was disappointed to read that the entire 35mm restoration to new master has been supervised by Demy junior, Mathieu. It was he who was responsible for letting the hideously degrained, unwatchable disaster of Lola out of the cage. He should not have been let loose on anything else.
All I know about Mathieu, unless I read it wrong back in the day, is that he supervised the last Umbrellas transfer. Whereas Agnes supervised the yellow Rochefort transfer. I never watched Lola - guess I should check it out.
 

haineshisway

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Press dossier, in French and English, for the 2013 restoration and re-release. English text about the restoration from p. 65 onwards. Page 18-21: restoration info in French:

https://www.cine-tamaris.fr/wp-cont...ier_de_presse_les_parapluies_de_cherbourg.pdf

-Film shot on Kodak 5251 (50 ISO)
-Separation masters ("three-color selection") made in 1963 and used for 2013 and 1992 restorations
-Sound restored and remixed in dolby stereo based on original magnetic tapes
-A shot in the last sequence was damaged in original materials and replaced by a duplicate
-Last sequence and carnival sequence restored manually, as digital tools could not tell snowflakes and confetti from image damage
-"the restoration of the sound – mostly the music by michel Legrand – was made from the sound restoration of 1992, among which several digital bands with mixes on three tracks as well as the digital analogic sound negative, digitized by ourselves" (P. 21: "La restauration sonore – essentiellement la musique de michel Legrand - a été effectuée à partir de la restauration son de 1992, dont plusieurs bandes numériques contenant le mixage tripiste ainsi que le négatif son optique dolby sr analogique, numérisé par nos soins.")


French review of the French 2013 bluray w/ English subtitles:


-1.66 OAR changed to 1.85
-Sound restored from analog NR sound negative, made in 1992, and from three-track music only recording made for vinyl release. ("Les pistes sonores ont été restaurées à partir du négatif son NR analogique fabriqué pour la précédente ressortie en salle, en 1992, ainsi qu’un enregistrement tri-piste de la musique seule (pour une commercialisation en vinyle). Le Blu-ray propose une version stéréo et une version 5.0 surround").

Googled four-track stereo masters for Umbrellas; found no info. Text above bolded by me.


Further mentions of a) image restoration from OCN and b) three-track mix, in stereo, of singing and music; made on 35 mm magnetic tape, rediscovered at Universal Music Publishing:


Off-topic but of interest:

Press dossier for Demy´s Lola:


Restoration info in English from p. 71 onwards.
I have never read so much confusing BS in my life. The Varda "restoration" was TERRIBLE. AWFUL. The son's subsequent "restoration" was much better. Of course, the music was recorded on three-track stereo - I don't believe it was on 35mm but the recording stock of the time. They knew there'd be a stereo soundtrack and my opinion is that they mixed the three-track recording to mono for the film and two-track for the album. Furthermore, Legrand's remix is terrible, too, just plain weird - the main titles are in MONO on his remix and it doesn't go to stereo until the gas station music. Thankfully, I have a Japanese CD of the original album mix - which is still great. There was no such thing as four-track. Everything was recorded on three-track from the early RCA stereo recordings on, until multi-track eight-track became the standard in the late 1960s and the that morphed into 16-track by late 1968 although those machines were few and far between. Bacharach and Phil Ramone had one for the Promises, Promises cast album.

The lingo from all these articles is beyond confusing. It goes from prints being faded to the negative being completely faded. I don't think Varda knew the difference, frankly and she should have. Because now we're told that the negative is mostly in great shape and that sounds right to me. We'll know soon enough.

Varda, who was, after all, married to Demy, seems to not care that the musical numbers in Rochefort were shot twice - once with the actors in French and once with them lip-syncing to English lyrics. Then the dialogue scenes were dubbed into English but just over the French dialogue. The English dub, which is very good, has never been on home video. I guarantee you Warners has it somewhere, but people are simply too lazy to research things. I had a 16mm IB scope print of the English version and had I kept it, they could have used it.

And here's the thing that no one either knows or believes: For years, I wondered if an English dub had ever been done for Umbrellas. Everyone strongly told me no, never, ever. And I believed them. Always a mistake. Because lo and behold they were showing Umbrellas on TV in the early 1980s, LA's channel thirteen, late at night. So, I stayed up and watched and guess what - English dub. Could not believe it. And to this day there is not a single person who believes that I saw it. Not ONE. Well, guess what? Later this week, I'll have it on a home grown DVD. Oops.
 
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B-ROLL

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All I know about Mathieu, unless I read it wrong back in the day, is that he supervised the last Umbrellas transfer. Whereas Agnes supervised the yellow Rochefort transfer. I never watched Lola - guess I should check it out.
Watch out, I'm told whatever Lola wants, Lola gets ;) ... (unless it's a case of the runs ;)) ....
 

