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THE WIZARD OF OZ to get Ultra Resolution Treatment (1 Viewer)

Andrew Budgell

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This came to me via a Judy Garland online discussion group:

National Film Theatre, NFT1

Following a year of the National Film Theatre's Digital Futures programme, supported by the Digital Test Bed, which has included Casablanca, Singin' In The Rain, Brief Encounter and A Zed and Two Noughts, among others, the NFT will be hosting a seminar and public debate looking at the issues surrounding the digitisation of classic films.

There will be speakers from various areas of the film industry concerned with digitisation, from archivists to distributors. The panel will include Rob Hummel, Technical Director of Warner Bros., who has just completed the digital restoration of Gone With The Wind, which will be screening for two weeks at the NFT during December. Rob has worked on several acclaimed digital restorations and has just started work on The Wizard of Oz - it is possible he may bring a clip of this work in progress.

With the launch of the UK Film Council's Digital Screen Network, this is event is ideally timed and aims to help audiences understand the issues involved in the digitisation process and why it is happening. It will also be an ideal opportunity to compare various formats from 35mm through to HD cinema projection and to voice concerns and ideas directly to those involved in digitisation from restoration all the way through to exhibition.

This event will be followed by a special screening of the new digital restoration of Gone With The Wind, which will be preceded by a presentation from Rob Hummel who will put this restoration into a historical context and explain how the project evolved.
 

Patrick McCart

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I can't wait to see this. I thought the color jumps on the DVD were bad... but when I saw one of the dye-transfer '98 re-release prints, I was horrified by how bad the color registration was in some shots.

Even though the 1999 DVD is a great DVD, I can see Warner making another excellent release with Oz. It was rumored before that the SE DVD would end up being a 3-disc set... perhaps Warner could include the complete 1925 version, the complete 1933 cartoon, and even a few of the Baum-produced silent shorts. Of course, it would be neat if a certain Pink Floyd album could be an alternate audio track on the film.... :D
 

Rob Gardiner

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Woot! This is great news!

Patrick,

If Warner Bros buys out EMI, then perhaps your wish will come true. :)
 

Jonny_L

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This should prove very interesting. There are so many colours in the film that a restoration might make my video system explode :D

I'm glad I never picked up the DVD. Hopefully it will be re-done in a new super duper collector's set or something.

After an ultra-resolution restoration WB has been creating 4k transfers havent they? I bet the movie would explode like a rainbow in Hi Def.
 

Chip_HT

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I've always hoped for a version of the film where they re-incorporate some of the cut footage back in. For instance, I'm sure that the Jitterbug could be reconstructed in some way using what footage they have plus today's technology. And also, some of the extended stuff they showed at the end of the 50th anniversary VHS.
 

EricSchulz

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The extended Scarecrow scene could be put back in, I believe, but I am pretty sure that the Jitterbug sequence is only available on a REALLY average quality 8mm home movie. Whether it ends up a one-disc movie treatment (doubtful) or a three disc Special Edition, I am so there!!!
 

Daniel`D

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I just made a list of all my old VHS tapes that I needed to try to find on DVD and this one was one of them, I might hold off getting for awhile now though.

Thanks for this great news.
 

ScottR

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If WB is reading this:

Please incorporate the stencil printing process in the switch to Technicolor that you used in the previous release.

Thanks!
 

Steve...O

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Thank you Andrew for bringing this news! Thanks also to Warners for funding this project.

Steve
 

Patrick McCart

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The stencil color...

ONLY seen in the master prepared by WB for the 1999 special edition DVD (It's NOT like this in the '98 digitally restored theatrical prints).

Basically, this is the shot where Dorothy first opens the door to Munchkinland. In the uncorrected version, it's obvious that the inside is simply lit and painted to look like it's in sepia tone. In the DVD, they digitally "desaturated" the entire inside of the house (as well as Dorothy, until she emerges in the Technicolor surroundings). It's striking and makes the transition even more stunning than it is without the desaturation.

It looks a little too "digital" in the '99 DVD, but WHV should be able to make it totally seamless with the real sepia tone footage prior to that shot with the current technology. Can you believe the old DVD is already 5 years old?
 

Kyle McKnight

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I don't own this movie yet, but will be buying this version! I haven't watched this movie in such a long time...
 

Andrew Budgell

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I have both the 50th Anniversary VHS, the 1991 re-issue VHS, the original DVD from the early days, and the Special Edition - Deluxe Box Set from 1999. This is my all time favourite (along with Gone With the Wind and Cleopatra) so this will be a no brainer for me. I have been very spoiled lately by Warner Bros. and just want to extend another thank you. Keep it up!

Andy
 

Jay Pennington

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While the stencil process sounds cool, it would also be an example of modern tampering. On the original release, there was a reel change at the beginning of that shot from B&W stock (sepia or no) to color. I'd prefer the film as originally seen to be left alone in matters such as this.
 

Patrick McCart

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But the original 1939 release featured this stencil printing. So, it's not being tampered with... the transition is just being created with modern tools, instead of photochemical processes.

It's like how the Photoplay Productions version of Phantom of the Opera (silent version) had some digital colorization to re-create color in shots. One scene had stencil color on a cape, another was in two-strip Technicolor, but survived only in B&W. So, it's just a matter of making the film look as close to the original release as possible.
 

Paul_Scott

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unlike the first GWTW dvd, TWOO disc still looks pretty good to me.
but i'll still be up for a new release, especially since it will most likely isolate the film on its own disc.
 

ScottR

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Yes, Patrick is correct....the stencil printing was utilized in the original release prints.
 

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