Sleeping Beauty and Technirama 70

Discussion in 'DVD' started by ScottR, Aug 17, 2003.

  1. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    I am kinda confused about Technirama 70 and its correct aspect ratio. The specs for the new Sleeping Beauty release say that the film will be presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Does this mean that the transfer was taken from a 35mm print, or is that the correct ratio for the 70mm version of the film?
     
  2. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    It's probably transferred from 35mm. I remember when Kenneth Branagh's "Hamlet" was released on Laserdisc there was some hubub over the fact it was transferred from 35mm elements instead of 65mm, and the answer that was given was that it's far too costly to do a film to tape transfer in 65mm, so 35mm was used instead.
     
  3. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    I've just posted about this in the Zulu thread, but I'll recap a bit here:

    Technirama is an eight perforation 35mm process. This means it records to a negative frame twice as tall as a standard four perforation 35mm frame, but it records the negative horizontally, instead of vertically. Thus the frame that is twice as tall becomes twice as wide instead, but it's still 35mm. VistaVision is similar, though Technirama uses an anamorphic squeeze on top of the "dual frame" recording, unlike VistaVision, thus increasing its proper projection width still further (I'm unclear on just how anamorphosis is applied to Technirama, as The Widescreen Museum details both a vertical and, I believe, in reduction printing a horizontal anamorphic squeeze process used for the system, but applied it is, nevertheless). Both are therefore large format processes.

    Technirama, prior to the advent of Super Technirama 70 (which prints the dual frame negative to 70mm instead of the more common reduction printing to four perforation 35mm), had a correct projection ratio of 2.35:1. When Super Technirama 70 came around, the aperture at which the image was recorded was increased (to take advantage of space left for the use of a soundtrack on rarely seen eight perforation 35mm prints) on Technirama photography, and the correct aspect ratio was increased vertically, yielding a 2.25:1 image.

    All of this has been gathered, primarily, from The Widescreen Museum's Technirama section. Note in particular page three of this material. Now, because Technirama photography was granted a greater aperture in preparation for Super Technirama 70 printing, it stands to reason that all films either specifically designed for Super Technirama 70 presentation or, in general, made after Super Technirama 70 came around and thus "protected" for Super Technirama 70 presentation (such as Zulu) should have a correct ratio of 2.25:1.

    Sleeping Beauty was specifically designed, by Walt, for Super Technirama 70 presentation. It should have used the new aperture, and therefore should have a correct ratio of 2.25:1. Disney may be marketing it as 2.35:1 to avoid confusion for the average consumer who hasn't researched ratios and continues to broadly equate "Scope" with 2.35:1 (in reality, latter day CinemaScope and the Panavision of today records wide and anamorphic to approximately 2.39:1, a ratio derived by the division of negative width by negative height and the multiplication of the resulting width figure by the anamorphosis applied to the image: see Robert Harris' diagram here for an illustration of aperture and negative sizes), or their marketing department may not be quite up to speed on the precise characteristics of Technirama ... or they may have cropped the film to 2.35:1. But given the restoration effort that has gone into this production (frame by frame digital restoration, which I'd assume was entrusted to LDI -- Lowry Digital Images, whose chat with HTF can be found here -- after their work on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs), I'd hope they've mastered it at its correct 2.25:1 ratio and from large format negative materials (eight perforation 35mm Technirama).

    It's important to remember that while many films were printed off of original negatives decades ago (in part due to inferior duplicating abilities of the time), to my knowledge no one creates video masters off of negatives. First of all, you have to take a film to positive to master it, and this would ideally be an interpositive element (a "pre-print" positive). Original camera negatives are in no way threatened by proper video mastering, either at 35mm or 70mm, or eight perforation 35mm. The same duplicate negative that would be used today to create prints for theatrical distribution could be used to create an interpositive for video mastering. The original camera negative is never placed in jeopardy. The expense hurdles to 65mm video mastering (which nevertheless allowed Fox to master Oklahoma! at 65mm in the mid-90's) have been significantly reduced over the years, as have the telecine control limitations Robert Harris has mentioned in the past (as detailed on his work for the upcoming Superbit of Lawrence of Arabia).

    Any film that originates as large format should be mastered for home video from large format original elements (an interpositive from a duplicate large format negative, ideally, or if such elements do not survive then perhaps a large format print). A new preservation negative for a restored film of yesteryear could be duplicated in negative for printing, and that element used for a new interpositive and high definition video mastering.