Robert Harris

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I have never read so much confusing BS in my life. The Varda "restoration" was TERRIBLE. AWFUL. The son's subsequent "restoration" was much better. Of course, the music was recorded on three-track stereo - I don't believe it was on 35mm but the recording stock of the time. They knew there'd be a stereo soundtrack and my opinion is that they mixed the three-track recording to mono for the film and two-track for the album. Furthermore, Legrand's remix is terrible, too, just plain weird - the main titles are in MONO on his remix and it doesn't go to stereo until the gas station music. Thankfully, I have a Japanese CD of the original album mix - which is still great. There was no such thing as four-track. Everything was recorded on three-track from the early RCA stereo recordings on, until multi-track eight-track became the standard in the late 1960s and the that morphed into 16-track by late 1968 although those machines were few and far between. Bacharach and Phil Ramone had one for the Promises, Promises cast album.

The lingo from all these articles is beyond confusing. It goes from prints being faded to the negative being completely faded. I don't think Varda knew the difference, frankly and she should have. Because now we're told that the negative is mostly in great shape and that sounds right to me. We'll know soon enough.

Varda, who was, after all, married to Demy, seems to not care that the musical numbers in Rochefort were shot twice - once with the actors in French and once with them lip-syncing to English lyrics. Then the dialogue scenes were dubbed into English but just over the French dialogue. The English dub, which is very good, has never been on home video. I guarantee you Warners has it somewhere, but people are simply too lazy to research things. I had a 16mm IB scope print of the English version and had I kept it, they could have used it.

And here's the thing that no one either knows or believes: For years, I wondered if an English dub had ever been done for Umbrellas. Everyone strongly told me no, never, ever. And I believed them. Always a mistake. Because lo and behold they were showing Umbrellas on TV in the early 1980s, LA's channel thirteen, late at night. So, I stayed up and watched and guess what - English dub. Could not believe it. And to this day there is not a single person who believes that I saw it. Not ONE. Well, guess what? Later this week, I'll have it on a home grown DVD. Oops.
Definately confusing. Thank you for posting. I’ve tried to decipher, and came away muttering. Special cement? The color of masters?

C. 1996, I had a discussion with Agnes about her Umbrellas restoration, and she mentioned the masters, and why she had to use them. She explained that the OCN was “gone,” and “Technicolor,” and masters, which she seemed to confuse with printing matrices. I kept going back to the attributes of 5251, but none of it seemed to sink in.

Agnes was a fine filmmaker, and a lovely woman, who always made me feel tall.

But from a laboratory, film emulsion perspective…

I’ve always felt that film restoration should be left to people with some understanding of the medium. Possibly trained archivists.
 

Stephen_J_H

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On page 26 of the programme linked at the beginning of the thread:
"In addition, before starting the restoration, scan tests between the negative and the silent fine grain prints from the monochromatic selection were made. At that stage, we noticed that the photographic quality of the camera negative was the best that we could obtain. The reels had been well conserved. In fact, despite a few scratches, the latter were in good mechanical condition. The presence of these few physical defects and particularly the scratches, encouraged us per form an immersive scan on an Arriscan, in order to reduce the wear and tear that time had left on the print."
So they went back to the OCN for a wet-gate scan this time.
 

Robert Harris

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On page 26 of the programme linked at the beginning of the thread:
"In addition, before starting the restoration, scan tests between the negative and the silent fine grain prints from the monochromatic selection were made. At that stage, we noticed that the photographic quality of the camera negative was the best that we could obtain. The reels had been well conserved. In fact, despite a few scratches, the latter were in good mechanical condition. The presence of these few physical defects and particularly the scratches, encouraged us per form an immersive scan on an Arriscan, in order to reduce the wear and tear that time had left on the print."
So they went back to the OCN for a wet-gate scan this time.
Silly move. There is never a season to use prime elements. Dupes have better contrast. Had they really done their homework, they would have tested the Nitrate originals. They’re apparently unaware that the film was the final production in three-trip.

Sad…
 

Stephen_J_H

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Silly move. There is never a season to use prime elements. Dupes have better contrast. Had they really done their homework, they would have tested the Nitrate originals. They’re apparently unaware that the film was the final production in three-trip.

Sad…
Dark and dry; just the way I like your posts, RAH.
 

Patrick McCart

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I thought the Criterion Blu-ray looks quite lovely, but I'd happily buy a UHD upgrade. Demy's work I didn't exactly fall in love with as much as Varda's, but Bay of Angels, Umbrellas, Young Girls, and The Pied Piper are all wonderful films.

Bruce, although Agnes is no longer with us I was disappointed to read that the entire 35mm restoration to new master has been supervised by Demy junior, Mathieu. It was he who was responsible for letting the hideously degrained, unwatchable disaster of Lola out of the cage. He should not have been let loose on anything else.

Doesn't Lola only survive as a dupe of a dupe? Given how beautiful the rest of the films in Criterion's Essential Demy box looked, seems like they had good intentions. I'd hope that with newer resources available, another go could be made at it.

I do hope that whenever Young Girls is given a 4K re-do, something is done about those terrible "graphic design is my passion" re-done opening titles.
 

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