    This is "gathered" knowledge from on-line and book sources, and of course DVD and laserdisc documentaries -- it isn't first hand. So if I have any of this wrong, Robert Harris or another first-hand expert in the field may wish to chime in with corrections. To the best of my understanding, though, the above essentially sums up the process.

    And Sleeping Beauty should be 2.25:1. I can't believe Disney would digitally restore it frame by frame in anything other than eight perforation 35mm. Warner Bros. release of Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet next year should also be from original large format elements (70mm Super Panavision in that case), with a correct ratio of 2.2:1. Columbia issued the laserdisc from 35mm at 2.35:1 (or so the box said; correct 35mm Panavision framing would be 2.39:1), and it failed rather miserably to capture the large format beauty captured by Fox in their 65mm laserdisc of Oklahoma!. I saw Hamlet in theatres, and the laser is strictly an "okay" representation of that experience, noticeably inferior to proper 65mm mastering. Or at least it was "okay" before my copy rotted, but that's another story.

    Many DVDs have been successfully mastered from large format, to great effect. Universal's Vertigo was taken from a combination of eight perforation 35mm (its original form) and 65mm, Columbia's Lawrence of Arabia (both old and upcoming Superbit editions) was taken from 65mm, Fox's own DVD of Oklahoma! is a reissue of their 65mm laserdisc (it doesn't hold up today, but it looked great at the time; a bit of restoration and a new anamorphic high definition downconversion would spruce it up nicely), Criterion's Spartacus was taken from 65mm, most of Paramount's Gunfight at the O.K. Corral was taken from eight perforation 35mm VistaVision (essentially the same negative size from which Sleeping Beauty should be taken), and so forth. DVDs taken from reduction elements (White Christmas, apparently from four perforation 35mm reduction, for instance) fail to capture the unique look of their large format origins (to my eye).
     
  4. SteveP

    SteveP Second Unit

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    The DVD and 1995 Laser Disc of THE SOUND OF MUSIC as well as the Laser Disc of STAR! and the new DVD of HELLO, DOLLY! were all mastered from 65MM elements.

    About 25 years ago, I traveled to some New Jersey suburb to see a 70MM print of SLEEPING BEAUTY. Well worth the trip!
     
  5. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

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    i know for a fact that quite a few films have ben transferred from camera negative because it was all the stuio had that looked good - they didn't want to spend themoney for an interpositive. Not all of STAR was taken from 65mm. the scene where Julie goes to court was taken from 35mm. The 65mm was too damaged.
    I have been told that the thx transfers of King and I and Carousel were taken from 55mm.
    I doubt that right now Fox would want to do new transfers of the Rodgers and Hammerstein films. When they did all their titles (originally for laserdisc) they had tons of problems, particularly with Oklahoma and South Pacific.
    It's been mentioned here that Warners is using some process where the three separte colors are fed digitally into the transfer machine and mixed in the video realm. Not sure what they did but I know that parts of South Pacific had to be transferred this way.
    It's really time we had the uncut version of this film which is missing about 14 minutes.
    there also exists a collector who was an extra on the film when they were shooting in Hawaii and he has tons of home movies of cast and crew between takes.
    BTW - in the longer version of South Pacific, Joe cable and captain Brackett fail to convince Emile De Beque to go on the mission with Joe. Joe then takes the boat to Bali Hai and the chorus sings a reprise of Bali Hai. But this is only in the second short versin of the movie. In the original film, JOE sings the reprise with the chorus answering him.
    in the special edition of Rodgers and Hammerstein, the sound of movies (Imazge Entertainment) they have included the original triler. in that trailer you can HEAR this version.
     
  6. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Bill Burns will shortly be teaching courses in film technology on the college level.

    In a more simplistic manner, the only difference between Vista and Technirama is the 0.25 anamorphic squeeze and the use of the entire 1.50:1 negative area. You'll find a few frames of Spartacus in its native format on one of my Bits columns.

    Technirama was designed to be printed down to 2.35 scope 4 perf 2:1 squeeze or unsqueezed optically from the Oneg to create spherical 70mm prints for normal 2.21:1 projection.

    SB was shot SE as a Technirama production. Several years ago Scott MacQueen went back to the 8 perf elements and created a new 65mm dupe neg from which at least one new 70mm print was derived.

    The important point to remember about TLA as opposed to VVLA is that Vista generally did not make use of the entire negative area, as an extracted AR of 1.85 was generally assumed, leaving room at the top of the frame for a standard 35mm track and a like area at the bottom which was considered outside the useable frame area.

    Many filmmakers, and especially Mr. Hitchcock, never used this excess Vista area for anything, allowing the tops of sets and reaer screens to show at the top and cables nd tracks at the bottom.
     
  7. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    Joe Caps wrote:
     
  8. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    A review's up at DVD File:

    Sleeping Beauty

    The author doesn't mention the film's Technirama origins, and seems to have simply copied the specs from the box -- so still no word on whether Disney used eight perf 35mm large format original elements at their correct ratio or a reduction element at 2.35:1 (Technirama's four perforation reduction ratio). As I've speculated elsewhere, the box might say 2.35:1 regardless as a means of simplifying matters for buyers accustomed to seeing and hearing about one 'Scope ratio, or indeed simply as an error by the studio department in charge of printing the inserts for the box (the link above, to The Widescreen Museum, gives Technirama's 70mm -- Super Technirama -- FA spec at 2.25:1, one derived in part by the use of a larger aperture for Technirama productions made after the advent of 70mm printing for the format).

    Knowing it was restored digitally frame by frame, I've assumed Disney wouldn't go to that expense for reduction elements when originals are available, but in either case it was a given that the results would be lovely to the eye. The above review seems to bear that out. Can't wait!
     
  9. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    I know it's a couple of weeks old now, but I just noticed:

     
  10. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    [​IMG] I'm always happy to take my bows. Many thanks, many thanks. I'm ever ready to provide for the convolution needs of a clear-headed society. Hey, somebody's gotta do it ....
     
  11. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    I've seen screenshots from the R2 release, and the film looks to be cropped even more tightly vertically than my widescreen vhs copy from the '90's.
     
  12. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    The film has been overcropped vertically.
     
  13. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    What a shame.
     
  14. Jorossy

    Jorossy Stunt Coordinator

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    Widescreen Review Mag's website has their review up and they list the aspect ratio as 2.35:1. If I'm not mistaken they have special equipment to measure the actual aspect ratio of a film on laser and dvd.

    A friend of mine has the widescreen THX VHS of this movie and it is in the proper ratio of 2.2:1. It also contains a special feature explaing Sleeping Beauty being filmed in 70mm.

    Just my take on it. I like the movie just because it was a 1958 Disney cartoon that contained the word 'hell'.
     
  15. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    SB was not filmed in 70mm and measuring aspect ratios is a meaningless exercise.

    The point is that both the shape of the box and the CONTENTS within that shape should be correct.

    rah
     
  16. Reagan

    Reagan Supporting Actor

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  17. Stephen PI

    Stephen PI Supporting Actor

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    Bill Burns wrote:
    Many films claim to be "mastered from the original negative"

    The transfer for the widescreen dvd of "Flesh and the Fiends" was from the original camera negative. This is the only element the BFI had and they released it to the Machine Room in London in 2001 for telecine. Hopefully they have since created a 35mm fine-grain for future transfers.

    How can you master to tape from a negative?

    There is an an adjustment made by the colorist so that it can be viewed correctly for grading.
     
  18. TedD

    TedD Supporting Actor

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  19. Bill Burns

    Bill Burns Supporting Actor

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    Ah, very good. I didn't realize that. Thanks for the info -- and, of course, I hope major studios, with their renewed appreciation for the value of film preservation, are no longer creating either release prints or video masters from any original camera negatives. Perhaps creating them from dupe negatives isn't the best of ideas, either, as to wear out a dupe necessitates the creation of another, further jeopardizing the original negative ... is there a quality loss of any kind in going to an interpositive from a dupe negative for the creation of home video masters? And, incidentally, are release prints generally created (today) directly from dupe negs or interpositives?
     
  20. John J Nelson

    John J Nelson Stunt Coordinator

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    Wasn't the 2-disc SE of Se7en mastered from the camera negative?

    I remember reading an interview with David Fincher where he said that he wasn't happy with the results he was getting from the inter-positive, and managed to sneak the original negative out of the vault [​IMG]

    I imagine the studio would have ripped off his head and shit down his neck if he'd damaged it [​IMG]

    -- J.
     

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